New York CityChicagoSan Fransisco. These are cities that instantly come to mind when I think about the best places to be a foodie in the United States. But, another one that I'd like to add to the list is my hometown of Virginia Beach. 

As a full-time Virginia Beach resident, I get to explore the food scene more extensively than week-long vacationers. I love to eat out with my family and friends at our local restaurants that cover the entire spectrum of food experiences. 

From fancy and expensive to budget-friendly and no shoes required to MexicanItalianAsian and American, you name it, Virginia Beach has got it.

With a population approaching half a million, Virginia Beach is a melting pot of cultures thrown together by the military bases in the area. The food scene reflects that conglomeration of culture with a very unique restaurant scene. With that, here are the must-try Virginia Beach menus for every visiting foodie to experience:

1. Old Bay Wings at Chick's Oyster Bar

Virginia Beach, a city bordered by the Atlantic Ocean, Chesapeake Bay, and Lynnhaven River, is most famous for its seafood, so Old Bay spice just comes with the territory. It's commonly used on shellfish, but Chick's Oyster Bar puts a unique twist on wings with Old Bay. These wings are perfect for snacking while watching football on the outdoor deck, which also happens to have a beautiful view of the Lynnhaven River. 

2. Orange Crush at Waterman's Surfside Grille

Waterman's is home to the original Orange Crush. According to them, a Waterman's bartender invented the drink made from fresh squeezed orange juice, orange vodka, triple sec, and Sprite in 1981. I would recommend checking out the summer concert calendar for the 5th Street Beach Stage because the top deck of Waterman's is the perfect location to watch summer concerts with both the view and easy access to great food and drinks. 

3. Bowls at Zeke's Beans and Bowls

Zeke's specializes in a variety of bowls and pitas, so they have the perfect dish for your break from the sun, no matter what you're craving. Their menu includes a variety of specialty smoothie bowls and poke bowls, but they also offer the option to customize. 

#SpoonTip: I highly recommend getting the Brazil Bowl. With blended açaí, banana, and honey topped with fresh banana, mango, kiwi, granola, and honey, it's a must-try Zeke's menu item.

4. House Dressing at Taste Unlimited

Taste Unlimited's house dressing is made from mayo, mustard, and a secret blend of spices, and somehow—I suspect through some kind of sorcery—it goes well on everything. Taste recommends adding their house dressing to one of their signature sandwiches named after local VB lingo. 

My personal favorite sandwich is the Northender, a combination of honey smoked turkey, hardwood smoked bacon, havarti, avocado, romaine, tomato, and house sauce on French bread. For maximum enjoyment, ask for extra house sauce, which comes free, and eat it on the beach. 

5. Bacon Bloody Mary at Citrus

While I have personally never sampled this extravagant, slightly questionable Bloody Mary concoction, my parents assure me it's a winner. If that's not enough to convince you, this sweet and savory alcoholic beverage has also been featured in several magazines and on the Food Network's Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives

6. Fresh Roasted Coffee at Three Ships Coffee Bar and Roastery

There aren't many coffee shops that roast their own beans on site, so experience the freshness at Three Ships Coffee Roasters. Maybe it's psychological, but I swear their cold brew has a whole extra level of richness and flavor that you'll never get from a chain that mass produces their coffee. 

7. Oysters Rockefeller at Rudee's on the Inlet

Also featured on Food Network, Rudee's Oysters Rockefeller are widely considered the best in Virginia Beach. Made from locally harvested oysters baked with spinach, parmesan, cream cheese, bacon, and scallions, these oysters are best enjoyed outside on swings in Rudee's Cabana Bar. 

8. Fish Tacos at Pelon's Baja Grill

The small sign and obscure location right off of the main beach street (Atlantic Avenue) have kept Pelon's a local treasure for many years. Inside, it's like a typical surfer's hangout with old posters, stickers, and framed pictures plastering the walls in overlapping layers. Stop in for cheap tacos, burritos, and salads stuffed with delicious local seafood of all varieties. 

#SpoonTip: Stop by on Wednesdays for $2 tacos, and don't forget to ask for a side of their delicious house made guac. You and I both know it's extra, but I promise it's so worth it. 

9. Wood Fired Cuisine at Hearth

Hearth goes beyond the typical use of a wood-fired oven for cooking pizza. They also roast a variety of meats and vegetables on their menu in cast iron skillets within their giant built-in "hearth." The oven lends a fantastic, multi-faceted smokey flavor to all of their foods. 

I recommend going with a large group so you can order a variety of menu items. Definitely order The Pig and The Goat pizza, which is topped with tomato sauce, pancetta, goat cheese, peppers, and olive oil. For a main course, I would go with the pan roasted salmon. It comes in a cast iron skillet hot out of the oven with butternut squash puree, Brussels sprouts, and béarnaise sauce. I know, amazing.

10. Drag Brunch at Croc's 19th Street Bistro

If you're looking for a truly unique experience that typically can't be found outside of Las Vegas, stop by Croc's any Sunday for a laugh. They serve up a rotating menu of dishes that incorporate local ingredients, but you'll barely notice what you're eating with the entertainment going on in front of you. Croc's puts on a full-fledged drag show every Sunday with refreshments that won't disappoint. 

#SpoonTip: This one's not for the kids. Guests must be 21 and up and reservations are required, so definitely plan accordingly. 

11. Fried Shrimp at Steinhilber's

Steinhilber's has been serving up their specialty fried shrimp since they first opened in 1939. They've truly perfected the recipe, making some people drive hours just to try Steiny's Fantail Fried Shrimp. A secret spice blend in the batter makes Steinhilber's shrimp special. In a city full of restaurants claiming to have the best fried shrimp, Steinhilber's consistently wins every award, so prepare your tastebuds to be amazed. 

12. Local Craft Beer at The Whiskey Kitchen

The craft beer scene has recently exploded around the country, and Virginia Beach isn't a city to be left behind. The Whiskey Kitchen features a rotating menu of craft beers, both bottled and on tap. Looking to sip a local beer while eating food made by natives from locally grown ingredients? This is the place for you. It's only been around for a few years, but Whiskey Kitchen is quickly becoming an important part of the VB community. 

13. All You Can Eat Fried Flounder at Beach Pub

After a long day on the beach, I know your stomach will be growling. Something about being by the ocean always makes me crave two things: seafood and fried food. Enter the perfect solution: Beach Pub. This go-to offers all you can eat fried flounder served with two sides, every Sunday. It's a Guy Fieri-approved way to end your week in the sun. 

Virginia Beach is a hub for fisherman of the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean, both by occupation and for sport, so there's always an abundance of fresh seafood. Virginia Beach's culinary specialties range from oceanfront seafood to fine dining to craft beer, so next time you're looking for a road trip destination to satisfy your foodie cravings, give this resort town a try.