Richmond’s Top Dining Experiences: A Foodie’s Guide

gourmet dining in Richmond

Richmond, Virginia is rapidly gaining a reputation as a must-visit destination for food enthusiasts. With a diverse culinary landscape that ranges from traditional Southern comfort food to innovative fine dining, the city offers an array of dining experiences that cater to every palate. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, this guide will help you navigate Richmond’s vibrant food scene and discover some of its top dining spots.

Key Takeaways

  • Richmond’s dining scene is diverse, offering everything from Southern comfort food to fine dining.
  • The Mantu is a must-visit for those who enjoy Afghan cuisine.
  • Lehja Restaurant offers an exquisite Indian dining experience.
  • ZZQ is renowned for its mouth-watering barbecue.
  • L’Opossum provides a unique and eclectic dining atmosphere.

The Mantu

Richmond restaurant serving Mantu

Grace your palate with the Afghan cuisine served at The Mantu. Chef Hamidullah Noori began his career at age 18 in Kabul, Afghanistan. Since then, he has been featured on the culinary competition show "Beat Bobby Flay." A menu favorite is the vegetarian Mantu, which is a homemade pastry shell stuffed with shredded butternut squash, chopped onion, cilantro, and mint, topped with yogurt, sprinkled with dried mint, and served with red kidney bean and tomato sauce.

The Mantu offers a unique dining experience that transports you straight to the heart of Afghanistan with every bite.

Menu Highlights

  • Vegetarian Mantu: Homemade pastry shell stuffed with shredded butternut squash, chopped onion, cilantro, and mint, topped with yogurt, sprinkled with dried mint, and served with red kidney bean and tomato sauce.

Chef’s Background

Chef Hamidullah Noori began his culinary journey at the age of 18 in Kabul, Afghanistan. His expertise and passion for Afghan cuisine have earned him a spot on the culinary competition show "Beat Bobby Flay."


The Mantu provides a cozy and inviting atmosphere, perfect for a relaxed dining experience. The decor reflects traditional Afghan elements, making it a culturally enriching visit.

Lehja Restaurant

fine dining restaurant in Richmond


Lehja Restaurant, located in Richmond’s outdoor mall Short Pump Towne Center, is a modern Indian jewel. The restaurant is renowned for its jaw-dropping wine selection curated by master of hospitality Sandjeep “Sunny” Baweja. Lehja excels at delivering both regional classics and inventive specialties.

Menu Highlights

  • Seafood Kerala Curry: A regional classic with rich, aromatic flavors.
  • Expertly Spiced Biryani: A must-try for any biryani lover.
  • Stuffed Paneer Tikka: An inventive specialty that delights the palate.
  • Shrimp Chicken Zafrani: A unique dish that combines the best of both worlds.

Unique Features

Lehja stands out not just in Richmond but in America, thanks to its rousing, flavor-packed Indian fare. The menu integrates surprising but beloved elements such as blue crab, duck confit, and ghost pepper. It’s no wonder that chef Sunny Baweja has been a James Beard Award semifinalist.

The menu at Lehja leaves diners bereft that they can’t order six entrees each. The flavors are so compelling that you’ll want to try everything.


  • Address: 11800 W Broad St, Suite 910, Richmond, VA 23233
  • Website:
  • Phone: (804) 562-6207


BBQ restaurant in Richmond with delicious food and vibrant atmosphere

ZZQ, located at 3201 W. Moore St., is a must-visit for anyone craving authentic Central Texas-styled smoked meats. Since its debut in 2018, this Scott’s Addition smokehouse has been a hit among locals and visitors alike. Slow-cooked Texas-style barbecue is the star here, with long but fast-moving lines that are well worth the wait.

Signature Dishes

ZZQ offers a variety of mouth-watering options, including ribs and pulled smoked lamb. For those looking for something different, the beef-and-cheddar sandwiches on Thursdays and Pastrami Fridays are a must-try. Don’t miss out on the smoked prime rib available on Sundays.

Special Features

One of the unique aspects of ZZQ is its collaboration with neighboring business and longtime friends, Ardent Craft Ales. Together, they have expanded their footprint with Eazzy Burger, serving up black Angus burgers, hot dogs, and fries that are unrivaled in the city.

Insider Tips

Real fans stay glued to social media for specials such as lacquered, spice-crusted bacon. Open from Wednesday through Sunday, there’s always something new and exciting to try at ZZQ.

The abundant dining scene in Virginia’s capital offers classic soul food, Jewish deli fare, and much more, but ZZQ stands out for its exceptional barbecue and friendly service.


Nestled in a cozy neighborhood at 626 China Street, L’Opossum is a quirky gem that offers French-inspired cuisine with a creative twist. The restaurant’s warm design, featuring colorful lighting and thrift-store-art-adorned walls, sets the stage for a truly unique dining experience.

Chef David Shannon

Chef and owner David Shannon, a James Beard Foundation Semifinalist in 2016 for Best Chef Mid-Atlantic, brings his culinary expertise to every dish. Meeting David is a treat, as his passion for food is evident in every bite.

