Global Eats Part II

Photos by Jim Pile, David Uhrin and Ryan Miller

We’re exploring Global Eats in Part I, Part II and Part III with 101 enticing international restaurants that put Coastal Virginia’s culinary culture on the map.

 

English and Irish

 

DoG Street Pub, Williamsburg, English restaurant
DoG Street Pub

DoG Street Pub

It is quite fitting that a British gastropub takes residence in Merchants Square just steps away from the 18-century streets of Colonial Williamsburg. This 80-year-old bank-turned-restaurant and bar prides itself on preserving history with a modern twist. Wash down "rubbish-free" dishes like black pudding—warm sausage with sautéed apples, onions and a fried egg—shepherd pie or fish and chips (complete with mushy peas) with an extensive selection of both draft and bottled brews from around the globe. 401 W. Duke of Gloucester St., Williamsburg, 757-293-6478, DoGStreetPub.com
—MMS

 

Grace O’Malley’s Irish Pub & Restaurant

On any given night, Granby Street is hopping with action. At the center of it all is Grace O’Malley’s Irish Pub & Restaurant, serving up great food, a wide selection of libations and what they call craic—fun, entertainment and enjoyable conversations. Conveniently located within walking distance from the many entertainment venues Norfolk has to offer, O’Malley’s is the perfect spot for a pre-concert meal in an exciting and boisterous atmosphere. It’s an especially fun place to hang out when the Virginia International Tattoo is in town. 211 Granby St., Norfolk, 757-333-3330, IrishPubNorfolk.com
—BB

 

Murphy’s Grand Irish Pub

Where the streams of whiskey flow, where you’ll find a pour of the perfect pint of the black stuff and there’s live music worth a jig, this Irish Oceanfront pub full of fervor has eats deserving of some banter. Have a go at the Hot and Hearty Irish Stew, Meat and Potato Pie, or satisfy your hunger with their Crab Cake Platter or Fresh Oysters Lightly Fried, served proudly as part of the Virginia Aquarium’s Sensible Seafood program. 2914 Pacific Ave., Virginia Beach, 757-417-7701, MurphysPub.com/Murphy/VaBeach
—RM

 

Blarney Stone Pub

If you’re cruising along U.S. Route 13 on the Eastern Shore and are suddenly overcome with an urge for great food in a fun atmosphere, you’ll want to turn toward Onancock and head for the Blarney Stone Pub. Named after a block of limestone built into the battlements of Blarney Castle in Ireland that is rumored to give the gift of gab to anyone who kisses the stone, the restaurant’s menu flatters with such treats as corned beef spring rolls, shepherd’s pie or bangers and mashers. 10 North St., Onancock, 757-302-0300, BlarneyStonePubOnancock.com
—BB

 

Finn McCools Fish House & Tavern

While attributing its name to the figure of Irish folklore and fitting its beguiling barroom imported from the Emerald Isle with a wooden finish framing its draft handles and whiskey in the jar, there’s also a sensational seafood selection at this fish house and tavern. From red snapper and blackened mahi to the raw bar of oysters and a steamer platter combining clams, mussels and shrimp, the restaurant takes pride in their options from the sea. If you’re feeling more turf than surf, take a bite of corned beef and cabbage or a Gaelic steak boxty, a potato pancake filled with steak and smothered in gravy. 3388 Princess Anne Rd., Virginia Beach, 757-689-0829, FinnMcCoolsVB.com
—RM

 

Worldly Meals on Wheels

 

4 Spices Mediterranean Food

Global eats hits the streets with 4 Spices serving up tempting Mediterranean fare. Grab a bite of their shawarma, grilled chicken marinated in their namesake blend of spices wrapped up and covered with creamy tzatziki and harissa; falafel with fried chickpea dumplings, cucumbers, cilantro and fried eggplant in pita bread; or their kefta ground beef wrap and Tunisian tuna wrap, each fittingly paired with sides of hummus or grape leaves with rice. 757-837-3612
—RM

 

Sofrito Food truck, Puerto Rican food truck
Sofrito

Sofrito

This appealing food truck spices things up with a fresh twist on the most beloved dishes found in Puerto Rico. Take a bite out of their savory empanadas packed with beef, chicken, chorizo or vegan Baja roasted corn and black bean or their Barbacoa Beef Tacos, braised beef in a spicy red chili sauce. For heavier portions, fill up on a Cuban, panini or burrito, each sure to satisfy your Caribbean cravings. 757-408-2245. Facebook.com/SofritoJose
—RM

 

