Raising a Fork
Our Eleventh Annual Platinum Plate Awards Serves Up The Best Restaurants In Coastal Virginia
restaurant award winners in virginia beach, norfolk, portsmouth, and chesapeake
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Food is a very special thing.
Nations have gone to war over it—or specifically—over its supply. Nations also spar over it, claiming their cuisine to be superior in some way to other countries.
Folks pass down family recipes in secret, the way a bank teller may guard the combination to the vault.
Folks also compete with said recipes, vying for everything from blue ribbons to an obscenely large purse at the Pillsbury Bake-Off to their own show on the Food Network.
But, on the most basic level, food is nourishment—not only for the body but for the soul.
It is part of our life from beginning to end. It first appears at the baby shower thrown in our honor by mom’s coworkers and fills tables in the church at the covered dish collection for our mourning family when we pass away.
During life, it is there at birthdays, holidays, weddings and anniversaries. It is used to celebrate things small and grand, to mark time and events and to show love and affection. It comforts. It relaxes. It quells pangs. It stirs memories.
No wonder, then, that we hold restaurants in such high regard. Yes, many of our food events are made right in our own kitchen and served on our own dining room table. But others are made in restaurants: the celebration of a promotion; the marriage proposal; the holiday out to give mom a break; the weekly date between long-partnered couples.
We take food—and restaurants—seriously here at Coastal Virginia Magazine because we know they are part of the fabric of our society, not only on a large scale, but on a regional scale, too.
For the 11th year, we offer our Platinum Plate Awards; our ranking of restaurants in Coastal Virginia. Let’s raise a glass to the owners, the chefs, the servers, the sommeliers, the bartenders and to the food and drink, for it is a very special thing indeed.
The Top 10 Restaurants in Coastal Virginia
Score – 97.9328
Regency Room in the Williamsburg Inn
Many of the restaurant’s hallmarks remain true even more than a half-century later: a comfortable-but-upscale atmosphere, impeccable service and incredible culinary offerings that blend southern regional flavors with classic French techniques from Executive Chef Travis Brust.
Brust is a culinary powerhouse—larger than life in stature and grasp of cuisine—his passion is evident bite after bite. But don’t just take our word for it—in 2012 he placed first in the chef competition at the World Food Championship in Las Vegas, besting out several food television stars, and came in second place in 2013.
136 East Francis St., Williamsburg
Score – 97.7534
Chef/owner Rodney Einhorn brings a sophisticated approach to dining by using local ingredients prepared with classic techniques; the same sophistication resonates in the tidy dining room, well-appointed in soothing green hues, exotic woods and lush textures. A wonderful bar menu and in-house sweets take the cake.
3102 Holly Rd., Pinewood Square #514, Virginia Beach
Rank 3 – tie
Score – 97.5743
Salacia Prime Seafood and Steaks Restaurant
Executive Chef Brad Kelly brings to Coastal Virginia an expansive experience from notable restaurants across the country. Salacia’s food is fresh, innovative and beautifully executed; service is professional and attentive. Expansive beach views add to the sexy dining room decked out in summer white and cobalt blue with dark wood accents.
3001 Atlantic Ave.,
Rank 3 – tie
Score – 97.5743
Amid an elegant colonial dining room backdrop, offered are seasonally changing menus that feature local flavors and foodways, prepared approachably using classic techniques. We have enjoyed the continued local focus and reinterpretations of familiar dishes from Executive Chef Scott Simpson, who joined Swan Terrace last year. We also love the myriad of special events always happening at Swan Terrace.
5641 Indian River Rd.,
Score – 97.3878
Chef/owner Jerry Weihbrecht offers a varied, ever-changing menu with seasonal and sometimes playful ingredients; regardless of what comes from the exhibition kitchen, it is always wonderful. In addition to the chef’s charm, the dining room itself is charming with lots of wood accents and plush pillows and seat coverings. Wine selections from sommelier Marc Sauter are incredible.
713 19th St. #102,
Score – 97.2399
Stove, The Restaurant
We’ve long loved chef/owner Sydney Meers and his quirky, eclectic takes on food and life in general. This intimate dining room is his stage, not only for his folk art that adorns the walls but for his always impressive array of neo-Southern cuisine. Attention to detail shows in every bite, from Smoochie Bear Ham to Sextuple Truffle.
2622 Detroit St.,
Score – 96.9154
Chef Maureen Cucchiaro does fresh catch quite unlike anyone else in Coastal Virginia in Jerry Bryan’s classic Coastal Grill. Since 1989, this comfortable, contemporary restaurant has offered extensive blackboard lists of incredible seafood and other nightly specials, augmented with a tidy, well-rounded, printed menu.
1427 N. Great Neck Rd. #104, Virginia Beach
Score – 96.8531
Still Worldly Eclectic Tapas
Creative and innovative, the food at Still constantly wows; the seasonally-changing menu from chef/owner Michael Farrell always has delicious surprises. Outstanding service and an intimate dining room round things out—one of the best bar lists in the region doesn’t hurt either.
450 Court St., Portsmouth
Score – 96.6243
Contemporary, creative, seasonal and fresh offerings from the kitchen of chef/owner Tom Power Jr. always impress. The beautifully-appointed dining room is upscale but comfortable and relaxed, much like the plates that come from the kitchen. Put Fat Canary on your must-dine list of Williamsburg restaurants.
410 W. Duke of Gloucester St., Williamsburg
Score – 96.5537
Todd Jurich’s Bistro
A longstanding downtown favorite, namesake chef/owner Todd Jurich and his sous chef continue to please with seasonal and sustainable upscale contemporary offerings showcased in a trendy, hip dining room. We also love nibbles and imbibes at the bar.
150 W. Main St. #100,
Rank 10 – tie
Score – 96.2222
Blue Talon Bistro
Chef David Everett produces wonderful classic French bistro fare in a relaxed, unpretentious atmosphere. Blue Talon Bistro offers what they call “serious comfort food,” and we seriously agree; attention to each and every delicious morsel is given, and service is always outstanding. We love to start with Everett’s charcuterie.
420 Prince George St., Williamsburg
Rank 10 – tie
Score – 96.2222
Harper Bradshaw has come onto the Coastal Virginia cuisine scene strong with his namesake restaurant in downtown Suffolk and his upscale-but-approachable take on Southern cuisine. The food is authentic and a true celebration of the region, bite after delicious bite. The countrified dining room is cozy and comfortable, just with the right touch of class and panache.
122 N. Main St., Suffolk