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Virginia Beach Cuisine: Seasoned by Salt Air

May 15, 2017 Dining No Comments Email Email

It’s All About Seafood! We absolutely love our seafood! And how can you blame us? With the famously rich waters of the Chesapeake Bay and hundreds of inlets snaking through the city, our unique and delectable seafood is an absolute go-­‐to for visitors and locals alike and has given us our seafood-­‐centric  culinary culture.

It’s during the fall and winter months that this seafood craze gets even fresher, with December and January being the peak seasons for rockfish (striped bass), striper, black sea bass, flounder, speckled trout and blueline tilefish – all available within 50 miles! That’s not surprising though, since the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay is considered to be the largest and most biologically diverse estuary in the U.S., yielding more seafood than any of the country’s other 840 estuaries, making us – and all seafood-­‐lovers – incredibly lucky.

Legendary Lynnhaven Oysters As if those underwater creatures weren’t enough, there are also oysters – beautifully harvested Lynnhaven oysters. Once coveted around the world and served to presidents and royalty for their size, saltiness and gentle zing, these delicious little bivalves are being harvested right in the Lynnhaven River, where visitors have the chance to take a boat tour of the oyster-­‐farm and enjoy a unique Chef’s Table experience right on the water – waders included! But don’t let us do all the talking. Captain John Smith himself described the bounty of the area when he spent three days in Virginia Beach shortly before establishing Jamestown in 1607, surviving primarily off fish, oysters and turtles, an experience he described with:

“Oysters lay as thick as stones,” with the Bay and rivers containing more sturgeon “than could be devoured by dog or man.”

Acclaimed Cuisine: AAA Four-­‐Diamond Restaurants Salacia Prime Seafood and Steaks (AAA-­‐rated since 2006), located within the Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront Hotel at the Resort Beach, is the only Four-­‐Diamond steakhouse in Virginia, offering a refined and memorable dining experience, complete  with  the  finest aged  prime  beef and  delectable  seasonally changing menu Terrapin (AAA-­‐rated since 2008), located at the Resort Beach, offers an intimate dining experience showcasing Chef Rodney Einhorn’s award-­‐winning and James Beard House-­‐acclaimed contemporary American Cuisine and creative use of seasonal farm-­‐fresh ingredients. Zoës Steak & Seafood (AAA-­‐rated since 2015) offers an elegant dining experience, influenced by local bounty. Together, James Beard House-­‐acclaimed Chef Jesse Wykle and renowned sommelier Marc Sauter offer an award-­‐winning menu that changes almost daily. Quirky Eats New Earth Farm is a sustainable, organic and educational working farm that allows visitors to get their hands dirty while learning about local produce, sustainable farming and cooking. At the farm, located in Pungo, just minutes away from Sandbridge Beach, visitors can learn to make cheese, kombucha, sheer sheep and more during their regularly scheduled classes, or sign up for cooking classes led by some of the area’s top chefs, at the farm’s Food Lab to learn how local ingredients come together to influence our culinary Doc Taylor’s, once a doctor’s home office circa 1939, is such a local’s favorite that the menu features several items names for regular customers. Today, the historic building provides comfort breakfast and lunch food, Bloody Marys and mimosas.

  • Margie & Ray’s serves up some of the freshest seafood in the area and is known to be a local’s favorite. This once small county store and tackle shop, owned and operated by Ray and Margie Blanton, is now a quirky seafood establishment at Sandbridge Beach. The restaurant boasts a lengthy menu with options to fill every For those feeling up for the challenge, indulge in Blanton’s Hungry Man Platter.
  • The Back Deck is a nautical dive bar with an unparalleled dockside view and the freshest seafood. Hidden behind The Shellfish Company seafood market, The Back Deck is stocked by the owners’ private fishing fleet, who unload their catch at the bar’s private dock daily.
  • Bay Local Eatery serves up one-­‐of-­‐a-­‐kind breakfast and lunch dishes in the heart of the Chesapeake Bay Beach. Hosting a menu inspired   by family recipes and locally inspired culinary treats, visitors and locals alike can savor a distinct taste of the bay life, as well as cold-pressed cocktails and an unlike-­‐any-­‐other, soft-­‐shell-­‐crab-­‐topped “Bloody  Blue.”

