Where to Eat Now
Our 12th Annual Platinum Plate Awards serves up the best restaurants in Coastal Virginia
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Score – 96.8473
Seasonally changing menus that feature local flavors and foodways, prepared approachably using classic techniques from Executive Chef Scott Simpson, are offered amid an elegant colonial dining room backdrop.
Editor’s note: This month the operation of Founders Inn and its Swan Terrace restaurant is being run by Regent University, replacing the Capella Hotel Group, which has managed the property since 2011.
Score – 96.7547
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, and one of the best bar lists in Coastal Virginia doesn’t hurt either.
Score – 96.6285
Chef Jerry Weihbrecht, who had been with Zoës since its opening in 2003, left in 2014, and Chef Jesse Wykle, formerly of Eurasia, took over reigns in the kitchen. Wykle is still tweaking menu offerings; existing ones are prepared flawlessly, and we’ve loved new ones too, making Zoës a continued place for fine dining. 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.
Score – 96.4839
Since 1989, Coastal Grill has offered seafood-centric dishes done simply but elegantly. We love to start with a big bowl of steamed mussels in a gorgeous broth that includes onions and tomatoes and is garnished with fresh thyme; crusty bread mops it all up. Soft-shell crabs are the must-order in season, but all seafood here has been impeccable on our visits. Ethereal profiteroles are a fabulous ending.
We also love Coastal Grill’s strong commitment to sustainable seafood as a partner with the Virginia Aquarium’s Sensible Seafood program. In late 2014, Coastal Grill moved to larger digs just across the street from the location where they have been for a quarter century.
Score – 96.3177
A longstanding downtown Norfolk 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.
Score – 96.3177
Executive Chef Kenny Sloane wears a mohawk as he presides over his open kitchen in this tony Port Warwick/Newport News restaurant. That bit of panache translates to what comes out of the kitchen, too.
We love the commitment to local, and we also adore the absolute fresh farm-to-table ingredients. She Crab Soup with jumbo lump crab meat is a rich, decadent and delightful start to meals; we also love the incredible Tuna Tartare with seaweed salad, Sriracha—yes, Sriracha—ice cream, sesame oil powder and spring roll crunch.
Beef and pork dishes are awesome, but seafood never disappoints here. The last time we had the scallops we actually swooned.
View a copy of Coastal Virginia Magazine’s January 2015 issue for the complete listing of Platinum Plate Award winners.