Top Restaurants In Danville, Virginia

Danville Mansion
Danville Mansion | © MarmadukePercy/WikiCommons
Zoe McIntyre

With its small town charm and big city assets, Danville is a jewel in the heart of southern Virginia. Sitting on the banks of the Dan River, the town offers plenty of attractions, from outdoor festivals to a newly renovated amphitheater. Amid its interesting shops and architecture, you’ll find fine restaurants, cafés and diners that range from traditional Italian to sophisticated farm-to-fork experiences. Here are our top ten picks of the bunch.

1. Golden Leaf Bistro

Bistro, American

Set in the historic Tobacco Warehouse district, Gold Leaf Bistro presides over an attractive red-brick building rich in old-world charm and surrounded by interesting local heritage. Inside, the look is upmarket and elegant. The menu champions seasonal ingredients from local producers, and you’ll find it hard to choose between the various delicious signature dishes and classic favorites, try the marinated pork tenderloin for its delicate flavors or the Atlantic seared stuffed salmon that’s served with creamy risotto and a zesty lemon aioli.

2. Joe & Mimma's

Restaurant, Italian

Come to this family-owned eatery that has been around for 40 years for a cozy setting and some of the best Italian cooking in town. You’ll find the menu packed full of all of your Mediterranean favorites, including pizza, pasta and calzone combinations as well as delicious seafood and an array of veal dishes. Anyone after a lighter lunch or something for the kids may prefer the panini offerings that include pesto chicken and prosciutto and Fontina, all served with healthy greens from the abundant salad bar.

3. O'Kelly's Deli & Pastries

Deli, Sandwich Shop, Pastelaria, American, Pastries

For a more casual lunch option, try O’Kelly’s sandwich shop that does a mighty fine job of selling tasty baked treats fresh out of the oven. The doughy doorsteps are stuffed with a great variety of fillings, from BBQ pork to ham and Swiss cheese, or try the house salads followed by a wonderful Danish pastry for dessert. These speciality sweets change most days; come on Monday for a cherry and walnut combo or celebrate the start of the weekend with Friday’s coconut cream.

4. Moon River

Bistro, Restaurant, Thai

Adjacent to Danville’s Historic North Theatre, Thai eatery Moon River is the perfect pick for a flavorful fill before an evening show. The bistro is helmed by Parichat Mongkhonkham who runs several Thai restaurants in the region and is a pro at whipping up authentic Thai dishes along with Asian fusion and New Orleans inspired recipes. Start with the marinated chicken on bamboo skewers before digging into a perfectly prepared Thai curry rich in spices and coconut milk. The ambience is sophisticated and serene, complemented with dark wood tables and cream seating set under high ceilings, and you’ll often find musicians entertaining guests as they eat.

5. Frank’s Italian

Restaurant, Italian, Pub Grub

This long-standing stalwart of Italian cuisine is a fine-looking affair. Step inside and you’ll find a capacious red-brick outfit with fashionable exposed walls and low-level funky light fittings. The menu lives up to expectations by producing fresh, unfussy Italian favorites. The porcini ravioli is a rich and creamy plate of deliciousness, and the XL pizzas are big enough to feed an entire family. In the warmer months, enjoy your meal out on the screened patio that overlooks the adjacent river, a good place for a post-lunch stroll once plates are cleared.

6. Mary’s Diner

Diner, Restaurant, South American

Step back in time at Mary’s Diner where little has changed in décor or dishes for half a century. Run by the daughter of the original owners who opened it in the 1950s, the cafeteria serves comforting home-cooked fodder, which warms soul and stomach. There’s dribble-worthy steak and gravy and lovingly prepared mac ‘n’ cheese, which can be followed by some naughty-but-nice fruit cobblers or warming banana pudding.

7. Me’s Burgers and Brews

Restaurant, North American

Run by a mother-and-daughter outfit, this gourmet burger joint provides a relaxed neighborhood ambience. Top quality ingredients dominate the menu. 100 percent Angus Reserve beef, locally sourced lamb and free-ranged chicken are used in the menu’s hearty dishes. Book lovers will enjoy the burgers that are each named after a famous literary character such as The Agatha Christie with mystery mushrooms, Swiss, basil mayo and fresh spinach.

8. The Brown Bean

Cafe, North American

Blink and you’ll miss this intimate little restaurant, but it’s an unsung hero of Danville’s lunch scene. You’ll find this lunch spot attached to the Gingerbread House so that hungry shoppers can rest and refuel on the fresh, daily changing specials before continuing to shop. Options include cheesy quiches and fresh salads, chunky vegetable soups and a selection of yummy sandwiches served on soft, doughy bread. The laid-back setting and their delicious coffees and pastry selection make it a good tea stop too.

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