12 Restaurants Where Fresh Caught Flavor Reigns

Virginia’s streams, lakes and bays are home to beautiful species of fish, crab, clams and more. The bounty of these waters are caught fresh daily and served in unique and tasty ways across the Commonwealth. Let these 12 entrées whet your appetite for a tasty road trip. Don’t miss the map below!



Executive Chef James Harris changes his menu daily based on the local resources at his disposal. Chef is of five-star lineage with the kitchen of Inn at Little Washington under his belt. You will not be disappointed with any aspect of his fresh, flavor-filled menu.

Chef Harris’s Crispy Cast Iron Seared Mountain Trout is served with artisan bacon, braised fennel, smoked ham gravy, grilled shrimp and Wade’s Mill (Raphine, VA) bruleed cornbread croutons. The trout is sourced from Casta Line Trout Farm in Goshen, VA and The Rock Barn in Arrington, VA.

When You Go:

– Consider staying the night at Stonewall Jackson Hotel or Anne Hathaway’s Cottage.
– Don’t miss a visit to the American Shakespeare Center’s Blackfriars Playhouse and the Frontier Culture Museum of Virginia.
Upcoming Local Events



The setting at The Waterwheel is cozy and intimate. Nestled into a restored 1900′s grist mill, it’s right at home in the community affectionately known as Gristmill Square. Farm-fresh ingredients are the star of each plated masterpiece served.

Try the cornmeal encrusted pan-fried mountain trout. It’s served with sweet potato and andouille hash, braised baby kale, spaghetti squash, toasted walnuts, and lemon beurre blanc. Ask for a wine recommendation to complement the flavors! Due to the intimate space of the restaurant, recommendations are recommended. Dress is resort casual; open daily for dinner.

When You Go:

– Consider staying the night at The Omni Homestead Resort or the Inn at Gristmill Square.
– Don’t miss a visit to Jefferson Pools, Garth Newel Music Center and the Milk House Market and Old Dairy Barn.
Upcoming Local Events


128 Pecan128 PECAN | ABINGDON

Chef Jack Barrow is also the owner of 128 Pecan, meaning he’s highly invested with the service you receive with his handcrafted meals. 128 Pecan is not a stuffy establishment; come on in and feel right at home.

Chef’s menu is casual at first glance, featuring soups, salads, sandwiches and the like. It’s when you take a deeper dive that you realize the care he puts into product sourcing and crafting the perfect dish. Try his cracker crusted trout accompanied by pan roasted potatoes, vegetable of the day and a salad, all prepared with care.

When You Go:

– Consider staying the night at The Martha Hotel & Spa or Copper Lantern Inn.
– Don’t miss a visit to the Virginia Creeper Trail, Barter Theatre and Heartwood: Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Gateway.
Upcoming Local Events



Caprese brings the flavor, tradition and love of the Old World to Old Town. Old Town Alexandria, that is. Delight in the house specialties like vine-ripened heirloom tomatoes and chef-made Balsamic reduction.

One dish that may please your palate is the local rockfish. It’s a delicious entrée specially crafted with a crusting of red pepper, squash and zucchini brunoise and topped with a rich Chesapeake Bay crab reduction. The fish is beautifully plated alongside local goat cheese and red bliss potato gratin garnished with spicy peanuts and pickle fennel.

When You Go:

– Consider staying the night at Embassy Suites (home of Caprese), Hilton Old Town or Lorien Hotel & Spa.
– Don’t miss a visit to the Alexandria Farmers’ Market, Lee-Fendall House Museum and Gardens and Gadsby’s Tavern Museum.
Upcoming Local Events



This family-owned and run seafood restaurant is perfect for families, couples and singles with comfortable booths, tables and bar-side dining. Ford’s has a dedicated local fan base and continually receives recognition from the likes of The Washington Post and Northern Virginia Magazine.

Scratch-made sides are right at home plated with fresh, local seafood and a pint of a local craft beer. On your next trip, however, try a platter of half-shell Virginia oysters. Of the seven oyster regions, Ford’s offers varieties from four of them, specifically James River, Watch House Point, Old Black Salt, Misty Point and Rappahannock. They’re served with cocktail sauce, horseradish, mignonette sauce and lemon wedges.

When You Go:

– Consider staying the night at Homewood Suites by Hilton, Aloft Dulles or Courtyard by Marriott
– Don’t miss a visit to the local breweries, Washington & Old Dominion Railroad Regional Park and 1757 Golf Club.
Upcoming Local Events



“Casual elegance” is the vibe at Chef Todd Jurich’s Bistro. He promises five-star cuisine within a relaxed atmosphere, and proudly offers fresh local seafood. Indeed, his most recent seasonal menu begins with a note to you, the diner, that Joe Peirson’s hand harvested Eastern Shore oysters are his choice oyster. Peirson’s oysters are raised in regions one and three (bayside and seaside of the Eastern Shore, respectively).

For a true taste of Norfolk, order up the baked stuffed flounder. It’s locally harvested and stuffed with lump crab. This beauty is then garnished with lemon butter and farm greens. It might be a dish to write home about.

When You Go:

– Consider staying the night at The Tazewell Hotel, Waterside Marriott or Freemason Inn Bed & Breakfast.
– Don’t miss a visit to Nauticus and the Battleship Wisconsin, Chrysler Museum of Art and Fort Norfolk.
Upcoming Local Events



Owner and Chef Hans Schadler welcomes you to enjoy and embrace his menu of Chesapeake Bay seafood and locally raised produce. As such, the menu changes often to stay fresh and true to the region. Chef’s accolades include cooking for Presidents of the United States and the Queen of England during her Jamestown 2007 visit.

