Cosmic Oasis Board Game Cafe: Great Food + Great Games = Great Atmosphere
Cosmic Oasis has some great cafe food type items. Sandwiches, home cooked dishes, coffee, speciality drinks, etc. They're always trying new things. But you'll always find their local speciality classics as well. There is a very good balance of treats and sweets as well. Ice cream, buckeye candies and brownies! All of this goodness sits in the middle of a great place to meet with friends. But what really makes the cafe special is the board game library! Over 100 games to play completely free. My friends and I have enjoyed many Saturdays at Cosmic playing board games. My wife and I usually make a weekly date night out at Cosmic as well.
Favorite Dish: My wife's favorite - Apple Nachos - fresh cut apple slices drizzled with chocolate, carmel and whip-cream. For me I have many favorites. I like the Buffalo Chicken Sandwich. It's hot but not overly hot (just right in my opinion). Although if I have to pick a favorite, it's the Jamaican Jerk Chicken Nachos - nachos covered with shredded chicken, cheese and Cosmic's signature Jamaican Jerk sauce. For desert it's gotta be the Cookie-Brownie - a large thick cookie (at least 1/2 inch thick) in the shape of a brownie. Plus many more.
- Family Travel
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- Arts and Culture
Tsing Tao: Best Chinese This Side of the Mississippi
Tsing Tao is an adorable little family run Chinese Restaraunt on Main Street in Richmond. It's small, but the food is excellent and the lunch prices are unbelievabley cheap. Delivery available.
Favorite Dish: Try the honey chicken and you'll never try anything else on the menu. (So maybe try it second?) It's wonderful. A mountain of chicken in a sweet honey sauce cooked with peppers onions and carrot slices paired with an equally large helping of delicious fried rice. Order the sweet tea (sweetened with honey), and an appetizer of crab rangoons (the best I've ever had to date).
Lunch specials include a soup, giant main course with rice, and fortune cookie (of course), and are less than 10$. About 10$ is the standard price per person any other time.
- Budget Travel
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- School Holidays
Olive Garden: Cliche, But Still Tasty
Sure it's a chain restaurant, but Richmond natives were excited to see it open in the "new" shopping center. Olive Garden is Americanized Italian at its finest. Pasta, a few pizza options, and salty breadsticks galore. The salad holds its own as part of the meal, and the desserts are sinful. A safe choice for people who don't feel like venturing out of their spaghetti, uh, I mean shells.
Favorite Dish: Start with a salad and breadsticks, of course. Then order up any of the appetizers; they're all great. Have the capellini pomodoro. Relish each bite. Finally, complete your meal with a heavenly slice of white chocolate raspberry cheesecake.
Oh, and have the bellini tea to drink. Fabulous.
Last time I was in town, service was great and the food was brought out promptly. Never had any complaints. Prices reasonable.
- School Holidays
- Family Travel
- Budget Travel
Casa Fiesta: Fiesta for the Tastebuds for Sure
Casa Fiesta is a popular hangout for college kids and businessmen alike. The traditional Mexican cuisine is to die for. Guests are greeted with big smiles and bigger baskets of complimentary tortilla chips and salsa at the door. The menu is large, providing a few vegetarian options, as well as more "American" dishes for kids.
Birthdays are celebrated with free fried ice cream and a Mexican birthday song. The lucky birthday guy or gal gets to have their photo taken wearing a festive sombrero.
Good parking. Great service. Fair prices. But expect it to be packed at lunch hour.
Favorite Dish: I highly recommend the chicken (or beef) chimichanga meal. A generously sized tortilla stuffed with shredded chicken (or beef), white cheese sauce, peppers and onions, topped with more cheese and served with heavy helpings of Mexican rice, refried beans, lettuce, tomato, sour cream and guacamole.
For dessert try either the fried ice cream, or (my personal favorite) a chimicheesecake. Both are excellent.
- Family Travel
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I love steak and aside from Ryan's this seems to be the only steakhouse in Richmond. My boyfriend and I went here a couple of nights ago and I was very impressed. The service was good, the food delicious, and we were there early enough in the evening so that there wasn't a huge crowd. I usually shy away from chain restaurants, but there don't seem to be many non-chains here in Richmond and I will have to break that rule.
Favorite Dish: For starters we had the blooming onion. The crispiness was just right and the onion taste not overpowering. (I don't care for onion rings but somehow this was a little different.) THen we both had house salads, which turned out to be one of the highlights of the meal. Yes, the lettuce was Iceberg and it was a typical garden salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, and grated cheese, but the freshness of it was wonderful. I had to force myself to push it aside before I had eaten all of it as I was afraid I wouldn't have room for my meal. For an entree I ordered the prime rib 10oz steak with a basked potato. The meat was perfectly cooked and juicy and virtually no fat. My boyfriend really enjoyed his baked sweet potato.
I added a link below if you want to look at the menu for the Richmond branch.
De Sha's Restaurant in Lexington
De Sha's is a great place for lunch after a day on the town. It's right in the midst of things and has a great feel to it. Really beautiful interior, picturesque bar and staircases. They do some amazing cornbread at this place.
Everything I've tried is good but I always order the chicken salad sandwich.
