The Charlottesville 29

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

Below is the 2020 The Charlottesville 29, answering: if there we just 29 restaurants in Charlottesville, what would be the ideal 29? Further background is here. The guide for each restaurant explains why it was selected, and includes ordering tips from the restaurant’s chef/owner and appearances in Five Finds on Friday, where other chefs or personalities have named a dish from that restaurant as one of the best in town. To be eligible, a restaurant must have been open since January 1, 2019, and must have a Charlottesville postal address.

Gift Card Program: Also included are links and information for purchasing Gift Cards at each restaurant. The more you buy, the more you help the restaurants of Charlottesville remain viable during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Where and what to eat in Charlottesville:

The 29

Ace Biscuit & Barbecue
Down home Southern cooking from chef Brian Ashworth, cooking in his wheelhouse
Guide • GIFT CARD: (434) 202-1403

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Photo by Tom McGovern

Al Carbon
With rotisserie chickens and Mexican street food, one of the best values in town
Guide • GIFT CARD

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Photo by Tom McGovern

The Alley Light
A grown-up lounge and 2015 James Beard semifinalist for nation’s best new restaurant
Guide • Full Article • GIFT CARD: (434) 295-5003
alleylight

Beer Run
A beer bar, store, and eatery, Charlottesville’s quintessential family restaurant
Guide •  Full Article • GIFT CARD: (434) 984-2337

nachos

Bizou
Gussied-up comfort food and sophisticated specials in a diner-like setting
Guide Full Article • GIFT CARD

bizou_soup_0023-X2

Photo by Tom McGovern

Bodo’s
Feeding bagels to 6,000 people per day, Charlottesville’s signature restaurant
Guide • Full Article • GIFT CARD
bodossandwich

Brasserie Saison
Striking brasserie with polished food, drinks, and service
Guide • GIFT CARD: (434) 202-7027

brasseriemussels

C&O
The heart of Charlottesville dining, in Dean Maupin’s expert hands
Guide • Full Article • GIFT CARD

cando

Photo by Ian Atkins.

Duner’s
An old-school institution with huge portions of rich, classic, delicious fare
Guide • GIFT CARD

Duner's

Fleurie
Brian Helleberg’s serene downtown temple of sophisticated French cuisine
Guide • GIFT CARD

dishoftheyear

Photo by Tom McGovern.

Hamiltons’
The Hamiltons’ lasting tribute to the New American restaurant renaissance
Guide • GIFT CARD

Hamiltons

The Ivy Inn Restaurant
The Vangelopoulos’ unequaled fine dining experience
Guide • Full Article • GIFT CARD: (434) 977-1222; ivyinn@ivyinnrestaurant.com 

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Photo by Tom McGovern

Lampo
Outstanding Neapolitan pizza, panuozzi, well-sourced Italian, and a stellar bar
GuideFull Article • GIFT CARD: (434) 244-3226
Lampopie

Little Star
Inspired flavors of Mexico and Spain in a lively setting from a Jose Andres alumnus
Guide • GIFT CARD: (434) 252-2502

littlestar

MarieBette Cafe and Bakery
Breakfast and lunch in a little slice of Paris on Rose Hill Drive
Guide • GIFT CARD: (434) 529-6118

prezzant

Mas
Iconic Spanish tapas bar where it feels like a party any night of the week
Guide Full Article • GIFT CARD: (434) 979-0990

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Maya
The standard-bearer for Charlottesville’s signature Southern/French cuisine
Guide • Full Article • GIFT CARD

Maya

Milan
The most refined Indian restaurant experience in town
Guide • Full Article • GIFT CARD: (434) 984-2828

Milan

Oakhart Social
Charlottesville’s exemplar of the new generation of great urban restaurants
Guide • Full Article • GIFT CARD: (434) 995-5449

pork steak

Pad Thai
Mom-and-pop serving up real homestyle Thai cooking
Guide • Full Article • GIFT CARD: (434) 293-4032

padthaibowl

Peter Chang’s China Grill
Flagship restaurant of a man some call the nation’s best Szechuan chef
Guide • Full Article • GIFT CARD: (434) 244-9818

changs

Petit Pois
The closest thing in Charlottesville to a French bistro
Guide • Full Article • GIFT CARD

petit pois soup

Prime 109
Local, dry-aged steaks and refined American cuisine in a lavish former bank
Guide • Full Article • GIFT CARD: (434) 422-5094

Prime109

Public Fish & Oyster
A spot-on coastal oyster house, right here in Charlottesville
Guide • Full Article • GIFT CARD: (434) 995-5542

oysters

Revolutionary Soup
Will Richey’s counter-service joint with great soups, and even better sandwiches
Guide • GIFT CARD: (434) 296-7687

revsoup

Sultan Kebab
Real, delicious Turkish cuisine from hummus to manti to kebabs
Guide • Full Article • GIFT CARD: (434) 981-0090

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Photo by Tom McGovern

Tavola
The Keavenys’ warm Belmont storefront serving ingredient-driven Italian fare
Guide • Full Article • GIFT CARD

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Ten
Sleek, serene, and transporting, Charlottesville’s favorite luxurious escape for sushi
Guide • GIFT CARD: (434) 295-6691

tensushi

Zocalo
Consistently excellent Latin-infused cuisine centrally located on the Downtown Mall
Guide • Full Article • GIFT CARD

zocalocheese

Photo by Jen Fariello

(Note: The 2019 Charlottesville 29 is here. The 2018 Charlottesville 29 is here, The 2017 Charlottesville 29 is here, and The 2016 Charlottesville 29 is here.)

Worth the Drive 

Nearby restaurants without a Charlottesville postal address that are worth the drive.

BBQ Exchange
Gordonsville
World class barbeque and attention to detail from world class chef Craig Hartman
GuideFull Article • GIFT CARD: (540) 832-0227

pickles-belly-and-ribs

Dr. Ho’s Humble Pie
North Garden
Where food is love, with more than just the best American style pizza in the area
GuideFull Article • GIFT CARD: (434) 245-0000

BELLISIMA

Pippin Hill
North Garden
Superb food served in a breathtaking vineyard setting
Guide • Full Article • GIFT CARD: (434) 202-8063

pippinsliders

Photo courtesy of Pippin Hill

Smoked Kitchen and Tap
Crozet
Top notch barbecue, fried chicken, burgers, and drinks 
Guide  •  Full Article • GIFT CARD: (434) 205-4881

smokedcheeseburger