A Look Back and Forward

Today’s column is my holiday gift to readers that ask me – where do you like to eat? I apologize to some places that I have left off the list, but the ones that I have included are restaurants that I have reviewed and where I return time after time because the quality of the food served is consistently excellent.
One of my favorite restaurants in Charlottesville is Burtons Grill. It is located in the Stonefield Shopping Center and it is open every day for lunch and dinner. I have probably ordered almost every item on the lunch menu and I have never been disappointed. The fish is especially well prepared. Although I do not order dessert too often, their desserts are amazing. Ask about the chef’s choice for dessert because their bread pudding, blondie a la mode, and pecan praline tart are the best. The food is fresh, beautifully presented and delicious. My husband and I are members of their loyalty club and you get a point for every dollar that you spend. Once you have acquired 250 points, they take $25 off your next bill. That has already happened to us and we expect it to happen many more times.
Three other Cville favorites are Michie Tavern on Rt. 53 for traditional Southern food in a colonial-themed setting, Flaming Wok on Rt. 29 for fresh food and fun on the hibachi grill and Panera Bread at Barracks Road for a fast soup and salad lunch. In 2014 I will be reviewing Carmello’s, a Charlottesville favorite Italian Restaurant that recently moved to the Shoppers World Center at the former location of Copacabana Restaurant (next door to Home Goods and Massage Envy).
On the historic downtown mall, Marco and Luca’s noodles and dumplings still get rave reviews from me. Hamilton’s is a fine place to dine at lunchtime. And at Pantops, I can be found having a quick and yummy lunch at either Sticks or Christian’s Pizza.
In Richmond, my two go-to places for lunch are Mama Cucina on Cox Road, Glen Allen, and Bistro 27 on Broad Street. I have been going to Mama Cucina for 12 years, and even though this authentic Italian restaurant has changed hands, the food continues to satisfy in every way. Mama Cucina is only open for lunch Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. They are open for dinner Monday through Saturday from 5 to 10 p.m. Not only is the food amazing, but you get enough for another meal at home the next day. Next month’s column will be a review of other favorite, Bistro 27.
Today I stopped by Troy Deli and Bakery on Rt. 15 to pick up a few things; delicious chicken salad, tasty potato salad, creamy corn soup and two chicken pot pies for dinner. I also ordered apple strudel to take with us for dessert at a holiday dinner. What can I say, after several years this establishment is still providing wonderful salads, daily hot specials and incredible baked goods. I stop by to pick up their almond crescents whenever I know we are going to see our son because he loves them so much. Like Dick said the first time we ate one, they are just TOO GOOD – meaning that you don’t want to stop eating them once you start. Other baked items are also great. Troy Deli is now open every day but Sunday. Also on Rt. 15 and Zion Crossroads is Il Castello, a casual Italian Restaurant with very good food and pizza (closed on Mondays) and Made In Asia for the best local Chinese and Thai fare.
Dick and I like to meet friends for Sunday brunch at the Ashlawn Grille at Lake Monticello. The brunch offerings are prepared well and the atmosphere is great for conversation while sipping a Bloody Mary or sharing the crispy potato skins appetizer.
Happy New Year. My wish for you is time to enjoy good food, good friends and loving family at holiday time and throughout the year. And please continue to send me your suggestions for future restaurants to review by emailing me at letsdolunch.mona@gmail.com. And Let‘s Do Lunch.

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