Whether you’re a meat lover or a vegetarian; gluten-free or carb lover, RVA has something to satisfy all kinds of tastebuds and food preferences.



Alchemy Coffee

Alchemy is a brick and mortar coffee shop in the VCUarts Depot building. The folks at Alchemy are committed to making amazing coffee, especially espresso-based drinks, and they also serve up some munchies – perfect if you’re busy collaborating with classmates in The Depot.

Black Hand Coffee Company

Roasting beans “farm-to-grinder,” Black Hand Coffee Company is little shop is known for doing big things. You can buy a cup of Joe to go, try one of their amazing dirty chai lattes or take home coffee beans in bulk.

Blanchard’s Coffee

Stop by to peruse their selection of fair trade coffee beans. Blanchard’s works with other organizations and farmers to ensure that a majority of the purchase price goes directly back to the beans’ origin farm.

Captain Buzzy’s Beanery

Stop by this Church Hill coffee house for a fresh baked pastry or a quick breakfast and a cup of their unique coffee. Captain Buzzy’s brings in coffee beans from all around the world, then roasts and brews them right here in Richmond.


This coffee house doubles as a music venue that serves awesome craft brews. Ice cream, good sandwiches and vegan/vegetarian options can also be found at this Richmond favorite.

Harrison Street Cafe

“Good eats, no meats. Since 2001.” That’s the tagline to this vegetarian staple. Located in the heart of VCU, this cafe is 100% vegan/vegetarian, serving breakfast and lunch seven days a week. Try their coffee, teas and pastries, too! 


By far Richmond’s most famous coffee shop! It has three locations, one in an up and coming neighborhood with fun vintage/thrift shops across the street, another which is the company’s roasting lab, and the third location is right by the VCU campus. Both the South Addison and Morris Street locations have fun food options, many of which are vegan.

Lift Coffee Shop

This little coffee shop offers organic and fairly traded coffees, breakfast foods (check out their artichoke cream cheese made fresh in house!), sandwiches, beers and mimosas. Lift is in the center of the Broad Street art gallery circuit, and has cozy indoor seating and outdoor chairs, making it the perfect spot to grab a caffeine boost from before strolling around the galleries during First Friday!


This fragrant shop has an amazing selection of teas, coffees and fun drink accessories. You can buy the tea and coffee in bulk to brew at home or you can just grab one of their coffee drinks for a caffeine boost on the run.

Casual Dining

Casual Dining

821 Cafe

Truly a Richmond staple! With vegan, vegetarian, omnivore, and gluten free options, 821 Cafe is a great place for every kind of eater! Whether you want a huge burger sandwiched between two grilled cheeses, an amazing brunch omelet with mimosas, or a big bowl of vegan chili, this is your place! $

Black Sheep

Probably one of the best restaurants EVER (they were also featured on the TV Show “Man vs. Food”). Their brunch is awesome but you can also find giant sandwiches, called “Battleships” here. Their most popular “Battleship” is “The Brooklyn”. One full sized sandwich can easily feed two people! $$

Christian’s Pizza

Christian’s rocked it in Charlottesville and has now opened up a second location in Richmond. Man, are we glad about this! This pizza spot is delicious, fast, friendly, fresh and close to VCU campus. If you are a fan of interesting pizza toppings and sauces, giant slices and a clean sunny atmosphere, you will love Christian’s! This spot also has a killer late night special and a few choice brews for those after-hours pizza cravings. Last but not least, this is Richmond, so it should go without saying, but Christian’s definitely has vegan and vegetarian friendly options. $

Croaker’s Spot

Croaker’s Spot is a seafood and soul food place is perfect for if you have a big appetite and a taste for southern style cooking. The portions are huge and the atmosphere is casual. $$


Dinamo and Edo’s Squid are owned by the same people, but Dinamo is a more casual option. For lunch, try their lentil salad or their clams in red sauce. For dinner, try the squid with chard or the ricotta gnocchi with pesto. The squid ink pasta is also to die for. $$


Don’t let its small size fool you…this traveling food cart has an amazing selection of fresh and wholesome foods. You can often find a Goatacado cart at a local festival or on the VCU campus. They also have a dining location that’s a short walk from campus.  $


This restaurant/bar has a small but great menu with many healthy options and wonderful desserts that change frequently so be sure to ask your waiter about them. $$

Mama J’s Kitchen

Mama J was born and raised in Richmond to a family of 14 children and learned many of her amazing southern recipes from her time spent helping her mother in the kitchen. Inspired by the tradition of the family dinner, Mama J’s serves up fresh comfort food in a homey atmosphere. $$

