Norfolk, Virginia, a city steeped in maritime heritage and echoing the melodies of the Atlantic, is more than just a naval hub—it’s a culinary voyage waiting to be embarked upon.
Nestled between the Chesapeake Bay and the Elizabeth River, Norfolk’s dining scene draws from its rich coastal heritage, offering a gastronomic experience that’s as diverse as the waters that surround it.
From seafood bistros with the day’s freshest catch to eateries that capture the city’s melting pot of cultures, Norfolk’s restaurants are a testament to its vibrant and evolving food culture.
Join us as we sail through the city’s finest culinary destinations, each telling its own tale of flavors and traditions.
209 W Freemason St, Norfolk, VA 23510
I was immediately struck by Freemason Abbey Restaurant’s location, a renovated historic church. Freemason Abbey is found in downtown Norfolk.
This restaurant strikes the right balance between sophistication and ease. I appreciated the menu’s variety, with its pasta dishes, steaks, seafood, and soups. Check out the She Crab Soup. It’s won awards for a reason!
I ordered the Seafood Fantasia, and I could immediately taste the supremely fresh ingredients. Other popular dishes are the Filet Mignon, Stuffed Pork Chop, and Prime Rib.
I made a reservation for Freemason Abbey, as I visited on a Saturday. I recommend that you do too, as this spot is in high demand.
205 E City Hall Ave, Norfolk, VA 23510
You’re bound to spend time in downtown Norfolk’s historic district, so enjoy a meal at Chartreuse Bistro when you do.
This bistro is all about farm-to-table, and the menu is full of surprises. You’ll find new selections for lunch and dinner every single day.
One of the strengths of this restaurant is how it makes you feel at home. I recommend ordering some of the organic homemade bread along with your meal. Chartreuse Bistro favors local organic farms for sourcing its ingredients.
As the menu changes regularly at this local restaurant, you’ll find out what you can order once you get there. Or call in advance, if you’d like.
If you order a seafood dish here, you’ll appreciate how the fish is freshly sourced from the Chesapeake Bay.
2511 Colonial Ave, Norfolk, VA 23517
Handsome Biscuit is an iconic Norfolk location for sweet potato biscuit sandwiches. It’s known for its fried chicken, too.
Find Handsome Biscuit on Colonial Avenue, near West 26th Street. The menu offers a range of sweet potato biscuit sandwiches to suit every taste and mood.
Handsome Biscuit is a local institution, and it’s been talked about in publications like Southern Living and USA Today. I was eager to try the legendary fried chicken here, so I ordered the Chicken Classic.
This sweet potato biscuit sandwich boasts mouth-watering fried chicken together with pickled tomato, cheese, HB Comeback sauce, and lettuce. It was yummy! Go give it a try.
245 Granby St, Norfolk, VA 23510
When it comes to Italian cuisine, Luce is a must-visit culinary destination in Norfolk. It has a convenient downtown location, so give it a try during your adventures.
Luce provides an immersive experience. Its menu includes dishes from all over Italy. I appreciated the welcoming and comfortable atmosphere here.
For my appetizer, I ordered the Mushroom Toast, which boasts truffle oil, mozzarella, portobello mushroom, and more.
When it comes to entrees, I recommend my selection, the Smoked Salmon Arrabbiata. I don’t know about you, but I’m a big smoked salmon fan. And this dish has it in plenty.
Some of Luce’s most popular menu options are Mushroom Toast, Rig and Goose, Wild Boar Ragu, Seafood Cioppino, and Pollo Con Strati.
806 Spotswood Ave, Norfolk, VA 23517
You’ll find No Frill Bar and Grill at the corner of Spotswood and Colley Avenue. It’s close to the well-known Naro Theater. If you’re looking for a simple but taste bud-tingling lunch or dinner, give this local fixture a try.
There are plenty of frequently ordered dishes here, like the Crab Cake Sandwich, Funky Chicken Sandwich, Baked French Onion Soup, and Smoked Salmon B.L.T.
As an unabashed smoked salmon fan, I went with this latter option for lunch one day. It was outstanding.
If you’re looking for a casual atmosphere with classic American food, you can’t go wrong with No Frill Bar and Grill.
131 Granby St, Norfolk, VA 23510
Craft beer fans, Jack Brown’s Beer & Burger Joint in Norfolk is calling your name. One of this restaurant’s many attractions is its 100% American Wagyu Beef.
