Posts Tagged Rating: 5 stars

The Ivy Inn 

Ivy InnI tend to be overly critical of my dining experiences. Unfortunately, this penchant for tough criticism makes it hard to come away from a meal feeling positive. Such was not the case, however, after my most recent dinner at the Ivy Inn. The entire evening was first-rate and one of the most pleasurable Charlottesville restaurant experiences in memory.

My only other visit to Ivy Inn took place nearly 5 years ago and I remember being thoroughly unimpressed. All I can say is that I painfully regret having stayed away so long. They may well be producing food that is both more interesting and better executed than any of their local competitors.

The arrival of an elegant amuse-bouche… Read More

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Moo Thru 

Moo Thru barn frontBeing born in Vermont and now a Charlottesville townie, it only slightly pains me to say Absolutely Forget about Ben & Jerry’s and Arch’s. Just don’t even bother (with the gentle exception of gooey brownie). The best ice cream you have ever eaten in your life is only an hour or so away, straight up 29 at Moo Thru. For your own sake, and the sake of your wardrobe which does not appreciate being drenched in summer sweat, take a field trip somewhere up 29 and stop by Moo Thru. The silkiest deeply flavorful farm fresh milk turned into fresh cold treats will draw your eyes into the back of your head and make your eyes smile and… Read More

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Brookville 

Watermelon, feta, shallots, and pea tendrils.There’s an exciting restaurant newcomer in town that’s upped the ante on the local food scene. We’ve only had one meal at Brookville, but it was a delicious, memorable dinner that celebrated the best this season and area has to offer.

Brookville is located in the former Upstairs/Al Dente space above Escafé. It’s more out of the way than other mall spots that easily attract passersby, so I hope the spot won’t be tough for them. It’s a welcoming space that was far too empty for the delicious meal we were about to have. The entry room includes a large bar, exposed brick walls, bookshelves filled with cookbooks to thumb through, and a communal table… Read More

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Lime Leaf 

A fiery Ka Pao fried rice.I count eight Thai restaurants in the Charlottesville area, which is something to celebrate in a town of this size. But none is worth celebrating as much as Lime Leaf, the delicious gem tucked away north on Route 29 in the Rio Hill Shopping Center. I get a case of food rage every year when I read “Best of C-ville” and Thai ’99 tops the Asian category yet again. I’m not sure how C-ville voters continue to prefer one of the least impressive Thai places instead of the obvious best, but I hope anyone who hasn’t yet visited Lime Leaf will make the trek north to give the true deserving Thai champion… Read More

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Mas 

Open kitchen at MasI’m ambivalent towards tapas. On the one hand, it’s fun to try a variety of flavors over the course of an evening, and since they’re built for sharing they promote a more social dining experience. On the other hand, my taste buds are usually sufficiently excited by the standard two or three courses of a non-tapas meal, and I’m not a good sharer. Regardless of which camp you’re in, this hip bacony beacon in Belmont will make a believer out of even the least adventurous and sharingest among us.

The physical space of Mas is unusual. Situated funkily in the hairpin elbow of Carlton Avenue and Monticello Road, the yellow-umbrella’ed patio, which would… Read More

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Ventana 

The now expanded bar areaIt started many moons ago, when Ventana was just a cozy little bar, with the seafoam margarita. As a devoted margarita supporter, I fell a little in love. Who knows what crazy sorcery or scientific prowess happens to mimic delicate ocean bubbles in delicious and alcoholic form, but I was sold. Add in the shockingly spicy jalapeño and cool cucumber margaritas and Ventana became one of our favorite bars in town.

When we heard the news that Ventana was expanding beyond its primary bar identity to full-fledged restaurant with a larger French-influenced Mexican menu, we were excited but apprehensive. Sometimes fusion just becomes funny, and we wondered how the cozy but swank vibe… Read More

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Tavola 

tavola - 8
Tavola, the latest Belmont restaurant in the former Crush Wine Shop space, has been open for less than two weeks and I’ve already heard stellar reviews from three people.  After dinner last night, I’ll add my stellar review to the chorus.

The owners did a great job transforming the space: it’s cozy without feeling cramped, specials are on the chalkboard, and the kitchen is open (which foodies always love)…

The menu is… Read More

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