Two restaurants and a coffee shop.
No surprises on the Fan selections for Saveur’s article The Guide: Where to Eat in Richmond, Virginia. Also wouldn’t have been surprised to see Garnett’s or Kuba Kuba make the cut. Hit the link to see other spots in the city that made the list.
Mamma Zu or sister restaurant Edo’s Squid is always one of my first stops when I get into town—often straight from the airport, having spent most of my time on the plane dreaming about their heavenly, heavy-on-the-garlic Italian food. It’s the kind of place you go with friends to eat pasta family-style and have loud, boisterous conversations over bottles of the house red. I always get the squid, white bean, and arugula salad, with perfectly cooked rings of squid, creamy beans, arugula, and slivers of red onion, all of it slicked with plenty of olive oil and garlic.
Ed Vasaio (also of Mamma Zu) and his team craft pizzas with chewy crusts and crisp edges at this tiny takeout joint in the heart of the city’s Fan district. In addition to a small selection of red- and white-sauce pies you’ll find antipasti, heroes, garlicky pastas, and entrées like eggplant parmigiana, but the pizza is the star. Order one to go, then stop by Video Fan, the independent video rental shop next door, to pick up a movie to watch while you eat.
Richmond has its share of coffee shops and roasters, but my favorite is this little shop hidden a few blocks behind Main Street, in the heart of the Fan district. Named after the tall bicycles that were used to light lamps at the turn of the century, at first glance it seems like one of those impossibly hip joints where you’ll be sneered at by a barista. Thankfully, the only attitude you’ll get here is Southern—i.e. impossibly friendly. The food is good, but the real draw here is their excellent coffee, which they roast by hand in small, 10-lb. batches.