Raising a Fork

Our Eleventh Annual Platinum Plate Awards Serves Up The Best Restaurants In Coastal Virginia

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
Rank 1
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

Rank 2
Score – 97.7534
Terrapin Restaurant
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.,
Virginia Beach

Rank 3 – tie
Score – 97.5743
Swan Terrace
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.,
Virginia Beach

Rank 4
Score – 97.3878
Zoës Restaurant
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,
Virginia Beach

Rank 5
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.,

Rank 6
Score – 96.9154
Coastal Grill
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

Rank 7
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

Rank 8
Score – 96.6243
Fat Canary
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

Rank 9
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’s Table
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


Other Platinums
Byrd & Baldwin Brothers Steakhouse
From this richly appointed two-level steakhouse, quality steak and related fare are served. Over the years we’ve seen Byrd & Baldwin progress from a charming downtown offering to one of Norfolk’s restaurant gems.
116 Brooke Ave., Norfolk

Eat – An American Bistro
This jewel-box of a restaurant, located in the North End of Virginia Beach, offers fresh, creative cuisine with a focus on seafood and American regional. Relaxing, hip, fabulous service and outstanding food from chef/owner Erick Heilig keeps us coming back.
4005 Atlantic Ave., Virginia Beach

Fin Seafood
With a degree from Johnson & Wales University and pedigree in seafood from such Outer Banks restaurants as The Left Bank at The Sanderling and Aqua S in Duck, chef/owner Kenny Sloane tempts palates with fruits de mer and other dishes, too with contemporary approaches using classical techniques. 
3150 William Styron Square, Newport News

Le Yaca French Restaurant
This restaurant always pleases with impeccable service and cuisine. The intimate French-inspired dining rooms set the stage for classic French cuisine from chef/owner Daniel Abid.
1915 Pocahontas Trail, Williamsburg

River Stone Chophouse
Set in a stunning two-story restaurant inspired by the American Arts and Craft movement, the food at River Stone is equally impressive. A fresh, seasonal menu with an emphasis on steak is offered. In addition to prime, aged beef, a large selection of seafood is also offered and prepared deliciously. Outstanding wines round things out.
8032 Harbour View Blvd., Suffolk

The Trellis Restaurant
Legendary restaurant now showcasing the talents of Executive Chef David Everett includes updated American Regional cuisine prepared with classic executions.
403 W. Duke of Gloucester St., Williamsburg

Vintage Tavern
Diners are wowed with the food here, dubbed “seasonally Southern,” and dishes as simple as pimento cheese, she-crab soup, sweet onion spoon bread and grilled belly bacon are pure art. The restaurant’s sophisticated interpretations of rustic regional classics bode well in this comfortable restaurant, resplendent with stone walls, exposed ceiling beams, hardwood floors and spectacular wooded views.
1900 Governors Pointe Dr., Suffolk

Waypoint Seafood & Grill
The magic from chef/owner Hans J. Schadler and Executive Chef Kyle Woodruff come alive on the plates in this comfortable fine-dining restaurant that is relatively new to the Williamsburg cuisine scene. The elegant atmosphere and menu—which pulls from local food and foodways heavily—is a true delight and a capstone in Schadler’s 45-year culinary career.
1480 Quarterpath Rd., Williamsburg


219 An American Bistro
Open, inviting bistro with a corner seat to the comings-and-goings on Granby offers tasty American cuisine with an Asian twist.
219 Granby St., Norfolk
Gold Level Winner

456 Fish
Warm atmosphere with richly-appointed accents; a seafood-focused menu offers fish prepared a number of ways.
456 Granby St., Norfolk
Gold Level Winner

Aldo’s Ristorante
Contemporary Northern Italian cuisine offered in a casual, intimate décor.
1860 Laskin Rd., Virginia Beach
24K Gold Level Winner

Baker’s Crust
Bistro atmosphere; soup-, salad- and sandwich- focused menu augmented by breakfast items and dinner entrees.
704 Hilltop North Shopping Center, Virginia Beach
Gold Level Winner

1244 Greenbrier Pkwy., Chesapeake

330 W. 21st St., Norfolk

5234 Monticello Ave. #115, Williamsburg

Editor’s Note: The Virginia Beach location was reviewed.

