20180722_DINE_HOBNOB_02

Chicken fried spring roll with sweet garlic-chili dipping sauce at Hobnob on Hermitage Road in Lakeside.

Richmond has become an internationally renowned town, in large part because it's a fantastic place to eat. This list is just a sampling of the area's restaurants, which reflect some of the depth, breadth and – literally – flavor of a food scene that has made Richmond a dining destination. Expanded descriptions denote restaurants that were well-reviewed in the RTD in recent years; menus and formats can change frequently, so specific dishes cited might not be available. (Area code 804 unless otherwise noted.)

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CARYTOWN

The Broken Tulip: An ever-changing weekly menu reflects what’s fresh in the kitchen from area foragers, fishermen and farmers. (The menu on the website is a sample. When you dine here, you truly don’t know the night’s menu until food is served.) The husband-and-wife owners have created a multicourse experience of creative foods served at communal farmhouse tables, which is why the phrase "social eatery" appears in the restaurant’s logo. Six-course dinners are served at 6 and 8:30 p.m. seatings; four-course brunch is served on Sundays. (3129 W. Cary St.; 353-4020; thebrokentulip.com)

Can Can Brasserie: French bistro can suit a romantic dinner or catching up with friends over cappuccinos. (3120 W. Cary St.; 358-7274; cancanbrasserie.com)

Carytown Burgers & Fries: The name says it all for this local mainstay. Also in Short Pump and Lakeside. (3449 W. Cary St.; 358-5225; carytownburgers.com)

Citizen Burger Bar: Virginia ingredients – grass-fed beef, cheeses and bistro buns – and plenty of adult beverages. (2907 W. Cary St.; 358-2914; citizenburgerbar.com)

Coriander: Cozy eatery serves authentic Armenian food; take out or dine in at the few tables. (3125 W. Cary St.; 358-8811; corianderrva.com)

The Daily Kitchen and Bar: A health-conscious spin to the wide-ranging menu can cover all tastes and appetites (2934 W. Cary St.; 342-8990). From Short Pump location: The owners of the original Carytown eatery have brought their winning formula to a new spot in Short Pump, where the earthy-airy-mod atmosphere is as fresh as the food. Sure bets on the appealing menu include the red beet tartare appetizer, the tuna poke appetizer and the organic kale salad. The pizzas, bowls and sandwiches are great choices, as are main courses such as the polyface roasted half-chicken, the certified Angus hanger steak and the wild mushroom risotto. (12201 W. Broad St.; 360-3800; thedailykitchenandbar.com)

East Coast Provisions: Features a creative menu with everything from whole fish to roasted chicken to vegetarian hash. The grilled oysters appetizer features fresh, tender oysters paired with compound lemon-Parmesan butter. The angus filet is served with fabulously cheesy aligot potatoes, and the scallops are worth the price for plate presentation alone, with an insouciant smear of black squid ink rimming the white dinner plate in a way that would make Jackson Pollock nod. The chic industrial-modern building, with exposed ductwork, old brick and groovy turquoise banquettes, also offers a raw bar and sushi. (3411 W. Cary St.; 353-3411; eastcoastrva.com)

Ginger Thai Taste: Authentic, traditional Thai along with modern spins and seasonal fare. (3145 W. Cary St; 254-7373; gingerthaitaste.com)

Greek on Cary: Traditional favorites include popular gyros and a delightful mini falafel pita. (3107 W. Cary St.; 257-7277; greekoncaryrva.com)

Home Sweet Home: This unpretentious spot serves up gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches and some off-the-smoker treats. The Mac and Me features smoked pork barbecue with homemade mac and cheese. The Upstate combines cheddar, bacon, apple and maple syrup. And the W.T.F. pairs smoked beef brisket, caramelized onions, fontina cheese and sage. Appetizers are high on the comfort-food factor, too, from poutine (with cheese curds and homemade gravy) to tangy pimento cheese crafted from aged Vermont cheddar using the chef’s grandmother’s recipe. (3433 W. Cary St.; 355-9000; hshrva.com)

Les Crepes: A wide array of savory and sweet crepes. Also at Stony Point. (3325 W. Cary St; 353-2038; lecrepe.net)

The Mantu: A modern take on classic Afghan cuisine from chef Hamidullah Noori. Starters include elevated potato skins, the spiced nargis kebab (featuring boiled egg and a fried coat of ground beef mixed with lentils) and mantu dumplings with translucent petals. The main dishes, especially those in the chicken and beef category, are impressive. Chapli kebabs are shallow-fried to a charred and crispy finish. Pipes of grilled beef and chicken koobideh are enhanced with an alluring currylike blend of saffron and other spices, onions and cilantro. Sides are festive, and desserts don't disappoint: The ras malai is reminiscent of a spongier panna cotta – but truly unique. (10 S. Thompson St.; 716-6760; themanturva.com

Momotaro Sushi: A wide array of rolls, plus Nigiri and more. (2803 W. Cary St.; 355-0060; Facebook)

Mom's Siam: Thai favorites such as pad thai and more, plus a large patio to take in the scene. (2811 W. Cary St.; 359-7606; momsiam.com)

Sen Organic Small Plate: Bridging Vietnamese and French cuisines, the menu offers organic-focused (and often vegetarian-friendly) treats. The Organic Chicken Tartlet is decadent, with chicken breast baked in a rich mixture of flour and mozzarella cheese. Crispy Golden Rolls were filled with a savory mix, including black mushrooms and leeks, and were crispy and chewy at the same time. The Organic Potato Pie, made with vegan butter, was a treat, featuring puréed potatoes wrapped in a delicate pastry purse. The tasty Sen Grilled Skewer rested tender steak skewers on a bed of zucchini and fried squash “noodles.” For dessert, try the fabulous vegan Matcha Crepes. (2901 W. Cary St.; 355-0736; senorganicsmallplate.com)

Thai Diner Too: Countless Thai options inside an unassuming storefront. (3028 W. Cary St; 353-9514; thaidinertoorichmond.com)

Tulsi: Authentic north Indian flavors and varied spices, from curries to tandoori specialties. (3131 W. Cary St; 353-3300; tulsiinrichmond.com)

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CHESTERFIELD 

88 Garden: After almost 25 years, this understated Korean eatery remains a hidden gem. Dishes arrive on utility carts, and raw meats spatter at your table over grate-like grills (set atop heavily smoking binchotan charcoal) and then are “carved” with multipurpose kitchen shears. The gimbap appetizer is the sushi-roll equivalent of a mother’s hug. For a refreshing salad dish, try the dogani muchim, with aspic-like strips of ox tendon dressed in a spicy vinaigrette. The spicy goat soup is subversively spicy, and the kimchi stew is amazing – as is the reddish-brown broth that accompanies the braised cutlassfish. The barbecued meats are irresistible, especially the “yangnyum” galbi.  (6135 Midlothian Turnpike; 231-5388)

Abuelita's: A daily rotation of Mexican stews rich with beef, chicken, pork and more, plus agua frescas. (6400 Midlothian Turnpike; 977-2602; Facebook)

Brew: American gastropub's varying tap list helps bring the craft beer frenzy to the suburbs. (6525 Centralia Road; 454-0605; brewgastropub.com)

Carena's Jamaican Grille: Carena Ives shares her native cuisine, including island fried chicken. (7102 Midlothian Turnpike; 422-5375; carenasrva.com)

Crab Louie's Seafood Tavern: A charmingly comfortable dinner of traditional seafood. (1352 Sycamore Square; 378-4977; crablouies.com)

The Desserterie: European-style bistro and patisserie known for its sweets. (6161 Harbourside Centre Loop; 639-9940; thedesserterie.com)

Fest: Local artisinal sausages and sandwiches in a beer garden atmosphere. (7044 Woodlake Commons Loop; 818-2134; festva.com)

Hang Space: Vegan fare from the folks behind Go Go Vegan Go food truck and Yummvees catering. (8002 Buford Court; 560-4671; hangspacerva.com

Hiro Sushi: Temaki (hand rolls) stand out along with familiar maki-style sushi. (9958 Midlothian Turnpike; 323-8108; richmondhirosushi.com)

Isabella’s Bistro & Salumeria: A from-scratch philosophy in homemade pastas, sauces, breads and more. (1358 Sycamore Square; 678-8796; Facebook)

Island Shrimp Co.: Tropical-themed menu includes shrimp styles with house-made sauces, an aloha pineapple boat and more. (11500 Midlothian Turnpike; 744-2545; islandshrimpco.com)

La Cucina: A wide array of Italian favorites, including pizza. (11400 West Huguenot Road; 378-8940; lacucinava.com)

La Milpa: Mexican specialties, including delicious carnitas, served 24 hours a day; it's also a market. (6925 Hull Street Road; 276-4631; lamilparva.com)

Latitude Seafood Co.: Bisque made from whole lobster bodies, plus many other jewels of the sea. Also in Stony Point. (15532 WC Commons Way; 379-8100; latitudeseafoodco.com) 

Palermo Trattoria Pizzeria: A taste of old Sicily in pastas, seafood, meats and desserts. (15717 City View Drive; 378-7643; dineatpalermo.com)

