I like to eat. Actually, I love to eat. And throughout the past three years in Williamsburg, I can say that I have sampled some of this town’s best eateries. From a culinary standpoint, Williamsburg has a lot to offer as it features a little bit of everything. Here are my picks for the best restaurants in town for the William & Mary student. In honor of March Madness, I will dub these eight restaurants my “elite 8” bracket. I am not going to seed them, as they are all wonderful for different reasons. Instead, I will highlight the best features of each.
Best Breakfast- Aroma’s
This cozy coffee shop in the heart of CW offers a variety of gourmet bakery items and an eclectic breakfast menu. The brie-stuffed French toast is to-die-for and omelets are delicious. Compliment your breakfast with something from Aroma’s long list of specialty lattes, gourmet coffees and frozen drinks. “Prince George’s Green Mint Mocha” and the “Dog Street Chill” are sure to please any coffee-enthusiast in the Burg. Aroma’s also offers a variety of reasonably priced entrees, wraps and sandwiches for lunch as well as dinner.
Best Pizza- The Crust
Hands down. As a Jersey girl, I think that I am well qualified to judge this category. I know good pizza. And it does not come from Dominoes! Good pizza has a thin crust and just the right cheese: sauce ratio. Within the last few months, the Crust has quickly become a student favorite and its proximity to campus makes it an ideal weekend hangout. The Crust also features a full bar with drink specials and a killer Brownie Sundae that was recently added to the menu.
Best BBQ- Peirce’s Pitt BBQ
It’s a little bit of a drive from campus, but for authentic barbeque, Peirce’s takes the cake. This cafeteria-style restaurant is the real-deal for down-home Southern eats. I’m talking classic pork barbeque sandwiches with homemade coleslaw, hush puppies and cornbread. You can’t get food like this where I’m from, and for that reason, Peirce’s is extra special to me.
Best Birthday- Blue Talon Bistro
Why? Because if you go there on your birthday and bring your William & Mary ID, your meal is free! This charming country-French restaurant is a hotspot for locals and tourists alike and offers some amazing comfort food. It is a bit pricey for the college budget, but with promos like the birthday deal and Talon Tribe night on Thursdays ($10 entrees and half priced-desserts), BTB keeps students coming back for more. Don’t leave without trying the macaroni and cheese—you’ll thank me later.
Best Desserts- The Trellis
Similar to its sister restaurant, Blue Talon Bistro, The Trellis is a tad pricey for lunch or dinner, but desserts are worth the splurge. Their famous “Death By Chocolate” is enough to share with several friends. Plate presentation is always beautiful. They also feature seasonal desserts, homemade ice creams and sorbets.
Best (Biggest) Portions- Paul’s Delly
Paul’s is a Williamsburg institution. It is one of the only places that caters to the late-night crowd and everything on the menu is consistently good. Pasta dishes and salads are ridiculously large which is great because you’re guaranteed to leave with leftovers. Nachos, subs and pizza are also popular. Paul’s is the perfect place to bring family to watch a game and if you pay with cash, you’ll receive 10% off your bill!
Best Italian- Sal’s By Victor
Don’t let its strip-mall location fool you. Sal’s by Victor is the place to go for authentic Italian in Williamsburg. The friendly atmosphere and large menu are just two reasons why Sal’s consistently draws a crowd. Three more reasons: portions are big, the wine list is long and you get great bang for your buck. My parents always ask to go here when they are in town and I never decline. Food at Sal’s is delicious and it is no secret.
Best Wildcard- Food For Thought
With an extremely unique menu, this is the best place in town to get something out-of-the-box. Restaurant offers diverse vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options as well as fresh meat, poultry and seafood. Where else can you get a cup of homemade vegetable bisque, move onto a quinoa pasta entrée and finish with buttery bread pudding (made with brandy-marinated cherries and dark chocolate)? My point exactly.
Hope that you can visit some (if not all!) of these places and experience the culinary joys that Williamsburg can provide! Everyone needs to venture out of the dining hall at some point! Bon Appétit and here’s hoping that Norfolk State makes the real Elite Eight! Sorry VCU!