Bring It On (or Take It Back) 

How many times do we have to ask? Our suggestions for Richmond's restaurants.

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Robey Martin

Bad outdoor patios: Half assing the arena that makes everyone want a cocktail as the weather gets nicer isn't fooling anyone. If you build it shabbily, will they come? Sure. But only after every other option has been exhausted.

Actual tapas, not the absurd small plate with hiked-up prices: A tapa means more than small plate. Where is the butifarra? I want Iberian pork. I am putting up a prayer for quality tapas that are sharable for real.

A gutsy cheese plate: Surely, Secco isn't the only place that has people who know about cheese … surely? Also, that baked brie ball wrapped in dough, just no.

Quit the CliffsNotes Asian restaurant: A Chinese place or Thai food establishment (preferably smack-dab in the middle of the mediocrity that is Carytown's mile of Thai) that has a whiff of authenticity would be awesome. Mark's Duck House in Fairfax
or Lemongrass in Charlottesville both leave out the ridiculous amount of grease that's so prevalent in Richmond's Asian cuisine scene.

More handmade pasta: I know it takes time and effort but let me state the obvious — it is better.

Neapolitan pizza: Yep, I said it. Hello elephant in the room.


Tess Autrey Bosher

Wait on me: I sing this tune every year but once again, generally crummy or mediocre service. On a recent visit to Xtra's, the waitress brought the checks without asking if we wanted dessert. We did. She also split the check three ways without asking if we wanted her to. We didn't.


John G. Haddad

More local: While many restaurants dabble in local foods, not as many have jumped in full force. I love Manakintowne greens, but there's a wider range to be found. And tell us about it on your menu. I love to see local restaurants developing relationships with local farmers.

Also wanted: More interesting cuts of meat, more snout-to-tail eating. Korean food north of the River. Banh mi with authenticity.

Drop it: Sliders on every menu.

Noodles please: I would love to see a real noodle bar in Richmond, something akin to Wagamama in the United Kingdom, and now Boston or New York's Momofuku (which serves Virginia products from Edwards Ham). While Richmond does pretty well on the pho front, a ramen house would be a great addition. Simple noodles, vibrant sauces, fresh vegetables.


Don Baker

Too much, too little: Too many TVs in dining rooms. Not enough places that deliver.

On the upswing: So many things have changed for the better since the smoking ban went into effect last year. Food presentation is stronger than ever.

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