Zagat: 8 reasons to stop in Richmond

Zagat: 8 reasons to stop in Richmond

Zagat, a website that rates the top restaurants in North America, just released eight reasons to stop by Richmond. They all involve eating at area restaurants.

Two of the restaurants recently received nominations from the James Beard Foundation.

  • MOBILE USERS: Click here to view pictures of the gorgeous food

Sub Rosa Bakery - 620 N. 25th St. - 804-788-7672

Evrim Dogu, the bread baker who co-owns this Church Hill bakery with his sister and pastry chef, Evin, is one of the James Beard Award semifinalists for 2017. The team bakes its loaves and confections in a wood-fired oven using organic, local and heirloom grains that they mill in-house. You'll find locally roasted coffee to wash down the artisanal croissants, cookies, tarts and breads, including a few weekend-only options like a sour cherry and pistachio pastry. The bakery also hosts local pop-up Longoven for Sunday dinners that sell out quickly.

Pasture - 416 E. Grace St. - 804-780-0416

This ode to Southern foodways serves seasonal home cooking with a chef's touch provided by Jason Alley, who also runs the kitchen at the slightly more casual restaurant called Comfort nearby. The menu pulls heavily from the local/sustainable ethos, sourcing ingredients from Virginia farms for its small and large plates. Start with Alley's famous pimento cheese dip served with Ritz crackers and his outstanding steak tartare brightened with jalapeños and topped with a quail egg, then move on to something larger, like a grilled steak with a rosemary grit cake or a half roasted chicken with tomato-curry gravy. Cocktails are also something you won't want to miss here.?

Perly's - 111 E. Grace St. - 804-912-1560

Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name — and where even if they don't, at least they're kind enough to pretend to. That's the kind of service you'll receive at Perly's, a delicatessen that serves outstanding modern versions of beloved deli favorites. (And if you've been in DC for half a minute, you've probably already found time to complain about the lack of delis here.) Order the potato-duck pierogi, the Reuben and anything with smoked fish, and do not miss the warm chocolate babka à la mode with coconut-chocolate ice cream.

The Rogue Gentleman - 618 N. First St. - 804-477-3456

Whether you're in search of a perfectly crafted drink or an upscale nosh — or both — this is your spot. The tiny corner cocktail den shakes and stirs libations with ingredients you might need to Google, such as the one featuring tonka bean–infused dark rum, Grand Marnier, sherry, lime and a frothy egg white, but they are each worth the exploration. You can also let the bartender go rogue, so to speak, by choosing two words from a list of descriptors including savory, spicy, floral and herbal. While you're there, you might as well order the enormous pile of fried chicken skins and the Parker House rolls, or something more substantial like the house fettuccine with marinara, 'nduja and broccolini.

Mama 'Zu - 501 S. Pine St. - 804-788-4205

You don't come here for the service, which can be gruff. And you don't come here for the love-it-or-hate-it old-school space, which is small, dim and well worn. You come here for the food, pure and simple. This place had lines down the block and a chalkboard menu before it was cool, and on that chalkboard you'll find antipasti like scungilli (Italian for whelk) or roasted red peppers; pastas like the perfectly perfect marinara and the best carbonara we've ever tasted; and entrees like osso buco and rockfish. You can get many of these dishes at the owner's other Richmond spots, Edo's Squid and .

Metzger Bar & Butchery - 801 N. 23rd St. - 804-325-3147

Co-owner Brittanny Anderson cooked at Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Pocantico Hills, New York, before opening this German-leaning restaurant, and she was recently named as a semifinalist for a James Beard Award for "Best Chef, Mid-Atlantic." The tightly curated seasonal menu might include such small plates as a pork pie with beer mustard or a wild mushroom soup with a soft egg, and a half dozen large plates like a beer-brined pork chop with herb spaetzle or schnitzel with duck-fat potatoes and beer-braised sauerkraut. Beers, of course, skew German, but the wine list is a teeny bit more global with entries from France, Austria and Hungary making the cut.

L'Opossum - 626 China St. - 804-918-6028

Like Mamma 'Zu, you'll find this corner spot in Richmond's residential Oregon Hill neighborhood near the James River. The restaurant is the wonderfully quirky brainchild of chef-owner David Shannon, who spices up his dishes with names like "vegan orgy on a Texas beach" — that would be papadums and dips — and "a tawdry and salacious arrangement of freshly procured Manakintowne mesclun" — aka salad. Sit under the colorful lights at a table lined with black-and-gold Andy Warhol wallpaper and order the eggs with caviar; the "the swank bank," a bowl of buttery lobster mac 'n' cheese with asparagus and chard; and a dessert of grilled pineapple ambrosia with boozy cherries.

Maple & Pine - 201 W. Broad St. - 804-340-6050

The Quirk Hotel is a fun place to poke around, even if you're not staying there, but definitely check out the rooftop bar, the gift shop and the restaurant Maple & Pine if you have time. (Better yet, book a room there. You'll love the rooms decked out with local art and the building's original hardwood floors.) Executive chef David Dunlap, who formerly cooked at the celebrated Ashby Inn west of DC, serves a memorable Saturday and Sunday brunch that features Southern-inspired dishes like biscuits and gravy and BBQ shrimp and grits with pork belly.

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