If you know me, you know I love eating out, and I love trying new things. Therefore, I love trying new restaurants.

However, when I visit a new restaurant, I often feel overwhelmed by the options. Or, when I visit one that I've already been to, I just order the same item every time. I know what I like, and I don't stray too far.

Since starting school at the University of Virginia, I have continued with my old habits. I order the "safe" menu item, the one that I've had before.

If you are anything like me, you like stepping out of your comfort zone, but you don't want to do it blindly. 

Here is where I can step in... With help from my friends, I've compiled a list of the best dish to order at many of the must-try Charlottesville restaurants, on The Corner, the Downtown Mall and everywhere in between.


Oakhurst Inn

french toast, toast, pancake, banana, crepe, cream
Zoe Denenberg

What to order: Buckwheat Shortcakes

These delicious pancakes come swimming in hickory syrup, empire apple compote and whipped ginger cream. Enjoy the old style decor and fancy place settings that will make you feel all grown up until your powdered sugar-covered breakfast arrives. 

Blue Moon Diner

tomato, cheese
Cailin Diberto

What to order: Apple Omelette

This unique and delicious omelette comes stuffed with sausage, blue cheese and granny smith apples and a side of toast. The sweet and crisp apples pair perfectly with the savory flavors of the cheese and sausage. An extra bonus of the Blue Moon Diner is you can order breakfast all day.

The Juice Laundry

milk, yogurt, granola, muesli, chocolate
Shaina Shikoff

What to order: Bradley's CB&J Bowl

The Juice Laundry offers a menu of unique smoothies, bowls and snacks. Switch up your typical smoothie by making it a smoothie bowl. Here, you get to choose from a variety of toppings, including granola, fresh fruits, seeds and nuts. 

Bodo's Bagels

bagel, cheese, bread, sandwich, bun
Emma Nosseir

What to order: Sausage, egg, cheese and avocado on an everything bagel

Bodo's is a famous stop on UVA's corner. If you can survive the long line that's always winding out onto the sidewalk on weekend mornings, I promise this inexpensive breakfast sandwich will be worth the wait. 

The Pigeon Hole

Coco Spagna

What to order: Monte Cristo

If you're looking for a hearty breakfast before all the typical brunch spots are open, stop by Pigeon Hole.

The Monte Cristo is their take on traditional french toast: thick french bread stuffed with ham and swiss. Enjoy the adorable outdoor seating area with a steamy side of grits.

MarieBette Café and Bakery

What to order: Yogurt Parfait with a Chocolate Almond Croissant

It's a simple, light breakfast but MarieBette does it best. House-made quinoa granola tops organic yogurt and a berry compote that's far too tasty to be healthy.

The chocolate almond croissant provides a perfect complement to the tart yogurt, making this a breakfast that will satisfy your sweet tooth any day of the week.


Cafe Caturra

What to order: Mediterranean Skillet

Whoever came up with Cafe Caturra's menu clearly knows what it's like to be hungover and ready for brunch.

Served with two large slices of baguette, this skillet is full of portobello and tomato demi-glaze, roasted eggplant, melty feta and two over easy eggs.


What to order: The Farmer

Fig is known for their unique take on brunch classics, and this dish is no exception. Eggs, pico di gallo, organic avocado, black beans and chili top a toasty tortilla.

Beware... Fig changes their menu quite often, so order up while it lasts.


A photo posted by Tope Leyimu (@topelope) on

What to order: Brioche French Toast

Bizou takes your typical french toast to a whole new level by making it out of brioche roll, then topping it with fresh whipped cream, seasonal fruit and warm maple syrup. If you order this dish, be prepared for the sweet brunch of your dreams. 

Petit Pois

What to order: Frittata

This ain't yo momma's frittata, and it isn't that disappointing egg pastry you find at Panera or Starbucks either.

Petit Pois takes frittata to a whole new level by adding asparagus, caramelized onions, locally-made ricotta, herbs de provence, potatoes and greens. Petit Pois may be expensive, but this dish is definitely worth your hard-earned cash.

Boar's Head Inn

What to order: Blue Ridge Eggs Benedict

Sometimes, ordering the classic is the way to go. The Boar's Head Inn's English muffin, Canadian bacon, poached eggs and hollandaise sauce will keep you coming back every Sunday morning. 

#SpoonTip: If your parents are visiting, have them take you out to Boar's Head Inn for their breakfast buffet (it's all you can eat...).