Pescados: Fresh and creatively prepared seafood with a Latin-Caribbean twist. (13126 Midlothian Turnpike; 379-7121; eatpescados.com)

The Reserve at the Highlands: An extensive menu at the restaurant in the master-planned community. (8136 Highland Glen Drive; 796-5805; reservehighlands.com)

Riptides Seafood: Well-prepared seafood and tasty desserts in a family-friendly and relaxed setting. (11212 Iron Bridge Road; 748-8899; riptidesseafood.com)

The Shaved Duck: Upscale dining – creative, approachable but not too challenging – geared to the populist audience of mall-goers in its midst. The “duckoyakis,” a play on Japanese takoyaki fritters, had more of the homely texture and flavor of Italian arancini. Ephemeral nubs of Parisian gnocchi, which practically dissolved on your tongue, came together nicely with the aromatics of celery and brussel leaves and the lush fattiness of shredded duck confit. The duck leg, perched atop a brioche pillow, teetered on the edge of overfried but avoided any hint of dryness. Pickled cauliflower and a slathering of tomato-butter sauce added an enlivening jolt of tart and sweet. (15408 WC Commons Way; 379-7505; theshavedduckrestaurant.com)

Takara Ramen: Japanese ramen and izakaya pub offers Japanese noodle soup, small plates, rice bowls and sake. (15781 WC Main St.; 893-4672; Facebook) 

Taquerio Panchito: A classic roadside taco joint if there ever was one. Every taco comes in a double layer of warm dusty-yellow maize tortillas that are pliable yet resilient, with a hint of the corn’s natural sweetness and grit. Each is treated with just a fistful of cilantro and raw onion. The carne asada tacos are satisfying if straight-laced, but more intriguing are the tacos de cecina, whose coarse shards of salt-brined beef are intensely flavored. The barbacoa and cabeza tacos showcase versatility. And the porky carnitas tacos — a jumble of salty and crispy skin, sticky fat and confit-like meat — are revelatory, while the tripa and lengua tacos are thrilling and delicious. (6531 Midlothian Turnpike; 447-1003)

Taste of India: Curry, tandoori meats, biryani and other traditional favorites. (9930 Midlothian Turnpike; 323-5999; indianfoodrichmond.com)

Tazza Kitchen: Made with local and regional ingredients, the food is inspired by the owners’ travels to California’s Baja Peninsula and the Mediterranean. The extensive dinner menu offers appetizers, salads, wood-fired pizzas, tacos and entrees. Popular starters include the brick-oven Brussels sprouts and kale salad. Big plates include pulled chicken soft tacos with warm flour tortillas made by Los Comales, a Richmond tortillaria, and flat-iron steak with crispy peppercorn potatoes, salsa verde and a baked egg. Also in Short Pump and Scott's Addition. (1244 Alverser Plaza; 415-6224; tazzakitchen.com) 

Wild Ginger: Asian fusion and sushi, with a healthy range of beer and wine offerings. (3734 Winterfield Road; 378-4988; wildgingerva.com)

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CHURCH HILL 

Alamo BBQ: Texas-style brisket and other meats, plus Southwestern-influenced dishes; carry-out and outdoor seating only. (2202 Jefferson Ave.; 592-3138; alamobbqva.com)

Alewife: Chef Lee Gregory reimagines mid-Atlantic seafood. A cauliflower pancake, topped with creamy smoked trout dip and beads of briny tobiko roe, is a spin on the classic blini with caviar and crème fraîche. A whole roasted red snapper — its mild flesh lightly flecked with salt and skin charred ever so slightly — is bolstered by the sweet heat of red coconut curry and the earthiness of shimeji mushrooms. A bone-in skate chop with sweet potato curry is delightful. The Siren’s Song omakase-like spread is perfect to share with a group of three to four as an appetizer. Desserts weren't memorable initially, but the savory side is a standout. (3120 E. Marshall St.; 325-3426; alewiferva.com)

Dutch & Company: Culinary creativity done right on a menu that reads like a foodie encyclopedia. (400 N. 27th St.; 643-8824; dutchandcompany.com)

Grisette: Approachably priced dishes, changing weekly with seasonal ingredients, in the spirit of a French bouchon. (3119 W. Marshall St.; 562-6207; grisetterva.com

The Hill Cafe: New American fare and blue-plate specials in a quintessential neighborhood setting. (2800 E. Broad St.; 648-0360; thehillcafe.com

Metzger Bar & Butchery: Rustic and seasonal German-inspired food, beer and cocktails. (801 N. 23rd St.; 325-3147; metzgerbarandbutchery.com)

Proper Pie Co.: Renowned for its sweet (like pumpkin pie with salted caramel), but don't overlook the savory. (2505 E. Broad St.; 343-7437; Facebook)

The Roosevelt: Despite significant changes to the leadership in 2017 and 2018, continuity prevails in successfully elevating Southern regional cuisine. The pork rinds, paired with pimento cheese and pickles, channel a Southern-style nacho. The wings are a milder but craveworthy American cousin of chongqing chicken. Oysters, though fried, are enrobed in a cornmeal crust that entombs their oceany sweet juices, as if they were freshly shucked. The pork chop is disarmingly simple but deeply sophisticated. As masterful are the scallops, a rich penny-colored sear on the outside, still lustrous and pearlescent on the inside. Vinegary black-eyed peas and pickled jalapeños add brightness. (623 N. 25th St.; 658-1935; rooseveltrva.com)

Union Market: This laid-back eatery was recently named the best sandwich shop in Virginia by lifestyle site Thrillest.com. It also won a 2018 Elby Award for offering high-quality options for takeout dining. The BLT features applewood-smoked bacon, roasted tomatoes, leafy greens and garlic aioli. The prosciutto and fig sandwich, also a treat, pairs thinly sliced prosciutto with house-made fig jam. When you’re done eating, shop for essentials in the tiny market that carries everything from natural cleaning products and basic produce to pet food and toilet paper. (2306 Jefferson Ave.; 716-7233; unionmarketrva.com)

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DOWNTOWN / JACKSON WARD 

Adarra: Basque-inspired fare from Randall Doetzer is a wonderful hybrid of Spanish and French influences. The octopus stew with chickpeas is fiery red, with a depth of flavor resembling a sort of paprika-laden kimchi jjigae. Another standout is the stuffed squid with white beans, with a delectably smoky flavor and filled with squid blended into a smooth mixture that tastes like spicy chorizo. The slow-cooked rabbit leg evokes a lighter version of French coq au vin. A nuanced venison tartare in a winner, and the orzo, infused with a funky and richly nutty Idiazabal cheese, finds a sumptuous risottolike consistency. Enjoy the thoughtfully curated wine list, too. (618 N. First St.; 477-3456; restaurantadarra.com)

Bar Solita: Like a Mediterranean pleasure cruise from the owners of the nearby Tarrant's Cafe and Max's on Broad. Broccoli and ricotta empanadas are nice, and the za’atar spiced feta – the cheese is sturdy yet springy, served with a piquant marinara sauce and golden-brown focaccia – suggests a deconstructed mozzarella stick. The gambas al ajillo and the falafel are flavorful. The standouts are pizzas prepared in the restaurant’s wood-fired oven, giving them that deliciously rustic finish. You could skip the large plates and pastas, though the lamb chops are solid. But don't skip brunch, with enticing bloody marys, boozy punch and indulgent menu items like tire-sized cinnamon buns. (123 W. Broad St.; 308-3605; barsolita.com)

Belle: Combines the foods and hospitality of France and the American South, set on the Hampton Inn ground floor (with Kabana Rooftop far above). The cosmopolitan space is long, narrow and compact, with lots of black and dark woods. The menu is also pleasingly compact, with a handful of appetizers and entrées, and just three desserts. The Prince Edward Island mussels are a crowd favorite, as are the filet mignon and the vegetarian pasta. Desserts include the creme brulee and chocolate mousse, made from what the kitchen describes as "a very unconventional recipe" for which it won’t spill the details. (700 E. Main St.; 643-0366; bellerva.com)

Bistro 27: French- and Italian-influenced fare in a stylish white-tablecloth setting. (27 W. Broad St.; 780-0086; bistrotwentyseven.com)

Cafe Rustika: An array of schnitzels, spatzle and other German favorites. (414 E. Main St.; 225-8811; caferustika.com) 

Chez Foushee: Seasonal menus with a French Quarter influence. (2 E. Grace St.; 648-3225; chezfoushee.com) 

Comfort: Simple but delicious comfort food, in big portions, from Jason Alley's breakout eatery. (200 W. Broad St.; 780-0004; comfortrestaurant.com)

Fatty Smokes: A Barbecue Joint: From the smokers, it's slow-cooked pork, brisket and chicken. (328 E. Broad St.; 384-9988; fattysmokesrva.com) 

Fighting Fish: Colorful and tasty sushi in rolls and burritos, plus poke and more. (317 N. Second St.; 308-1729; fightingfishrva.com)

GWARbar: A delicious dive with a heavy metal vibe – and tasty vegan options. (217 W. Clay St.; 918-9352; gwarbar.com)

