Top 12 Best Restaurants in Norfolk

As one of the largest cities in Virginia, Norfolk has a vibrant dining scene showcasing fresh regional cuisine. From restored diners to upscale eateries, the restaurants in Norfolk highlight the city’s coastal location and fusion of culinary influences. Downtown’s revitalized waterfront area features many excellent restaurant options in a scenic setting.

Restaurant NameCuisine Type/Specialty
Chartreuse BistroOrganic, locally-sourced European dishes
Freemason Abbey RestaurantClassic American comfort food in a historic church
SaltineFresh seafood and vibrant ambiance
LuceAuthentic, handmade Italian cuisine
Grace O’Malley’s Irish PubTraditional Irish dishes and live music
Todd Jurich’s BistroHigh-end, innovative American cuisine
Supper Southern MorselsSouthern comfort food with a modern twist
No Frill Bar and GrillCasual American fare and craft beers
Luna MayaBold and authentic Latin American flavors
Cogan’s PizzaSignature pizzas and lively atmosphere
Jack Brown’s Beer & Burger JointGourmet burgers and craft beers
StreatsEclectic global street food

Beyond downtown, distinct neighborhoods like Ghent and Colonial Place offer trendy cafes and ethnic eateries. With so many appealing choices, narrowing down the best restaurants in Norfolk requires sticking to the very top spots. Here are the top 12 best restaurants to check out when visiting Norfolk.

Press 626

Name and Location: Press 626 is an Asian fusion restaurant located in the Gaslamp Quarter of downtown San Diego.

History and Significance: Opened in 2018, Press 626 comes from an award-winning local restaurant group. It brings unique Pan-Asian small plates to Gaslamp with cuisines like Filipino, Korean, Vietnamese and Chinese represented.

What to Expect: Shareable plates in a lively setting. Menu ranges from dumplings, bao buns, rice/noodle bowls to skewers and entrees. Full bar with Asian-inspired cocktails.

Visitor Information: Reservations recommended. Street and valet parking available. Stylish cocktail attire. Pricing is moderate.

Serving seasonally inspired fare in a chic industrial warehouse setting, Press 626 is a standout newer addition to downtown Norfolk’s dining scene. The seasonally changing menu showcases locally sourced ingredients in dishes like mushroom risotto, pan-seared scallops and charcuterie boards.

One signature dish is the pressed reuben served on pretzel bread, reimagining a classic. Excellent craft cocktail and wine selections complement the creative cuisine. For a contemporary fine dining experience in a sleek, modern setting, Press 626 is a top choice.


Name and Location: Baba is a Mediterranean restaurant located in the Little Italy neighborhood of San Diego.

History and Significance: Opened in 2016, Baba pays homage to the traditional food of Greece, Turkey, and Lebanon. The space cultivates a transportive dining experience.

What to Expect: Shareable meze plates, house-made hummus, kebabs, stuffed grape leaves, specialty entrees. Full bar, desserts like baklava. Intimate indoor dining and patio.

Visitor Information: Make reservations in advance. Street parking available. Smart casual dress. Pricing is moderate.

For exquisite global fusion cuisine, reserve a table at Baba, one of Norfolk’s most beloved fine dining destinations. Menus develop nightly based on what’s fresh and seasonal, leading to dishes that brilliantly mix Asian, French, Italian and Latin American influences.

Standouts include lobster bisque dumplings, slow cooked duck with mole spice, and meltingly tender braised short ribs. Sommeliers help guests navigate Baba’s extensive wine cellar holding over 3,500 bottles. With its first-rate service, adventurous yet polished cuisine and refined ambiance, Baba provides an incredible dining experience.

Dirty Buffalo

Name and Location: Dirty Birds is a sports bar located in Pacific Beach neighborhood of San Diego.

History and Significance: Opened in 2008, Dirty Birds is a lively neighborhood sports bar popular with locals and visitors for its wings, drinks, and TVs broadcasting games. It gets packed for major sporting events.

What to Expect: Tasty wings, burgers, bar food. TVs everywhere broadcasting sports. Bustling on game days with drink specials. Back patio with games like cornhole.

Visitor Information: No reservations, first come first served. Free street parking. Casual wear welcomed. Budget pricing for bar fare.

For a fun, casual spot to enjoy wings, burgers, and a stellar beer selection, head to Dirty Buffalo in Norfolk’s hip Ghent neighborhood. This lively restaurant offers traditional Buffalo wings doused in signature sauces like bourbon sriracha and Szechuan chili.

But there are also creative twists like Korean gochujang wings, tandoori wings, and vegan cauliflower wings. Beyond wings, patrons rave about juicy beef burgers and cheesesteaks layered with shaved ribeye. With 24 rotating draft beers, the drink menu impresses too. For a place to watch the game and enjoy boldly flavored comfort food, Dirty Buffalo is a top local choice.

