a plate of seafood at the water front. there is shrimp, wine, and seafood dip and more. this is one of the must try restaurants in Virginia Beach

10 Must-Try Restaurants in Virginia Beach, by a Local Foodie!

If you’re wanting a list of the must-try restaurants in Virginia Beach, you’re in for a treat! We’ve handpicked a selection of VB eateries that show off the unique flavors and ambiance of the place. 

Picture yourself indulging in delectable dishes, appreciating the culinary artistry, and sipping on perfectly paired fine wine, cocktails, or craft beer as we take you on this virtual foodie tour. 

We’ll highlight what each restaurant specializes in, what type of atmosphere they exude, and most importantly, suggest a signature dish or two for every must-try place in Virginia Beach! 


The first thing that strikes you as you walk into Esoteric is the mysterious symbols on the door – true to its name. However, those doors open to warm rustic-chic decor and friendly vibes making it the perfect spot to gather with friends or family. 

The restaurant is run by a husband (chef) and wife (restauranteur) team dedicated to the art of food and beverage, in particular craft beer.

Now, let’s talk about the menu – it’s a masterpiece of locally sourced ingredients crafted into modern American cuisine. 

There’s something for everyone on Esoteric’s menu including seafood, duck, and vegetarian options. If you’re a brunch aficionado, don’t miss out on their legendary Shrimp and Grits or the mouthwatering Pulled Pork Benedict. 

For lunch or dinner, the ever-changing seasonal menu ensures there’s always something new to savor. Pro tip: Ask your server about the chef’s specials; you might stumble upon your new favorite dish!

Esoteric isn’t just about the food; it’s also about the experience. P.S. Don’t skip dessert…we particularly recommend their Sweet Potato Donuts with bourbon caramel. Decadent! P.P.S. Their craft beer is a must too.

Waterman’s Surfside Grille 

Enjoy the panoramic ocean views, the sound of waves, and a menu that elevates classic coastal dishes to a whole new level.

As for the vibe, imagine a laid-back beach shack with a touch of sophistication – flip-flops meet fine dining. Whether you’re in your beachwear or something a bit more polished, you’ll feel right at home.

Now, let’s get down to the good stuff – what to order at Waterman’s! Start your journey with the Waterman’s Steamer Pot, a delightful medley of shrimp, clams, mussels, and more, perfectly seasoned and served with melted butter. Trust me; it’s a seafood lover’s dream come true. If you’re in the mood for something lighter, the Coastal Crab Cake Salad is a winner – crispy crab cake atop a bed of fresh greens, drizzled with a zesty lemon vinaigrette.

For your main course, you can’t go wrong with their signature dish, the Waterman’s Orange Crush Mahi. This mouthwatering creation features grilled mahi-mahi glazed with a tangy orange crush sauce – a true flavor explosion. Oh, and don’t forget to pair it with one of their craft cocktails; they’re the perfect complement to the beachy atmosphere. 

For the not-so-hungry, there’s a refreshing range of salads (Endless Summer Salad with mixed greens, mango, golden raisins, apples, and pecans is our recommendation) and sandwiches on the menu – try their Grilled Yellowfish Tuna Sandwich with roasted red pepper aioli.

So, if you’re craving that perfect blend of coastal charm and culinary seafood excellence, head to Waterman’s Surfside Grille for an unforgettable dining experience. Your taste buds will thank you later!

Blue Pete’s Restaurant 

The best part of Blue Pete is its laid-back, rustic setting where you can sit indoors or out. This longstanding local gem offers a delightful escape from the hustle and bustle. Enjoy American fare and seafood in a friendly family atmosphere.

Now, let’s talk about what to order. If you’re there for brunch, the Cinnamon Crusted French Coast is highly rated. For lunch, start your culinary journey with their famous Oysters Rockefeller. These bad boys are baked to perfection, topped with creamed spinach, bacon, and a hint of Pernod – a true taste of coastal indulgence. 

For the main course, dive into their signature dish, Pete’s Famous Prime Rib. Cooked to juicy perfection and served with all the trimmings, it’s a carnivore’s dream come true. If you’re in the mood for something a bit lighter, the Blackened Mahi Tacos are a hit – fresh, flavorful, and a perfect ode to the beachy vibes. Speaking of vibes, Blue Pete’s strikes the right balance between cozy and lively. The outdoor seating, surrounded by lush greenery, adds a touch of nature to your dining experience. 

To drink, sample the restaurant’s signature cocktail – Pungo Smash. It’s made with rum, pineapple and orange juice, lemon-lime soda, and a dash of grenadine. The perfect summer drink.

Whether you’re there for a casual brunch or a celebratory dinner, the friendly staff and welcoming atmosphere make it a go-to spot for locals and visitors alike. Kick back, order a craft beer, and savor the flavors of Blue Pete’s. 