Bardo Edibles + Elixirs
Creative American regional and Asian-inspired dining in a relaxed, eclectic setting.
430 W. 21st St., Norfolk
24K Gold Level Winner

The Boardwok Restaurant
Quaint, creative, Asian-inspired restaurant with contemporary takes on classics.
1993 Sandbridge Rd., Virginia Beach
Gold Level Winner

Bodega on Granby
Rustic shotgun dining room with Spanish/Mediterranean-style tapas.
442 Granby St., Norfolk
Silver Level Winner

Burtons Grill
Retro-now, comfortable, clubby dining room with tasty, non-intimidating contemporary fine dining.
741 First Colonial Rd.,
Virginia Beach
24K Gold Level Winner

Captain Groovy’s Grill & Raw Bar
Relaxed oyster bar with an extensive menu of fresh and local seafood.
8101 Shore Dr., Norfolk
24K Gold Level Winner

Catch 31 Fish House and Bar
An emphasis on seafood in an open, airy dining room with expansive ocean views.
3001 Atlantic Ave., Virginia Beach
24K Gold Level Winner

Central 111 Tapas Bar
An energetic vibe is the backdrop for an extensive menu of tasty tapas and creative cocktails including a multitude of martinis.
401 N. Great Neck Rd., Virginia Beach
Silver Level Winner

Chef’s Table
A warm, inviting atmosphere and varied menu decidedly leaning Mediterranean is found here.
550 Independence Blvd.,
Virginia Beach
Gold Level Winner

Circa 1918 Kitchen & Bar
A creative, well-executed menu from chef/owner Chad Martin is fun and delicious, as is the saloon-esque surroundings.
10367 Warwick Blvd.,
Newport News
24K Gold Level Winner

Cobalt Grille
Quality, contemporary regional fare from chef/owner Alvin Williams in a modern, trendy setting.
1624 Laskin Rd. #762,
Virginia Beach
24K Gold Level Winner

County Grill & Smokehouse
A fun and energetic country/western atmosphere at County Grill gets you in the mood for some serious down-home barbecue; they deliver deliciously.
1215A George Washington Memorial Hwy.,
24K Gold Level Winner

Croc’s 19th Street Bistro
Seasonal coastal cuisine with a focus on sustainability in a vibrant setting.
620 19th St., Virginia Beach
24K Gold Level Winner

Dog Street Pub
Classic and classy gastropub with an interesting interior (it used to
be a bank), outstanding quaffs
and grub that’s been elevated to
an art form.
401 W. Duke of Gloucester St., Williamsburg
24K Gold Level Winner

Dudley’s Bistro
Quaint and quirky dining room and menu, both which satisfy. Known for game meats, dishes—wild or not—come out deliciously prepared and presented.
Find Dudley’s Bistro on Facebook
4904 Courthouse St.,
24K Gold Level Winner

Eurasia Café and Wine Bar
Quaint jewel-box dining room and well-written menu that offers American regional and
Asian-inspired dishes.
960 Laskin Rd., Virginia Beach
24K Gold Level Winner

Fire & Vine Woodfire Cuisine
An emphasis on fire-grilled entrees and wine bode well in rich surroundings.
1556 Laskin Rd., #134,
Virginia Beach
Gold Level Winner

Freemason Abbey Restaurant
Set in a former abbey, the atmosphere is charming, and the contemporary take on classic American cuisine a tasty treat.
209 W. Freemason St., Norfolk
Silver Level Winner

Fusion Restaurant & Lounge
Floor-to-ceiling windows belies the city feel with stunning ocean views. A delicious regional and contemporary American menu focuses on small bites.
Inside the Sheraton Virginia Beach
3501 Atlantic Ave., Virginia Beach

24K Gold Level Winner

Ichiban, New Town
Fine Chinese cuisine and sushi delivers in this inviting, contemporary setting.
4905 Courthouse St., Williamsburg
Gold Level Winner

Il Giardino Ristorante
A long-time area favorite, Il Giardino charms from the minute you walk in the door with a warm, Old School dining room and classic Italian dishes done right.
910 Atlantic Ave., Virginia Beach
Gold Level Winner

Isle of Capri
A contemporary setting overlooking the Oceanfront belies the Old World, Old School Italian menu this venerable eatery has been serving for generations.
3900 Atlantic Ave., Virginia Beach
Gold Level Winner

La Bella in Ghent
Traditional Italian menu with classic signature dishes in a city-inspired setting; small market with Italian meats and cheeses.
738 West 22nd St., Norfolk
24K Gold Level Winner

La Bella Italia Laskin
Traditional Italian menu with classic signature dishes in an upscale setting; extensive market with baked goods.
1065 Laskin Rd., Virginia Beach
Gold Level Winner

La Bella Italia Redmill
Traditional Italian menu with classic signature dishes in a contemporary setting; small market with gelato.
2133 Upton Dr. #128, Virginia Beach
Gold Level Winner

Lucky Oyster Seafood Grill
Relaxed, casual menu in oyster bar-themed eatery.
2165 General Booth Blvd. #154, Virginia Beach
Silver Level Winner

