Reserve a table well in advance for the Roosevelt, restaurateur Kendra Feather’s perennially packed, modern Southern gastropub that opened a year ago in the emerging Church Hill neighborhood. Try Southern-inflected dishes like chicken-fried tofu with spicy slaw ($8), or go heavy with the Benton's ham-studded Southern poutine ($8). Pair it with a pour from the all-Virginia wine list or a seasonal cocktail like this summer’s Seersucker, made with bourbon, housemade sweet-tea syrup, and charred lemon ($9).
Get your late-night fix at Heritage, a New American restaurant in the formerly fratty Fan District. Its buzzy bar is a favorite of local chefs, who stop by for after-hours cocktails and inventive charcuterie boards (think camel sausage; from $10). Make a meal of small plates like pimento cheese croquettes ($4) and kimchee-spiced shrimp crackers ($2), or pony up $16 for the perfectly roasted half-chicken served with local greens, housemade bacon, and unstoppable cheddar grits.
Flee the city for a meal at year-old Peter Chang Café, located in the suburb of Glen Allen, which attracts Richmond’s culinary elite with tongue-numbing dishes prepared by a world-renowned Szechuan chef. You’ll want to pace yourself for heaping plates of eggplant in garlic sauce ($10), double-cooked pork belly ($13), and deceptively complex lamb chops marinated in pear and orange juices and topped with dried chiles ($20). Don’t miss the desserts, like the buoyant red bean moon cake with sesame paste, prepared by Chang’s wife, Lisa.