The Charlottesville 29

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

Tag: Charlottesville restaurants

El Tepeyac

El Tepeyac380 Greenbrier Drive . Charlottesville, VA . (434) 964-1231

[UPDATE: El Tepeyac closed on May 24, 2015.]

Why El Tepeyac?

Even when it was a mere food counter in the back of a tienda, we were regulars at El Tepeyac, the Mexican/Salvadoran restaurant off Route 29 North owned by the Solorzano family.  After it converted to a full service restaurant in October 2012, it became one of our favorite spots in town.  For the transformation, Adolfo and Bertha Solorzano recruited their daughter Maria, a savvy management consultant from Chicago, who helped her mother enhance the decor, service, and cocktail list, which now includes fresh margaritas, and even Horchata con un Toque—rum with house-made spiced rice milk.   Adolfo is in charge of the food, using his own recipes to create pupusas, tacos, gorditas, and full platters.  It’s no wonder top chefs from all over Charlottesville love it so much.

What to Order

One of our favorite dishes in all of Charlottesville is El Tepeyac’s Pupusa de Queso con Loroco, a thick, handmade, corn tortilla filled with cheese and loroco, an edible flower with a floral, truffly flavor.  Solorzano’s family ran a pupuseria in El Salvador, and it shows. All the pupusas are excellent, served with the traditional vinegary slaw, curtido.  Below are our other favorites, as well as picks from Solorzano, and appearances in Five Finds on Friday, where chefs and personalities have named an El Tepeyac dish one of the best in town.  It seems that fried yucca is a hit:

Our Picks

  • Yucca Frita con Chicharron
  • Tacos (Pastor, Lengua, and, on weekends, Carnitas)
  • Gorditas (Pastor, Lengua)
  • Torta de Milanesa

Chef’s Picks

  • Yucca Frita con Chicharron
  • Pupusas (Queso con Loroco, Revueltas) 
  • Sope de Carne Asada

Five Finds on Friday Picks

Five Finds on Friday: Josh Lowry


Photo courtesy of Josh Lowry.

On Fridays, we feature five food finds from local chefs and personalities.  Today’s picks come from Josh Lowry, sous chef of Zocalo (and earlier this week Zy.De.Co.)  Lowry’s picks:

1)  Thai Beef Consomme Noodle Bowl at Pad Thai.  “Rich, brothy, crunchy, sweet, sour, savory. It’s everything in a bowl . . . the best!”

2)  Pastrami and Swiss on an Onion Bagel with mustard at Bodo’s.  “We are extremely lucky to have a place like this in Charlottesville.  Let’s not take it for granted.”

3)  The Classic #1 at Chick-fil-A.  “My alltime favorite restaurant.  When I was a kid they always had sweet old ladies out front with free chicken samples.  I always walked by a second time for another free taste . . . they almost always let me.”

4)  Dan Dan Noodles at Taste of China.  “I know most folks have gone over to Peter Chang’s new spot but this is my go-to.  Again, Charlottesville is lucky to have a place like this.”

5. Burrata at Tavola.  “If you haven’t been . . . go!”

Five Finds on Friday: Jose De Brito


On Fridays, we feature five food finds from local chefs and personalities.  Today’s picks come from Jose De Brito, who once owned Ciboulette and is now the chef of The Alley Light.  De Brito’s picks:

1)  Croissant at Albemarle Baking Company.  “Having grown up in Paris, I am always looking for good French food. The croissants at ABC are my way to not be too home sick. They are very well made.”

2)  Kabuli Palow at Ariana.  “I generally do takeout once a month, and Ariana’s lamb dish is always my choice. Perfectly seasoned rice, nice stewed lamb and the carrot & raisin relish is tasty. I need to stage there so I can learn how to make those carrots.”

3)  Maiale Milanese at Tavola.  “One of the fortes of Tavola is the use of acidity in the kitchen.  A little bit of lemon juice will make your food shine.  My girlfriend also loves the clams (I do too), never a single grain of sand.”

4)  Lunch Buffet at Himalayan Fusion.  “Buffets have never been my cup of tea but the one at Himalayan Fusion breaks my rule, sometimes twice a week.  I come early for freshness. A plate of food from scratch and always seasoned properly for $7? Best value in C-ville.”

5)  Coffee at Shenandoah Joe.  “My coffee is black with no sugar, so I am sensitive to burnt coffee. Shenandoah’s coffee is perfectly roasted.”