Eurasia Cafe & Wine Bar 

This chic American bistro offers generous seasonal platings with global accents paired with wines from a local shop. It combines a cozy atmosphere with a menu that’s a true celebration of flavors.

Let’s talk about the must-try dishes. On the brunch menu, the Quiche Lorraine brings a taste of France while the Mixed Berry Muffins bring you home. They’re served with fresh berry compote and brown butter maple glaze.

For lunch, sample the  Ahi Tuna Nachos – a delightful fusion of fresh tuna, avocado, and wasabi cream on crispy wontons. This dish is a burst of freshness that sets the stage for what’s to come. For your main course, may we suggest that you indulge in the Grilled Duck Breast? Cooked to perfection and served with wild mushroom risotto and balsamic reduction, this dish is a testament to Eurasia’s commitment to culinary excellence. If you’re a wine enthusiast, fear not – their extensive wine list ensures the perfect pairing for every palate.

Now, let’s talk ambiance. Eurasia strikes the right balance between upscale and welcoming. The dim lighting and stylish decor create an intimate setting, making it an ideal spot for a romantic dinner or a special celebration. Pro tip: consider making a reservation for prime seating. 

So, whether you’re a local looking for a new favorite spot or a visitor seeking a unique dining experience, Eurasia Cafe & Wine Bar is a must-visit. 

Terrapin Restaurant 

If you’re on the lookout for a sleek, refined dining experience that marries sophistication with local flair in Virginia Beach, Terrapin Restaurant is the place to be. Tucked away in a historic building, this culinary gem offers a unique blend of contemporary American cuisine with a focus on fresh, seasonal ingredients.

Now, let’s dive into what you absolutely must try when you visit. Start your meal with the Grilled Octopus appetizer – tender, flavorful, and served with chorizo, fingerling potatoes, and a saffron aioli that’s simply divine. For the main course, the Pan-Seared Rockfish is a winner. Served with a lemon beurre blanc and roasted fingerling potatoes, it’s a dish that showcases the chef’s mastery in combining flavors. If you’re a dessert lover, the Chocolate Torte is a sweet finale that shouldn’t be missed.

As for the vibe, Terrapin strikes the perfect balance between upscale and welcoming. The exposed brick walls and soft lighting create an intimate ambiance, making it an ideal spot for a date night or a celebratory dinner. Consider pairing your meal with a selection from their curated wine list to enhance the overall experience. 

Whether you’re a local looking for a new favorite or a visitor seeking a taste of Virginia Beach’s sophisticated culinary scene, Terrapin Restaurant promises an unforgettable dining experience that seamlessly blends elegance with local charm. Get ready to treat your taste buds to something truly special!

Tautog’s Restaurant 

Located just steps away from the beach, this quaint seafood eatery exudes coastal vibes and offers a menu that showcases the best of the sea. It’s located in a charming Victorian cottage.

Let’s talk about the star dish of the show – the She-Crab Soup. Creamy, rich, and packed with fresh crabmeat, it’s a local favorite that sets the tone for the rest of the meal. 

For your main course, don’t miss out on the Blackened Tautog. Served with a flavorful mango salsa, this dish encapsulates the essence of Tautog’s commitment to serving the freshest seafood in town. 

If you’re not a seafood aficionado, fear not; their New York Strip Steak is a carnivores delight. 

Now, let’s dive into the vibe. Tautog’s strikes the perfect balance between casual and upscale. Whether you’re in your beach attire or something a bit more polished, you’ll feel right at home. 

Pro tip: Opt for outdoor seating if the weather allows; the ocean breeze adds a magical touch to your dining experience. 

Ready to indulge in the flavors of the sea with a side of beachy charm and local pub feel? Tautog’s Restaurant is the place to be. 

Back Bay Gourmet 

Tucked away from the hustle, this hidden eatery offers a menu that’s a delightful fusion of comfort food and culinary finesse. 

Back Bay is known for its gourmet sandwiches and baked items served in a quaint setting. There’s a gift shop to browse in while you wait for your dessert or enjoy the rich aromas in the coffee bar.

Let’s kick off with a must-try starter – the Lobster Mac ‘n Cheese. Creamy macaroni, gooey cheese, and succulent lobster pieces come together for a rich dish that’s the epitome of comfort with a touch of sophistication. 

Now, for the main event, sink your teeth into the Turkey and Brie Panini. Piled high with roasted turkey, brie cheese, and cranberry mayo, it’s a flavor-packed gourmet sandwich that caters to both your savory and sweet cravings. 

As for the vibe, Back Bay Gourmet nails the cozy-chic atmosphere. Think of it as your go-to spot for a laid-back brunch with the family, a coffee with a friend, or an intimate dinner date. 

Pro tip: Pair your meal with a glass of their carefully curated wine selection for an extra touch of elegance. 