Deutscher Imbiss

Defined as a small place or hut to get a quick snack, the German Imbiss is a popular staple in Deutschland, with each town or village having one or several of them to quickly satisfy hungry stomachs. You can get traditional favorites such as bratwurst or currywurst, schnitzel bites, käsespätzle, German potato salad and/or pommes frites. Then you’ll just have to find a comfortable place to sit while you enjoy a genuine taste of Europe. Check their website to see where they’ll be setting up (preferably near somewhere that serves great beer). 757-933-1307, DeutscherImbiss.com
—BB

 

Cubania

The first true Cuban food truck to hit the scene in Coastal Virginia, Cubania brings a blend of tastes made with love you’d find from home-style cooking as well as spectacular street food. The Cubano with pork, ham, Swiss Cheese, pickles and mustard is a must, served similarly in their Cuban Bowl with pork, rice, black beans and fried plantains. 757-317-0120, Facebook.com/CubaniaFoodTruck
—RM 

 

Karnage Asada

A multicultural and transcontinental street food experience, Karnage Asada fuses Latin American and Asian cuisine with its enticing eats. Kapow Nachos collide house-made kimchi with fried tortilla chips and black bean corn salsa and cheese with a choice of meat and the Smack Down Sauce while the knock-out Dragon Whip Beef Burrito dynamically merges seasoned rice and pinto beans with meat with their wasabi slaw. 757-828-7559, KarnageAsada.com
—RM 

 

Seoul 757

It’s classic Korean, somewhat Latin American and downright delicious. Seoul 757 pulls pages from a traditional recipe book while flipping the script on Korean foods with dishes like their Korean BBQ Tacos with beef, spicy pork or chicken and kimchi slaw, and their alluring bibimbap, a rice bowl with carrots, bean sprouts, cucumber and kimchi, bulgogi (Korean barbecue), spicy gochujang sauce and topped with a fried egg. 757-377-3646, Facebook.com/Seoul757Taco
—RM 

 

Latin American

 

Luna Maya, Norfolk, Latin American restaurants
Luna Maya

Luna Maya

“Luna”tics have followed every phase, from inception two decades ago as a teeny Aragona Mexican cantina to cool, creamsicle-colored, first Ghent incarnation to current Colley home: industrial-chic, über-hip, radiating buzz with an expanded Latino menu reflecting sisters/owners Karla and Vivian Montano’s Bolivian heritage. Guacamole still rocks, but so too pastel de choclo con chorizo (Bolivian casserole). They’ve amped up vegan/vegetarian options for health and sustainability (even black beans now eschew ham hocks and bacon), yet never compromise flavor. With delirious happy hours, hot-date sizzle, family-friendliness, no wonder this “moon” is always full. 2010 Colley Ave., Norfolk, 757-622-6986, LunaMayaRestaurant.com
—MM 

 

Cholo's Peruvian 

Family-friendly fare clearly made with love and a mix of Peruvian spices warms the heart and the palate at this inviting and brightly decorated eatery. Don't miss ceviche mixto—a lime juice- and cilantro-marinated conglomeration of fish, shrimp, calamari and mussels—or the comforting lomo saltado, a traditional dish of beef tenderloin sautéed with onions and tomatoes. And of course, supermarket rotisserie chicken is no match for pollo a la brasa, roasted birds marinated for 24 to 48 hours in a sauce made with Peruvian peppers and spices and served in quarter, half or whole portions. 2728 N. Mall Drive, #117, Virginia Beach, 757-416-5817, Facebook.com/CholosPeruvianRestaurant
—MMS

 

El Sabroson, South American

One of Williamsburg’s hottest restaurants takes south-of-the-border to a new level. El Sabroson has traditional Mexican dishes, but with so many vibrant culinary traditions in Latin America, owners Dustin Kilgore and Pedro Ramos find no reason to stop there. The influence of Ramos, who is Peruvian, comes out in dishes such as charcoal rotisserie chicken. Williamsburg’s significant Salvadoran population has brought their taste for dishes like the revueltas pupusas. Many diners are so inspired by the distinct Latin experience that they load up on hard-to-find groceries at Tu Tienda next door to fill their pantry with goodies. 122 Waller Mill Rd., Williamsburg, 757-220-4135, ElSabroson1Va.com
—BS

 

Taste of Brazil

You’re busy 24/7 with four kids and a food truck and your husband gets deployed. What to do? Open a restaurant, reasoned São Paulo-raised Patrice Vilarino Kilcoyne, who was taught to cook on a wood stove by her restaurateur grandmother during holidays in the Brazilian heartland. While seeming to create time, she’s also created a relaxed little Riverview spot for savory/sweet empanadas, steak plates, fried yucca, corn pudding and more. It’s open for breakfast, lunch and dinner plus wine, beer and cocktails. And the food truck’s still rolling too. 4117 Granby St., Unit C, Norfolk, 757-822-6186, Facebook.com/VaTaste
—MM 