Millie’s Diner

Consistently voted RVA’s best brunch by Style Weekly, Millie’s is a popular place – but not to worry! If you walk up and there’s a line on a day that they serve brunch, you can have a drink while you wait. From indulgent specials and wholesome sides to eastern inspired seafood dishes Millie’s has it all and prides itself in the eclectic. We recommend the Devil’s Mess – delish. $$

Nick’s International Foods

Whether you need Mediterranean groceries to cook dolmades, spanakopita and baklava at home or just want an delicious sandwich on the run, Nick’s is your place. The friendly staff and interesting selection of food makes Nick’s awesome. $$

The Continental

A fun and delicious place in the Near West End, The Continental serves re-vamped “American fare”. From cast-iron baked veggie casseroles to amazing chicken and waffles, there are many options to make your taste buds happy. Many of their menu items can be made vegan/vegetarian, so be sure to ask! $$


The Daily Kitchen and Bar

This restaurant is amazing. The Daily serves delicious, health conscious food in a beautiful and warm atmosphere. Using all natural, organic, local and sustainable ingredients, the chefs at The Daily create mind blowing dishes. The menu has options for every lifestyle and the staff is very knowledgeable about the ingredients in each dish so you can feel confident that your meal is right for your diet! This gem is also a great place for an after dinner cocktail, glass or wine or a craft beer.  And, it’s open for breakfast on weekdays. $$

The Naked Onion

This little takeaway shop is chef owned and operated, has fresh baked bread each day and takes the sandwich experience very seriously. Menu items include a pork belly banh mi, bread pudding and so much more! $

Union Market

The folks at Union Market describe themselves as a “neighborhood grocery and eatery”. Known for pimento cheese sandwiches, growler fills and a constantly rotating tap list, this spot has a laid back bodega feel that would make any one feel at home. $

Upscale Restaurants


The restaurant on the third floor of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts – really good food, great view of the sculpture garden. (Also in the VMFA is Best Cafe, $$ a more affordable dining option in the museum – It’s a good place to go for a cup of coffee and a pastry before walking around the museum). $$


Southern comfort with a twist, this is an awesome place to eat, especially if you are in the downtown area on a Friday night checking out the gallery openings of First Friday! The portions are large and can easily be split. Be sure to check out the banana pudding. $$

Edo’s Squid

Right across from Harrison St. Cafe, the outside of Edo’s Squid is unassuming and the stairwell entrance makes you feel like you’re going into someone’s apartment, but don’t let that scare you away. Lunch is fairly casual; bowls of pasta with decadent sauces that are served family-style with larger parties. At dinner, a hand-written menu offers up some of the best, traditional Italian dishes. There is still something for everyone, including Vegans, but the menu does skew more towards seafood. $$


Repeatedly voted “Best Seafood” by several RVA publications, Hardshell will not disappoint the seafood lover! Serving a variety of seafood dishes in a relaxing atmosphere, this spot is the perfect place for a celebratory dinner or night on the town. Reservations are recommended but not required. $$

Lunch and Supper

Southern style food with an intimate setting just a short drive away from campus. Don’t be confused, there are two buildings next door to each other (one is Lunch and the other is Supper), but they both serve the same delicious food coming from a heartwarming staff. $$


Good ole’ Richmond, we sure do love our reimagined southern food. Pasture certainly specializes in this food genre and prepares everything with fresh, local, seasonal and organic ingredients. Plates are portioned to share, inspired by the family style dinner. Small plates are also available. And, of course, craft beers and specialty cocktails are part of the Pasture experience (all beers come from east of the Mississippi). $$

Tarrant’s Cafe

Tarrant’s is awesome spot for lunch, dinner or happy hour. What once was a neighborhood pharmacy, this location is perfect for grabbing a bite or a drink before or after First Fridays! Fun fact: Tarrant’s is also famous for its Thanksgiving Day meal which gets booked up months in advance. $$


Kuba Kuba

Probably the best Cuban food in town, this is a Richmond gem. Definitely come hungry, because they serve large portions in a bodega-like atmosphere.  $$


If the phrase “extensive selection of craft beer” is music to your ears, then you have got to check out the famous Mekong. This Vietnamese restaurant’s slogan is “Mekong is for beer lovers.” If beer isn’t really your thing, no worries. The food here is amazing too! $$


Delicious and located in Carytown, Momotaro has a variety of rolls for the sushi fan. Try the Candy Cane Roll or the Bomb Roll. $$

My Noodle & Bar

This family-owned restaurant has a variety of delicious noodle, rice, and curry dishes. Just a short walk away from campus, you can enjoy their patio seating surrounded by their ever-growing herb garden. $$

Peter Chang China Cafe

Peter Chang’s Szechuan style cuisine has a personal twist and has been obsessing those lucky enough to try it since his humble beginnings in Hubei Province. Since Chang moved to the United States, he has been a chef at many restaurants and even the Chinese Embassy in D.C. You won’t regret dining at this authentic Chinese restaurant. $$