Perhaps you’re a local seeking a new hangout. Maybe you’re a visitor in search of authentic Virginia Beach flavors, Back Bay Gourmet promises a dining experience for everyone that won’t disappoint. 

The Bee and the Biscuit 

As the name suggests, this is a charming cottage restaurant that serves New American breakfasts and lunches. They feature local produce so you know it’s farm-to-table fresh. Sit outside in the lovely garden when the weather is good or relish the aromas of the freshly baked goods and brewed coffee indoors when it’s not. 

Nestled in the heart of the Pungo area, this charming eatery is the epitome of Southern hospitality with a menu that boasts delicious twists on classic favorites. 

Start your day right with their Pungo Ferry Omelet.  Made with farm-fresh whole eggs, apple cider bacon, mushrooms and more, it’s a farmhouse dream come true. 

If you’re in the mood for something sweet instead, the Stuffed French Toast is a game-changer. Filled with three creamy cheese varieties and drizzled with fresh orange sauce or local honey, it’s a symphony of flavors that will leave your taste buds singing. 

As for the vibe, The Bee and the Biscuit is like stepping through the butter yellow doors of a cozy farmhouse kitchen. The rustic decor and friendly staff create an atmosphere that’s as inviting and comforting as Grandma’s apron. 

Pro tip: Arrive early on weekends to snag a spot on the outdoor patio because it’s first come, first served. The warm sunshine will add an extra dose of charm to your meal. 

The Bee and the Biscuit promises a breakfast, brunch or lunch experience that’s nothing short of delightful. Get ready to savor the flavors and soak in the Southern hospitality!

Citrus Breakfast & Lunch

If your mornings are incomplete without a hearty start, you’ve got to check out The Citrus Breakfast & Lunch in Virginia Beach. Tucked away in a cozy corner, this haven is all about serving up sunshine on a plate, literally!

Now, let’s talk about what to order. As the restaurant’s name suggests, the food is fresh, healthy, and delicious. Their Citrus French Toast is a must-try – thick slices of bread soaked in a zesty citrus-infused batter, griddled to perfection, and topped with fresh berries. It’s like a breakfast fiesta in your mouth! 

Feeling like something savory instead? The Citrus Benedict is a game-changer. Poached eggs nestled on English muffins, with avocado, smoked salmon, and a citrus hollandaise – it’s a brunch masterpiece. By the way, the restaurant’s seafood comes directly to them from the docks.

As for the vibe, The Citrus Breakfast & Lunch is like stepping into a bright and cheerful morning oasis. The vibrant décor colors and friendly upbeat staff create an atmosphere that’s as refreshing as their citrus-infused dishes. Pro tip: Try to grab a seat near the windows to enjoy the natural light and a view of the bustling neighborhood. 

Whether you’re a local searching for a new favorite brunch spot or a visitor eager to start your day right in Virginia Beach, The Citrus promises a breakfast experience that’s both sunny and satisfying. Get ready to kickstart your day with a burst of citrusy goodness!

a stack of pancakes with a mimosa next to it with syrup in the back round at a restaurant in Virginia Beach.

Orion’s Roof

Last on our least but definitely now least is Orion’s Roof. It’s an Asian fusion restaurant offering sushi, shortribs, and lots more from183 feet above the Atlantic Ocean. They’re also known for their handcrafted cocktails sipped in the rooftop garden. If you’re not into cocktails, Orion’s also offers beer, wine, and sake.

Orion’s signature brunch includes dishes like Hong Kong French Toast and Honey Chicken (how’s that for fusion!) or Eggs Benedict with yuzu hollandaise with pork belly. They have a delectable sushi bar serving things like Fireworks Salmon with eel sauce. 

The dinner menu is extensive and exciting for foodies. Try Firecracker Cauliflower to start then Backfin Crab Cakes “From the Sea” or Seared Duck Breast with miso parsnip puree “From the Land”. 

Orion’s Roof is a foodies delight and their extensive, exciting menu will keep you coming back again and again.


Whether you’re drawn to eclectic offerings at Esoteric or the coastal charm of Waterman’s Surfside Grille, Virginia Beach has something for every palate and wallet. Savor the delightful dishes at Blue Pete’s Restaurant, explore the fine wines at Eurasia Cafe & Wine Bar, or relish in the culinary masterpieces at Terrapin Restaurant or Orion’s. From the unmatched seafood experience at Tautog’s Restaurant to the gourmet delights at Back Bay Gourmet, these local gems promise to give you something to remember long after the plates have been cleared away.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this virtual tour of Virginia Beach’s culinary scene. Each restaurant adds a unique flair to the local culinary landscape, and all have a niche to fill. So, get ready to tantalize your taste buds and create lasting food memories in this vibrant coastal city – your tastebuds will undoubtedly thank you for the delightful gastronomic journey!