 

Bilu’s

Tricky to find (Bilu’s address says Newtown Road, but it faces Baker Street), this bright, spacious, authentic Colombian restaurant rewards with friendly, hospitable vivaciousness—rhythmic music, rotisserie chicken, juices (guava, mango, citrusy lulo), spirits, a bountiful bakery and platters of bandeja (grilled meats including top round, pork and Colombian sausage with rice, beans, sweet fried plantains and corncakes), stewed goat, seafood a la plancha and paella piled high. The eponymous Bilu Britto recently opened a smaller outpost—focusing on Mexican food (tacos and chiles)—across the street. 544 Newtown Rd., Virginia Beach, 757-499-1027, BilusRestaurante.com
—MM

 

Pupuseria y Taqueria El Sabor De Mi Tierra

Known for their pupusas (a popular El Savadoran dish made of thick corn tortillas stuffed with a variety of meats, cheeses or beans), this Latin restaurant serves a varied menu, rich in flavor and tradition. For breakfast go sweet or savory—platanos con crema or huevos con chorizo, frijoles, platanos y crema. Later on, choose from their assortment of tortas, fajitas, tacos, quesadillas, burritos, soups or antojitos Latinos (Latin street food). A simple kids’ menu, selection of natural juices and several cervezas round out the menu. 1948 Diamond Springs Road, Virginia Beach, 757-545-0555, PupuseriaElSaborDeMiTierra.com
—BB 

 

African

 

Mesob Café

This intimate café hidden in a no-frontage outparcel is worth seeking for its irresistible Ethiopian-Eritrean cuisine scratch-made by Znab Teklit. Born in Eritrea to an Ethiopian mother and an Eritrean father, she came to Virginia as a child. She speaks Italian and brews strong coffee, reflecting her native land’s history, and she sets tables with glass-topped white cloths, a good idea as scooping doro wot (chicken stew) and kik alicha (garlicky yellow split peas) with torn bits of shared injera (sourdough flatbread) can be messy. But it’s always delicious. 404 S. Parliament Dr., Virginia Beach, 757-965-2008, MesobCafe.com
—MM

 

Kente's Afrikan American Cafe, Hampton, African restaurants
Kente's Afrikan American Cafe

Kente’s Afrikan American Cafe

Nestled inside a little white building on the corner of North Back River Road and Union Street, Kente’s looks like it could be just another house on the street. But unless your neighbors are serving Kongo Balls (zesty meatballs in special sauce) or Dun Dun (fried yams), that’s where the similarities end. However, stepping inside is like making a visit to your favorite aunt’s house, with a welcoming staff, warm surroundings and, of course, the smell of delicious foods wafting in from the kitchen. 301 N. Back River Rd., Hampton, 757-722-1471
—BB

 

Omar’s Carriage House

Two decades ago, Omar Boukhriss wanted to share the specialties of his homeland but wasn’t sure the exotic flavors would fly at his continental cuisine-leaning Carriage House (a historic, picturesque, boxy brick building so cozy you feel you’re at a dinner party), so he decided to serve them just one night a week. Today, alliterative Moroccan Mondays are an institution. Headily-spiced tagines and bastilla (cinnamon and sugar-dusted phyllo stuffed with chicken, almonds and eggs) have become so popular that a few have migrated to Omar’s standard lunch, dinner and brunch menus. 313 W. Bute St., Norfolk, 757-622-4990, Facebook.com/OmarsCarriageHouse
—MM

 

Lilly’s Corner

With so many dining options available on the Southside, it’s refreshing to have something available that’s a little out of the ordinary. In fact, since Lilly’s Corner prepares everything from scratch and uses the finest ingredients available to create authentic African cuisine, you could say your dining experience will be extraordinary. Open for lunch and dinner, menu options range from lamb, chicken and beef with skewered vegetables, to incredible marinated fish dishes. Save room for dessert, and try the Thiakry (fine couscous mixed with sour cream, pure vanilla extract and topped with fresh fruit). 930 Briar Hills Rd., Unit B, Norfolk, 757-368-7878, AfricanCuisineInVirginiaBeachVa.com
—BB

 

Greek

 

