Are you a broke college student? I know I am. Family weekend offers a much-needed break from the dining hall. Going off-campus to eat is a real luxury these days and knowing that someone else is covering the bill makes it that much better.
Each of the restaurants listed are a little pricier than the average college student can afford – But hey, that’s what family is for, right? Right. Plus, Sunday night DHALL will come faster than you think and we all know how much that sucks. So take advantage of this opportunity, my friends.
My mom’s personal favorite. The Hard Shell has a mouth-watering menu filled with seafood, steaks and salads. The appetizers are always an incredible way to start off. Personally, I love the creamy lobster dip – it’s super cheesy and melts in your mouth.
There are two locations, one in Downtown Richmond and another in Bellgrade (a little bit closer to campus). The downtown location is right in the center of the historic district. The cobblestone streets make for a perfect view, especially if you decide to sit outside on the patio. This location is a little more relaxed, but still great for showing off the city to your parents.
The Bellgrade location has a more formal ambiance. You really can’t go wrong either way, the food is equally as good at both locations.
If you’re looking for the best chicken parm ever, you’ll find it here. Located literally two minutes away from campus, Azzuro is a fab choice for Italian food.
Start off with an Insalate Avocado (Avocado salad), and you won’t regret it. They also have an extensive list of Italian wine because we know you need a break from the cheap stuff (looking at you Barefoot). If you decide to eat here, make sure to dress up because Azzuro is equipped with white tablecloths and super comfy chairs to make you feel like the adult that you now are.
In the mood for some sushi? Have your parents treat your craving at Osaka. I’m a sucker for a good shrimp tempura roll, and Osaka has the best. One cool thing about their menu is that they offer a variety of other foods for those family members who aren’t too keen on sushi.
Osaka has a long list of steaks, from NY Strip to Filet Mignon, and you can also find lamb and chicken dishes on their menu. The environment isn’t extremely fancy, but I’d say shower flops are a huge no-no. Not to mention, it is another restaurant conveniently close to campus.
Max’s is one of my top 5 favorite restaurants in Richmond. With a wide selection of pasta, meat and seafood, every member of the fam will be content. Their meat is buttery, delicious, and super easy to cut.
Appetizer-wise, the poutine is awesome. The chefs at Max’s cover the fries with gravy, scallions, and huge pieces of cheese. *Jaw drop*
The restaurant is located in downtown Richmond but the interior makes you feel as if you traveled to France for the weekend. There are two dimly lit levels; the top floor has windows that span from the floor to the ceiling, allowing you a view of the city as you chow down.
Another personal favorite, Tarrant’s is located directly across the street from Max’s on Broad. The crab cakes are on point, definitely the best crab cakes in town. For dessert, I’d recommend the brownie sundae. The brownie is warm and fudgy and the ice cream literally melts in your mouth. I know what you’re thinking…we’re all trying to avoid the freshman 15. But listen people, family weekend is your time to indulge.
Tarrant’s isn’t too expensive either, so whoever gets stuck paying the bill will def appreciate this.
If you didn’t get the chance to check out Pearl Raw Bar after it’s feature in this article, now is a prime opportunity. For my seafood lovers, the oysters are the perfect amount of slimy and salty, and there are a variety of different sauces you can choose from to add that extra punch.
If you’re not into raw fish, start off with the crab cake BLT sliders (If you can’t tell, I’m really into crab cakes) — the tarter sauce on them is crazy good. As for main courses, the lobster roll is fresh, buttery, and creamy…what more could you want? Or, live like the Southerners do and go for the fried chicken and mac n’ cheese. The chicken is perfectly seasoned and the mac is extra cheesy…and big enough to bring some back to your dorm for later.
Pearl Raw Bar is located on Main Street, so it’s another great location to walk off your dinner afterwards.
Can Can is a Richmond student favorite. Located in the heart of Carytown, it is the perfect place to enjoy a Parisian-style meal while doing some great people-watching. The dining room is vibrant and oozes French charm. The unique front windows of the restaurant completely open up to expose diners to the hustle and bustle of Carytown at any time of the day.
The French love their cheese and wine so Can Can has no shortage. If you’re a cheese and wine enthusiast like I am, try out their mac and cheese, French onion soup, or cheese platters with one, or a few, hefty glasses of wine.
If you’re not into cheese, don’t fret because Can Can offers a number of seafood, steak, and salad options.
This Italian-inspired restaurant offers the hearty and complex flavors that every Italian knows but with a little more portion control…things we need. The small-plate style menu is perfect for family dinners because you get to try more than one thing on the menu. And let me tell you, it is worth trying EVERYTHING on this menu.
Caesar salad has become a staple in my diet. So when I ordered a caesar salad at Graffiato, I wasn’t expecting anything more than the typical caesar. But when I took a bite into one of the cream cheese filled croutons I’m pretty sure I died a little and went straight to heaven. Definitely a MUST order.
My second must order dish at Graffiato is the potato gnocchi. Complemented by pork ragu, whipped ricotta, and crispy rosemary, this gnocchi is worth getting two plates of because trust me, you aren’t gonna want to share.
If you’re really looking to splurge, take your family to Fleming’s. The menu includes an assortment of steaks, lobster tails and sides. All of the steaks are juicy and tender, and the portions are just satisfying enough so you don’t leave with a food baby.
The chipotle cheddar mac and cheese is the best side by far. Sorry, I know there’s been a lot of mac talk, but it’s just so damn good. There are layers on layers of cheese and the portion is pretty freaking big for a side. If the ‘rents are in the mood for an expensive steak dinner, Fleming’s is the place to be.