13th Annual Platinum Plate Awards



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Platinum Plates, A–Z

219 An American Bistro, Norfolk

Open since 2010, the corner location on Granby Street at Brooke Avenue is a great vantage point for watching Norfolk go by while enjoying regional American cuisine; crab cakes are always a favorite.

Gold Level Winner

456 Fish, Norfolk

From the cozy dining room, complete with images of Norfolk days gone by, a variety of seafood items are served; the crab-stuffed flounder was a treat during one of our visits.

Gold Level Winner

Aldo’s Ristorante, Virginia Beach

Aldo’s is a fine dining wine bar and Italian restaurant open for some 27 years now. The feel is Old World and upscale but relaxing and unpretentious. Pizza is always a favorite, and we love the sassy and saucy puttanesca pasta.

24K Level Winner

baker's crustBaker’s Crust

Baker’s Crust has evolved since 1993 from a self-service 36-seat sandwich spot to a full-service restaurant (with multiple locations) offering breakfast favorites, artisan sandwiches and specialty dinner entrees. The from-scratch European-style artisan breads complement it all.

24K Level Winner

Bardo Edibles + Elixirs, Norfolk

Bardo offers Pacific Rim and Asian-inspired cuisine, with a little kitsch thrown in for fun. For nearly 12 years, Bardo has been an intimate space to dine with forward-focused cocktails and sake.

Gold Level Winner

Blue Seafood and Spirits, Virginia Beach

Blue is a 60-seat chef-owned and operated restaurant with a focus on fresh, quality seafood in a casual but upscale setting. Chef/owner Charles Thain utilizes the abundance of local seafood and produce in his dishes. The chocolate bread pudding is a sweet ending.  

24K Gold Level Winner

The Bier Garden, Portsmouth

Check the passport; this fun, family-owned German restaurant, located in the heart of Olde Towne Portsmouth, specializes in southern-style Old World cuisine and serves up more than 300 beers from around the world.

Gold Level Winner

Big Italy, Virginia Beach

Big Italy consists of three restaurants in one: Pi-zzeria, Mama’s Italian Kitchen and Café Amarino; each location offers a different spectrum of Old World cuisine, from pizza to finer dining dishes to espresso and gelato. Trust us: try the house-made lasagna.

Gold Level Winner

The Boardwok Restaurant, Virginia Beach

Located in the Red Mill area of Virginia Beach, for 15 years The Boardwok has served up contemporary cuisine with an Asian flair. Favorites include Rockfish with Asian Vinaigrette and Wok-Flashed Green Beans.

Bodega on Granby, Norfolk

An Old World look that includes dark wood and a coppertop bar complements a small plate menu in the spirit of Spanish tapas. The empanadas are muy bueno.

Gold Level Winner   

Captain Groovy’s Grill & Raw Bar, Norfolk

Open since 2007, Captain Groovy’s is a fun fish shack-style restaurant offering casual dining with a raw bar and fresh seafood from Executive Chef David Watts. We crave the clam strips.

Gold Level Winner   

Catch 31, Virginia Beach

Open, bright and airy, with expansive views of the beach, Catch 31 offers fresh seafood and a full raw bar (we always start with oysters). The feel is relaxing and beachy, and so is the menu. A good choice is the fresh catch, prepared in a number of ways, including broiled, bronzed, blackened or mesquite wood grilled.

24K Gold Level Winner   

Chix Seaside Grille & Bar, Virginia Beach

Since 1977, Chix has served fresh seafood platters and an eclectic menu ranging from burgers to tacos. Steamer bags carry on a Chesapeake Bay tradition: The Feast includes steamed shrimp, crab legs, clams, corn, kielbasa and baby potatoes.

Gold Level Winner

Cobalt Grille, Virginia Beach

Open for 15 years, Chef Alvin Williams’ food is classed as Euroclectic, American Contemporary and Fun Dining. Customer favorites are Beef Wellington, Rockfish topped with Lobster, Crab & Lemon Beurre Blanc, Fried Oreos and Dip Sum Doughnuts.

24K Gold Level Winner

East Coast Taco Company, Suffolk

Located in historic downtown Suffolk, chef/owner Jose Moncada serves up authentic Mexican cuisine with a strong local produce influence. An extensive menu offers favorites, and there are chef-inspired nightly specials.

Gold Level Winner     

Eurasia Café & Wine Bar, Virginia Beach

We’ve long loved Eurasia and its upscale-but-approachable, creative menu with a decidedly Asian twist. Lunch is always enjoyable, but dinner is amazing; we enjoy the sesame-encrusted ahi tuna.