Orapax, Greek restaurants, Norfolk
Orapax

Orapax

With whitewashed walls mimicking those of exotic towns on the sunbathed cliffs upon the Aegean Sea, flowering eucalyptus décor reaching up to wooden planked ceilings and a polished marble bar idyllic for libations, the setting alone at Orapax is enough to make you feel as though you’re being whisked away to Greece. For over 50 years, the family-run restaurant homed on the corner of Orapax Street and Redgate Avenue has pleased diners to dainty dishes with traditional tastes, including souvlaki (charbroiled meat skewered with vegetables), kotopita (baked phyllo stuffed with chicken, vegetables and herbs) and wrapped gyros served with a platter of vegetables, pita triangles, feta cheese and tzatziki. 1300 Redgate Ave., Norfolk, 757-627-8041, OrapaxRestaurant.com
—RM

 

The Grecian Plate

The Grecian Plate feels more like an odyssey than a restaurant, as the food is exactly what one expects to find in the ancient Mediterranean land. Owners George and Roula Komianos are an affable Grecian couple who treat patrons as though they have stopped by their home, even though the small eatery sits in a nondescript Williamsburg strip mall surrounded by big, chain retailers. Diners will find the restaurant to be a hidden gem, especially after savoring authentic Greek dishes, including gyros, spanakopita and baklava. 4920 Monticello Ave., Williamsburg, 757-565-2888, Facebook.com/TheGrecianPlate
—BS

 

Ammos

If you’re looking for spot serving all of your Greek favorites, you'll want to shout opa! when opening the menu at Ammos. Dolmades, moussaka, gyros, kabobs, tzatziki with warm pitas and more—it's all here and executed well. If you seek something a bit simpler, don't overlook the Fish Agora, grilled and seasoned fresh catch with a choice of three preparations. We always pick Ikaria Style, topped with spinach, sundried tomatoes and garlic cream sauce. In the mood for a show with your spanakopita? Come Saturday evenings for a classic belly dancing performance. 324 N. Great Neck Rd., Virginia Beach, 757-340-4343, AmmosVB.com
—MMS

 

Papa’s Greek Restaurant & Pizzeria

You’ll find Papa’s in a drab shopping center casually propped between nondescript shops. But the food here is nothing like the amorphous strip-mall fare you might expect from its location. Order a favorite like the gyro (thin shavings of spicy roasted lamb, shredded lettuce and cool, white tzatziki), the parsley-packed “green” hummus with warm pita or one of the less-traditional but equally tempting pizzas. A breezy lack of ceremony encourages family style sharing of the amply-portioned appetizers and meals. Too full for dessert? Order baklava to go. Trust us. 5386 Kemps River Dr., Virginia Beach, 757-361-0123, Facebook.com/PapasGreek1
—RH

 

Yannas’ Taverna

Unless the Newport News Greek Festival is happening, it’s difficult to find good souvlaki or spanakopita on the Peninsula. But if you can locate Yannas’ Taverna in a small strip mall off Warwick Boulevard, you’re in for a treat. The menu provides plenty of delicious choices, so you’ll probably want to go back several times to try it all. They even have a kids’ menu with options to let your young ones stretch their palates, along with traditional favorites such as chicken nuggets and cheeseburgers, just in case. 12715 Warwick Blvd., Suite A, Newport News, 757-930-3382, Facebook.com/YannasTaverna
—BB

 

Indian

 

Masala Bites, Indian restaurants Virginia Beach
Masala Bites

Masala Bites

In this elegant yet easygoing Red Mill Commons site, executive chef Virsa Gill celebrates his Punjabi birthright primarily with northern Indian cuisine: a tad more piquant, more garlicky, more ginger and onion-based than the subcontinent’s south. Tandoori dishes, garlic peppercorn salmon and a myriad of gluten-free and vegan options are popular while soup of the day, kebab of the day and street food of the day always delight. Emphasizing a commitment to wine (and Wine Spectator awards multiple years running), wine pairing dinners are in the offing. 2133 Upton Dr. #128, Virginia Beach, 757-563-2828, TheMasalaBites.com
—MM 

 

Monsoon

Located where Frank Beamer’s restaurant was originally established at Peninsula Town Center, Monsoon provides diners with an exceptional experience that delivers a cornucopia of savory options. Considering there are more than 1,000 different kinds of spices in the world to choose from, Monsoon manages to mix the perfect combinations of traditional Indian flavors in everything they serve—from lasooni gobi (crispy cauliflower florets with chili flakes and garlic-tomato chutney) to mulligatawny soup and tandoori chicken. Don’t forget, no Indian meal is complete without fresh-baked, tandoori (clay oven) breads. 2150 Allainby Way, Hampton, 757-224-1633, MonsoonVa.com
—BB

 