Luna Maya
Vibrant, electric atmosphere showcases quality South American and Mexican-inspired dishes.
2010 Colley Ave., Norfolk
24K Gold Level Winner

Lynnhaven Fish House Restaurant
Seafood selections with outstanding views of the Chesapeake Bay.
2350 Starfish Rd., Virginia Beach
Gold Level Winner

Mahi Mah’s Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Saloon
Traditional menu with a seafood focus in vibrant settings with ocean views.
615 Atlantic Ave.,
Virginia Beach
Gold Level Winner

Mannino’s Italian Bistro
Old World-style Italian cuisine in a relaxed, comfortable atmosphere.
606 High St., Portsmouth
24K Gold Level Winner

4402 Princess Anne Rd.,
Virginia Beach

1608 Pleasure House Rd.,
Virginia Beach

Editor’s Note: The Portsmouth location was reviewed.

Nawab Indian Cuisine
Classic Indian cuisine in a globally-inspired decorated dining room.
888 N. Military Hwy., Norfolk
Gold Level Winner

11712 Jefferson Ave., Newport News

756 First Colonial Rd., Virginia Beach

204 Monticello Ave.,

Editor’s Note: The Norfolk location was reviewed.

No Frill Bar & Grill
Classic American dishes prepared extremely well in a comfortable, friend-gathering setting.
806 Spotswood Ave., Norfolk
1620 Laskin Rd., Virginia Beach
Gold Level Winner

Norfolk Seafood Co & Big Easy Oyster Bar
Expansive restaurant with a classic oyster bar feel, offering a Cajun/Creole/seafood-centric menu
111 Tazewell St., Norfolk
Gold Level Winner

One Fish-Two Fish
Bright, open and airy, One Fish-Two Fish whets the appetite first with the beautiful marina views, then with the clean, contemporary cuisine – with a California flair.
Long Bay Pointe Marina
2109 W. Great Neck Rd.,
Virginia Beach

Opus 9 Steakhouse
Classic steakhouse offerings in
an upscale dining room.
5143 Main St.,
24K Gold Level Winner

Passion the Restaurant
Open, airy and romantic setting with classically-prepared traditional cuisine.
1036 Volvo Pkwy., Chesapeake
Gold Level Winner

Eclectic surroundings in electrifying colors are the backdrop for well-done, gourmet-style
pizza and other related fare.
Great outdoor seating.
3316 Atlantic Ave. #101,
Virginia Beach
Gold Level Winner

Press 626 Café & Wine Bar
Quaint dining room and varied menu with salads and sandwiches augmenting entrees.
626 West Olney Rd., Norfolk
24K Gold Level Winner

The Public House
Fun, inviting pub feel resplendent in dark woods and brass accents with tasty, well-thought and well-executed gastropub fare.
1112 Colley Ave., Norfolk
Gold Level Winner

Rajput Indian Cuisine
Intimate dining room with extensive Indian-inspired menu; large vegan and vegetarian selection.
4402 Princess Anne Rd. #111, Virginia Beach
Gold Level Winner
742 West 21st St., Norfolk

Riverwalk Restaurant
An inviting dining room with scenic views of the York River set the scene for a varied menu with
a focus on seafood.
323 Water St., Yorktown
Gold Level Winner

Rockafeller’s Restaurant
Seafood-centric menu and stunning water views of Rudee Inlet; known for Sunday brunch.
308 Mediterranean Ave.,
Virginia Beach
Gold Level Winner

Rudees’s on the Inlet Restaurant & Cabana Bar
Expansive views of Rudee Inlet and a contemporary menu with regional offerings that slant
toward seafood.
227 Mediterranean Ave.,
Virginia Beach
Gold Level Winner

Ruth’s Chris Steak House
The sizzle you hear is not only the quality steak coming from the kitchen but the trendy surroundings in this clubby and upscale restaurant.
205 Central Park Ave., Virginia Beach
24K Gold Level Winner

Saffron Indian Bistro
Open, inviting contemporary space provides the backdrop for traditional Indian cuisine.
4532 Columbus St., Virginia Beach
Gold Level Winner

Schlesinger’s Chop House at Port Warwick
Classic steakhouse fare in a contemporary, upscale setting.
1106 William Styron Square South, Newport News
24K Gold Level Winner

The Seafare of Williamsburg
This venerable restaurant has long been a favorite for a widely assorted menu, focused on seafood but tempting with steaks and specialty meats, too.
www.TheSeafareOf Williamsburg.com
1632 Richmond Rd., Williamsburg
Gold Level Winner

Shula’s 347 Grill
Classic steakhouse menu with varied seasonal selections in a clubby, upscale dining room dotted with football memorabilia from namesake Don Shula’s NFL career.
235 East Main St., Norfolk
24K Gold Level Winner