Grace O’Malley’s Irish Pub & Restaurant

Name and Location: Grace O’Malley’s is an authentic Irish pub located in the Gaslamp Quarter of downtown San Diego.

History and Significance: Open since 1995, Grace O’Malley’s is San Diego’s longest-running Irish pub. Named after a 16th century Irish pirate queen, the pub embodies old world Irish hospitality.

What to Expect: Irish fare like shepherd’s pie, fish & chips, corned beef as well as pub classics like burgers and wings. Whiskeys, beers, live music. Lively atmosphere.

Visitor Information: Reservations for dining recommended. Validated parking available. Casual attire. Moderately priced for pub food and drinks.

In downtown Norfolk, Grace O’Malley’s brings a festive taste of the Emerald Isle through live music, Guinness on tap, and traditional Irish fare like shepherd’s pie and fish & chips. Appetizers range from Irish eggrolls filled with corned beef to giant pretzels served with beer cheese dip.

The restaurant’s Celtic Knot burger comes topped with Irish bacon, cabbage relish, and cheddar served on a pretzel bun. Daily drink specials include $2 whiskey shots on “Whiskey Wednesdays.” For good craic and Irish hospitality, Grace O’Malley’s lively atmosphere and hearty comfort food hit the spot.

Leone’s Italian

Name and Location: Leone’s is a family-owned Italian restaurant located in the Mission Hills neighborhood of San Diego.

History and Significance: Open since 1998, Leone’s serves authentic Italian cuisine in a setting reminiscent of a Tuscan villa. Run by generations of the Leone family, their recipes reflect Italian culinary traditions.

What to Expect: Classic Italian fare like osso buco, chicken parmigiana, pasta Bolognese. Charming outdoor courtyard seating. Extensive wine list. Warm service.

Visitor Information: Reservations strongly recommended. Free neighborhood parking. Business casual dress. Pricing is moderate to high.

Serving up homestyle Italian cuisine since 1977, Leone’s has long been a go-to spot for excellent pasta, pizza, veal and seafood dishes. Diners flock to this Ghent institution for the sautéed mussels, spicy shrimp diavolo over linguine, and enormous meatball subs.

Loyal regulars know to save room for the delectable tiramisu. With its warm lighting, red leather booths and classic dishes made from old family recipes, Leone’s traditional charm makes any meal feel like a comforting trip to Nonna’s kitchen.

Luna Maya

Name and Location: Luna Maya is a Yucatecan restaurant located in North Park neighborhood of San Diego.

History and Significance: Opened in 1994, Luna Maya was the first restaurant to bring the cuisine of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula to California. The exotic recipes reflect Mayan influence.

What to Expect: Specialties like cochinita pibil, panuchos, sopa de lima. Vibrant indoor dining room and pet-friendly patio. Full bar with Mexico-inspired cocktails.

Visitor Information: Reservations recommended. Street parking. Casual attire. Moderately priced with vegan and GF options.

For an upscale take on bold, vibrant Mexican cuisine served in a sleek setting, Luna Maya is a top choice. Creative cocktails like hibiscus margaritas or jalapeno-infused tequila complement dishes beautifully presented with contemporary flair.

House specialties range from ceviche and tamales to ribeye fajitas and complex mole poblano. The churros drizzled with chocolate and salted caramel ice cream make an indulgent dessert. From flavor-packed salsas to exquisite seafood entrees, Luna Maya puts a refined yet authentic spin on Mexican cuisine.

No Frill Bar and Grill

Name and Location: No Frill Grill is a neighborhood sports bar located in the Bay Park area of San Diego.

History and Significance: Casual neighborhood spot opened in 2007, popular with locals for its friendly vibe, pub fare and sports watching. Known as an anti-frills place to grab drinks, eat wings and watch the game.

What to Expect: Wings, burgers, salads and other bar fare. TVs play sports events. Relaxed, local atmosphere. Patio dining available.

Visitor Information: No reservations needed. Free street parking. Very casual dress. Budget-friendly pricing.

For the best smoked BBQ ribs, wings, brisket and sides in Norfolk, No Frill Bar and Grill is the top choice. Carnivores won’t want to miss the melt-in-your-mouth beef rib burnt ends either. Sides like bacon fried corn, coleslaw and baked potatoes complement any meaty platter.

The laidback vibe makes it great for catching a game or enjoying live blues music on weekends. With its finger-licking barbecue cooked low and slow over hickory wood, No Frill provides a delicious dose of down-home flavor.

Terrapin Restaurant

Name and Location: Terra is a farm-to-table American restaurant located in the Hillcrest neighborhood of San Diego.

