From restaurants focused on local food sourcing and sustainability to food tours, winery tastings, farm visits and more, here are ten ways to discover, explore and savor the Virginia Beach area's coastal culinary scene:
Choose Restaurants with a Focus on Fresh Local Flavors
Progressive Walking Food Tours
In nearby Norfolk, another food tour option features local and international flavors, such as local seafood specialties, house smoked meats, authentic Moroccan cuisine, locally brewed beer tastings and more. The Norfolk tour, which takes place along popular downtown Granby Street, lasts approximately three and one-half hours.
A Multi Day Harvest Feast Food Tour
In addition to enjoying great coastal cuisine at an array of carefully selected restaurants, tour participants learn about the agricultural, fishing and culinary history of this unique and beautiful region with interactive visits to local farms, vineyards, open air markets, an aqua farm on the Chesapeake Bay, food production plants, a smokehouse and much more. At the end of the tour, a harvest feast celebrates many of time honored traditions and foods which have been explored during the tour.
Virginia Beach Area Culinary Festivals
- East Coast She Crab Soup Classic - An open competition among up to 20 restaurants, held in the spring at the Virginia Beach oceanfront. More Information
- Sensible Seafood Fest - Enjoy tastes from local Sensible Seafood partners as you stroll through the Virginia Aquarium's exhibits at the spring event. More Information
- Pungo Strawberry Festival - Strawberries every way you could ever want them, always held during Memorial Day Weekend in the Pungo farming region, a short drive south of the Virginia Beach resort area. See Spring Food Festival Highlights for More Information
- Neptune Wine Festivals - Held in the spring and the fall, featuring wine tasting stations with the Atlantic Ocean as a backdrop. See September Events for More Information
- Mediterranean Weekend - Three days of pasta, pizza, Italian wine, Greek food, beer, and entertainment at the Virginia Beach oceanfront in September. See September Events for More Information
- Craft Beer Festival - An October festival featuring a day of craft beer sampling, live music and food at the Virginia Beach oceanfront. See September Events for More Information
- Nearby Norfolk Festivals - An array of festivals including the annual Bayou Boogaloo & Cajun Food Festival, Crab Pickin' at the Point, Town Point Ribfest, several wine and brew festivals and more. More Information
- More Festivals and Events - The Virginia Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau Website
Virginia Beach Restaurant Week
Nearby Norfolk celebrates Restaurant Week twice a year. Winter Downtown Norfolk Restaurant Week is held in January and Summer Downtown Norfolk Restaurant Week is held in July.
Shop at Virginia Beach Farmers Markets
There is also a seasonal Old Beach Farmers Market on Saturday mornings in the parking lot of Croc's 19th Street Bistro, about six blocks from the oceanfront.
Pungo U-Pick Farms and Roadside Farm Stands
Fishing and Catch & Cook Restaurants
While many area restaurants feature fresh local seafood on their menus, there is nothing quite as satisfying as a good fishing outing followed by a delicious meal of your catches of the day. If you are staying in a condo or a cottage with a kitchen, cooking your fish will not be a problem. However, there are also a few options for visitors who do not have the use of a kitchen.
When you fish with Waterman Sport Fishing Charters, you may take your cleaned filets to Waterman's Surfside Grille on the Virginia Beach Boardwalk and they will cook and serve your fish to you for dinner. A few other Virginia Beach restaurants will cook your fish for you as well. Check with your charter fishing service or your hotel concierge to find out about participating "catch and cook" restaurants and confirm your details before making your final plans.
Virginia Eastern Shore Wineries
This area is one of Virginia's registered American Viticultural Areas and home to three wineries. The closest of the three wineries when arriving from Virginia Beach is Chatham Vineyards in Machipongo. Set on Chatham Farm, which has been a working farm for four centuries, Chatham Vineyards offers tours and wine tastings during scheduled hours Thursday to Sunday (See Photo). About seven miles north of Chatham Vineyards in Franktown, Holly Grove Vineyards Winery is open most days with extended hours from May through October.
For a unique wine tasting experience, SouthEast Expeditions offers Kayak Winery Tours to each of these wineries from March through December.
Smithfield - The Ham Capital of the World
When you are hungry, dine at the Smithfield Inn or one of the other restaurants to enjoy Virginia ham biscuits, traditional ham dishes, regional seafood or other local favorites. For a fun experience in the country drive a few miles to Darden's Country Store & Smokehouse, a family business that has been in operation since 1952 (See Photo).
Virginia Beach Trip Planning Articles and InformationFor related articles and information to help you plan your Virginia Beach vacation or weekend getaway, see:
- Virginia Beach Hotels - Information and Compare Rates
- Visiting Virginia Beach - Overview
- Driving to Virginia Beach - Mileage and Estimated Driving Time
- Virginia Beach Car Rentals - Compare Rates
- Flying to Virginia Beach - Norfolk International Airport
- Norfolk, VA Flights - Compare Airfares
- Typical Virginia Beach Weather
- The Virginia Beach Boardwalk
- Virginia Beach Winter Whales and Wildlife Boat Trips