One of Charlottesville’s most acclaimed fine dining destinations is loosening its tie. The restaurant that Craig and Donna Hartman launched in 1992 went on to become not just a breeding ground for many of Charlottesville’s best chefs but also one of our town’s go-to spots for a special occasion meal. With some recent changes, though, Clifton Inn hopes to to be considered for a bite any night of the week.
After closing briefly in January for renovations, Clifton has reopened with an updated look and a new approach. Former Tavola chef Aris Cuadra now heads the kitchen and has introduced a menu of food he hopes guests will find more accessible. There’s pimento cheese with house crackers; bistro fries; caramelized onion soup with oxtail and Beufort; and, a Mediterranean riff on Shrimp n Grits, with lamb sausage, goat cheese, and mint oil. Don’t worry, though, there’s still sticky toffee pudding. Check out the full menu here.
“Our approach is to make Clifton Inn a little more approachable, less of a special occasion restaurant, more of place where people will come out a few times a month as opposed to a couple of times a year,” says Cuadra. “The food is non-intimidating . . . but still maintaining the reputation of quality and locally sourced ingredients Clifton is know for.”
If you want to see for yourself, now’s a good time because through the end of March there is a “Four for Two” promotion. Sunday through Thursday, groups of four receive 50% off their meal.