ViBe Creative District: Colorful, Creative, Inspired Beyond the boardwalk and tucked within the eclectic neighborhoods of the Resort Beach, Virginia Beach shines through the emerging ViBe Creative District, an enclave of art galleries, museums, shops and restaurants that showcase some of our most talented artisans – culinary ones, included!

  • Three Ships Coffee, a roastery and coffee shop, pays homage to local history and the mighty, adventurous spirit of the first settlers in our area. Their creative and classic beverages are perfect to enjoy inside of their comfy nautical shop or for grabbing it to
  • Hearth Wood Fired Cuisine & Craft Beer, once a food truck, provides only the freshest pizzas. High demand is what landed them in a new (less mobile) home within the ViBe Creative District, where they’re serving up fresh, wood-­‐fired dishes and a wide array of craft beer, cocktails and
  • Commune, the true definition of farm-­‐to-­‐table, is the first farmer-­‐owned restaurant to open with a local-­‐ harvest-­‐centric menu and coffee Founded by former farmer Kevin Jamison, with Chef Barry Smith at the kitchen’s helm, the zero-­‐waste business has an on-­‐site herb garden and sources all other ingredients from farms within 100 miles.
  • Esoteric, housed in a 1920s-­‐era building on the Virginia Beach Historical Registry, is serving up European-­‐ influenced fare with local ingredients, many of them sourced from their on-­‐site garden.
  • Chesapeake Bay Distillery features locally distilled spirits, Blue Ridge Vodka and soon-­‐to-­‐make-­‐a-­‐comeback Chick’s Beach Rum, crafted to perfection and personally bottled one by

First Farmer-­‐Driven Restaurant Now Owns New Earth Farm

Commune, Virginia Beach’s first farmer-­‐owned restaurant, is the true definition of farm-­‐to-­‐table. Kevin Jamison opened the zero-­‐waste business in early 2016, with an on-­‐site herb garden, as an extension of his love for homegrown, healthy and hearty food. Kevin has taken his dream to the next level, purchasing New Earth Farm – a working, sustainable and educational farm located in the local Pungo farming community. He has started building a solar-­‐powered henhouse, which he expects to supply all of Commune’s eggs, and by March, he

hopes to revive the farm’s “Food Lab” cooking, pickling and fermenting classes for visitors and locals alike. While the farm will be capable of supplying all of the restaurant’s produce needs, Commune will continue to seek out unique offerings from other regional growers and to collaborate with the local community, including a partnership with the area’s sustainable schools to improve their culinary programs.

Brewing a Great Beer Scene Over the past two years, Virginia Beach has given rise to an emerging and distinct craft beer scene that offers an opportunity to sip a taste of place at locally owned breweries, inspired by the area and spanning across all three beaches.

  • Back Bay Brewery
  • Commonwealth Brewing
  • Green Flash Brewing
  • Pleasure House Brewing
  • Reaver Beach Brewing
  • Wasserhund Brewing
  • Young Veterans Brewing
  • Smartmouth Brewing Co. (coming soon)

Cozying Up with Local Coffee In Virginia Beach, we are incredibly lucky to have some of the most passionate and dedicated coffee houses in the area. There have been quite a few to pop up recently, along with longstanding local faves, all with the same shared passion for producing a delicious cup of artisanal joe.

  • Café Moka
  • Three Ships Roastery & Coffee Counter
  • Roast Rider Coffee + Tea
  • The Daily Grind
  • Lynnhaven Coffee Company
  • Java Surf Café and Espresso Bar

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