J Kogi: "Seoul street eats" is fun Korean fare, from kimbap and stews to chicken wings and bowls. (325 N. Second St.; 225-8734; jkogi.com

Jamaica House: Soulful renditions of Jamaican yard food from Carena Ives. To start, the beef patty, with a flaky wallet-sized crust and peppery beef filling, resembles the love-child of a toaster strudel and an empanada. For mains, the highlights are the rib-sticking combinations of stewed meat and bone and sauce. The curry goat is wonderfully tender, with a fragrant and warm yellow curry. The oxtail is outstanding, with a richly satisfying and collagenous sauce. Other treats include the brown stew chicken, whose robust gravy is infused with honey and allspice berries. Arrive early on Friday or Saturday, and order the ackee and saltfish. (416 W. Broad St.; 358-5793; jamaicahouseonline.com)

Julep's: Southern fine dining includes shrimp and grits and fried green tomatoes. (420 E. Grace St.; 377-3968; juleps.net)

La Grotta: In the downtown Hilton, classic Italian comfort food – with a focus on Northern Italian cuisine – is paired with an extensive and award-winning wine list. All pastas, breads, desserts and mozzarella cheese are made in house. Signature dishes include the visually impressive Torretta (Italian for “little tower”) appetizer with intensely flavorful marinated eggplant, the Fettuccine alla Papalina with fettuccine and prosciutto in a creamy tomato sauce, and the Quaglie Ripiene with boneless quails stuffed with pork fennel sausage. The chef’s Italian custards – he introduces a new flavor every week – include his panna cotta infused with espresso. (529 E. Broad St.; 644-2466; lagrottarva.com)

Lemaire: Dinner at the iconic restaurant in the grand, historic Jefferson Hotel means more than an excellent meal. It means enjoying an experience created by a sense of tradition and occasion. The menu emphasizes Virginia-grown ingredients and the Southern flavors of Richmond, the Chesapeake Bay and Shenandoah Valley. The crab cake appetizer, made from Chesapeake Bay jumbo lump blue crab, is a favorite. Seafood lovers also will enjoy the cast-iron-seared scallops with Eastern Shore clams on the half-shell and a delicate shellfish broth that permeates the dish. An extensive wine list offers many options. (101 W. Franklin St.; 649-4629; lemairerestaurant.com)

Lucy's Restaurant: Cozy spot's simple but well-prepared dishes include beef from family farm. (404 N. Second St.; 562-1444; lucys2st.com)

Mama J's: Fried catfish, pork chops and more soul and Southern fare, with delicious homemade cakes. (415 N. First St.; 225-7449; mamajskitchen.com)

Maple & Pine: Located in the lobby of the Quirk Hotel, modern American fare is served by chef David Dunlap (formerly of The Inn at Little Washington), who changes the menu often to take advantage of fresh, local ingredients. Appetizers include chestnut soup with bacon and cabbage, plus roasted cauliflower with ramp vinegar and smoked caperberry. Roasted chicken breast with garlic and thyme is a winning entreé, as is the homemade sage fettuccine with Long Island cheese pumpkin. Katie Ukrop, a longtime force in the Richmond arts scene with her Quirk Gallery, is one of the owners. (201 W. Broad St.; 340-6050) 

Maya: Modern Mexican cuisine with Latin and Asian influences. (525 E. Grace St.; 447-5410; mayarva.com)

Max's on Broad: Belgian- and French-inspired fare in a lively bistro setting. (305 Brook Road; 225-0400; maxsonbroad.com)

Nama: Indian street food in sharable small plates, plus curry pots. (15. W. Broad St.; 665-9450; namarva.com) 

Patio Thai: Traditional Thai in the former Beauregard’s Thai Room space. (103 E. Cary St.; 447-4615; patiothairestaurant.com)

Perly’s Restaurant & Delicatessen: Updated New York-style deli serves traditional Jewish cuisine with a twist. (111 E. Grace St.; 912-1560; Facebook)

Pop's Market on Grace: In this family affair, there’s owner Josh Wright behind the line; his mother, Patti, working the front of the house; and William, his gone-but-not-forgotten father in the establishment’s name. Specialties include Italian vegetable soup, charred kale, homemade linguine with beef ragu, and sweet pea and prosciutto risotto. After dining, customers can shop the in-house market for canned tomatoes, beans, vinegars and bottled wines from around the world. Depending on availability, Wright also sells items from his kitchen — fresh pasta, breads, baked goods, herbs, olives, cheeses and more — in bulk for eating at home. Hearty sandwiches are popular at lunch. (415 E. Grace St.; 644-7677; Facebook)

Rappahannock: Raw oysters and much more on a celebrated seafood-centric menu. (320 E. Grace St.; 545-0565; rroysters.com/restaurants)

Saison: A creative mix of Southern U.S. and Latin cuisines. (23 W. Marshall St.; 269-3689; saisonrva.com)

Salt and Forge: Biscuit-based breakfasts and creative sandwiches for lunch. (312 N. Second St.; 644-4140; saltandforge.com)

Secret Sandwich Society: Secret's out – every ingredient counts here. In the creative and hearty sandwiches, burgers, salads and sides, quality components stand on their own while creating a whole that's greater than the sum of its parts. Sandwiches are largely named for U.S. presidents - the Polk pairs a piece of tender grilled chicken breast with salty-sweet chipotle-bacon jam and roasted garlic mayo, all on a toasted bun. On the burger side, there doesn't seem to be a bad choice. A crunchy and vinegary house-made pickle and crispy Society Chips (or spice-dusted Society Fries) are accompaniments. (501 E. Grace St.; 644-4777; secretsandwichsociety.com)

Soul Taco: Tacos (from oxtail to catfish) and more unite Latin American flavors and Southern cuisine. The braised oxtail “al Pastor” taco features tender and smoky root-beer-braised oxtail punctuated with the citrus zip of pineapple and roasted jalapeño salsa. The pulled pork carnitas taco includes a hot pink slaw and cilantro crema for an enjoyable tang. A grin to the Southern staple, the buttermilk battered fried chicken taco is elevated by ripe and velvety avocado and a dash of pickled red onion. For vegetarians, there’s the seven-layer dip gordita taco with warm fried avocado — yes, fried, very cool. Elsewhere, the Mississippi pot roast taquitos are super-crunchy and drizzled with roasted jalapeño ranch. Also in Shockoe. (321 N. Second St.; soultacorva.com; 308-1010)

Southern Kitchen: Southern and soul food, including a creative take on an egg roll. (541 N. Second St.; 729-4141; southernkitchenrva.net

Speakeasy Grill: Southern favorites and cocktails, connected to the Hippodrome. (526 N. Second St.; 308-2913; thespeakeasygrill.com)

Tarrant’s Cafe: Extensive menu and generous portions in the charming setting of a former drugstore. (1 W. Broad St.; 225-0035; tarrantscaferva.com)

Tiny Victory: Filipino and other Southeast Asian fare in a casual setting. The crispy Lumpia were filled with flavorful pork and served with a sweet-and-sour chili sauce. The Beef Kaldereta featured fork-tender beef short rib with baby carrots and potatoes cooked in duck fat, served with a tomato-based romesco sauce. The night’s special, Pritong Manok, was also a hit, with chicken lightly floured and fried, served with crab fat rice and creamed corn. The Halo Halo, a popular Filipino cold dessert, was refreshingly understated – layers of shaved ice, jackfruit and coconut gel, all topped with coconut ice cream and sweet corn ice cream. (506 W. Broad St.; 658-0757; tinyvictory804.com)

Wong Gonzalez: The food speaks “Mexinese,” the result of an adventurous fusion of Mexican and Chinese cuisines. Korean baby back ribs share a plate with refried beans, wok-fried calamari is dipped in Mexican gyoza sauce, and chorizo becomes a star ingredient in fried rice. The Chashu Pork Nachos are a standout, featuring delicate corn chips topped with crumbly chorizo, Cheddar cheese and pulled pork that is slow-cooked in a barbecue-garlic-ginger marinade. Spicy and tangy sriracha aioli drizzled on top is the delicious kick that holds it all together. (412 E. Grace St.; 788-9000; wonggonzalez.com)

Vagabond: Southern comforts and a speakeasy vibe rule the day. The owners started with their connection to Mama J’s in Jackson Ward and expanded on its soul-food concept. Fried green tomatoes are served with sriracha aioli for a little heat, while the candied bacon features thick slices baked with sugar, spices and maple syrup. Dinners include the fried chicken bowl and mustard-glazed beef ribs. In addition to comfort food, there's music and entertainment in the first-floor speakeasy four nights a week. (700 E. Broad St. 643-2632; vagabondrva.com)

**

FAN / VCU 

Acacia mid-town: Regional American, with an emphasis on seafood, from the kitchen of Dale Reitzer. (2601 W. Cary St.; 562-0138; acaciarestaurant.com)

The Annex: Tex-Mex includes creative starters and traditional favorites. (1919 W. Main St.; 716-0963; Facebook) 

