Living in Charlottesville has many perks — being practically in the Blue Ridge Mountains, The University of Virginia, and being a part of the happiest city in America — but you can't forget the amazing food. If it tastes good, you're in Charlottesville.
According to the Washington Post, Charlottesville has the most restaurants per capita of any city in Virginia. Read that statistic again, because it's pretty impressive.
A common dilemma with all these fantastic restaurants is (you guessed it) deciding where to eat. So much food, so little time to cover all the great spots, right?
This article is my attempt to make your life easier when you're going out to eat by giving you a list of some my favorite spots.
Right near the downtown mall, Mas has amazing tapas that you do not want to miss. When my parents came to town, we went here and my mom ordered her favorite (the bacon wrapped figs). They are exquisite. My mom later bonded with the waitress, asking her for the recipe and if she could take all of their bacon-wrapped figs back to Richmond.
Mas is a tapas place, so you can come and sample many different dishes. The menu "is in touch with the traditional foods of Spain, Europe, and the Mediterranean," and a lot of the food is organic or locally made.
This place rocks. They use a lot of local produce from Shenandoah farms, and make the healthy stuff taste good instead of healthy. When I went, I had the goat cheese salad, which was so amazing. The venue is also really cool — the restaurant itself is kinda small, but it makes your dining experience feel quaint and authentic.
Pasture feels like your mom's southern cooking, but better. Drinks are served in mason jars, and the service is solid. With locations in Charlottesville and Richmond, Pasture is similar to The Local in that local produce is actually a part of their dishes. Also, Southern Living voted it "The South's Best Cheap Eats Under $10," so the cost is perfect for college students.
I've never been to Maya, but hearing one of my friends describe it to me was enough for me to put it on this list. It specializes in traditional southern cooking (think fried green tomatoes, buttermilk biscuits, mac and cheese), and apparently the trout is sooooooo good.
Disclaimer: these are by no means a comprehensive list of all the good restaurants in Charlottesville (because that would be nearly impossible to accomplish, since there are so many good places!).
Places that aren't necessarily "underrated," but you should still hit up: Citizen Burger, The Pigeon Hole, Arch's (go on a Tuesday to get an amazing amount of froyo for an insanely cheap price), Zinburger, and really anywhere on the Corner (RIP Sushi Love).
But going to eat on the Corner every time you go out to eat is a mistake, because there are so many excellent restaurants elsewhere. So next time you go out to eat with your friends, consider one of these spots instead.