411 N. Harrison St.
Second Place: Mamma 'Zu
Third Place: Maggiano's Little Italy
Perennially busy, always noisy Edo's Squid near Virginia Commonwealth University is famous for its long lines, devoted patrons and exquisitely prepared fish and pastas, as well as nightly savories on the specials board. Professors, hipsters, travelers and Fan dwellers call it one of the city's best places to enjoy a meal and wine, evidenced by food-savvy regulars who know the staff well. The upstairs room is vintage plain, but the food on the plate is tantalizing, and for most, worth the wait. Edo's mother ship, Oregon Hill landmark Mamma 'Zu, no longer is Richmond's best-kept restaurant secret, but retains its status as a destination for power brokers, food fanatics and anyone who likes the rough and tumble, low-key setting. The chalkboard menu changes but always promises something unusual among more familiar Italian pasta, seafood and sausage options. Owner Ed Vasaio and crew are among the city's most praised kitchen teams after decades in business attracting glowing national attention. Short Pump's constantly bustling Maggiano's is a crowd favorite for its family-style portions, finesse with rehearsal dinners and private parties, and its swanky Rat Pack styling, which conveys the big-scale corporate approach that works very well in this setting.