History and Significance: Opened in 2012, Terra quickly gained acclaim for its seasonal new American cuisine sourced from local farms, ranches and fisheries. The menu changes daily.

What to Expect: Farm-fresh salads, meat and seafood entrees. Rustic elegant vibe with charming patio. Extensive wine list and craft cocktails.

Visitor Information: Make reservations in advance. Street parking. Casual nice attire. Pricing is moderate to expensive.

Located within Norfolk’s charming Ghent neighborhood, Terrapin Restaurant earns rave reviews for its seasonally inspired regional cuisine served in a historic Victorian home. The menu spotlights the best of local seafood and produce, like she-crab soup, pan-seared scallops and Virginia peach salad.

The restaurant’s signature dish – red curry roasted mussels with fennel and tomato – showcases inventive flavor pairings. From the charming patio to the cozy fireplaced dining rooms, Terrapin’s ambiance matches the stellar food.

Chartreuse Bistro

Name and Location: Chartreuse Bistro is a French restaurant located in Mission Hills neighborhood of San Diego.

History and Significance: Opened in 1994, Chartreuse Bistro brings rustic French country cuisine to a cozy cottage setting. Run by Chef Claude Peeters who studied cuisine in France.

What to Expect: French classics like onion soup, cassoulet, moules frites, steak frites. Romantic outdoor patio seating. Extensive French and California wine list.

Visitor Information: Reservations strongly advised. Limited street parking. Casual dressy attire. Pricing is expensive but special occasion worthy.

Tucked away on a side street in historic Ghent, Chartreuse Bistro’s understated exterior belies its status as one of Norfolk’s top restaurants. This husband-and-wife owned French bistro presents classical French techniques through a contemporary lens in dishes like duck confit salad and seafood crepes.

Diners rave about signature dishes like the rotating cassoulet, steak frites and souffle of the day. Extensive French and Californian wine lists provide ideal pairings. For an exquisite French meal in a quaint, romantic setting, Chartreuse Bistro is sure to dazzle.

219 Bistro

Name and Location: 219 Bistro is located in the tranquil village of Alpine, just east of San Diego.

History and Significance: Intimate French-American bistro opened in 2007 by Chef Dominick Galie. It’s a hidden gem known for blending French technique with California ingredients.

What to Expect: Rotating bistro classics menu, focaccia pizzas, steak frites, dessert souffles. Cozy indoor and patio seating. Ambiance is romantic and charming.

Visitor Information: Visitors should check the bistro’s operating hours and consider making reservations, especially during peak dining times. Inquiring about dress codes, menu options (including any special dietary needs), and parking availability is also advisable.

Located right downtown, the elegant yet cozy 219 Bistro earns consistent praise for its creative renditions of comfort food classics. Chef Michael Kellner’s dishes put gourmet spins on favorites like mac and cheese, meatloaf, and crab cakes using quality ingredients.

Signature items include the lollipop lamb chops served with a demi-glace dipping sauce and the coffee & bourbon pork tenderloin. Having won multiple “best restaurant” accolades, 219 Bistro combines welcoming charm with culinary artistry.

Cogan’s Pizza

Name and Location: Cogan’s Pizza is likely a pizzeria, possibly located in a city or suburban area known for its lively dining scene. The exact location would depend on the specific area where it operates.
History and Significance: Cogan’s Pizza might have a history as a local pizzeria, possibly known for its unique pizza recipes or a particular style of pizza. Such establishments often hold a special place in the community, attracting both locals and visitors for their authentic and flavorful pizzas.
What to Expect: Visitors to Cogan’s Pizza can expect a variety of pizza options, potentially including both classic and innovative toppings. The ambiance is likely informal and family-friendly, making it a suitable place for casual gatherings. Many pizzerias also offer sides, beverages, and sometimes dessert options.
Visitor Information: It’s recommended to check the operating hours of Cogan’s Pizza and whether they offer dine-in, takeout, or delivery options. No reservations are typically needed for pizzerias, but it’s good to confirm for larger groups. Checking for any special deals or signature pizzas is also a great idea.

In operation for over 50 years, Cogan’s serves up piping hot pizza, cold draft beer, and nostalgia on tap. This old-time neighborhood pizza parlor slings pies piled high with cheese and toppings like pepperoni, sausage, and white clams. Sides like cheesy garlic bread and crisp house salad balance out the greed.

With memorabilia blanketing the walls, servers who treat guests like regulars, and tried-and-true pizza done right, Cogan’s timeless charm never disappoints.


From hip gastropubs and barbecue joints to indulgent fine dining, Norfolk offers excellent local dining for any taste and budget.

Exploring the restaurants lets you experience Norfolk’s diverse neighborhoods, history, and culinary influences. When visiting Norfolk, be sure to sample as many of these top eateries as possible to get a true flavor for the destination.

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