Whenever family or friends come to visit me at UVA, the first thing I think about is what restaurants I should take them to—for example, my mom and I frequent Bizou and The Local, our personal favorites, when she visits. In my opinion, there is no better way to catch up with your loved ones than over some delicious food (and drinks), and what better excuse to get out of the dining halls and explore the foodie mecca that is Charlottesville?
With so many unique restaurants crammed into one town, it can be difficult to decide where to eat with your guests when they're visiting. The good news is that all that diversity means there's an eatery to fit any personality or occasion.
If you simply can't decide how to show your visitors the best of what C'ville has to offer, here's the ultimate guide to C'ville's restaurant scene based on who you're trying to please:
1. The Outdoorsy Friend: Carter Mountain Orchard
Carter Mountain offers many food-related activities, from apple picking in the orchards to the barbecue at Mountain Grill, but if your outdoorsy friend is visiting between May and September they need to experience the Thursday Evening Sunset Series. Picture yourself on the top of a mountain looking out at all of C'ville while snacking on some of your favorite apple delicacies.
Bring some chairs or blankets and watch the sunset while enjoying some Bold Rock, cider donuts, and listening to live music. What better way to spend the evening with your outdoorsy bff? Enjoy the picturesque views and amazing eats while contemplating how to sneak into the orchards to pick some apples.
2. Your Childhood Bestie: Mas Tapas
Mas Tapas is probably most appropriate for when you have a number of friends visiting, but dinner for two works too—just be sure to show up hungry. The small, made to share dishes are great for catching up with an old friend over a nice long meal. Plus, you get to try a little of everything.
3. Your friend who is just here for the parties: Boylan Heights... then Christian's Pizza
What better place to take your friend to dinner than the very bar you'll probably end up at tonight? Go to Boylan to enjoy hearty burgers and a Wahoo or two. Later on, be sure to head to Christians for some UVA-famous, late-night second dinner.
#SpoonTip: if you order an entire pizza, you get to skip the line. Need another excuse?
4. Your Parents: Ten Sushi
Sometimes questionable sushi in plastic packaging just doesn't cut it. Ten serves an array of specialty rolls as well as other classic Japanese cuisine. Take Mom and Dad here when you're in the mood for upscale sushi but don't want to pay the steep check—it's a win-win.
5. That kid from your high school that wants to come to UVA: Bodo's Bagels
This person is clearly looking for you to show them the true UVA experience, and Bodo's is an absolute staple in most UVA students' diets. Show them where to eat when they find themselves hungover, tired, broke, or just craving a damn good bagel.
6. Your College Athlete Friend: Bluegrass Grill and Bakery
We all know college students can eat, but college athletes are on a whole other level. Take your sporty bud to a huge breakfast at Bluegrass, where they serve anything from five kinds of eggs benedict to homemade bacon jam cinnamon rolls. Come hungry and leave so full, yet so satisfied.
7. Your Significant Other: Bizou
Wondering where to eat when your SO comes to town? With its cozy, vintage dining area and outdoor seating options, Bizou provides the perfect atmosphere for a date night. Especially if they're coming in from out of town, you have to show them the best of what Cville has to offer, and Bizou's locally-sourced ingredients and inventive dishes are truly top notch.
#SpoonTip: if you left room for dessert, you need to try the sweet potato and ricotta dumplings—they're even gluten-free.
8. Your Health Nut Friend: The Juice Laundry
If you've got a particularly health-conscious friend, they probably don't want to be chowing on mac and cheese and pizza. The Juice Laundry has a wide selection of juices, smoothies, and the always Instagrammable smoothie bowls to satisfy even the pickiest health nuts.
9. Your Intellectual Friend: Ivy Provisions
Ivy Provisions is known for creative sandwiches (see sausage, egg, cheddar, apple and dijon on a biscuit) and "hipster" brands of drinks and snacks. Take someone who would appreciate Caprese sandwiches and kettle corn to a nice lunch on their outside porch.
10. Your Grandparents: The Local
The Local serves some of the best, freshest food I've had in Charlottesville—but if you don't have a car, it can be difficult to get to. Treat your grandparents to dinner at a restaurant you'll enjoy just as much as they will, especially since they won't have to see all the drunk college students making their way to Trinity.
When a friend or family member is visiting UVA, you have to show them how amazing the food you have access to really is, so picking where to eat can be a struggle...
This is just a sampling of the many guest-worthy restaurants in Charlottesville, but I can assure you that no one would be disappointed in their meals with the above restaurants on the agenda. You really can't go wrong with all that C'ville has to offer, but next time you can't decide where to bring your visitor, consult this list and never be disappointed. So, with that, happy eating, and happy hosting.