Where To Eat In Virginia Beach guide image

photo credit: Anne Cruz

Guide

Where To Eat In Virginia Beach

Oyster tours, cozy patios, hefty breakfast burritos, and plenty more.

Virginia Beach is like Norfolk’s cuter cousin: there’s still a large naval presence as seen by all the F15s flying overhead, but you can also relax on the beach without having to think too much about the military-industrial complex. Whether you’re here for a couple of days to kayak and paddleboard along the Chesapeake Bay, or just want to get out of Norfolk for a little bit, there are plenty of places to eat and drink in Virginia Beach—and these are our favorites. You’ll find snack shacks along the boardwalk perfect after a day of swimming, raw bars where you can try a large variety of local oysters, and breakfast institutions that have been serving sleepy beach-goers for decades.

FOR SOMETHING SPECIAL

photo credit: Anne Cruz

Pleasure House Oysters review image

Pleasure House Oyster

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3211 Lynnhaven Drive, Virginia Beach
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Pleasure House Oysters isn’t a restaurant, but an oyster farm that offers tours and tasting in the Lynnhaven river. The best option is the Tasting Tour, where you board a vessel (with your beverages of choice) and learn about how oysters are farmed as the boat coasts past million-dollar homes along the Lynnhaven Bay. During the farm tour, you’ll also get to wade up to oyster cages in the water, and even stand next to the boat while watching the captain shuck mollusks for you to enjoy. Your guide will also probably offer you some homemade mignonette with the world-class Lynnhaven oysters, served right out of a mason jar with a fishing knife.

photo credit: Anne Cruz

The Atlantic review image

The Atlantic

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open table

The Atlantic on Pacific is a quick walk from the Boardwalk, and their raw bar is one of the best in town. They have a rotating list of about seven different types of oysters to order, so you can sample mollusks from different regions, including from the nearby Lynnhaven river, as well as shrimp cocktail, raw or steamed clams, and cold water lobster tail. If oysters aren’t your thing, they have a great selection of bar food like Nashville-inspired hot chicken sandwiches and cheddar jalapeño cornbread. Their cocktail menu is also excellent—the Pungo Sour tastes exactly like a warm candle smells, in a good way, while the Mango Tango combination of tequila, Aperol, and ginger beer is made for vacation sipping. 

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Becca is located within the historic Cavalier resort, which is somewhere that everybody from JFK to Muhammad Ali has stayed. The restaurant has a gorgeous sunroom that makes you feel like you’re at high tea in an episode of Bridgerton, and makes a great backdrop for a special occasion or if you feel like dressing up. The desserts are the highlight here—the crème brûlée is executed perfectly and has a hint of sweet tea in the custard, while the mile-high cavalier cake lives up to its name with layers of bourbon-soaked chocolate cake and espresso buttercream. After dinner, grab a drink at the Raleigh Room next door, which has excellent cocktails, live music, and petite balconies overlooking the hotel’s indoor splash pool. 

The mostly Italian and seasonal menu at Terrapin highlights the best of the region’s ingredients, from shellfish to housemade burrata. The patio feels warm and cozy with tons of decorative plants and soft lights, and is a quiet respite from other oceanfront properties where you can regularly see and hear wailing kids and surrey bike near accidents. The watermelon burrata salad tastes like an ideal summer afternoon while the fresh pastas have the perfect amount of springiness. Definitely save some room for dessert: the peanut butter bar is made with local peanuts and has been on Terrapin’s menu for more than 10 years. Seasonal sweets like deconstructed cheesecake with whipped ricotta, fig compote, and burnt honey ice cream are also rich without feeling too heavy or sweet. 

SOMETHING CASUAL

Aloha Snacks is just a few blocks from the Oceanfront boardwalk and has everything you need for a relaxing day in the sand. The greatest hits are their two breakfast burrito options, served all day loaded with eggs, delicious bacon or kalua pork, and soft sticky rice. We’re also big fans of their poke bowls that have both pan-Asian and Southern influences, like the Farmer’s Poke with fried green tomatoes and coconut aioli. While Aloha Snacks makes it easy to bring your meal to the beach, you should stick around and enjoy the surfer-themed interior—they also have a great selection of beer and beach-themed cocktails like guava crush and a riff on a Bloody Mary that comes with spam and tempura shrimp. 

This casual fried chicken spot is perfect for a quick lunch and is a short drive from the calmer beaches along the Chesapeake Bay, which tend to be less crowded than those on the Oceanfront. The chicken is exceptional, the mac and cheese shines with delicious grease, and it all goes down easily with the housemade lemonade. If you’re up for dessert, the Virginia peanut swirl ice cream is super creamy and made with local peanuts. 

You’ll have both a dinner and a show at Noodle Man, since you can peek into the open kitchen and see chefs hand-pulling noodles into long, glutinous strands, but it’s also a casual place to grab an excellent dinner that won’t take up your whole evening. Definitely order a noodle soup (our favorites are the Lan Zhou Beef and the Hot and Spicy options), but it’s also worth trying the chicken jalapeño and mongolian beef stir-fried noodles as well. The space is small enough that it easily gets packed, but you can easily still hear your table’s conversation (if you’re not too preoccupied with slurping up your delicious noodles).

Located in Town Center, Virginia Beach’s half-mall-half-walkable community, Twist Martini is a great place to refuel after a long day of shopping with Happy Hour drinks on the patio. You could also cool off at the bar before watching an outdoor concert on Town Center’s lawn, and know the food menu covers a lot of ground—from taco Tuesday specials to burgers and pastas. The drink menu is also expansive, with dedicated sections for martinis, mules, margaritas, and crushes a.k.a. the ice-cold, fruity cocktails found throughout Virginia Beach

While you’d think the main appeal at a place called 1608 Crafthouse would be the beer, the food is actually the star at this gastropub. You’ll find plenty of locals, beer enthusiasts, and tourists passing through, and they’re all probably eyeing the same tray of poutine or burgers coming out of the kitchen. The bacon burger will leave you day-dreaming about it for weeks, with white cheddar melted into the burger and bacon chunks seared into the patty, while their riff on poutine comes with oxtail chili instead of gravy and is served with a runny egg right on top. Come here hungry, preferably after a day of relaxing on the beach or kayaking along the bay. 

BREAKFAST

This breakfast and lunch joint used to house an old doctor’s office, but instead of pharmaceutical pamphlets or jars of mystery candy, you’ll now find people enjoying pancakes, biscuits topped with gravy, and breakfast sandwiches. Go for the Doc Taylor, which comes with a fried egg, bacon, cheese, and grilled parmesan tomatoes on an onion roll and packs a ton of savoriness in each bite. The interior dining space has that old-town feel you only get from eating in someone’s living room, and the patio seating is great for enjoying some sunshine and the ocean breeze. 

Three Ships Coffee has a few locations in Virginia Beach, along with their own roastery to produce small batches of seasonal coffee. The location in the creative district is full of old nautical decor and serves excellent coffee and pastries. Come in the morning and you’ll get hit immediately with the smell of fresh-baked biscuits, which you should order as a vessel for a breakfast sandwich with eggs and bacon, or with a simple pot of butter and jam.

Angie’s has been an Oak Springs staple for Filipino pastries and bread for more than 30 years, but you can also grab ube or matcha lattes alongside panaderia staples like pan de sal, ensaymada, and bibingka cakes. Stuffed pizza breads, which are like the best homemade version of a hot pocket, are also a popular treat. While there’s a small area to sit and enjoy something sweet and a coffee, you should still order extra pan de sal to bring home and have for breakfast the next morning. 

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