Beauvine Burger Concept: Creatively curated burgers in a building that once housed the legendary Texas-Wisconsin Border Café. Favorites from this casual eatery include the Beauvine Burger with American cheese, lettuce and tomato; the Joe Beef Burger with Swiss cheese, enoki mushrooms and steak sauce; and the Lafayette Burger with brie cheese, Cabernet onions and apricot mustard. Other options include the Le Benny with a runny egg with Canadian bacon, and the Belle Ringer with herbed goat’s cheese, pickled red onions and tomato jam. Incredibly rich duck fat fries are the perfect accompaniment to the burgers. (1501 W. Main St.; 592–5592; beauvineburger.com)

Brunch: Like the space (artsy and at times, boisterous), the menu reflects a creativity — and portion sizes — fit for college kids. Whimsical reinterpretations of classic brunch fare are winners. The brunch links —  pancake-breaded cigars of peppery pork sausage, soaked with maple syrup — combine sweet, savory and spicy. The waffle flight features a quartet of wedges, with the blueberry (showered with white chocolate chips and toasted pistachios) the standout. Other souped-up classics, such as the breakfast sammy, crab omelette and chicken and waffles, are memorable. The brunch-bowl poutine is a well-curated amalgam of flavor and texture. (2600 W. Main St.; 528-4065; brunchrva.com

Dinamo: Italian specialties (try the red pizza) with some Jewish cuisine, too. (821 W. Cary St.; 678-9706; dinamorichmond.com)

El Pope: Well-priced Latin cuisine includes an array of pupusas, a traditional Salvadoran dish of thick corn tortillas loaded with savory fillings such as tilapia and cheese or pork, beans and cheese — all grilled to a beautiful golden brown. A generously sized chicken burrito gets a kick from bam bam dipping sauce with heat from jalapeños and tang from tomatoes. The pork torta is a big, messy beauty of a sandwich, layered with slow-roasted pork, pickles, cheese, onions and jalapeños on grilled bolillo bread, a variation on the French baguette. Save room for homemade fried ice cream and tres leches cake. (1731 W. Main St.; 997-4083; latinocuisinerichmond.com)

Edo's Squid: Up a narrow flight of stairs into a space tripped of all pretense, you find delicious, simple but powerful Italian cuisine. The scungilli insalata is an energetic conch salad to start, and the pastas and other dishes come in outsize portions and convey a distinctly Italian generosity of spirit. With the sharp punch of anchovies, olives and capers, the spaghetti alla puttanesca is bold, spicy and in-your-face. The broccoli rabe pasta is indulgent without being heavy. Beyond pasta, the hanger steak – though simple in appearance – rivals the best of any New York City steakhouse, and seafood dishes such as grilled branzino succeed with an understated approach. (411 N. Harrison St.; 864-5488; Facebook)

Fancy Biscuit: Born when Nicole Jessee and husband, Bryon, decided that "Richmond needs a biscuit place,” this breakfast and lunch/brunch eatery serves up Low Country-driven foods heavily inspired by the couple’s years in Charleston, S.C. True to their vision, their buttermilk biscuits are simple and straightforward, piled high with creative toppings and best eaten with a fork and knife. The B&G offers three biscuit halves covered with classic white gravy made with maple and spicy sausages. The Freshy Fresh features a biscuit topped with extra sharp white Vermont cheddar cheese, roasted cherry tomatoes, a local poached egg and Not Your Granny’s Collard Greens. (1831 W. Cary St.; 938-3449; fancybiscuitrva.com)

Foo Dog: The guys behind Osaka and Fat Dragon focus on reasonably priced and flavorful ramen. (1537 W. Main St.; 342-1800; foodogva.com)

Garnett’s Cafe: Homemade salads, sandwiches and pie at this hole-in-the-wall eatery. (2001 Park Ave.; 367-7909; garnettscafe.com)

Gersi: Northern Italian comfort food includes house-made pasta, sauces and seasonal fare. (805 N. Davis Ave.; 358-0181; Facebook)

Helen's: A Richmond tradition, featuring Southern influences and a neighborhood feel. (2527 W. Main St.; 358-4370; helensrva.com)

Heritage: Fresh seafood, homemade pastas and tasty libations in one of Richmond's gems. (1627 W. Main St.; 353-4060; heritagerva.com)

The Hop Craft Pizza & Beer: Traditional techniques with modern ingredients and flavors (along with nice other options, including the Meatballs Alla Hop appetizer and thoughtful salads). Pizza crusts includes hand-tossed, thin, medium-thick “grandma” and thick Sicilian. The Once Upon a Time in Mexico features roasted corn, cilantro and chili powder, while the Music City Miracle offers hot chicken, dill pickle chips and blue cheese. The Golden Girl shines with hand-crushed tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, sweet basil and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. The Green Mile stars basil pesto, roasted cashews, bacon and grilled chicken on a crispy thin crust. The retail space is stocked with lots of beer, too. (1600 W. Cary St.; 353-4677; hopcraftrva.com)

Ipanema Cafe: Tasty and creative vegetarian and vegan fare in a cool basement and patio setting. (917 W. Grace St.; 213-0190; ipanemaveg.com)

Joe's Inn: A Fan fixture, serving Spaghetti a la Joe and other big portions from a wide-ranging menu. Also in Bon Air. (205 N. Shields Ave.; 355-2282; joesinnrva.com)

Kuba Kuba: Home-style dishes from Manny Mendez's Cuban heritage, plus his mom's memorable tres leches cake. (1601 Park Ave.; 355-8817; kubakuba.info)

Level: "Asian fusion sushi taphouse" offers sushi, hibachi and entrées that impress. (2007 W. Broad St.; 353-8885; levelrestaurantbar.com)

Metro Bar & Grill: A neighborhood spot with elevated American comfort food, including weekend brunch. (301 N. Robinson St.; 353-4453; metrogrillrichmond.com)

My Noodle & Bar: Thai-inspired menu of noodle dishes and soups invigorated with imagination. (1600 Monument Ave.; 308-1613; mynoodleandbar.com)

Pik Nik: Range of flavors and craft cocktails, with the atmosphere of an inside picnic. (2301 W. Main St.; 358-2514; piknikrva.com

Pizza & Beer of Richmond: Pizza from a wood-fired Marra Forni oven, plus dozens of beer taps. (2553 W. Cary St.; 242-0889; pbrva.com)

Poor Boys: Po' boy sandwiches, gumbo and other Creole-inspired cuisine. (203 N. Lombardy St.; 658-1085; poorboysofrva.com

Postbellum: A combination of postbellum-era cooking techniques and clever flavor combinations. (1323 W. Main St.; 353-7678; postbellumrichmond.com)

Pupatella: Friendly eatery serves pizzas made in the world-famous style of Naples. Here, true Neapolitan pizza starts with fresh ingredients and sauce made from San Marzano tomatoes. Then it’s cooked in a wood-fired oven at extreme temperatures for a crust that’s soft, billowy and dotted with “leopard spots.” The pies, which are personal-sized, include the Margherita DOC pizza and the Sausage & Onion. Appetizer options include homemade Angus beef meatballs, fried fresh mozzarella balls, and Salad #3, a grapefruit-arugula salad with green apple matchsticks. Also in Innsbrook. (1 N. Morris St.; 355-3135; pupatellarva.com)

Rowland: Well-crafted modern American fare, plus iron skillet thin-crust pizza. (2132 W. Main St.; 257-9885; rowlandfinedining.com)

The Savory Grain: Creatively comforting menu tailored to mesh with its notable draft beer selection. (2043 W. Broad St.; 592-4000; thesavorygrain.com)

Secco: Chic eatery serving Mediterranean-inspired dishes and European-focused wines from small estates (chosen by owner Julia Battaglini). Specialties include crispy fried chickpeas, a traditional Spanish tortilla finished with quality Spanish olive oil, grilled asparagus risotto with preserved lemon and shaved parmesan, and mushroom paella with Spanish rice. The names of its craft cocktails are based on literary references, including the Thistle on the Moor (from a Hugh MacDiarmid poem) and the Ragtime (an Anaïs Nin short story). (325 N. Robinson St.; 353-0670; seccowinebar.com) 

Shyndigz: A dessert-only restaurant, with staples (including salted chocolate caramel cake) and daily specials. (1903 W. Cary St.; 938-3449; shyndigz.com)

Sidewalk Cafe: Fun-filled brunch and big portions of baked spaghetti, fish burritos, Greek nachos and more. (2101 W. Main St.; 358-0645; sidewalkinthefan.com)

Spoonbread Bistro: Laid-back charm is the setting for upscale Southern cuisine with European accents. Chef Michael Hall is drawn to food that is clean and simple, with minimal ingredients. But while his food is simple, the execution and presentation are spectacular. Hall serves duck under glass swirling with smoke, garnishes his carrot cake with gold-leaf-dusted carrots and adds a signature to certain dishes with a perfect, miniature rose. The bistro also offers a prix fixe menu for $25.26 (named for its address) at the upstairs bar from 5 to 7 p.m. on weeknights. Also in Short Pump. (2526 Floyd Ave.; 359-8000; spoonbreadbistro.com) 

