This is a series of three articles which will highlight the best of downtown Staunton, per traveler reviews.
Staunton’s culinary scene is diverse and delicious, according to diner feedback on Yelp. Dishes from the most highly rated restaurants span the globe, but “fresh and local” is the primary theme of what you’ll find in Staunton.
Zynodoa – 4.5 stars – New American
This gem has risen to the top because of the constantly changing menu. Entrée options rely on local farmers and purveyors, so you may not experience the same meal twice, or at least, not for a while. A new reason to go? Taste what chef Ryan Zale is up to since his appearance on Food Network’s “Cutthroat Kitchen.”
“Small town dining that gives big cities a run for the money!” -Chris S., San Francisco, CA
Mill Street Grill – 4 stars – New American
It may be the on-the-house peppermint ice cream that seals the deal for many diners, but others do rave about specific menu items like the ribs, which are a Mill Street staple. Dining at MSG has become a tradition for many traveling through or visiting the area.
“The ribs are done KC style and done perfectly – the meat just fell right off the bone.” -Tiffany L., Fremont, CA
Byers Street Bistro – 4 stars – New American
People love the patio at BSB, and they love that their dogs are welcome there, too. The menu features fresh new spins on southern favorites, and varying genres of bands keep things hopping on Friday and Saturday nights.
“I especially love their creative takes on classic southern dishes (chicken and waffles with an orange chile syrup, yes please!).” -Amanda M., Baltimore, MD
Nu-Beginning Farm Store – 4.5 stars – Café
Don’t be fooled by the name or the façade. Nu-Beginning Farm Store (The Store) is a café Yelpers love to yelp about. Local producers are listed on the chalkboard so that visitors know exactly where their meal is sourced.
“… the place that makes the hummus I crave …” -D’oh D., Washington, DC
Aioli – 4.5 stars – Mediterranean
Aioli is a beautiful restaurant with beautifully presented, flavorful food. France, Italy, and Spain are represented in Chef Said Rahfiri’s menu, as well as on his beverage list.
“The crab cake ‘killed’ … this is not just food. This is artistry.” -Ranzo T., St. Petersburg, FL
The Shack – 4.5 stars – New American
James Beard nominated chef and owner Ian Boden is all about food and perhaps less about venue. Simple, it feels like going to grandma’s house with love-worn place settings and family photos on the wall. Why so simple? Perhaps it’s to direct your undivided attention to your meal. Make reservations for this 26 seater; it’s popular for food critics and those of us who want something good to eat.
“Had a killer brunch – biscuits with rabbit gravy and a softshell crab po’boy that made me swoon.” -Corey A., Louisville, KY
The Depot Grille – 4 stars – Traditional American
The Depot is located in a 1902 train station (fitting, huh?). You’ll love the old details of the place – the original floors, reclaimed wooden church pews for booths, and a deliciously intricate bar from the Ten Eyck Hotel (1918) in Albany, NY. You’ll definitely want a cocktail in a setting like this.
“The burger special with bourbon bacon jam (oh yes) and the prime rib sandwich with chipotle queso were excellent.” – Candi W., Midlothian, VA
Ubon Thai Victorian Restaurant Inn – 4 stars – Thai
A most unique mash-up, Ubon Thai is located in a functioning Victorian Inn (yes, you can stay the night!). Choose from a generous menu and then dictate which level of heat your palate will withstand.
“We ordered spring rolls (fried) for appetizer, they were the best homemade ones I have ever tasted.” -Judy W., Little Rock, AR
Taste of India – 4 stars – Indian
The elegant presentation of Taste of India is perfectly complemented by the warm, attentive staff. Many people love the buffet, as it’s the best way to sample a little bit of everything this authentic Indian restaurant has to offer.
“My favorite dish was the goat curry. I’ve traveled to India on many occasions … including Northern India as far as Dehradun, and A Taste of India knocks it out of the ball park for tasty and affordable Indian cuisine in Staunton, VA.” -Jerry C., Nellysford, VA
AVA Restaurant and Wine Bar – 4.5 stars – New American
Wine newbies and snobs alike will appreciate the house sommelier who can connect the food and wine dots at AVA. The extensive wine list brings some of the world’s best vintages to Staunton while the menu boasts options for nearly every diet.
“Their duck breast is very savory and delectable! It was accompanied by just the right amount of sauce and vegetables.” -Mat G., Laurel, MD