On the rare occasion that my parents decide to stop by and visit me at the University of Richmond, I immediately make reservations for some "fancy" restaurants. The struggle of attending school in a "foodie" city is that there are so many highly recommended places to eat, but so little time (and money).
The students who understand the struggle know that chances to eat in the city and not foot the bill are few and far between, and when they come, you snatch them up and hold on. For those opportunities when someone else is paying, here's a list of where you'll want to go.
1. Can Can Brasserie
Can Can Brasserie is a French bistro that serves everything from duck a l'orange to grilled portobello and hamburgers. It's a local favorite and most entrees are priced around $20. Get reservations early, they fill up fast!
2. Farouk's House of India
Farouk's House of India is located in Carytown and offers large, easily-shared Indian dishes for around $13-14. I recommend the Rogan Josh (lamb in curry sauce). Farouk's has an intimate atmosphere as a result of its size and the two owners who act as servers.
3. The Daily
If you haven't heard of The Daily chances are you're living under a rock. The Daily offers a mouthwatering brunch on Sundays as well as dinners that include seafood, meat and vegetarian options. Their pizzas are insta worthy and usually range in price from about $12 to $25. The Daily uses local products as much as possible and strives for sustainability.
Amuse is a restaurant located in the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Amuse offers dinners priced from about $20 to $30. Their lamb, crab cakes and roasted mushrooms are only some of the items you're gonna want off their menu. After eating, the VMFA is there for you and your parents to explore.
Convenient and delicious, what could be better? Azzurro Restaurant, found right off UR's campus, is an Italian restaurant with options from pizza to 18 oz. bone-in ribeye. It also offers gluten-free pasta for all you Italian lovers that are gf. Tripadvisor gives it three dollar signs so you know it's amazing.
6. Julep's New Southern Cuisine
Julep's offers Southern favorites, like fried green tomatoes and shrimp and grits, as well as your standard New York Strip and honey glazed chicken. Julep's entrees range from $25 to $32, and they use local products when available. We are living in the South after all, so time to get authentic.
7. East Coast Provisions
East Coast Provisions is an "East Coast-influenced seafood restaurant with an oyster bar, sushi, and hand-cut steaks." Meals range from blackened mahi to live Maine lobster or an Angus filet. Entrees come in from $13 to $32 a pop. East Coast Provisions offers a 3D virtual tour that shows a retro restaurant with brick walls and wood paneling. Talk about a dining experience.
8. Rappahannock Oyster Co.
Rappahannock advertises as a table-to-farm restaurant, so you know it must be amazing. It's menu offers the best of the best, letting you choose from escargot and wood-grilled octopus or even shrimp ravioli. Prices range from about $11 to $30 and Esquire Magazine named Rappahannock as a 2014 Best New Restaurant.
A classic restaurant to bring the rents to when they're in town, Graffiato is an authentic Italian restaurant located downtown on West Broad Street. Every item on the menu, including the pizza and veal parmesan, is delicious (cue the mouth drool). Entrees range in price from $9 to $18, but Graffiato also offers beverage pairing for $29 per person. Cheers.
Don't eat animal products or meat? Ipanema is your place. Ipanema offers vegetarian and vegan dinner and dessert options, as well as seafood paella and a tuna salad sandwich. Prices range from about $8 to $15. It also has patio seating on Grace Street so you can enjoy the beauty of Richmond while chowing down.
Take advantage of any offer to keep your wallet at home for the night! Head out into Richmond and eat well when you get the chance. I mean, who wouldn't pass up a break from dhall?