**

HANOVER

The Caboose: Farm-to-table cafe and market with seasonal selections, plus wine and cheese. (108 S. Railroad Ave.; 798-2933; cabooseashland.com)

The Giambancos Italian Grill: Large menu of pasta plus pizza, fish and meat entrees, and sandwiches. (7500 Jackson Arch Drive; 730-0900; thegiambancos.com)

Ginger Red Asian Bistro: Sushi and Asian fusion touching on China, Vietnam, Thailand and Japan. (7500 Jackson Arch Drive; 427-7256; gingerred.com)

Hanover Tavern: Southern influences in historic Colonial setting. (13181 Hanover Courthouse Road; 537-5050; hanovertavern.org)

Industrial Taphouse: Modern American dishes with Southern flair in Ashland, plus beer and live music. (10392 Leadbetter Road; 299-2649; industrialtaphouse.com)

Iron Horse: Modern Southern cuisine in front of the railroad tracks in Ashland. (100 S. Railroad Ave.; 752-6410; ironhorserestaurant.com)

Kreggers: Flavors of Texas and Louisiana, from street tacos to gumbo (and plenty of beer) in Ashland; also in the Fan. (9523 Kings Charter Drive; 299-2176; kreggersrva.com)

More Than Greek: A big menu centered around Greek classics – in a converted convenience store. (8161 Atlee Road; 569-2190; morethangreekhanover.com)

Pad Thai: Traditional Thai specialties with varying levels of spice. (8460 Meadowbridge Road; 559-0062; padthaimechanicsville.com)

Pasta House: Large selection of pasta and other Italian classics, including seafood and meats. (8196 Atlee Road; 730-2929; pastahouseva.com)

Salty Pig Smokehouse: North Carolina-style smoked meats with tasty starters (like loaded waffle fries) and sides. (9502 Chamberlayne Ave.; 789-9127)

**

HENRICO

Azzurro: Extensive menu of Italian favorites and brick oven pizza in an elegant setting. (6221 River Road; 282-1509; azzurros.com)

Beijing on Grove: Brings Chinese food back to Grove Avenue after the iconic Peking Restaurant closed in 2009. The look is sleek and sophisticated, the energy is good, and the food is the star. Popular appetizers include the Peking Spring Rolls, filled with pork and lots of pink shrimp, and the Crispy Chicken Rolls, with white chicken meat wrapped in a crisped tofu skin. For entreés, the Fei-Lone Beef combines tender filet mignon pieces with wok-seared mushrooms and bok choy. The Golden Prawns features large prawns fried in a delicate batter and served with a sweet orange sauce. (5710 Grove Ave.; 288-8875; beijingongrove.com)

Billy Pie: The aesthetic and vibe may be modern punk rock, but owner Billy Fallen uses classic baking skills to create thoughtful, well-crafted and delicious Neapolitan-inspired pizza (from a gas oven, instead of wood-fired). The pepperoni pie is a straightforward but excellent version of the childhood classic, and the margherita is satisfyingly simple as well. The seasonal white pie with Hanover tomatoes is a celebration of summer. The antipasti and desserts are wonderful bookends. A perky panzanella salad and the roasted shishito peppers are winners, and do not miss the cream puff, made fresh almost daily by Fallen’s mother. Every bite is pillowy pleasure. (6919 Patterson Ave.; 548-5999; billypie.com)

Buckhead’s Chop House: Classic cuts featuring Braveheart beef, seafood and a big wine list. (8510 Patterson Ave.; 750-2000; buckheads.com)

Casa Italiana: A mix of old and new, classic and modern. The "vecchio" (Italian for "old") includes the family grandmother's lasagna recipe. The "nuovo" ("new") is seen in polenta that highlights Italian bread salad and tiramisu served in a margarita glass. Then there's the Spaghetti al Formaggio. A server takes a mostly hollowed-out cask of imported Italian Parmesan cheese and pours in flaming brandy, which melts the cheese before the brandy burns out. Another server adds spaghetti and homemade tomato sauce to the cask. The result has the sweetness of the tomato sauce, the earthiness of the brandy and the saltiness of the cheese. (8801 Three Chopt Road; 303-2769; casaitalianarestaurant.com)

Caturra on Grove: Previously the Cafe Caturra coffee shop and wine bar, Caturra on Grove is now a new American bistro with table service and a full bar. A cozy, hip and family-friendly atmosphere is a nice match for the Caturra Mess, with its classic brunch goodness of potatoes, charred ham and cheddar cheese topped with eggs and a rich Hollandaise. Spicy honey glaze is a pleasant twist for the Chicken & Waffles. There's an extensive list of sandwiches and burgers (the Custom Burger is excellent), and well-priced dinner entrees include French-herbed Cornish game hen, grilled pork tenderloin and seafood gumbo. The Triple Chocolate Brownie is a sweet ending. (5811 Grove Ave.; 285-0690; caturraongrove.com)

Cheng Du: Authentic Szechuan fare with surprising flavors and ingredients. (9503-C W. Broad St.; 747-5282; chengduva.com)

Chez Max Restaurant: Classic French cuisine in an elegant setting, with lighting from a stone fireplace. (10622 Patterson Ave.; 754-3464; chezmaxva.com)

Chianti: Lots of Italian specialties from pastas to pizzas, plus meats, seafood and sandwiches. (1304 Gaskins Road; 740-5050; chiantirichmond.com)

Deep Run Roadhouse: Family-focused roadhouse serves up wood-smoked barbecue, comfort food and Tex-Mex; also in the Fan. (12379 Gayton Road; 740-6301; deeprunroadhouse.com)

Eat 33: Comforting home-cooked breakfast, lunch and brunch in this diner near the Amtrak station. (6901 Staples Mill Road; 716-5060; eat33.net)

European Taste: Dynamically flavored Romanian and Hungarian dishes along with more familiar pastas and sandwiches. (10604 Patterson Ave.; 741-1638; europeantasterva.com)

Full Kee: Extensive menu spotlights Cantonese fare and dim sum. (6400 Horsepen Road; 673-2233; fullkeerichmond.com)

The Grill at Libbie and Patterson: Neighborhood grill with a big menu; breakfast and weekend brunch, too. (5724 Patterson Ave.; 285-0002; thegrillrva.com)

Hobnob: Based on the idea of a Shakespearean hobnob – which brought together friends for food, drink and merriment – this space (once occupied by the Hermitage Grill) hits the mark with a cozy, intimate vibe and tasty food. Southern flair mixes with other influences for lunch and dinner, and Sunday brunch is a winner: Think pain perdu with ripe fruit, steak benedict with a zesty relish, plus addictive cinnamon rolls. Speaking of sweets, check the case near the entrance: Ricotta cake, featuring sponge cake and pistachio ricotta cream, pleasantly isn't too sweet, while the chocolate mocha torte pleasantly is. (6010 Hermitage Road; 264-7400; hobnobrva.com)

Hutch: Southern favorites with creative twists in a casual atmosphere. (1308 Gaskins Road; 308-0115; hutchrva.com)

India K'Raja: Henrico's first Indian restaurant serves traditional favorites. (9051 W. Broad St.; 965-6345; indiakraja.com)

Jack Brown’s Beer & Burger Joint: Quality ingredients (such as Wagyu beef burgers) and a strong beer selection; sister restaurant Billy Jack's in Shockoe Slip. (5810 Grove Ave.; 285-1758; jackbrownsjoint.com

Mekong: Huge menu of Vietnamese dishes and a renowned reputation for its craft beer selection. (6004 W. Broad St.; 288-8929; mekongisforbeerlovers.com)

Mosaic: Wide-ranging menu features eclectic fare with global influences. (6229-A River Road; 288-7482; mosaicedibles.com/richmond)

"The Original" Ronnie's BBQ: With his smoker "Big Red" (and only a few seats for dine-in customers), Ronnie Logan shows off his ribs (and more) in eastern Henrico. Every handlebar of hickory-smoked, peppery pork is gleaming, with meat that slides cleanly off the bone. A splash of sweet, tomatoey barbecue sauce on the side enhances each bite. Flaps of brisket have the robust Appalachial taste of smoky beef jerky. The pulled pork is a vinegary winner. And the real sleeper hit? Get the smoked chicken wings, which are elegantly tender with a flavor emulative of Sichuan tea-smoked duck. (2097 New Market Road; 507-1917)  

Osaka Sushi & Steak: Sushi, sashimi and hand rolls, plus steak, lamb and seafood with pan-Asian flair. (5023 Huguenot Road.; 288-8801; osakasushi.com)

Pho So 1: Authentic noodle house in the heart of the area's Vietnamese cuisine scene. (6403 Rigsby Road; 673-9940)

Phoenix Garden: Vietnamese spot is go-to for vegetarian and vegan diners. (7103 Brook Road; 266-8100; Facebook)

The Pickel Barrel: Homestyle country cooking, from mains to sides to dessert. (12912 Plaza Drive; 708-0166; Facebook)