The Smokehouse & Cooler Restaurant
Big flavors from smoked and barbecued foods fill this tidy dining room.
2957 Shore Drive, Virginia Beach
Gold Level Winner

Sonoma Wine Bar and Bistro
Modern, trendy setting for innovative, fresh regional cuisine.
189 Central Park Ave., Virginia Beach
24K Gold Level Winn

Surf Club Ocean Grille
A city-feel dining room offers spectacular ocean views and innovative contemporary cuisine with an emphasis on seafood.
5700 Atlantic Ave.,
Virginia Beach
Gold Level Winner

Quaint Oceanfront cottage with a retro feel offers a menu that focuses on fresh seafood prepared both traditionally and contemporarily.
205 23rd St.,
Virginia Beach
24K Gold Level Winner

Thai Arroy
Tiny, tidy, inviting dining room backdrops a Thai/Asian menu that is well executed and full of flavor.
608 N. Birdneck Rd.,
Virginia Beach
Gold Level Winner

Thirty 7 North
Open, clubby, comfortable and upscale sums up the dining room and menu, which features contemporary cuisine with regional flair.
2105 West Great Neck Rd.,
Virginia Beach
24K Gold Level Winner

TradeWinds Restaurant
Seafood-centric selections with outstanding views of the Chesapeake Bay; known for Sunday brunch.
2800 Shore Dr.,
Virginia Beach
Gold Level Winner

Venue 112
This “rock’n sports lounge” is high energy and satisfies late night appetites until 3 a.m. with classic American cuisine.
401 N. Great Neck Rd., Virginia Beach
Silver Level Winner

The Vineyards Trattoria and Pizzeria
Traditional Italian-inspired dishes on a varied menu in a comfortable setting.
147 Granby St., Norfolk
Gold Level Winner

Waterman’s Surfside Grille
Expansive views of the Atlantic Ocean are afforded in this comfortable, seaside-bedecked restaurant.
415 Atlantic Ave., Virginia Beach
Gold Level Winner

Wharfside Bar & Grill
Set on Rudee Inlet, the backdrop is beautiful for this wide and varied menu, offering flatbreads, small bites, entrees and other dishes ranging in style from American contemporary to Asian and Old World influences.
530 Winston Salem Ave.,
Virginia Beach
Gold Level Winner

Williamsburg Lodge Restaurant
American regional menu in a clubby setting; look for special events like Wine, Wit & Wisdom
310 S. England St., Williamsburg
24K Gold Level Winner

Yanni’s Casual Greek
Open, inviting, colorful background sets the stage for tasty, classic Greek dishes.
2101 McComas Way,
Virginia Beach
Gold Level Winner


The Critics
Dedra Blount is a classically-trained chef and proprietor of Now You're Cooking, a Chesapeake company providing cooking classes, demonstrations and boutique catering.
Marcel Desaulniers is a Culinary Institute of America-trained chef with more than 40 years in the industry, including 30 years as a former owner and executive chef of The Trellis in Williamsburg. The creator of the world-famous Death By Chocolate dessert, Desaulniers has been host to a number of televised cooking shows and penned 10 cookbooks, including his latest, I'm Dreaming of a Chocolate Christmas. He is owner of MAD About Chocolate, a chocolate café, in Williamsburg.
Deon Foster is a Le Cordon Bleu London-trained chef and owner of the cooking store, Kitchen Koop, in Olde Towne Portsmouth.
Tammy Jaxtheimer has a culinary arts degree from Johnson & Wales University, is restaurant critic for The Virginian-Pilot newspaper and is director of the local Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP) chapter.
Marisa Marsey, recruiter for Johnson & Wales University nationwide and freelance food writer, frequently contributing to Veer magazine.
David Nicholson writes about restaurants and food for The Daily Press newspaper.
Stella Pomianek is an owner and baker at Café Stella in Norfolk's Ghent, a coffeehouse and café with sweet and savory items.
Patrick Reed is a former Johnson & Wales University culinary instructor and currently teaches culinary arts at Virginia Beach Technical and Career Education Center.
Ross Riddle is a classically-trained chef with many years of experience in fine dining across the region. Riddle is involved in restaurant development and a soon-to-open food truck, Hashi, specializing in breakfast and lunch honoring Virginia foods and foodways with an Asian twist.
Melissa Stewart is an accomplished home gourmet and editor-in-chief of Coastal Virginia Magazine and Virginia Wine Lover magazine.
Patrick Evans-Hylton, a Johnson & Wales trained chef, has a degree in culinary arts from Culinary Institute of Virginia and is senior editor for food and wine for Coastal Virginia Magazine and executive editor for Virginia Wine Lover magazine.