From soggy lettuce to excessive dressing, or just simply a lack of flavor, salads can sometimes suck. One bad experience can create a salad-hater for life. So, I am determined to campaign to make salad great again and to find the best salads here in Charlottesville.
Ranked 14th at one point on the list of most restaurants per capita, Charlottesville has no shortage of salad options. Roots dominates the Charlottesville salad game. However, living approximately two steps from Roots this year, I felt the need to broaden my salad horizons and have discovered a plethora of other veggie masterpieces around town.
With that, here are ten flavorful, fresh, and festive salad options that are great for you and definitely don’t suck. Your body and taste buds will thank you later:
1. feast!: Spring Quinoa Salad
feast! is a go-to hotspot for lunch in Charlottesville. Their menu is expansive and constantly changing, but the salad options are A1. The spring quinoa bowl is a seasonable item and highlights the freshest spring vegetables, like radishes, sweet peas, and asparagus.
With a dollop of herbed cream cheese spread and fresh herb dressing, this salad may seem like an overload of vegetables, but this feast! must-try is just as packed with flavor.
2. The Juice Laundry: Southwest Salad
Aside from Juice Laundry's amazing smoothies and juices, few know about this hidden gem: the southwest salad. Their salads are made daily and easy to grab on the go if heading to the library. This salad consists of southwest-flavored roasted corn and black beans along with pickled red onions give it an extra kick. To top it off, the cilantro lime dressing is so good it will have you coming back to Juice Laundry for more than just the juice.
3. Zinburger: Farm Salad
Zinburger's farm salad is not only delicious, but is also oh so aesthetically pleasing. This finely chopped salad packs in a long list of vegetables that are tied together with a tangy champagne vinaigrette and a generous portion of feta cheese.
Can a salad get much better? I think not. Though you may go to Zinburger for the burgers, you will definitely stay for the salads.
4. Café Caturra: Arugula Goat Salad
The classic combination of nuts, fruit, and cheese is presented in this salad with the addition of pecans and blueberries to my beloved goat cheese. These three ingredients work very nicely with the spicy tang of its arugula base, and, if you are feeling especially fancy, top this already great combination with a piece of Café Caturra's house made chicken or salmon.
5. Mezeh: Any Salad Bowl
This Roots-style assembly line allows you to choose from various Mediterranean salads to top your bowl including two of my personal favorites tabouleh and couscous. The tzatziki dressing and caramelized eggplant are both a must, but you really can't go wrong with any salad bowl combination you come up with when it comes to ordering from Mezeh.
6. Basil: Butternut Squash and Chickpea Salad
Basil's salad menu consists of a whopping 22 different options, but the butternut squash and chickpea salad is by far my favorite. With a wide range of sweet and savory flavors, this salad reminds me of fall, but taste great all year round.
Another plus? The portion size from Basil is quite large so you can enjoy this salad for dinner and then again for lunch the next day. If you are working on a college budget, this is the place for you.
7. Poke Sushi Bowl: Salad Poke Bowl
I couldn't have been happier that the poke bowl trend made its way to the Corner. Though most of the poke bowls are rice-based, my favorite order is a salad-based bowl. I combine mixed greens and kale as the base with some of my staple toppings of seaweed salad, edamame, and mango to create the ultimate poke bowl experience.
8. The Virginian: Classic Caesar Salad with a Virginian Crab Cake
The salads on The Virginian's menu are often overlooked by the infamous mac n' cheese, but this no longer needs to be the case. Charlottesville's oldest restaurant is serving up one of the best Caesar salads around. Top off this already great salad with one of the Virginian's famous crab cakes for the ultimate flavor packed, grade-A salad.
9. The Whiskey Jar: Kale Salad
The Whiskey Jar's farm-to-table menu consists mainly of classic Southern dishes, but the kale salad is a definite must-try. The vibrant colors of this salad first caught my eye when I saw someone else order it. Then, after realizing goat cheese was a main ingredient, I obviously knew I had to try it.
I devoured this salad with its tangy dijon vinaigrette, which highlighted the kale, as well as strawberries and spiced peanuts topping it. Next time you make your way to The Whiskey Jar, be sure to add this epic kale salad to your order.
10. Citizen Burger Bar: House Salad with Grilled Chicken
Though you may have to wait for what seems like eons for a table at Citizen Burger, the house salad will definitely make the wait worthwhile. This hearty romaine-based salad is protein-packed with a hard boiled egg, added grilled chicken, and everyone's favorite salad topper, bacon.
You may go to Citizen Burger expecting to order, you guessed it, a burger, but their selection of legendary salads will have you second-guessing your go-to order.
The best salads in Charlottesville are out there, and the salad game is constantly changing. One of my favorite salad spots from home, Chopt, is coming to Charlottesville in the Fall of 2017.
This "creative salad company" allows costumers to design their own farm fresh salads that are expertly chopped up and dressed. There is about to be some stiff salad competition here in C-ville, so don't be scared salad haters, go out and try these salads that definitely don't suck and help make salad great again, at least here in Charlottesville.