24K Gold Level Winner     

Fire and Vine, Virginia Beach

The focus here is fire: seasonal, fire-roasted recipes, paired with vine; the eatery offers an extensive list of New World wines, as well as regional craft beers. Peter Stine recently took over the kitchen, and we loved the steak and seafood offerings we ordered.

24K Gold Level Winner

Gosport Tavern, Portsmouth

Gosport Tavern offers tavern-style cuisine with a twist, in a fun and comfortable setting. This is a true neighborhood spot, catering to the folks in Olde Towne Portsmouth with a focus on American craft beer and American whisky. A rooftop deck opens in 2016.

Gold Level Winner

Hot Tuna, Virginia Beach

Since 1982, Hot Tuna has been a local favorite along the Great Neck Corridor. Fresh, local ingredients fuel a menu that includes calamari, soft-shell crabs, ahi tuna and burgers. There is also a focus on specialty cocktails.

24K Gold Level Winner  

La Bella in Ghent, Norfolk

La Bella in Ghent is a family-owned and operated, independent Italian restaurant opened in 2007 by chef/owner Andrea DiCarlo. The feel is Old School, Jersey Italian and the food is straight from Sicily. Note an extensive gluten-free and vegan menu. We love the Veal Saltimbocca, rich with prosciutto, sage, cheese and sherry sauce.

24K Gold Level Winner

Lager Heads Restaurant, Virginia Beach

To call Lager Heads a burger joint would be a disservice. There is a focus on burgers, and we’ve tried all 12, but other menu items, including steaks, chops and seafood are there too, as well as 20 craft beers hand-selected from around the country.

Gold Level Winner

lynnhaven fish house​Lynnhaven Fish House, Virginia Beach

Fresh catch is served up in a dining room with a spectacular view of the Chesapeake Bay. From Executive Chef Jim Reis comes signature dishes like Cedar Plank Salmon, Seafood Tower and Filet Mignon. The eatery has been owned by the Kyrus family for 36 years.

24K Gold Level Winner

Mahi Mah’s, Virginia Beach

Located right on the beach, gorgeous views are afforded at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Throughout all the meal services is a focus on seafood. From mid-day on, sushi rolls appear. A favorite of ours, however, is the Carolina Pork Melt—a true regional treat.

24K Gold Level Winner

Mannino’s Italian Bistro, Portsmouth and Virginia Beach

Mannino’s is a casual-upscale Old World-inspired Italian restaurant infused with New York stylings. We love the Linguine Pesto Genovese, and chef/owner John Mannino’s crab soup is legendary. There are three locations across Coastal Virginia.

24K Gold Level Winner

Metropolitan Oyster Exchange, Virginia Beach

Chef/owner Maureen Cucchiaro augments freshly shucked Eastern Shore oysters in this comfortable, quaint eatery with an upscale/fish shack feel. Other fabulous food (gumbo, jambalaya, lobster) are offered alongside craft beers and creative cocktails.

24K Gold Level Winner

Nawab Indian Cuisine, Virginia Beach and Williamsburg

From a warm, comfortable, paprika-hued dining room come dishes with flavors of India, from clean, simple delicate tastes to those that explode with spice and heat.

Gold Level Winner  

Norfolk Seafood Co. & Big Easy Oyster Bar, Norfolk

In Norfolk Seafood Co., traditional seafood offerings are served Old School style, among them crab, flounder and scallops. Upstairs at the oyster bar, look for menus that include oysters, shrimp cocktail and she-crab soup.

Gold Level Winner   

Opus 9 Steakhouse, Williamsburg

In a decidedly upscale atmosphere, quality cuts of prime beef are served along with vintages that have garnered the Wine Enthusiast’s Award of Excellence every year.

24K Gold Level Winner

Off the Hook Seafood Restaurant & Market, Chesapeake

How fresh can fresh catch get? Off The Hook operates both a fresh seafood market and an adjacent full-service seafood restaurant. Specialties from the kitchen of chefs Stephen Gellas and Mary Prader include locally caught/harvested seafood and locally grown produce. A mid-summer meal of grouper we enjoyed was, well, off the hook.

24K Gold Level Winner  

Passion the Restaurant, Chesapeake

Passion, open since 2008, is a casual, fine dining eatery. From Executive Chef Garett Barner comes dishes including rack of lamb, shrimp and grits and fresh catch seafood; the she crab soup is fabulous.

