The Charlottesville 29

If there were just 29 restaurants in Charlottesville, what would be the ideal 29?

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Pad Thai

Pad Thai
156 Carlton Rd. #202 . Charlottesville, VA . (434) 293-4302

Why Pad Thai?

While many “Thai” restaurants alter recipes to suit American tastes, Pad Thai offers real Thai home cooking — literally. Utaiwan Ouypron and her husband Santi make the same food they once served at an eatery they ran out of their home in Thailand, before coming to the United States in 2005. You can taste the difference. It’s no wonder so many top chefs are regulars, and no wonder its a fixture in The Charlottesville 29.

What to Order

While the menu is stellar, we always like to ask the Ouyprons which of the daily specials they recommend. Below is a list of our recommendations, along with the Ouyprons’ favorites, as well as Pad Thai’s appearances in Five Finds on Friday, where area chefs and personalities have named a Pad Thai dish as one of their favorite in town.

Our Picks

  • Grandpa’s Favorite
  • Drunken Noodles
  • Beef Tongue Pad Kapao (special)
  • Swai Pad Numprikpao (special)
  • Thai Beef Consomme Noodle Bowl
  • Stir Fried Cabbage

Chefs’ Picks (Ouyprons’)

  • Bar Snacks
  • Red Curry
  • Clear Broth Noodle Bowl
  • Chinese Broccoli with Pork Belly

Five Finds on Friday Picks

  • Thai beef consomme noodle bowlAndrew Silver (formerly, Zocalo), Josh Lowry (Zocalo), John Shanesy (formerly, Parallel 38)
  • Clear Broth Noodle Bowl (fka Wonton Noodle Soup) — Vu Nguyen (formerly, Brazos)
  • Tom Yum Noodle Bowl with Beef Tongue Brian Ashworth (formerly, Ace Biscuit & Barbecue)
  • Spicy Noodle BowlPhillip Gerringer (formerly, South Fork)
  • Roast pork with shrimp wonton and wonton noodles — Ivan Rekosh (Zocalo)
  • Drunken Noodles with Chicken, Spicy — Melissa Close-Hart (formerly, Palladio)
  • Drunken Noodles, “Thai hot” — Ian Redshaw (formerly, Lampo)
  • Drunken Noodles with BeefRachel Willis (Cakes by Rachel)
  • Drunken Noodles with Tofu and VegetablesRebecca Edwards (formerly, Tavola Cicchetti Bar)
  • Drunken NoodlesLee O’Neill (Radical Roots Farm)
  • Grandpa’s FavoriteBen Jordan (formerly, Michael Shaps Wineworks)
  • Grandma’s FavoriteFrank Paris (formerly, Miso Sweet)
  • Tom Kha SoupJin Bang (Mochiko)
  • Tongue, Tendon, and Trip PhoJohn Meiklejohn (formerly, Yearbook Taco)
  • Stir Fried CabbageNina Promisel (Greenwood Gourmet Grocery)
  • Som TumBrooke Ray (International Rescue Committee)




Dr. Ho’s Humble Pie

Food 202

4916 Plank Road . North Garden, VA . (434) 245-0000

The full article on Dr. Ho’s is here. Short report below.

Why Dr. Ho’s?

Best American style pizza in the Charlottesville area? Best cheese bread? Best wings? Best french fries? Best nachos? Best strombolis?

A good case can be made that all of these can be found at the same place, the pizza joint nine miles south of town founded by Gerry Danner and now run by chef-owner Michael McCarthy and his wife Nancy. McCarthy’s passion for simple, honest food and his refusal to take short cuts mean that nearly everything on the menu is outstanding. There are few restaurants as craveworthy as Dr. Ho’s.

What to Order

McCarthy’s narrow focus on honest food means that if you close your eyes and point, you’ll probably be happy. The ever-rotating specials, however, are often standouts.

Among the pizzas, deserving special mention is the Bellissima, a riff on the prosciutto-and-arugula combination popular in parts of Italy. Instead of prosciutto, McCarthy uses thin slices of Turner Country Ham. Atop that, he piles arugula tossed in a lemony vinaigrette, and shavings of parmigiano-reggiano. McCarthy considers it his favorite pizza on the menu. And, he is not alone, as the pizza has developed a cult following around town.

Below are more of our picks, as well as the chef’s picks, and appearances in Five Finds on Friday, where chefs and personalities have named a Dr. Ho’s dish one of the best in town.

Our Picks

  • The Fat and Sassy
  • Wings with Buffalo Sauce
  • Hand Cut French Fries
  • Stromboli
  • Pizza

Chef’s Picks

  • Weekly Specials
  • Spicy Fried Calamari, flash fried calamari tossed in a sesame ginger vinaigrette, topped with cilantro, peanuts, scallions, serrano peppers and sweet chili glaze.
  • Gen Ho’s Chicken, tender pieces of fried chicken tossed in a sticky-sweet orange sauce.
  • Spicy Vegetable Red Curry Bowl, Twin Oaks tofu, onions, carrots, mushrooms, peppers, broccoli, tomatoes, spinach and kale simmered in coconut milk and red curry.
  • Caramel Ice Cream Sandwich, house made vanilla ice cream swirled with salted caramel sandwiches between double chocolate chip cookies

Five Finds on Fridays Picks



826 Hinton Avenue . Charlottesville, VA . (434) 972-9463

Why Tavola?

Tavola may be Charlottesville’s warmest restaurant. From the cozy vibe of the Belmont storefront, to its caring servers, to the soulful, rustic Italian fare, Tavola exudes warmth. A throwback, Tavola serves ingredient-driven cuisine, where the chef has the restraint to know when to get out of the way. Inspired by their love of food and the area, Michael Keaveny and team have created one of Charlottesville’s most beloved restaurants. And, if there is ever a wait, the Cicchetti Bar in the back serves food and some of the best cocktails in town. The Charlottesville 29 would not be complete without it.

What to Order

There is not a dud on the menu at Tavola. And, while the regular menu items are excellent, specials can reach even greater heights, as that’s where Keaveny allows his talented chefs to let loose. Below are our picks, Keaveny’s, and Tavola’s mentions in Five Finds on Friday, where area chefs and personalities have included a Tavola dish in their list of favorites in the area.

Our Picks

  • Vongole Oreganato al Forno, baked littleneck clams, bread crumbs, oregano, garlic butter, lemon
  • Burrata, burrata cheese, arugula pesto, sun-dried tomatoes, grilled crostini
  • Linguini alla carbonara, sausage, Olli pancetta, egg, onion, pecorino romano, black pepper
  • Cotoletta alla Milanese, veal chop pounded thin, breaded and sautéed with local cherry tomatoes, capers, baby arugula, and grilled Meyer lemon
  • Skate Wing, crispy skate wing w/ linguini aglio, heirloom tomatoes, castel vetrano olives, basil, lemon (Special)
  • Feel Adventurous?
  • Carciofo (Cicchetti Bar)

Chef Picks

  • Vongole Oreganato al Forno, baked littleneck clams, bread crumbs, oregano, garlic butter, lemon
  • Linguini alla carbonara, sausage, Olli pancetta, egg, onion, pecorino romano, black pepper
  • Pappardelle Bolognese, house made pasta, traditional Bolognese sauce with Timbercreek Organics beef and pork, grana padano
  • Capesante ai Ferri, pan-roasted sea scallops, leek-beet risotto, white truffle oil
  • Finocchio Arrosto con Aranci, roasted fennel, grilled oranges, basil
  • Cavoletti di Bruxelles pan Tostado, pan roasted Brussels sprouts, pancetta, brown butter

Five Finds on Friday Picks


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