SB’s Lakeside Love Shack: For breakfast and lunch, this small Lakeside gem is big on flavor and personality in the hands of owner Sarabeth Hagen. The brunch-themed menu nods to The B-52’s 1989 song “Love Shack,” with playfully named dishes such as the Big as a Whale Breakfast and Wearing Next to Nothing Egg Salad. Other winners include the Knock a Lil’ Louder Sugar Buns in a pool of salted caramel maple syrup, the Glitter on the Mattress sausage gravy over toast, and the It’s About to Set Sail BLT piled high on Texas toast. (6935 Lakeside Ave.; 922-2371; sbsloveshack.net)

ShoreDog Cafe: Cozy, cottage-style restaurant inspired by its owners’ love for the water and fresh, local foods. Features a “Sunday by the shore” ambience and classic food from young chef Alex Bailey. Classic Caesar salad and tomato bisque soup are winners on the appetizer list. Dinner selections include fall-off-the-bone-tender Chicken Provençale with a delicately earthy sauce of tomatoes and Provençale herbs, plus jumbo lump crab cakes with roasted red potatoes. Pastry chef Kaia Thorne provides the desserts, including brownies with ice cream and salted chocolate caramel cake. (435-B N. Ridge Road; 716-0999; shoredogcafe.com)

Terraza: Traditional Mexican favorites, plus El Salvadoran pupusas. (6115 Staples Mill Road; 716-8310; terrazarva.com)

Toast: Gastropub near University of Richmond serves comfort dishes with pleasant twists. Also in Midlothian. (7007 Three Chopt Road; 525-4525; toastrva.com)

Vietnam 1: BBQ pork rice paper rolls and countless other options in the area's Vietnamese culinary enclave. (6215-B W. Broad St.; 289-3838)

**

MUSEUM DISTRICT 

Amuse: Fine dining with views from inside the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. (200 N. Boulevard; 340-1580; vmfa.museum/visit)

Bandito's Burrito Lounge: Mexi-Cali offerings in a well-known late-night hangout. (2905 Patterson Ave.; 354-9999; banditosburritolounge.com)

Belmont Food Shop: Mike Yavorsky's back-to-basics food is simply delicious. (27 N. Belmont Ave.; 358-7467; Facebook)

Belmont Pizzeria: Homemade Sicilian-style pies and other Italian favorites. Also in Short Pump. (602 N. Belmont Ave.; 888-9861; belmontpizzeria.com)

Fire & Hops: Italian-heavy menu is supplemented with international options, including tacos, Thai chili calamari and Greek spaghetti. And plenty of adult beverages. Sauces, pizza dough and breads are made in-house. The Bianca with Potatoes & Rosemary white pizza is a winner; the 72-hour fermentation process gives the dough a more complex flavor (and a wood-burning pizza oven renders a perfectly crispy crust). Gnocchi carbonara also incorporate the flavor of fresh rosemary. Creamy burrata cheese highlights a beet salad that also includes spicy arugula and a drizzle of pesto. (1 N. Belmont Ave.; 416-5345; fireandhopsrva.com)

The Stables: Cool neighborhood vibe? Check! Food prepared with imagination and care? Check! Since the menu changes not just seasonally but every two months, there’s more than enough reason to check out this establishment both sooner and later. The menu – chef Evan Campbell called it “New American cuisine with Southern roots and New England grit” – features a Pimento Stacker small plate, a scallops and grits entrée, and an Italian-American seafood stew. The eatery’s name is a nod to the building’s past, locals say, as a carriage house and horse stables for the Richmond police. (201 N. Belmont Ave.; 588-9231; thestablesrva.com)

**

NORTH SIDE 

Demi's: This warm, rustic spot features an open kitchen firing up Mediterranean classics from Greece, Italy, Spain and Turkey. (The owners also own the iconic Dot’s Back Inn diner just across the street.) The baked feta appetizer features tangy sheep’s milk feta wrapped in a delicate phyllo dough imported from Greece. The pastichio – generally described as Greek lasagna – pairs seasoned ground beef with noodles baked in a béchamel sauce. And the house-made baklava is garnished with chopped walnuts and dripping with honey syrup. (4017 MacArthur Ave.; 525-4576; demisrva.com)

Dot's Back Inn: Local institution features a wide-ranging diner menu of familiar favorites, with service to match. (4030 MacArthur Ave.; 266-3167; dotsbackrichmond.com)

Enoteca Sogno: Fresh, seasonal Italian fare and wine in a contemporary bistro atmosphere. (1223 Bellevue Ave.; 355-8466; enoteca-sogno.com)

Manchu: This Vietnamese takeout joint maintains the spirit of the New Orleans original. Forget the interior (and there's no space for dining in), but the food captures a lively mix of Asian and Cajun. The famous fried chicken wings are outstanding, with a soft tickle of cayenne and other Cajun spices. A bang-up version of yakamein (the soupiest of hangover cures) features a salty, golden broth spiked with hot sauce, plus simple spaghetti noodles snaking through a seascape of meaty scraps and sliced halves of an egg. The Cajun options are solid, as is the Vietnamese banh mi. (2914 North Ave.; 303-9232)

Mill on MacArthur: Wide-ranging menu of home-style food. (4023 MacArthur Ave.; 716-1196; themillrva.com)

**

OREGON HILL

L’opossum: David Shannon's playful and delicious food, cocktails with a twist and a cool ambience. (626 China St.; 918-6028; lopossum.com)

Mamma 'Zu: Delicious pasta and other memorable Italian fare from Ed Vasaio's leading gem. (501 S. Pine St.; 788-4205)

**

OUTER REGION

Amici di Enzo: Traditional Northern Italian favorites and pizza in Goochland. (36 Broad Street Road; 708-2354; Facebook)

County Seat: Homestyle comfort food for a quarter-century in Powhatan. (3883 Old Buckingham Road; 598-5000; thecountyseat.com)

Lola's Farmhouse Bistro: Italian and other classics in a casual, rustic atmosphere in Goochland. (1840 Manakin Road; 784-2000; lolasfarmhousebistro.com)

Upper Shirley Vineyards: Southern and Tidewater flair for lunch at the winery in Charles City. (600 Shirley Plantation Road.; 829-9463; uppershirley.com)

**

SCOTT'S ADDITION / WILLOW LAWN

Aloi: Colorful, healthy American cuisine, often featuring farm-to-table fresh vegetables and seafood. (3101 W. Leigh St.; 355-5555; aloirva.com)

Boulevard Burger & Brew: A burger joint for a new era yet sitting on hallowed ground: the site of the iconic Kelly’s Jet System Hamburger, which came to Richmond in the 1950s. The burgers are made with premium organic Black Angus beef that’s non-GMO and without antibiotics or added hormones. They’re cooked on the kitchen’s original chromium steel alloy flat-top griddle, one of just a handful remaining in the United States. Burgers include the Kelly’s Classic, a classic backyard-grill burger, and The Bow Tie, a caprese burger named for the movie theater across the street. (1300 N. Boulevard; 367-3838; boulevardburgerandbrew.com)

Brenner Pass: This 2018 Elby Award nominee for best new restaurant brings the flavors of the Alpine region to an industrial-chic space with white painted brick and exposed ductwork. In the kitchen, you’ll find 2017 James Beard Foundation semifinalist Brittanny Anderson, who opened the eatery with some of her partners from Metzger Bar & Butchery in Church Hill. The parsnip soup and tartiflette croquettes are excellent choices. So are the delightfully crispy Arctic char and the tender dry-aged New York strip. (3200 Rockbridge St.; 658-9868; brennerpassrva.com)

Buz and Ned's Real Barbecue: Ribs, pork, brisket and sides from Buz Grossberg. Also in Henrico. (1119 N. Boulevard; 355-6055; buzandneds.com)

Crafted: Southern- and world-inspired cuisine, from breakfast to wild boar ragu. (4900 Libble Mill East Blvd.; 554-2738; craftedrva.com

Don't Look Back Triple: The renowned taco spot features about a dozen types in either gringo style (cheese, lettuce, sour cream and salsa) or traditional (cilantro, red onion and lime), and in either corn or flour tortillas. The flavorful carnitas taco featured braised pork crisped on the grill, while others offered roasted and stewed chicken or slow-cooked beef with spicy red chile. Fish, tofu and portabella are among other taco options. The Frito pie combines pinto beans, red chile sauce and more in – appropriately – a bag of Fritos corn chips. And the Fistful of Taquitos are crispy and tasty. Also on South Side. (3306 W. Broad St.; 655-2770; dontlookback.co)

Elsa Cafe & Market: Authentic Ethiopian fare, with standout vegetarian and vegan options. (912 N. Boulevard; 840-3843)

En Su Boca: "Welcome to En Su Boca,” reads the menu, “our tequila and beer-centric, taco-slinging, late-night honky-tonk in the heart of Richmond’s Boulevard neighborhood.” (As if that description weren’t fun enough, there’s also the location: a former adult bookstore.) The entrées consist of tacos, burritos and quesadillas, all available with either traditional fillings such as marinated grilled chicken or new-school options such as locally made soy chorizo. The Tira Mi Su for dessert is quirky fun, with the traditional Italian sweet given a Mexican twist in both name and execution. (1001 N. Boulevard; 359-0768; ensuboca.com)