24K Gold Level Winner

the point at phoebusThe Point at Phoebus, Hampton

Quaint, with an urban-esque feel, The Point focuses on creative farm-to-table comfort goods made from scratch, as well as craft brews, spirits and signature cocktails. On a visit, we grooved on the Smoked Mushroom Stir Fry, local smoked mushrooms, carrots and other goodies over plantation rice.

Gold Level Winner

The Public House, Norfolk

The Public House in Ghent offers a creatively-spun pub menu with items like Chicken Pot Pie, two cheesy versions of mac and cheese, and burgers, including a chickpea veggie burger. A large whiskey selection and 31 draft beer lines augment the food.

Gold Level Winner  

Rajput Indian Cuisine, Norfolk and Suffolk

Open since 1999, Rajput offers an extensive menu, including vegan and gluten-free options. Featured are a lunch buffet, dinner buffet on Sunday and fine dining at dinner serving Southern Indian cuisine in an exotic setting.

Gold Level Winner  

Rockafeller’s, Virginia Beach

Since 1989, Rockafeller’s has offered great, straight-forward seafood and amazing views of Rudee Inlet from its large, two-story beach cottage-esque building. Brunch is wonderful, and at dinner a seafood sampler is in order, along with some hushpuppies studded with crab and shrimp. The coconut cake makes us swoon.

Gold Level Winner

rockafellers and rudeesRudee’s on the Inlet, Virginia Beach

Housed in a replica of a Coast Guard station, Rudee’s has served up seasonal specials, with a focus on seafood, for 32 years. We love the raw bar and fresh catch prepared Chesapeake Style with jumbo lump crabmeat, Virginia ham and Bearnaise sauce.

Gold Level Winner

Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Virginia Beach

Celebrating 10 years in Virginia Beach’s Town Center, Ruth’s Chris still has their sizzle. From the fine furnishings and dark mahogany paneling to the well-appointed tableware and attentive service, the table is set—literally—for a big sizzling steak (broiled at 1800 degrees). We love the cowboy cut.

24K Gold Level Winner

Schlesinger’s Steaks, Newport News

Fireside seating, a fine dining atmosphere and plush booths are inspired by the fine chophouses of New York. So is the menu, which focuses on prime beef and fresh seafood. We love the filet mignon.

24k Gold Level Winner

Second Street, An American Bistro, Newport News

Brothers John and Mickey Chohany opened Second Street in 1985 and, from their modern American bistro, serve creative approachable regional fare in a casual-upscale setting. The herb-rubbed Grilled Bistro Steak is a winner.

Gold Level Winner

Supper Southern Morsels, Norfolk

In just a year’s time, Supper has been one of those places we love to go to for supper (and lunch, and brunch). Elevated Southern comfort foods and a focus on craft cocktails (and a hyper-local beer list) are served up in a shabby chic dining room or rooftop deck. Chef Ed Storey’s fried chicken is the bomb.

24K Gold Level Winner

Tautog’s, Virginia Beach

We love the simple, straightforward approach of seafood at Tautog’s, as well as the charming location: a 1926 beach cottage at the Virginia Beach oceanfront. All of our experiences have been wonderful, and we still think about a meal of local blackened tuna.

24K Gold Level Winner

The Terrace Room at Williamsburg Inn, Williamsburg

The Terrace Room at the Williamsburg Inn offers a more casual dining experience that features traditional American fare with a modern expression. Signature dishes include Wagyu beef burgers, a Virginia-inspired Cobb salad and the world famous Williamsburg Inn crab cake.

24K Gold Level Winner

Thirty 7 North, Virginia Beach

We love Thirty 7 North: open, airy and surrounded by waters just off the Chesapeake Bay, Executive Chef Jamie Young capitalizes on the fresh feeling with local fare. Pan-Seared Scallops made us sizzle.

24K Gold Level Winner  

Waterman’s Surfside Grille, Virginia Beach

The panoramic view of sand and surf from the glass-front dining room whets your appetite for the fresh seafood Waterman’s has offered since 1981; the menu also offers items from ribs to pasta. An Orange Crush is a must.

Gold Level Winner   

Woody McGees, Virginia Beach

Seafood, Café/Bistro

Part bar, part bistro, an extensive menu offers a variety of dishes; a signature item is the Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf with rosemary-bourbon gravy. Editor’s note: as CoVa went to press, we were sad to learn of the passing of owner Don Stull.

Gold Level Winner

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