Just one of the amazing harvest-to-table entrees Chef offers is York River oysters baked with spinach, Edwards ham from Surry, Virginia, and local crab meat topped with hollandaise. 

When You Go:

– Consider staying the night at Kingsmill Resort, DoubleTree by Hilton or The Williamsburg Inn.
– Don’t miss a visit to Colonial Williamsburg, shopping at Merchants Square and The Williamsburg Winery.
Upcoming Local Events



Chef Sydney Meers is the mind and chef behind Stove in Port Norfolk (Portsmouth). The location is worth mentioning as you’ll find Chef often includes the term “PoNo” in his menu. He’s a Mississippian, which means fabulous Southern cooking learned from generations of great cooks awaits!

When you visit Stove, ask for the Sydz PoNo Shrimp & Grits, a true Southern classic featuring slow-cooked stone-ground grits topped with gulf jumbo shrimp, tomato, pimento cheese, house made sausage and fennel. It’s “smack ya mama” good.

When You Go:

– Consider staying the night at The Governor Dinwiddie Hotel & Suites or Renaissance Waterfront Hotel.
– Don’t miss a visit to the 12 Historic Squares of High Street for shopping, Smartmouth Brewing Co. for a sip, and the Children’s Museum of Virginia for the kiddos.
Upcoming Local Events



Vibrant and casual with live entertainment, Oceans & Ale focuses on a great customer experience in every way and for every type of customer – family, friends, couples and professional wining-and-dining situations.

The menu at O&A is diverse, featuring fajitas, sandwiches, seafood and steaks. One not-to-miss dish is the gooey seafood macaroni! It’s tossed with lobster, crab, scallops and shrimp in a creamy three cheese sauce. Add a mason jar cocktail or beer flight for an extra dose of fun!

When You Go:

– Consider staying the night at SpringHill Suites by Marriott, Great Wolf Lodge or Wyndham Patriots’ Place Resort
– Don’t miss a visit to Williamsburg AleWerks for a drink, Williamsburg Premium Outlets for some shopping, and Busch Gardens for family fun!
– Upcoming Local Events



Waterfront on the Atlantic Ocean, Waterman’s is the quintessential seafood restaurant. In fact, Waterman’s is proud to participate in the Sensible Seafood Program which ensures only plentiful, well-managed and harvested seafood is served. To that end, don’t skip over the menu offerings with the yin-yang inspired two fish logo. That logo indicates the dish is a sensible seafood choice.

One “sensible seafood choice” is the Chesapeake Bay Lump Crabcakes. Your mouth with water over the two premium lump crab cakes made with traditional herbs and spices, broiled and served with house made roasted red pepper aioli. They sit beautifully alongside the mashed potatoes and sauteed seasonal veggies! And just because you can, also order a Virginia Original Orange Crush (fresh-squeezed orange juice, vodka, triple sec and Sprite). It’s a favorite! 

When You Go:

– Consider staying the night at Beach Quarters Resort, SpringHill Suites Oceanfront or Atlantic Paradise Luxury Oceanfront Home
– Don’t miss a visit to Capt. Jack’s Pirate Ship Adventures (your little pirate will thank you), Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center and Cape Henry Lighthouses.
Upcoming Local Events


The Shanty. Photo by CameronDavidson@CameronDavidson.com.THE SHANTY | CAPE CHARLES

Relax, you’re practically on island time when you’re in Cape Charles. This little local spot is waterfront on the Chesapeake Bay and offers a fun environment for everyone. You can even arrive by boat, if you feel like it. Throw cornhole and kick back on the deck with live entertainment; make yourself at home.

When checking out the menu, go for a Shanty signature dish like the oyster PoBoy. Flavored with a Cajun kick, Virginia oysters are tucked into a sub roll and topped with sesame slaw and house remoulade. 

When You Go:

– Consider staying the night at Hotel Cape Charles, Bay Haven Inn or The Waterhouse.
– Don’t miss a visit to Cape Charles Beach and Eyre Hall Gardens, or maybe get a kiteboarding lesson from SouthEast Expeditions!
Upcoming Local Events



You’ll be pleasantly surprised to arrive at The White Dog Bistro with Chef Walter Wilkes at the helm. It’s city dining in the serene village of Mathews. Upscale and quite at home in a Georgian mansion, White Dog is the perfect destination for a candlelight dinner for two.

The seafood is fresh and the veggies are assured to be seasonally fresh as well. Chef builds his menu around quality to deliver to you a delicious entrée that can be traced to its source. For example, the renown Littleneck Clams have found their way onto the menu. Chef nestles them over house made pasta and adds Spanish Chorizo skinned sausage, a spicy port wine reduction and a 14-hour demi-glacé with an enhanced fire roasted tomato sauce. Never has a clam looked or tasted so good.

When You Go:

– Consider staying the night at The Inn at Tabbs Creek, North River B&B and Retreats or the Inn at Warner Hall.
– Don’t miss a visit to explore Mathews’ maritime history, the chance to explore the beauty that surrounds you and the opportunity to take home a few of Brent & Becky’s Bulbs.
Upcoming Local Events


© Casey for Virginia’s Travel Blog, 2015. |

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We are FUN! We are RVA! We support local business and charities! Life is good!

Casey Higgins

We are FUN! We are RVA! We support local business and charities! Life is good!