Fat Dragon: A modern spin on classic Cantonese and other regional Chinese cuisine. (1200 N. Boulevard; 354-9888; fatdragonrva.com)

Greek Taverna: The original Crazy Greek family delivers traditional favorites. (1903 Staples Mill Road; 477-6216; thegreektavernarva.com)

Lalo’s Cocina Bar & Grill: South-of-the-border fare and house-made sauces, salsas and chorizo. (2617 W. Broad St.; 257-9930; laloscocina.com)

Lemon Cuisine of India: Traditional flavors and organic ingredients, with strong vegetarian and vegan options. (3215 W. Broad St.; 204-1800; lemoncuisineofindia.com)

Longoven: Excellence. Period. Ingredients taste as if they were foraged from the forest floor or the seashore, and the kitchen employs time-honored techniques. On this visit, the tasting menu was nine courses — seven savory, two dessert. A beet, sous vide and then smoked, was skewered on a rosemary sprig whose aroma infused every bite. A cured rockfish dish tasted like a day on the beach. Grilled pork rib slices and shimeji mushrooms in a dashi magically distilled the dark and heavy flavors of bacon into a refined and clean-tasting broth, punctuated by gigamoto oysters. The sunchoke mousse, with an elegantly nutty sweetness countered by the wispy bitterness of coffee foam, was outstanding. A la carte options, too. (2939 W. Clay St.; 308-3497; longovenrva.com)

Lunch/Supper: Virginia and Southern tastes, featuring house-smoked meats and hearty servings. (1213 Summit Ave.; 353-0111; lunchorsupper.com)

Moore Street Cafe: While this breakfast and lunch place calls itself a café, it’s really a good, old-fashioned diner. In the capable hands of Amy Quidley and Charlie Hughes, two former Richmond bartenders, it’s all about honest food done right. Classics on the menu include bologna burgers and BLTs, fried eggs and corned beef hash, biscuits and gravy, cold Coke and hot coffee. The breakfast club sandwich is a symphony of bacon, ham and sausage on Texas toast. The French toast is sweet, and the pancakes are light and fluffy. Lunch choices include the classic hamburger and the BLT. (2904 W. Moore St.; 359-5970; moorestreetcafe.com)

Perch: Chef Mike Ledesma pays homage to both Pacific-inspired flavors and Southern comfort food. For starters, pimento crab dip is buttery and bubbly, and soft and sweet mussels are nestled in a fragrant broth heavy with the tropical flavors of coconut milk and lemongrass. Seafood-Tamarind Bouillabaisse – with shrimp, turnips, potatoes, leeks and carrots –  is based on sinigang, a Filipino stew from his childhood. Huli-Huli Chicken, a classic Hawaiian street food, is moist and tender in its sweet soy-based sauce. And the Malasadas, a traditional Hawaiian dessert of fried yeast dough, are coated with scented cinnamon sugar and accompanied by mango and pineapple. (2918 W. Broad St.; 669-3344; perchrva.com)

River City Roll: With mood lighting, leather couches and wide-open spaces, this isn't your mama’s bowling alley – and the kitchen raises its game, too. Brick Oven Cauliflower was roasted with curry and parsley and came with a tangy cumin-based yogurt sauce. Creative brick-oven pizza takes up much of the menu: The Jersey Side’s ingredients — garlic, olive oil, chili flakes, ricotta and oregano — came through in every bite, and the Kingpin featured oyster mushrooms, bacon, egg, collard greens and goat cheese. The Roll Burger was a highlight, piled with crispy shallots, oyster mushrooms and white cheddar, and spread with a tart sherry aioli. The Brick Overn Cinnamon Bun is a sweet treat. (939 Myers St.; 331-0416; rivercityroll.com)

Sabai: Authentic Thai food from the streets of Bangkok, served in a stylish setting. (2727 W. Broad St.; 367-4992; sabairva.com)

SaltBox Oyster Co.: What the Willow Lawn restaurant lacks in ambiance, it makes up for in accessibility. The menu provides edifying descriptions and tasting notes, the option to sample every style of oyster on the menu, and a selection of nonoyster dishes. Oysters are best savored raw and unadulterated. From Virginia, the round juiciness of the Ruby Salt and the throat-punch of brininess from the Chincoteague were clear expressions of flavor. A flight of oysters (roasted or fried) makes for an enjoyable first experience. Beyond the bivalve, the crabcake was delicious and hefty, and  the rock shrimp pimento mac ’n cheese was decadent. (1601 Willow Lawn Drive - Suite 300-C; 528-5554; saltboxoyster.com)

Shagbark: Combines stunning decor, an earthy-elegant vibe and the food of owner Walter Bundy, one of the city’s foremost chefs (and former star at Lemaire). Named by USA Today in 2016 as one of “20 new restaurants to try this fall,” the restaurant also made the AAA Four Diamond list for 2017. Its seasonally driven concept features the state’s foremost producers, farmers and fishermen. The menu offers sunchoke bisque with sorghum tuile, Welsh rarebit with a sauté of blue crab and smoked bacon, Eastern Shore bouillabaisse, and a bone-in pork chop with apple-bourbon glaze. Chocolate croissant bread pudding and apple crisp are stars of the dessert menu. (4901 Libbie Mill Blvd.; 358-7424; shagbarkrva.com)

Smohk: Smoked meats (including ribeye) and ribs, varied sauces and Southern sides. (3112 W. Leigh St.; 278-6326; smohkrva.com

Stella's: Longtime local gem offers rustic and modern Greek cuisine, from the heart of Stella Dikos. (1012 Lafayette St.; 358-2011; stellasrichmond.com)

Temple: A rare lesson in Lao cuisine, which reflects familiar traditions of neighboring Asian countries. Half the menu is Laotian soups. The jok gai, a hearty rice porridge with chicken and sliced shitakes and ginger, was restorative. The guay teaw neau brought to mind Vietnamese pho. Elsewhere, the sai krok Thai sausage features the astringent sweetness of diced red onion, the heat of sliced ginger and the vegetal bitterness of shredded cabbage. The pla muk jatsai is a deeply flavored filling of ground pork encased in squid rings, grilled just long enough to acquire smokiness and textural bite. The yum nam kao tod is a vibrant rice salad of contrasts of textures. (2713 W. Broad St.; 367-4990; templerva.com)

ZZQ Texas Craft Barbecue: From its start as a pop-up to its incarnation as a restaurant, ZZQ has been hailed as Richmond’s "meat church." With the spirit of central Texas, it excels at the so-called “Texas Trinity” of beef brisket, pork spareribs and sausage, baptized by the smoke of white oak. Brisket, once tough and muscly, is so tender it practically splays like the loose threads of a woven rug. Spareribs sport a lovely pepper-studded exterior and candy-coated gloss, leaping off the bone in one continuous piece with a single tug. "Hot guts" sausages are loaded with bold flavors redolent of a Portuguese linguiça sausage. On weekends, go for the prehistoric-looking beef ribs on Saturdays and the prime rib on Sundays. (3201 W. Moore St.; 528-5648; zzqrva.com)

**

SHOCKOE  / ROCKETTS

Bistro Bobette: Seasonal Provencal cuisine featuring local ingredients. (1209 E. Cary St.; 225-9116; bistrobobette.com)

The Boathouse at Rocketts Landing: Seafood and American fare in waterfront surroundings. Also in Short Pump and Midlothian. (4708 Old Main St.; 622-2628; boathouseva.com)

The Bombay Company: Latin and Indian fusion in Rocketts Landing. (4821 Old Main St.; 266-4785; thebombayco.com

Bottoms Up Pizza: The local stalwart of gourmet pizza, served in a cool setting. (1700 Dock St.; 644-4400; bottomsuppizza.com)

Casa del Barco: Upscale Mexican comfort food along the Canal Walk. Also in Short Pump and Chesterfield. (320 S. 12th St.; 775-2628; casadelbarcova.com)

Carmela's: Wood-oven pizza from the folks behind Belmont Pizzeria. (3 N. 17th St.; 351-5711; Facebook) 

C'est Le Vin: Wine bar and eatery emphasizes local art. (15 N. 17th St.; 649-9463; cestlevinrva.com)

Citizen: Fresh and local ingredients shine in a neighborhood setting. (1203 E. Main St.; 780-9038; citizenrva.com)

The Hard Shell: Seafood specialties and more. Also in Midlothian. (1411 E. Cary St.; 643-2333; thehardshell.com)

Havana '59: Cuban cooking and cocktails, with a third-floor open-air patio (16 N. 17th St.; 780-2822).