Lampo Neapolitan Pizzaria

pizza, bacon
Bridget Muckian

What to order: Margherita Pizza

Lampo is about as close to authentic Neapolitan pizza as you will get in America. Their crust is perfectly crunchy and serves as the perfect shuttle for the simple ingredients that top it: mozzarella, tomato sauce, fresh basil and sea salt. 

Poke Sushi Bowl

chicken, rice
Bridget Muckian

What to order: The Corner

The poke trend has finally hit Charlottesville.

Celebrate on the corner with this light but delicious bowl of rice, salmon, mango, cucumber, avocado and sweet and hot sauce, topped with eel and sesame seeds. Don't forget to add seaweed salad for that extra boost of flavor.

Little John's

sandwich, chicken, cheese, bacon
Emily Head

What to order: Triple Decker Ham and Turkey Club

It seems like everyone has their own favorite sandwich from Little John's. From the Sampson to the Chris Long, Little John's knows how to invent some delectable subs.

I personally recommend this sandwich with three slices of bread, if only because extra carbs are key. Oh yeah, and each sandwich comes with potato chips and a pickle #win.

#SpoonTip: For breakfast, you can skip the line at Bodo's and get one of Little John's bagel sandwiches or giant muffins.


spinach, chicken, salad
Zoe Denenberg

What to order: Mayweather

This healthier version of Chipotle has made salads every UVA student's top choice for lunch. Try out this bowl with a kale base, topped with chicken, bulgur, roasted beets, sweet potatoes, red onions, goat cheese and avocado, then finished with lemon tahini and pesto vinaigrette. 

For a laugh, check out the signature roots bowls as boys you date in college

Crozet Pizza at the Buddhist Biker Bar

What to order: Capone Pizza

Trust me when I say that Crozet has the best pizza crust to have ever graced my tastebuds, and that's saying something, considering the amount of pizza I have consumed. 

Try out this pie of fresh mozzarella, basil and tomatoes. You will not be disappointed.

Got Dumplings

sauce, gyoza, chicken
Bridget Muckian

What to order: Shrimp and Chive Dumplings

This food cart is probably the best thing that has ever happened to UVA dining. It sits right in the middle of grounds during the week, and there's also a storefront location on the Corner available to satisfy your munchies all week long. I highly recommend seaweed salad and cold noodles for your sides.

Yum Yum Xpress

chicken, burrito, tacos
Renee Spillane

What to order: Falafel and Chicken Kabab 

Scratch that last line. Yum Yum Xpress is the best food truck at UVA. They have a rotating chicken flavor of the day that's always tasty. Your kebab order comes with a side of rice, noodles or extra lettuce and pita break smothered in tzatziki sauce. 

Take it Away

What to order: Build your own sandwich

Take it Away is another one of those classic corner stops where everyone thinks their order is the best.

I'd recommend turkey, bacon, lettuce, roasted tomato, provolone and their house secret sauce on sourdough. Cap it off with a cup of their house made seasonal gazpacho.


Citizen Burger Bar

cheese, bacon, bun
Shaina Shikoff

What to order: The Southern

As soon as you sit down at one of Citizen's outdoor tables, the sweet smell of burgers and fries will almost overwhelm you. 

This grain fed beef burger topped with pimento cheese, bacon, yellow mustard, iceberg lettuce, and tomato on a birch bun with Citizen fries will push you over the edge into a #foodcoma

The Local

What to order: Roast Local Squash

This unique and healthy dish is an entire half of a zucchini stuffed with Caromont goat cheese, quinoa, dried cherries and almonds, served over local braised greens and fresh tomato sauce with parmesan. 

But that's just the beginning of The Local's unique menu. I'm sure you'll be visiting more than once to try everything. 

Kardinal Hall

Bridget Muckian

What to order: Bratwurst 

Keep it simple by ordering this house-made bratwurst for any meal of the day, really. Your bratwurst will come on a pretzel roll. Top it with sweet peppers and garlic 'shrooms for maximum flavor.

Oh yeah, and don't forget a side of Belgian fries with garlic aioli. That would be a party foul at Kardinal Hall


puree, carrot, potato, sweet potato
Cailin Diberto

What to order: Black Bean and Corn Relleno

Even adamant carnivores won't miss their beloved meat in this dish from the cuisine-mixing bistro, Zocalo. It's served as a southern-mexican fusion with smoked tomato grits, smoked pico, and cilantro-buttermilk honey. 


What to order: Grilled Faroe Island Salmon

Orzo draws inspiration for its ever-changing menu from Mediterranean cuisine, so it's not a surprise that they do salmon so well. This fish is seasoned perfectly and served with roasted potatoes, red onion, bacon and tarragon mustard vinaigrette, and an apple and celery salad. 