I’d never tried Wagyu before my meal at Jack Brown’s Beer & Burger. Don’t leave Norfolk without trying it!
Jack Brown’s Beer & Burger embraces a farm-to-table ethos. That’s why it sources its Wagyu beef from a family-owned farm in Idaho. Do what I did and pair your burger with some refreshing craft beer.
I went with the Classic Jack burger for my meal. It was outstanding, with juicy Wagyu beef, American cheese, caramelized onions, pickles, and house-made JB sauce.
626 W Olney Rd, Norfolk, VA 23507
Make Press 626 Wine Bar one of your destinations in Norfolk’s most historic neighborhood, Ghent. When I went there, I was impressed by the large house in which the restaurant is housed.
Don’t worry about dressing up. Press 626 Wine Bar is a wine bar as well as a restaurant. This local establishment is all about Southern hospitality, and you’re greeted by a welcoming smile and attentive service.
There are lots of tasty dishes here to please your palate. I had dinner at Press 626 Wine Bar, and I ordered the Duck Breast. It was absolutely scrumptious. I finished off my meal with Pistachio Chocolate Ganache Tart.
345 Granby St, Norfolk, VA 23510
One of this eatery’s unique features is its exciting range of sandwiches, all interpretations of the classic grilled cheese.
If you need gluten-free bread, you’re all set here. You can also get vegan cheese on request. Take your time to peruse the menu, choosing the right grilled cheese for you.
The Meathead is perfect for true carnivores. It boasts applewood bacon and smoked turkey, as well as cheddar, avocado, and cheddar. It’s served on sourdough bread. This was the sandwich I tried, and it was great.
Order a side dish, too. A popular choice is the side-cut fries. Choose the sauce you prefer. The Smoked Sea Salt with Chipotle Aioli is very tasty.
100 E Main St, Norfolk, VA 23510
Saltine is one of the best restaurants in downtown Norfolk. This is a local culinary destination for seafood, and everything is locally sourced.
The philosophy here is “sea to table.” Of course, freshness is everything when it comes to seafood. I was hugely impressed by the obvious freshness of the meal I tried here.
I started with the Smoked Fish Dip, which I loved. It includes seasonal mustard, house crackers, and hatch chili hush puppies.
And what did I get for my entree? I chose the Whole Fried Snapper. It was divine, with the delicious additions of yogurt benne dressing and nduja vinaigrette. It also comes with chickpea fritter and salt-roasted root vegetables.
4117 Granby St Suite A, Norfolk, VA 23504
The Blanca experience starts before you walk through the door. This restaurant exudes elegance and has excellent service.
Blanca is all about old-world wines and sophisticated dishes. The menu is short but packed with top-notch fine cuisine.
I highly recommend the Tagliatelle with Ragu Bianco, Peas, and Parmesan. I’m a big pasta fan, and I can honestly say this was one of the most delicious pasta dishes I’ve ever had.
I treated myself to a decadent dessert, too. I indulged and went with the Basque Cheesecake with Sherry Caramel. Need I say more? If you’re in a chocolate mood, have the Chocolate Mousse.
509 Botetourt St, Norfolk, VA 23510
You’ll discover Voila on the corner of Botetourt and York Street. I had dinner at Voila on my second day in Norfolk, and I was pleased with my meal.
I took the plunge and tried Escargot for a starter. I loved it! This menu item was full of creamy, buttery flavor.
I recommend you take my route and get the Duck a l’Orange for your entree. You can’t go wrong with this.
It features pan-roasted duck breast dusted with peppercorns, as well as toasted pistachio nuts, shaved fennel, and more.
While you’re in the historic neighborhood where Voila is situated, take your time checking out some of the fascinating attractions nearby.
You’re excited about traveling to Norfolk. It’s a great destination, so you’ve made a good choice. You’ve already added the naval and cultural destinations to your itinerary, but don’t forget the culinary.
As you’ve discovered here, this Virginia city is full of exciting restaurants. Add at least a few of them to your Norfolk plans.
Head over to take in the beautiful beach views and experiences, too. Norfolk boasts access to beaches on the Chesapeake Bay, as well as various rivers and lakes.
While you’re still in Virginia, head to Virginia Beach and have a delightful brunch. Check out our list of some great Virginia Beach brunch spots here.
Did we leave a restaurant out of this list? Make sure you leave us a comment and we’ll check it out!