Pho So 1

This is the place to go for authentic, inexpensive and delicious Vietnamese food. The menu features several kinds of Pho (an amazing noodle soup dish served with fresh herbs, lime and bean sprouts on the side) and many other Vietnamese dishes. They also have many different flavors of bubble tea. $


A Richmond mainstay, Stella’s is the place to go for all things Greek. You must try the tiropita and the spanakopita, but the moussaka and souvlaki are hard to beat. Really, you won’t be disappointed no matter what you try. $$


Stuzzi has amazing authentic dishes, cocktails and nightly specials. You can expect good food because the executive chef worked with Gordon Ramsey on Hell’s Kitchen, Season 10. They have an adorable patio and warm atmosphere to complete the experience.  $$


Bev’s Homemade Ice Cream

Bev’s Homemade is home to seriously delicious ice cream, sorbet, sherbet and more! There are the classic flavors, available all the time, and the special flavors that change every few days. These special flavors are really unique and great for the adventurous eater. Check out their Facebook page to see what’s being scooped that day.

Carytown Cupcakes

Specializing in creative, all natural cupcakes made lovingly by “Team Buttercream”, Carytown Cupcakes makes fresh batches of sweets centered around a new theme each week. In the summer of 2014, they started serving local craft brews, wine and local cider. On top of all that, the arrival of the weekend at Carytown Cupcakes means that bite sized savory goodies are being made fresh, ready to be paired with an awesome craft beer!

Charm School Social Club

A Richmond favorite nestled among a ton of galleries on Broad Street. Offering an assortment of vegan and non-vegan flavors, Charm School Social Club offers a fun atmosphere. Be sure to pop in during First Fridays or after a campus tour to cool down with a cone or cup.  We recommend getting the toasted fluff on top!

Early Bird Biscuit Co. & Bakery

Started by a VCUarts alum, Early Bird Biscuit Co. is small but mighty and has drummed up a lot of attention since its opening. Stop by Early Bird for a variety of amazing biscuits, sandwiches (often made with a big biscuit instead of regular bread), coffee and interesting pastries. An RVA favorite is a buttermilk biscuit topped with blackstrap molasses butter (an old family recipe).

For the Love of Chocolate

With its massive variety of candies from chocolates to gummies, including items that are vegan, kosher, organic and fairly traded, For the Love of Chocolate is not messing around. If you are looking for something unusual, like a chocolate covered cricket or a bacon flavored soda, this place has you covered.

King of Pops

Inspired by the taste of paletas (experienced on a trip around Latin America), and pushed by a corporate lay off, brothers Nick and Steven began making popsicles from fresh fruit and natural ingredients. Since then King of Pops has grown from a kitchen, to a cart, to a fleet of carts and a brick-n- mortar location in Scott’s Addition. Visit their site to find some pops near you today!

Proper Pie Co.

With the help of a Kickstarter campaign, Proper Pie Co. opened its doors in Church Hill, where it serves amazing pies ranging from savory to sweet (there are vegan options, too). In addition to pies, there is a different soup each day. Proper Pie will surely warm your heart, especially during the snowy winters.

Red Eye Cookie

This baked-to-order cookie shop opened in 2014 in the heart of campus to satisfy the late night sweet tooth. We recommend their signature cookie, which is red velvet and espresso flavored.

Rocket Fizz

Rocket Fizz has a retro atmosphere and wacky flavored sweets, from candies to sodas. Be on the look out for the pirate statue on Cary Street – he guards the store front! Once you see him you will know you are close to a treasure trove of weird and wonderful sweets.

Sub Rosa Bakery

Sub Rosa is a wood-fired bakery, famous for having delicious, well-baked goods! This operation once suffered awful damage in a fire, but through the help of the community, this brother-sister baking duo was able to rebuild their business to continue to supply visitors with amazing breads, scones, croissants and more.

Sugar Shack

This amazing donut shop was recently rated by USA Today as the top doughnut place in the US! Our fave is the Salted Caramel doughnut.

WPA Bakery

This neighborhood bakery is located in the Church Hill North Historic District in a turn-of-the-last-century building. The building was a confectionary and restaurant for much of the 20th century and this history has carried over to WPA (Well-made Pastry Alliance) which serves not only local customers coming in for all kinds of pies, cakes, sticky buns and more, but also some of Richmond’s staple restaurants such as Ipanema, Garnett’s and The Roosevelt. So you can stop into Garnett’s for a delicious sandwich and also try a slice of WPA’s Peanut Butter Pie! WPA also offers a large variety of vegan and gluten free deserts.