The Virginian

What to order: Stumble Down Mac N' Cheese

The Virginian is probably the most famous spot on the corner, and everyone know's that they're known for their mac n' cheese. I promise that this creamy pepper jack mac n' cheese appetizer topped with a potato cake is worthy of main course status.

If you're not convinced on the idea of just ordering an appetizer, then go for the southern fried chicken and get mac n' cheese and sweet potato fries as your two sides. 


What to order: Kale Tortellini

When you think tortellini, you probably think a hearty Italian pasta dinner. You're not wrong, but Bang! brings in a whole new flavor profile with sambal brown butter that will blow your taste buds away. You'll never want to eat those bland store-bought tortellini again. 

Mono Loco

guacamole, avocado, cilantro
Coco Spagna

What to order: Spicy Mushroom Burrito Bowl

This is your typical flavor-packed Mexican dish. It comes with sautéed mushrooms in truffle oil, sweet corn, chèvre, red beans and rice topped with chipotle and avocado-tomatillo crema. 

#SpoonTip: Mono Loco has a rotating menu of appetizer and entree specials, but if there is a nacho of any kind, order it. The best dish I've ever had at Mono Loco was a mushroom nacho. 


What to order: Mediterranean Chicken Risotto

This decadent dish starts with pan seared chicken, followed by artichoke hearts, roasted tomatoes, spinach, basil, feta, lemon butter sauce and pesto, finished by the risotto you've been craving. 

Order it at any of Burton's several locations across the east coast.

Commonwealth Restaurant & Skybar

Coco Spagna

What to order: Short Rib Tacos

You're going to have to trust me again on ordering an appetizer as your entree. This time, it's short ribs, pickled red onion and pineapple habanero salsa on a lime zest and duck fat flour tortilla.

It's not for the faint of heart, so beware. However, it is also a great option if you're gluten free. Just let them know.


The Flat

strawberry, waffle, chocolate
Izzi Kornfeld

What to order: Chocolate Delight Crepe

Stop by this little hole-in-the-wall creperie after a yummy dinner on the Downtown Mall. If you're anything like me, you'll be craving all the chocolate. This crepe is filled with Nutella, banana and strawberries. 

#SpoonTip: The Flat is also a popular breakfast location. Stop by after you visit the Charlottesville Farmer's Market on a Saturday morning and get the Hangover Relief crepe filled with local ham, onions, egg and cheese. 

Insomnia Cookies

Coco Spagna

What to order: Deluxe Cookiewich

It doesn't get any better than sweet, cold ice cream sandwiched between two warm, gooey cookies. The best part about it is Insomnia Cookies delivers and is open until 2 am, so your late night cravings won't go unfulfilled. 

Order the chocolate peanut butter cup cookie with cookie dough ice cream and learn what heaven tastes like. 

Chap's Ice Cream

ice cream, ice, cream, chocolate
Lucy Krasker

What to order: Mocha Chip and Black Raspberry

There's never a bad time for ice cream and Chap's is open all day to satisfy all of your ice cream cravings. Chap's has the typical diner vibes that make you feel like you've gone back in time.

They make all of their ice cream and waffle cones in house, so don't skimp on the extra dollar for a waffle cone.

The Pie Chest

What to order: Bourbon Pecan Pie

This boozy twist on the classic pecan pie is the dessert you never knew that you were missing. Stop by The Pie Chest and buy it by the slice. They'll warm it up for you and you can enjoy it on one of their cute vintage plates. 

Arch's Frozen Yogurt

What to order: Well...

This time, it's more of a "when to go" than a "what to order." Stop by Arch's on a Tuesday to fill your cup for 5 dollars. 

The flavors and toppings rotate, but I'd recommend cake batter and chocolate fro-yo with half baked brownie batter, cookie dough and peanut butter and chocolate syrups.

Campus Cookies

bread, biscuits
Zoe Denenberg

What to order: S'mores Cookie Cake

Campus Cookies is probably one of the top ten causes of the freshman fifteen. They deliver warm, fresh baked cookies straight to your door. For an ooey, gooey sharable cookie, order their cookie cake and settle down for movie night with your friends. 

Well, that wraps up my list...

Hopefully, I've inspired you to step out of your comfort zone. With a wide variety of unique restaurants in C-ville, it's only right that each one has their own unique specialty.

If you're still looking for more C-ville dish recommendations, check out these articles, and happy eating:

43 Things to Eat in C-ville Before You Die

Where to Eat on a Weekend Visit to C-ville

Where to Eat and Drink at the University of Virginia