Signature Dishes

One of the standout items on the menu is the roasted rack of lamb atop a chimichurri sweet-potato salad, served with garlicky kale, edamame succotash, grilled plum, and a big round blackberry barbecue bordelaise. This dish alone makes L’Opossum one of the best places to eat in Norfolk.


The bar offers a variety of unique cocktails, including a bourbon concoction with a touch of sugar, bitters, and espresso. It’s the perfect way to start or end your meal.

Whether you’re a local or just visiting, L’Opossum promises an unforgettable dining adventure.

Mama J’s Kitchen

soul food restaurant in Richmond

A Taste of Home

This 2020 South’s best local restaurant feels like home, from the relaxed dining room to the generous portions of fried chicken and catfish. Mama J’s is Richmond’s go-to spot for authentic soul food. It’s a family-owned-and-operated spot in the historic Jackson Ward area that celebrates the tradition of eating good food with family. You’ll find fried chicken, trout, crab cakes, pork chops, beef brisket, and barbeque spare ribs on the menu—and that’s just the lineup of entrees. There’s a whole host of sandwiches, starters, and sides to try too. If you didn’t bring your appetite, snag a seat at the bar—the signature drinks are all named after the Mama J family members.

Signature Dishes

  • Fried Chicken
  • Catfish
  • Crab Cakes
  • Pork Chops
  • Beef Brisket
  • Barbeque Spare Ribs

Sweet Endings

Don’t miss out on their delectable desserts like peach cobbler and bread pudding. These sweet treats are the perfect way to end a hearty meal.

Mama J’s Kitchen is one of Augusta’s hidden gems: off-the-beaten-path attractions offer diverse gourmet experiences beyond main streets. Cafes, restaurants, and culinary adventures await food enthusiasts in vibrant Augusta.


Located at 4901 Libbie Mill E. Blvd., Shagbark is a Wine Spectator-recognized restaurant that runs like a well-oiled machine. Seasonal and Southern rotations are the heart of its menu, offering dishes that celebrate the best of local ingredients. Whether you choose to dine among the hunt-themed oil paintings in the dining room or outside on the herbaceous patio, you’re in for a treat.

The Ambiance

The dining room is adorned with hunt-themed oil paintings, creating a cozy yet sophisticated atmosphere. Alternatively, the herbaceous patio nearly doubles the seating capacity, offering a lush, outdoor dining experience.

The Bar

A long bar decorated with cheeky decanters serves as nosh central. Here, you can enjoy chicken-fried seafood alongside masterfully crafted cocktails. The bar is a great spot for a more casual dining experience.

The Menu

Dive into chef-owner Walter Bundy’s roasted pear and radicchio salad, shimmering with ginger vinaigrette, or try the pumpkin seed-crusted salmon, which oozes bacon and butternut squash coziness. And don’t dare miss a Shagbark soup.

Shagbark offers everything grape-related but the squeeze — Burgundies and esoteric wines are affordably priced, making it a haven for wine enthusiasts.


gourmet seafood restaurant in Richmond

Alewife, named the South’s best new restaurant of 2020 by Southern Living, is a must-visit for any food enthusiast. This bustling spot is renowned for its sustainable Mid-Atlantic seafood, featuring dishes like rainbow trout and skate wing. Plan ahead with reservations to ensure you get a table at this always-popular venue. The team behind Alewife has also introduced a casual seafood sibling called Odyssey in the West End.

Signature Dishes

Alewife offers a variety of standout dishes that highlight the rich flavors of the Chesapeake Bay. The Siren’s Song, a chef’s-choice platter, is a must-try. It changes frequently, repurposing the night’s food scraps or odds and ends into supremely delicious bites.

Unique Ingredients

Here, you’ll find Szechuan peppercorn-dusted oysters and scallops with carrot-miso butter, alongside cornmeal biscuits and refried lentils. These unique combinations exemplify the growing diversity of Richmond’s population and foodways.


Start your meal with an ethereal cocktail while you peruse the chalkboard specials, which change frequently. The ambiance is lively and welcoming, making it a perfect spot for both casual dinners and special occasions.

Alewife is all about sustainable Mid-Atlantic seafood and the waterways that surround the Chesapeake Bay. It’s a place that exemplifies the growing diversity of Richmond’s population and foodways.


gourmet dining experience in Richmond restaurant

A timeless neighborhood anchor, Stella’s has embedded itself into the local dining landscape. Find antique cars parked in front of the buzzing restaurant, and inside, its matriarch and namesake, Stella Dikos, or her daughter, Katrina Giavos. From flaming saganaki (Greek cheese) to shrimp Santorini and grilled octopus — among Dikos’ favorites — rustic Greek comfort fare shines. Service is reliably enthusiastic and thoughtful. Check out another Giavos venture, Little Nickel (co-owned by Kuba Kuba’s Manny).

