Exploring Richmond – One Meal At A Time

One of the things we discovered very quickly when we arrived in RVA is that the list of places to eat appears to be infinite.  This has caused a certain distress to our waistlines (an ongoing struggle described in these posts).  With our second anniversary here approaching, I thought I could share some of our favorite places.

So by category:

Barbecue

I start right off with a three way tie.  Each one is different from the others, but each does a great job with a slightly different approach.  It’s a coin toss between:

  • Alamo BBQ in Church Hill – If you need a cozy restaurant setting for your barbecue this isn’t your place.  If you like some zing in your barbecue, you’re going to love Alamo.  Texas style so that means brisket plus chicken, pork, sausage, even portobello mushrooms and tilapia.  Everything I have ever had here has a spicy bite to it from the cowboy beans and mac and cheese to the brisket and ribs.  Seating is entirely outdoors mostly under a canopy.  The choices are many, so make sure you know what you want when you get to the window.  Sandwiches, platters, tacos, burritos, quesadillas, lots of sides and meat by the pound.
  • Buz and Ned’s Real Barbecue – two locations, on Boulevard and on Broad.  This strikes me as more old school barbecue.  They are firmly based in the pitmaster traditions of barbecuing.  You’ll find brisket, chicken, pork, ribs, catfish and shrimp.  In season there’s Brunswich stew or chili.  The sides have all the usual suspects plus okra and hushpuppies.  Not fancy but solid, comfortable seating inside and patio outside when the weather permits.  They’ve been consistently at the top of the “Best BBQ in Richmond” list for years.
  • Q Barbecue – four locations around the area.  This is a regional chain that does a very good job of putting some quality food in front of you.  Comfortable traditional restaurant setup with some pretty good items on the menu. Founded by barbecue competition champion Tuffy Stone you’ll find the usual suspects plus wings, fried chicken, even burgers and hot dogs!  But the barbecue is good enough to ignore the rest.  Our very first meal here was from Q and we’ve been fans ever since.

Honestly, could not put one over the other.  Each has their attraction and we’ve gone to each multiple times.  And will again.  We’ve had some pretty good barbecue other places but these three stand apart from the rest.

Mexican

I don’t know what it is about the Richmond area but the mexican restaurant per square mile has got to be very high around here.  Given that Mexican is one of our favorites that’s not a bad thing at all.  There’s a clear favorite here:

dinner-plate-with-spoon-and-forkCasa Grande – Midlothian Turnpike – One of my first checks on the quality of the food at a Mexican restaurant is the number of customers speaking Spanish.  The more spanish speakers the better the food.  Plus they make your guacamole fresh at the table!  Food is great, the atmosphere is relaxed, the service has always been great.  When we want to go out but don’t know where we want to go, we usually end up here.

Mi Hacienda – Midlothian Turnpike –  Solid food but it’s atmosphere that really puts this place over the top.  It’s spacious and airy inside.  You get the feeling it would be a great place for a reception or big party.  In the past they’ve done live music and other events but we’ve never been there for any of them (yet!).

Isidro’s Tex-Mex Grill – Midlothian Turnpike – This place is relatively new (and virtually next door to Casa Grande).  There’s not always a lot of difference between restaurants in the food, so Isidro’s stands out.  Different flavors, especially smoky, spicy flavors.  Very quiet the night we were there but the food was excellent.

Lots of other places as I said.  Plaza Azteca in Westchester Commons also very good.

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