During a recent trip to Richmond, Virginia to work with Richmond Region Tourism, I had the chance to explore the city and surrounding area for a week. Based on restaurant recommendations from friends, family and locals, I enjoyed fantastic meals across the region and am excited to share my list of the best restaurants in Richmond, Virginia. Each of the restaurants on this list offer barrier-free entry and a wheelchair accessible bathroom.
Bookbinder’s Seafood and Steakhouse
My sister describes Old Original Bookbinder’s Seafood and Steakhouse, the fancy restaurant along Richmond’s Riverfront Canal Walk, as a place that left her with “fond memories.” Count that true for me too, as Bookbinder’s delivered one of the most memorable meals during my trip.
I selected the 8 oz. petite filet mignon, and paired it with asparagus and a lobster macaroni and cheese that was baked with white cheddar, gruyère and goat cheeses — it was to die for! For diners with an allergy, the restaurant’s dinner menu is filled with gluten-free options. Whether you are visiting Bookbinder’s for a night out with friends, family, colleagues or with a date, the classy atmosphere is suitable for all occasions.
Wheelchair users should note that the accessible entrance is located in the pedestrian alley to the left of the main entrance — ring the doorbell to alert staff of your presence; a host opened the door for me in less than a minute.
ZZQ Texas Craft Barbeque
When I rolled up to the ZZQ barbeque joint in the Scott’s Addition neighborhood, the line was already out the door. It’s a popular restaurant, with a Texas-style BBQ that is widely regarded as the best in the Richmond region.
ZZQ happened to be my last meal in Richmond and I was headed to the airport to catch a flight, so I passed on the ribs even though they looked delicious. My keep-my-fingers clean meal consisted of a quarter-pound each of smoked brisket and turkey, jalapeño Mac & cheese, and buttermilk potato salad. The meal was delicious, and I can confidently say that ZZQ will be on my Richmond itinerary for the foreseeable future!
Mama J’s Kitchen
Mama J’s Kitchen, located in Richmond’s Jackson Ward neighborhood, is the be-all and end-all of southern comfort food in the Region. It’s the perfect place to indulge in the rich flavors of the south after a visit to the Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site and Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia, both located a few blocks away.
The go-to meal at Mama J’s is fried chicken, and I paired it with sides of macaroni and cheese and mashed potatoes with gravy. The cornbread was delicious, and I washed it down with a glass of ice cold sweet tea (a real treat for this snowbird!).
ML Steak Modern Chophouse
I dined here following a competitive Virginia Commonwealth University men’s basketball game, and enjoyed the bone-in New York Strip with sides of macaroni and cheese and mashed potatoes. Smothered in butter and steak sauce, the steak proved to be a perfect treat after an exciting day exploring the Richmond region.
Lillie Pearl also came as a recommendation from my sister and, located just over a block away from my hotel, it made for an excellent lunch spot in Downtown Richmond. The restaurant is part of the Lindsey Food Group, one of the husband and wife duo’s four Richmond restaurants.
I selected the restaurant’s fried chicken sandwich, topped with lettuce, heirloom tomatoes, shaved pickles, spicy honey and buttermilk ranch. Served with flavorful french fries and an extra side of pimento macaroni & cheese, the meal really hit the spot.
Julep’s New Southern Cuisine
Opened by Amy Cabaniss in 2003, Julep’s recently celebrated 20 years in Downtown Richmond. The restaurant takes inspiration from the food styles of Atlanta, Charleston, New Orleans and Savannah, mixing them to create a unique menu that delights.
Julep’s boasts an upscale environment in a historic but accessible building, and delivers an experience enjoyed by locals and visitors alike.
The table also enjoyed the chipotle deviled eggs with cilantro, bread and butter pickles. I saved the best for last, enjoying a sticky toffee pudding cake with vanilla ice cream.
The Daily Kitchen & Bar
The Daily is a health-conscious restaurant with two locations in the Richmond region — one in the city’s Carytown neighborhood, and another in nearby Henrico, Virginia. I took a trip outside the city and dined in the latter.
The restaurant uses organic, all natural, local and sustainable ingredients wherever possible, and has a broad menu with a wide selection of vegetarian, vegan, gluten free and paleo options.
This being my first meal after landing in Richmond, I decided to start the trip off on a high note, with calamari as a starter followed by filet mignon with sides of mashed potatoes and asparagus. The quality of the ingredients really stood out, exciting my taste buds with each bite!
Restaurants I hope to try on a future trip to Richmond
There are some 800 restaurants in the Richmond region and I suspect my list only scratches the surface of the area’s best eats. Here are five bonus restaurants that receive high ratings from other diners and that I look forward to trying during my next trip to RVA.
- La Grotta — Billed as Richmond’s premiere Italian dining experience, La Grotta is located inside the Hilton hotel and led by an Italian-born chef.
- Can Can Brasserie — This French brasserie and bakery located in Carytown promises to transport you to early 1900s Paris with its period decor.
- Beauvine Burger Concept — This highly-rated burger joint with locally-sourced products is located in Richmond’s Historic Fan District.
- Alewife — I wrongly assumed this restaurant was affiliated with the New York brewery, but it is in fact a Richmond staple focusing on mid-Atlantic seafood, drawing influences from the Chesapeake Bay and wider region.
- LUNCH. SUPPER! — Local restaurant with a large menu in Scott’s Addition, the neighborhood filled with craft breweries.
What are your favorite restaurants and meals in Richmond? Let me know in the comments below!