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Smyrna is one of Charlottesville’s hottest new restaurants, and for good reason. They serve artfully simple Mediterranean-Aegean dishes in a relaxed, upscale atmosphere. I dined at Smyrna with my mom and dad over Parent’s Weekend. Though Smyrna is pricey, it’s a great spot to visit if your parents are in town to help foot the bill.
Zocalo has been a fixture of downtown Charlottesville since 2003. The restaurant charms patrons with artful Latin American dishes and spirited ambiance. Though an evening at Zocalo comes at a steeper price, Zocalo is a great place to splurge on an intimate dinner or a night out with friends.
Umma’s excites with bold, fresh takes on classic dishes. Relatively new to the Downtown restaurant scene, Umma’s has served Charlottesville diners Korean-Japanese American fusion since 2022. Popular for their novel food combinations — like Southern collards over ramen noodles or caramel apple enveloped in Taiyaki pastry — Umma’s is a great spot to visit with friends for innovative comfort food at a reasonable price.
The Local is a restaurant that lives up to its name. Their chefs have served Charlottesville diners contemporary American fare since 2008. The Local’s dishes celebrate local products, highlighting ingredients from nearby farms, butchers and distributors. It’s worth the moderate expense to taste their food and unwind in their cozy space — the experience will ground you in the flavors and character of Central Virginia.