Tamarind

International street food has traveled from barrios and provinces to haute restaurants, becoming anything but pedestrian. Bhupendra and Charu Patel keep it real, offering chaat (Indian snacks) in a bright storefront where you order at the counter and watch Bollywood flicks or cricket on TV until your samosa, dosa (rice/lentil crepe), gobi manchurian (fried cauliflower) or halal chicken curry is hustled out on disposable ware. Charu learned to cook growing up in Gujurat in western India, and her deftness with cilantro, cumin and, yes, tamarind, should be shouted about in the streets. 415 N. Military Hwy., Norfolk, 757-942-5611, TamarindNorfolk.com
—MM 

 

Nawab Indian Cuisine

If you’re new to Indian cuisine, or if you prefer a myriad of flavorful bites versus one main dish, or if you’re just really hungry, Nawab is the place for you—especially if you’re helping yourself to their lunch buffet. On their regular menu, too, you’ll find a versatile selection, from delicate naan to fiery dishes that leave you gulping water, but then immediately diving back in for more because it’s just that good. Conclude your meal with a bowl of kheer (traditional Indian rice pudding with nuts, rosewater and cardamom) to cool your senses and satiate your sweet tooth in a not-too-sweet sort of way. Nawab has locations in Newport News, Norfolk, Virginia Beach and Williamsburg. NawabOnline.com
—AB 

 

Nanking of Virginia

Self-touted as the most exotic restaurant in Virginia Beach, Nanking combines Indian, Chinese and Thai delicacies into a flavor infusion that’s out of this world. On their regular menu you’ll find the traditional fare—samosas, chaat, tandoori dishes and naan—and there’s also a buffet option (lunch served Tuesday to Friday and special brunch on Saturday and Sunday). Visit on the weekend when the restaurant has their pani puri station on the buffet. Poke a hole in one of these crispy orbs, and stuff it with diced potatoes, chickpeas, cilantro and other tasteful tidbits, then spoon in a dribble of tamarind or mint water, and quickly cram the whole thing in your mouth before it falls apart. No regrets. 501 N. Birdneck Rd., Virginia Beach, 757-233-6779, NankingVirginia.com
—AB

 

Saffron Indian Bistro

Representing the various regional flavors of the subcontinent through its cooking, Saffron Indian Bistro creates its courses with a complexity of spices and herbs, each of which are sourced from the homeland. Start your meal with garnished garlic naan, made in their tandoor oven, before trying their tikka masala curry, with a choice of protein served in a creamy orange curry sauce with fenugreek, peppers and tomatoes. 4532 Columbus St., Virginia Beach, 757-644-6904, SaffronVaBeach.com. 420 Monticello Ave. #170, Norfolk, 757-321-7005, SaffronNorfolk.com
—RM 

 

Rajput Indian Cuisine

Classic curries, korma, basmati rice and naan are perennially popular at Rajput. But enjoy a world of fragrant spices and tantalizing tastes by venturing a little farther afield. A Norfolk institution since 1999, Rajput’s lunch buffet and wildly popular—even among omnivores—*bi-monthly vegan and vegetarian evening buffet (first and third Wednesdays in Norfolk) will envelop you in intoxicating aromas, silky textures and bursts of fanciful flavors from nearly 20 items like Soya Seekh Kebab Tandoori or Mushroom Manchurian. Even if the cuisine wasn’t irresistible, Rajput’s unique and authentic serving pieces and copper water vessels would likely beckon you back. Hurry and join the Curry Club for special pampering. 742 W. 21st St., Norfolk, 757-625-4634. 5860 Harbour View Blvd. Suite A1, Suffolk, 757-484-4444, RajputOnline.com
—BD

 

Bangladeshi

 

Cilantro, Bangladeshi restaurants Norfolk
Cilantro Bangladeshi Bistro

Cilantro Bangladeshi Bistro

Like a trip to Bangladesh, Cilantro Bistro is a little out of the way but well worth the journey if you’re looking for authentic Bangladeshi dishes. A family-owned and operated business, the menu boasts recipes passed down through generations, producing savory meals that are slow-cooked and expertly seasoned. Vegetarians and omnivores alike can delight from a menu full of comfort foods such as Veggie Mishali, Shahi Chicken, Jhaal Beef and Shrimp Malaikari. No matter what you order, be sure to wash it all down with their Fresh Squeezed Limeade. 1011 Kempsville Rd., Norfolk, 757-962-1004, Facebook.com/CilantroBistro
—BB

 

Explore more Global Eats in Part I and Part III.

Categories: Coast Live, Issue Page Features, Restaurants & Food

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