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From its hip and trendy Ghent neighborhood to its vibrant downtown, Norfolk is a small city with a great spirit. Its buzzing dining scene is no different: with venues housed in 19th century churches, the world’s first ice cream cone and experimental takes on all-American classics, the city’s restaurants are diverse and exciting. Here is our pick of ten of the best restaurants in Norfolk, Virginia.
With a history going back over a century, Doumar’s is probably the most iconic player on Norfolk’s dining scene – so iconic, in fact, that it claims to have invented the ice cream cone back in 1904. And while this drive-in eatery does cook up a good barbecue with cheeseburgers and hot dogs galore, where it really shines is the sweeter side of things. Locals who come here follow the ritual of driving right up to Doumar’s, ordering a big portion of ice cream or a rich sundae and the must-try limeade, and eating in their car right in front of the venue. Doumar’s is impossible to miss: there are two huge ice cream cones sticking right out of the building.
Hip and eclectic, Cure is the place to be for Norfolk’s creative crowd. In addition to hosting live music evenings and artists’ receptions on a regular basis, this cool brasserie also serves up great, casual fare of snack-like bites: go for the roasted beet salad at lunchtime, or the cheese and charcuterie board in the evening, where much of the meat is actually made on premises. The biggest attraction, however, is the drinks menu, consisting of high-quality, locally roasted coffees as well as beers from Virginia breweries, a showcase of Cure’s dedication to supporting regional farmers and producers.
Located in a beautiful, restored Victorian house, Press 626 is one of Norfolk’s most welcoming restaurants, where attentive service, an airy atmosphere and market-driven, money-conscious fare combine to create a real gastronomic delight. Press 626’s local menu is packed with fresh-from-the-farm ingredients. Start your meal with the Brookdale Farm strawberry and asparagus salad before tucking into the tender, balsamic-lacquered duck breast or the succulent herb and pecan-crusted lamb chops topped with a dollop of mint mustard.