Hot Chick: Lots of fried chicken, including an array of sandwich styles, plus other creative comfort food. (7. N. 17th St.; 596-9988; hotchickrva.com)

LuLu's: Daily brunch, including a lobster and crab omelet and a chorizo frittata. (21 N. 17th St.; 343-9771; lulusrichmond.com)

Millie's: Daily brunch landmark features creative homemade fare, a retro-kitsch vibe – and the popular Devil's Mess. (2603 E. Main St.; 643-5512; milliesdiner.com)

Nota Bene: Italian/Mediterranean delights, including standout pizza (try the Fig &Pig) from the wood-fired oven. (2110 E. Main St.; 477-3355; notabenerva.com

Oak & Apple: Barbecue meats (plus trout and jackfruit) from a charcoal smoker, plus creative BBQ-based chef's plates and sandwiches. (1814 E. Main St.; 477-3055; oankandapplerichmond.com)

Poe's Pub: Bar patrons are treated like old friends, and everyday dishes shine. (2706 E. Main St.; 648-2120; Facebook)

Root Stock Provisions: Curated offerings for breakfast, lunch and early dinner, with handcrafted sodas and homemade ice cream. (1810 E. Main St.; 562-3695; rootstockprovisions.com)

Sam Miller's: Lots of seafood, plus steaks and more, at the longtime local fixture. (1823 E. Main St.; 644-5654; sammillers.com)

Tio Pablo: Street-food-inspired eatery shines with Salvadoran pupusas and Mexican fare. (1703 E. Franklin St.; 643-4828; tiopablotacos.com)

The Tobacco Company: Prime rib leads the way at this local fixture for beef, seafood and other classics. (1201 E. Cary St.; 782-9555; thetobaccocompany.com

23rd & Main Kitchen & Taproom: Delicious burgers, fire-roasted pizzas, entrées and adult beverages. (2302 E. Main St.; 788-7077; 23rdandmain.com)

**

SHORT PUMP / INNSBROOK

Anokha: The flavors and spices of India, with Western cooking techniques. (4015 Lauderdale Drive; 360-8686; anokha.us)

Burger Bach: New Zealand-inspired gastropub features grass-fed beef and lamb burgers, and more. Also in Carytown and Midlothian. (2225 Old Brick Road; 716-6748; theburgerbach.com)

Hondos Prime: Chophouse has an extensive menu of steaks and more, as well as lunch and Sunday brunch. (4120 Cox Road; 968-4323; hondosprime.com)

Hurley's Tavern: Diverse menu and fresh fare distinguish this sports bar. (4028 Cox Road; 433-3332; hurleystavern.com)

Lehja: Wide-ranging menu of contemporary Indian cuisine, plus an extensive wine list. (11800 W. Broad St.; 364-1111; lehja.com)

Mama Cucina: Big portions of homemade pasta and other Italian favorites. (4028 Cox Road; 346-3350; mama-cucina.com)

Organic Krush: Fully organic menu features all-day breakfast, wraps, bowls and daily dinner specials. (3406 Pump Road; 362-7666; organickrush.com)

Park Lane Tavern: English pub specialties along with European and American influences. (2251 Old Brice Road; 887-5063; parklanetavern.com

Peter Chang China Cafe: Renowned chef offers authentic Chinese. Also opened spot next door and in Scott's Addition. (11424 W. Broad St.; 364-1688; peterchangrestaurant.com)

Pho 1 Grill: Flavorful Vietnamese menu of broken rice, vermicelli, pho, barbecued meat and stir-fries. (201 Towne Center West Blvd., Suite 701; 360-8288; pho1grill.com)

Ray's Other Place: Broad yet inventive menu of delicious choices for dinner and brunch in a neighborhood setting. (3061 Lauderdale Drive; 482-0895; raysotherplace.com)

Red Salt: A modern steakhouse is paired with a sushi bar. (12221 W. Broad St.; 360-8080; redsaltrva.com)

Tarrant’s West: A Paris bistro vibe with the classic, comforting food from the Tarrant’s Café downtown. (11129 Three Chopt Road; 205-9009; tarrantswestrva.com)

Umi Sushi Bistro: A place for people who love sushi and maybe even those who don’t – the sushi, sashimi and other Japanese dishes are of such high quality, even first-timers might be sold. The restaurant, named for the Japanese word for “sea,” spares no expense in its commitment to using the highest-quality ingredients, many sourced from Japan. Winners on the extensive menu include the stellar sashimi, the Richmond Roll featuring delicate shrimp tempura fried to order, the Sushi Deluxe with seven pieces of raw fish over sticky rice, and the green tea cheesecake. (11645 W. Broad St.; 360-3336; umisushibistro.com)

West Coast Provisions: With a California seaside vibe, this is the suburban sister restaurant to Carytown's East Coast Provisions. While both serve the same core menu, the signature dishes at West Coast emphasize the flavors of Asia, California and the Pacific Northwest (while East Coast relies on Eastern U.S. influences). The tuna carpaccio is special, both in flavor and plate presentation. Other standouts include the octopus appetizer, tuna tacos, roasted rockfish and WC Shrimp & Grits. And the deconstructed pineapple upside-down cake is a treat. (301-A Maltby Blvd.; 360-1090; westcoastrva.com)

YaYa's Cookbook: The concept is twofold. The first is expressed through the menu, filled with the Asian street food of China, Hong Kong, Japan, Laos and Thailand. The second is expressed through the name, a sentimental nod to the mother and grandmother behind this family-owned business. As for the food, the appetizer dumplings are soft and chewy, the chicken satay combines flavors from both curry and the grill, and the drunken fried rice entrée marries thinly sliced beef and lots of fresh vegetables. A showstopper dessert pairs fresh mango with sticky rice steamed with coconut cream and palm sugar. (11674 W. Broad St.; 360-8301; yayascookbookhenrico.com)

**

SOUTH SIDE / BON AIR 

Boka Grill & Growlers: Fusion sandwiches and burgers are joined by Patrick Harris’ famous tacos. (2557 Sheila Lane; 928-2652; bokatruck.com/the-boka-grill)

Camden's Dogtown Market: From breakfast to lunch to from-scratch Mediterranean influences at dinner. (201 W. Seventh St.; 745-6488; cdmrva.com

Croaker's Spot: Soul-style seafood from an eatery with roots in Jackson Ward. (1020 Hull St.; 269-0464; croakersspot.com)

Eat 66: No matter how many diners dot the landscape, there’s always room for one more. Comfort food and friendly service are the ideas here (at the sister diner to Eat 33 in Henrico). Navy bean soup is very flavorful, with a ham-stock base and chunks of salty country ham. The meatloaf had a nice, light texture – and came with buttery mashed potatoes and sweet fried cabbage – and the oven-roasted turkey on Texas toast was nicely done. For Sunday brunch, the Canadian Bennie was excellent, with rich Hollandaise drizzled onto a poached egg, English muffin and Canadian bacon. (2845 Hathaway Road; 716-6169; Facebook)

Frank's Ristorante: Pasta, wood-fired pizza and plenty more authentic Italian fare in this mainstay. (3054 Stony Point Road; 560-1613; franksrva.com)

Galley Kitchen: Experience shines in this neighborhood hangout in Stratford Hills thanks to owners Johnny Giavos, Chris DiLauro and Manny Mendez. The three friends, chefs and business partners are responsible for a long string of Richmond restaurant hits including Kuba Kuba, Stella’s and Bacchus. The Galley Market menu offers breakfast items, salads and sandwiches served in generous portions. Hand-tossed pizzas include a Margherita, a sausage and fennel, a roasted grape and Gorgonzola, and a sweet-hot option with honey and Calabrian chili peppers. You’ll also find daily blackboard specials and a small selection of homemade desserts. (2805 Hathaway Road; 323-1117; galleykitchen.info)

La Hacienda: Cali-Mexi fare, inspired by California taquerias, at Stony Point Fashion Park. (9200 Stony Point Parkway; 767-2917; Facebook) 

Laura Lee's: Kendra Feather's modern take on the popular American fern bars of the 1970s. There are ferns, of course, as well as a classic mirrored bar, lots of exposed brick and fabulous turquoise banquettes. The contemporary American menu can feature cornmeal-fried oysters with tangy remoulade, creamy polenta with wild mushrooms, pressed pork shoulder, mountain trout, jumbo lump crab cakes and pasta Bolognese. The restaurant’s “sides to share” include brown butter snap peas and curried creamed kale. Received major recognition from the 2017 Elby dining awards, including a nomination for best new restaurant. (3410 Semmes Ave.; 233-9672; lauraleesrva.com)

Little Nickel: "Vacation food" – with a focus on tropical dishes, coastal Mediterranean flair and twists on midcentury American classics – is the latest offering from Johnny Giavos, Manny Mendez and Chris DiLaurio, a trio of chefs and friends with their hands in some of the city’s best-known restaurants. The cute, cozy setting has island charm to spare. Favorites at this eatery – affectionately named for the nearby Richmond icon, the Nickel Bridge – include the lumpia (Filipino egg roll), the grilled steak entrée with potato frico and chimichurri, and the Hawaiian pork bowl with pineapple, bacon and salsa verde. (4702 Forest Hill Ave.; 230-8743; Facebook)

Max's Positive Vibe Cafe: Southern influences at eatery that trains and employs individuals with disabilities. (2825 Hathaway Road; 560-9622; positiveviberva.com)

O'Toole's Restaurant & Pub: A family-owned Irish pub mainstay for a half-century. (4800 Forest Hill Ave.; 233-1781; otoolesrestaurant.com)

Southbound: Family-friendly restaurant serves comforting suppers with locally sourced ingredients. (3036 Stony Point Road; 918-5431; southboundrva.com)

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