When I'm walking down the Corner trying to find a place to eat, I'm surrounded by so many options that it can be hard to know where to begin. Should I go to Roots for (another) salad bowl? Mellow Mushroom for pizza? Bodo's, because every time is bagel time?

Have no fear, there is a solution. A relative newcomer to the Charlottesville food scene, I have no doubt that Fig will soon rank up there with those big names like The Virginian and Little John's.  Nestled between Got Dumplings and Roots, you may miss the sign at first, as pretty as it is. 

beer, coffee, pizza, tea, wine
Renee Spillane

Upon walking into the restaurant, the decor immediately identifies this as a place where you won't find any excessively greasy chicken nuggets or overcooked fries.

The speed of service certainly gives you time to appreciate this ambiance; after ordering, don't expect your food to arrive quickly. If you do go, plan to stay a while, chat with friends, and relax. You'd be hard-pressed to find a better place to just hang outtea, coffee
Renee Spillane

To have the whole Fig experience, I visited twice, and the first time was for Sunday brunch. Every member of my group tried a different brunch dish, and all were equally enamored by the presentation and taste. My friend was very excited to see that they had chicken and waffles on the menu.

egg, bacon, gravy, biscuits, fried egg
Kara Braith

Everything tasted fantastic. The dishes seemed to use high quality ingredients relative to the budget-friendly prices. All of the vegetables tasted and looked fresh and were well-cooked. My crab cake was fantastic, with plenty of crabmeat and little of the ambiguous "filler" that often lurks in crab cakes. Underneath it was a classic Southern biscuit, all on top of a perfectly poached egg and grits. The only drawback was that my grits were slightly cool when they came out, but this did not diminish my enjoyment of my meal.

spinach
Kara Braith

My next visit was two days later, which serendipitously happened to be Tapas Tuesday. My group and I ordered many small plates to sample everything Fig has to offer. All of their tapas plates are priced in the $4-$9 range, perfect for a penniless college student like myself.

The variety of presentations added a feeling of sophistication to the meal. Seeing each dish come out was a visual as well as gustatory experience, like with these BBQ shrimp and Farmers Market Veggies.

meat
Renee Spillane

My personal favorite was the bacon-wrapped dates. They sound like a sophisticated dish, but one that includes bacon. How could they NOT be good?

chicken
Renee Spillane

The real highlight of the night came at the end of our meal. We had mentioned to the waitress at the beginning of our visit that we were with Spoon UVA, but we didn't give this another thought. Then, after our dinner, she told us to stick around for a bit longer while the chef prepared something special for us. Several minutes later, out came these beauties:

chocolate
Renee Spillane

Yes, folks. New Orleans bread pudding with bourbon sauce. If you're looking for a delicious and satisfying way to get your alcohol fix and not have to enter a frat house to do it, look no further. 

The bread puddings were hot out of the oven, so while they cooled, the chef herself came out of the kitchen to talk to us. She even offered us some recommendations for other great restaurants in the area. It was truly touching to have such a friendly and engaged staff. They transformed the trip from simply an "eating" experience to a "dining" one.

wine, beer, coffee
Renee Spillane
The takeaway: Fig is a great place to go for high-quality food with generous portions at an affordable price, and an atmosphere reminiscent of a café in a fancy city. True, the service is not the fastest, but with the many other food options around, convenience isn't necessarily the most important consideration when dining. 

Thanks so much to Fig for the incredible experience. I wouldn't have changed a thing.