101 West Main Street . Charlottesville, VA . (434) 295-6649
A visit to Hamiltons’ can feel like a time warp to a “New American” restaurant of the 1980s or 1990s – with a soundtrack of light jazz, brightly colored walls, and margaritas served in martini glasses. The menu includes standards like crabcakes and pot de crème, and the signature blue plate special is even served on a blue, glossy plate.
But, it’s not just superficial similarities that Hamiltons’ shares with restaurants of the New American renaissance. It’s also the sense of professionalism and attention to detail that the era brought. And so, the butter with your bread is always room temperature, as it should be. And, the bread, itself, is warm, salty, yeasty, and spot-on every time – the kind that seems to make you hungrier as it fills you up. Most importantly, the cooking is excellent. Owners Kate and Bill Hamilton know good food, and have always had a talented Chef de Cuisine, from Gail Hobbs-Page, to Jeanette Peabody, to Curtis Shaver, to the current chef Hannah Moster.
What to Order
Below is a list of our suggestions, the chef’s favorites, and appearances in Five Finds on Friday, where a local chef or personality has named a Hamiltons’ dish as one of the best in town.
- Vegetarian Blue Plate Special
- Crispy Fried Oysters
- Shrimp and Grits
- Pan Roasted Jumbo Lump Crabcake
- Grilled Romaine Caesar Salad
- Chopped Romaine and Radicchio Salad with Fried Oysters
- Housemade Pappardelle with Tomato Braised Lamb Ragu
- Grilled Double H Farm Pork Chop
- Arctic Char with Edamame Mash, sautéed Sharondale Farms Mushrooms, Blistered Cherry Tomatoes, and Charred Lemon Vinaigrette
Five Finds on Friday Picks
- Kale Salad with Crispy Fried Oysters — Ian Judd (formerly, The Ivy Inn)
- Double H Farm Pork Chop with Local Apple Cider Glaze and Delicata Squash — Kristen Suokko (Local Food Hub)
- Carolina Shrimp and Grits — Eric Nittolo (formerly, Threepenny Cafe); Ian Glomski (Vitae Spirits)
- Seared Scallops — Julie Vu Whitaker (Vu Noodles)
- Vegetarian Blue Plate Special — Mitchell Beerens (Lampo); Larry Sabato (UVa Center for Politics)
- Pastry Basket — Matt Boisvert (formerly, C&O)
- Sunday Brunch — Brooks Tanner (formerly, The Barbeque Exchange)
- Bloody Mary — Jamie Barrett (Bellair Farm)
- The Bar — Alex Toomy (Ragged Branch Distillery)