As the capital of Virginia, Richmond has a lot going on. Whether you’re spending the day taking in the exhibits in the Museum District, wandering around the beautiful grounds of the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden or browsing among the unique stores and boutiques downtown, chances are you’re not too far from an interesting place to sit down and have a meal. Here are our top choices for spots that have the most unique eats in Richmond.
It’s not often that the cuisine of the Southern Pacific is the focus of restaurants in the United States, so the brand-new Burger Bach stands out amongst Richmond’s culinary offerings. The centerpiece of Burger Bach’s offerings is the burger made from all-natural, mostly New Zealand-sourced, grass-fed beef. You’ll also find hormone-free chicken and fish burgers with New Zealand-inspired names like “Wellington” and “Queenstown,” hand-cut fries and healthy, fresh sides. To wash everything down with, the restaurant offers a unique selection of New Zealand wines and beers. If you’re not in the mood for meat, Burger Bach is also home to an oyster bar featuring a famous Kiwi export, the New Zealand green mussel.
Where: 10 S. Thompson St., Richmond, VA 23221
This little hole-in-the-wall spot serves up wonderfully authentic Korean food in a somewhat unlikely location. True to its name, there’s actually a garden in the back of the restaurant where they grow fresh vegetables and spices. This modest, family-run place is known for their fiery Korean-style fried chicken, an interesting take on the standard Southern staple that is elevated to the next level with Korean spices and marinades. And if the mood (or the Korean beer) strikes you, 88 Garden even has a karaoke room.
Where: 6135 Midlothian Turnpike, Richmond, VA 23225
Peter Chang’s China Café
Foodies across the globe know of the legend of Peter Chang, an enigmatic, award-winning chef specializing in Szechwan cuisine who has served his pleasantly tingly, mouth-numbing culinary creations to American Presidents and Chinese Premiers, as well as spicy food fanatics across the United States. He’s been known as somewhat of a disappearing chef, alighting briefly to commandeer restaurants in Fairfax, Alexandria, Atlanta, Knoxville and Charlottesville, and then moving on to his next destination. No one knows just how long he’ll stay in any given place, but while he’s in Richmond, a trip to Peter Chang’s China Café is definitely a must-do. Chang fanatics rave about his crisp and tasty Dry-Fried Eggplant appetizer, as well as the aromatic Fish and Coriander Rolls, and the Golden Mountain Chicken, covered in red chilies, is one of the chef’s specialties.
Where: 11424 W. Broad St., Richmond, VA 23230
Featuring a wonderfully creative menu, first-rate service and beautiful décor, Bistro 27 caters to visitors and residents of Richmond alike who crave delicious, inventive food with different flavors. Run by head Chef Carlos Silva, who was born and raised in Brazil and imbues his food with a distinctly global aesthetic, Bistro 27 is a welcome addition to the Richmond culinary scene. If you’re feeling slightly adventurous, start off with the Escargots, delicately poached in garlic, parsley and butter and served in a mushroom cap. Or, try the Quail Egg Skewers, wrapped in peppered bacon and served with a French brandy aioli. For the entrée, you could play it safe with the Chicken Cordon Bleu, featuring a pan roasted chicken breast awash in a creamy sauce of Emmental cheese, but with such unique offerings as Beef Two Ways on the menu, featuring slow-cooked Angus beef short ribs and braised beef tongue served over local grits, why would you want to?
Where: 27 W. Broad St., Richmond, VA 23220
Don’t let the slightly corny, Taco-Bell-type-chain-restaurant name fool you: Chicken Fiesta is the real deal. Billing itself as a “Rotisserie Chicken and Tex-Mex grill,” Chicken Fiesta specializes in juicy, flavorful Peruvian-style charcoal rotisserie chicken and traditional, tasty sides like yellow rice, beans and fried yucca. You can order the signature chicken by the whole, half or quarter chicken, or try it in a burrito or taco salad. Make sure to try the Tamal de Elote, a sweet corn cake served in a steamed corn husk that is often eaten as a breakfast treat in Mexico.
Where: Two locations in the Richmond area
Photo credit: iStockphoto/bookwyrmm