The Alley Light



108 2nd St. SW . Charlottesville, VA . (434) 296-5003

Why The Alley Light?

In every respect — food, drinks, and experience — The Alley Light is a sensation. In 2015, it made history by becoming the only Charlottesville restaurant ever to be a James Beard Foundation semifinalist  for best restaurant in the country. The Washington Post, The Washingtonian, and one of the leading culinary educators of our time have all heaped praise. While some of that came during the tenure of Jose de Brito, the restaurant has barely missed a beat under current chef and co-owner Robin McDaniel. Behind the bar is author and mixologist Micah LeMon, whose ever-changing menu combines carefully chosen liquors with his own tinctures, infusions, tonics, and more. 

The Alley Light is not just excellent. It is one-of-a-kind. Before it opened in February 2014, it was not easy to see how much Charlottesville could benefit from this grown-up lounge with serious food, perched in an intimate second-story space off the downtown mall. Now, it’s hard to imagine The Charlottesville 29 without it.

What to Order

Our favorite way to eat at The Alley Light is to ask the kitchen to send out whatever it likes. It’s never failed to yield a wonderful meal. For specific suggestions, below are our picks, the chef’s picks, and appearances in Five Finds on Friday, where a local chef or personality has named an item from The Alley Light as one of the best in town. Because the specials menu changes weekly, not all of the dishes below will always be available.

Our Picks

  • Roasted Bone Marrow parsley crust, braised escargot
  • Roasted Chorizo chickpea puree, toast
  • French Green Beans grated foie gras, almond-shallot vinaigrette
  • Carrots herbs, yogurt, cumin-lemon-orange vinaigrette
  • Charcuterie
  • Pork Belly braised and roasted, apple, celery
  • Scallops (in any form)
  • Stuffed Quail porcini mushrooms, brioche, red wine sauce, turnips

Chef’s Picks

  • Rabbit Wrapped in Prosciutto, sweetbreads, chestnut, mushroom, mustard sauce
  • Cod, Mussels, Lobster, Scallop Boudin, saffron-vanilla broth
  • Guinea Hen, celery root, leek, foie sauce
  • Seafood Charcuterie Board
  • Mr. Rech hazelnut macaron, praline parfait, hot chocolate sauce

Five Finds on Friday Picks