Farm-to-Fork and Tide-to-Table Dining at Virginia Beach’s Sensational Restaurants
Supporting local fishers and farmers is easy—and always enjoyable—when dining in Virginia Beach and its surrounding areas. From corn to strawberries and peaches, the farmers markets are overflowing with produce that is grown right where you are standing. The art of food has been an important tradition in Virginia’s kitchens for generations, stemming from family dinners centered on freshly caught seafood and recently harvested veggies. Now, cuisine is evolving into culinary masterpieces, which still feature local fare as the main attraction.
Our Sweet Strawberries
Plump, juicy strawberries are one of the main attractions that draw folks to Virginia Beach. Did you know that Virginia Beach is the largest strawberry producer in the state of Virginia? In local restaurants, don’t be surprised when you find fresh, local strawberries incorporated into salads or desserts. We even have the annual Pungo Strawberry Festival on Memorial Day weekend to celebrate this tasty, rosy fruit.
Perfect Picks in Pungo
Now that we’re in Pungo territory, you’ll find this is home to stretches of farmland where you will find markets selling fresh produce on every corner. From corn to asparagus, tomatoes and cucumbers, some farms also offer the “u-pick” option for you to stroll the rows and rows of berries, fill your baskets to your heart’s content and then weigh them when you’re done to tote your berries home. One thing’s for certain—when you come to Pungo, the pickin’s bountiful when it comes to the freshest, locally-grown produce.
Local Farmers’ Markets
As you meander back toward the ocean, you are sure to pass plenty of farm stands. Old Beach Farmers Market on 19th Street, Shore Drive Farm Market on Shore Drive, Virginia Beach Farmers Market on Dam Neck Road and there many others sell fresh produce and local goods. Most of these markets are open on Saturday mornings, but some are open seven days a week, year-round and are especially helpful for those last-minute runs before dinner when you realize you’ve forgotten a vital ingredient! Whatever the occasion, for a Saturday morning stroll or to grab a cup of local joe, you’re supporting your local farmers and vendors.
In recent years, there’s been a burst in restaurants using locally-sourced ingredients in their dishes and in items on their menus. Not only will chefs incorporate local berries in desserts, an assortment of local greens are tossed in salads and even homemade bread from neighboring bakeries are being served in restaurants. You’ll quickly learn that the sense of community is stronger than ever, especially when it comes to the cuisine scene. Click here to read more about the Virginia Beach cuisine scene.
Another important aspect of the cuisine scene is the fresh catches you can find here. The bounty of seafood draws visitors to restaurants all over Virginia Beach, and the menu items are often caught that morning. You’ll find tuna, salmon, lobster and other fresh catches, but there’s one item that’s always kept in stock—blue crabs. The classic style of cooking blue crabs, which gives them their signature flavor, is to steam them in large pots with water, vinegar and Old Bay seasoning. Actually, just briefly mentioning Old Bay seasoning wouldn’t give the local Chesapeake Bay crab enough credit.
If you are a local or frequent visitor, you know that when crabs are served to you at a restaurant, they are doused in layers upon layers of Old Bay seasoning. While your mouth may be watering from just imagining this succulent meal, others prefer their crab prepared with less Old Bay and with something more nontraditional. You’ll find many opportunities to track down these prized summertime jewels at Virginia Beach’s restaurants, local seafood markets and even farmers markets—just make sure you call ahead because crab feasts are one of Virginia Beach’s favorite pastimes. Now, roll up those sleeves and get to crackin’!
Dining with a View
Speaking of Virginia Beach’s restaurants, while indoor seating is always an option, why not enjoy a succulent seafood meal overlooking a sunset on the Chesapeake Bay or the sunrise at the boardwalk? There are a variety of restaurants located right on the water, whether it be on a deck with boats docked and live bands playing throughout the summer, or even a relaxing patio at picnic tables that are perfect for enjoying a bite under an umbrella. Some restaurants allow you to drive your boat right up to your table with a view of the Virginia Beach waterways while you enjoy your delectable dinner!
Wine while you Dine
If you’re a fan of happy hour, then you are in luck! Virginia Beach offers great deals on delicious cocktails and craft beer, but where you do the sipping and nibbling is the best part. Have a cold one on a hanging swing, enjoy the coastal landscape with a glass of wine or simply sit at an outside bar to admire the sunset.
No matter where you eat, rest assured you’ll get a side of that good old-fashioned coastal charm served with every meal.