Inspired Greek Fare

Inspired by both rustic and modern Greek fare, Stella’s fills their menu with Mediterranean classics like spanakopita, dolmades, and keftedes, as well as flavorful entrees such as moussaka (sautéed eggplant with spiced aromatic ground beef baked with béchamel), braised lamb shank, and crab cakes. The restaurant is one in a long lineage of restaurants named for Stella Dikos, a legend in the Richmond food scene. Stop by Stella’s Grocery if you cannot snag a reservation at the sit-down restaurant or want to.

Welcoming Atmosphere

The scent of garlic and oregano welcomes you before you ever open the door at Stella’s, a welcoming Greek neighborhood spot from the Giavos family. Fill the table with flaky tiropita, keftedes (lamb and beef meatballs), and flaming mushroom saganaki, and prepare to share. Greek comfort food in ample portions includes braised lamb over butter noodles and the deliciously creamy artichoke moussaka. Around town, keep an eye out for six locations of Stella’s Grocery, a market specializing in pre-made meals.

The Roosevelt

gourmet dining experience in Richmond restaurant


Nestled in Richmond’s Church Hill area, The Roosevelt is a neighborhood gem that has been charming guests for over a decade. This local farm-to-table restaurant is known for its craft cocktails, local wines, and local ciders. The menu is a playful projection of Executive Chef Leah Branch’s upbringing, featuring local produce and dishes guided by the African diaspora.

Menu Highlights

The Roosevelt offers a variety of delectable options:

  • Snacks: Tasty cornbread heated in maple bourbon butter, smoked chicken wings, and beef tartare.
  • Appetizers: Steamed mussels, crispy pork belly.
  • Entrees: Fried catfish with Urfa chile pepper gloss, seared scallops with curried rice, fried broccoli, and pickled yellow raisins in peanut sauce, hickory smoked eggplant.


Housed in a century-old building, The Roosevelt has a cozy and inviting atmosphere. The building has seen numerous restaurant concepts over the years, but The Roosevelt’s pioneering role in Richmond’s culinary growth has cemented its status as a modern RVA institution.

Tucked away in Richmond’s Church Hill area, The Roosevelt is a neighborhood gem where you can snack or feast on the menu’s offerings.


The service at The Roosevelt is excellent, making guests feel right at home. The staff is knowledgeable about the menu and can offer great recommendations, ensuring a memorable dining experience.


fine dining restaurant in Richmond with gourmet dishes and elegant ambiance

Longoven is an exciting player in Richmond’s diverse dining scene, bringing sophistication and refinement to a city known for its relaxed groove. Located in Scott’s Addition, they offer seasonal tasting and snack menus that change regularly, highlighting the best products from their farmers and purveyors. You’ll find dishes like chili oil grilled lobster made with pine nut puree, gingered crunch, and pickled spruce on the extended menu, which is available to browse online.

Seasonal Tasting Menus

Longoven’s seasonal tasting menus are a true reflection of the culinary creativity and dedication to quality. Each dish is crafted with the freshest ingredients, ensuring a unique dining experience every time you visit.

Signature Dishes

Some of the standout dishes include the chili oil grilled lobster, which is a perfect blend of flavors and textures. The pine nut puree and pickled spruce add a unique twist that makes this dish unforgettable.

Location and Ambiance

Located in Scott’s Addition, Longoven offers a sophisticated yet relaxed atmosphere. The restaurant’s design and decor create a perfect setting for a memorable dining experience.

Longoven is a must-visit for anyone looking to explore Savannah’s top-rated eateries, blending southern staples with contemporary twists and award-winning cuisine.


Reservations are recommended to ensure you get a spot at this popular dining destination. Whether you’re planning a special occasion or just a night out, Longoven promises an unforgettable experience.


Richmond, Virginia, is truly a hidden gem for food enthusiasts. From its diverse culinary offerings to its vibrant dining scene, the city has something to satisfy every palate. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, exploring Richmond’s top dining experiences is a journey worth taking. So, grab your fork and knife, and dive into the rich flavors and unique dishes that make Richmond a must-visit destination for foodies. Bon appétit!

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of cuisine does The Mantu offer?

The Mantu offers Afghan cuisine, featuring traditional dishes made with fresh ingredients and authentic spices.

Is Lehja Restaurant suitable for vegetarians?

Yes, Lehja Restaurant offers a variety of vegetarian options that are both delicious and satisfying.

What makes ZZQ stand out in Richmond’s dining scene?

ZZQ is renowned for its exceptional Texas-style barbecue, with perfectly smoked meats and flavorful sides.

Does L’Opossum require a reservation?

While not always required, it is highly recommended to make a reservation at L’Opossum due to its popularity.

What type of dining experience can I expect at Mama J’s Kitchen?

Mama J’s Kitchen offers a cozy and welcoming atmosphere with classic Southern comfort food that feels like a home-cooked meal.

Is Shagbark family-friendly?

Yes, Shagbark is family-friendly and offers a diverse menu that caters to both adults and children.

What are some must-try dishes at Alewife?

At Alewife, the seafood dishes are a must-try, particularly the oysters and the crab cakes.

Does The Roosevelt offer vegan options?

Yes, The Roosevelt has vegan options available, ensuring that all guests can enjoy a memorable dining experience.

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