- Road Trip
- Historical Travel
The Sandwich Shop
This is quickly becoming a popular lunch destination for the working crowd in Richmond. From the wonderful selection of homemade soups, sandwiches, and desserts to its eclectic décor (a talking deer head and a creepy mannequin) it’s unlike anywhere else in town. The owners are great people (the wife does most of the cooking) and they will come out and have a chat with you during slow times. The only downside is that sometimes the portions aren’t of great size, but the food itself is yummy. So far I’ve had the grilled cheese, pimento cheese, soup beans, and clam chowder. I haven’t tried any of the desserts yet but they always sound good.
Penn Station East Coast Subs
Along with Subway and Quiznos, this is one of the few places in town to buy subs and in my opinion, the best. Although the priciest, the bread is wonderful, the subs are warm and made fresh, and they have great lemonade. The fries are made on the spot (you can see the big tub of potatoes waiting to be peeled so they’re not frozen). Subs for two with fries and drinks run about $20 so it’s not a cheap meal, but it’s always very filling.
Tsing Tao: Support DowntownTsing Tao
There are actually quite a few Chinese restaurants in the area. Tsing Tao is my favorite for a couple of reasons. For one, obviously, the food is really good. I mostly stick with the lemon chicken which is served with pineapples and vegetables. Other people that I have dined with have raved over the sesame chicken and the sweet and sour pork. It’s never greasy or tastes like it has been setting all day like some of the Chinese food you can get here in town. The prices are reasonable and the service friendly. I also like it because it’s small and intimate and sometimes I don’t like to be in really loud and noisy places. The other reason I like it is because it’s located downtown on Main Street and I am always one for encouraging people to patronize downtown businesses. They also deliver if you don’t want to venture out for supper.
Note: photo taken by me
Support Downtown-Parke Pastries
NO longer Nicholas' Donuts, but now park of Parke Bistro. Nicholas’ Donuts has been around for a long time. When I was young I used to walk there from our apartment everyday in the summer and get two chocolate donuts with my best friend. Oh, to have that metabolism back again! I like to support downtown restaurants and although this one is open at odd hours (they mostly close before noon) it is THE best place to get donuts in town. They’re all homemade and they have several different types. They also make bread and cakes to order. Since becoming part of the new place you can now order breakfast and lunch there as well.
Support Downtown-Silver Diner
Although you can’t fit more than a few people in here at a time and it’s a little grimy on first inspection, this is one of the most reasonably priced places in town to find great home-cooked food. On a recent visit we had two cheeseburgers, two orders of fries (the thick crinkly ones) biscuits and gravy, bacon, scrambled eggs, and three drinks for $14. Everything was freshly made and wonderful. The staff is very friendly and helpful and will deliver to downtown businesses.
Favorite Dish: The cheeseburgers here are great, as are the pork tenderlion sandwiches and salads. (Which are massive.) Breakfast is served all day but since they close at 3:00 pm, "all day" isnt very long and sometimes they run out of things.
Casa Cafe 2
I am a much bigger fan of Casa Cafe than I am of it's twin, Casa Fiesta. I know way too many people who work at Casa Fiesta and have given me a heads up about the cleanliness level and there's no way I can return. Anyway, I have always thought that the food was better at Casa Cafe to begin with. It's a festive atmosphere on a smaller scale and on some nights they have live mariachi bands.
Favorite Dish: I really like their tostadas and enchiladas. They also do a mean fried ice cream and soapapillas, which also come with ice cream. For drinks, they make a good black and white Russian. Drink specials all week. Extremely reasonable in price.
It's a chain, but there are some things about this steakhouse that you just can't beat elsewhere. My favorite part of the meal is the brown bread that is served almost as soon as you set down. I usually go through several of these loaves. I also like the salads. Even though they use iceberg lettuce, I am not a a big fan of mixed greens in my salad. It's uncouth, but I like something that crunches, not something that looks like it came out of my weed heap after gardening. Sometimes I just go in and order a side salad and a baked potatoe. Mom really likes the baked sweet potatoe but I can't speak for that as I do not eat them. For the steak portion of the meal, the prime rib is good. Or you can't go wrong with the ribs. Eating here is one of those rare instances when I don't generally have room for desert.
Arlington Country Club
Of course, you have to be a member in order to eat here, unless you have a friend who belongs. It's definitely the swankiest place place in town and belongs the to university. I prefer eating in the main dining room because it's more formal, but some people like the ratskeller for the exact opposite reason. At Christmas it's a great place to be because they go all out with the decorations.
Favorite Dish: My faves...For dinner I like the pasta dishes, mostly with marinara sauce. I also like their salmon and shrimp. They have wonderful desserts, too. The one I'm stuck on right now is a strawberry dish made of fresg strawberries, brandied cream, and whipped topping. They also have a fried apple pie that's popular, as well as precan rolls. (Vanilla ice cream rolled in pecans, topped with caramel, butterscotch, or chocolate sauce.) You can't really go wrong.
A new thing they have started in Pasta Night on Tuesday evenings. They have a pasta bar and cook everything right there in front of you. You can pick your pasta, sauces, and mix-ins. It's really good.
Elvira's: Elvira's Italian Restaurant
I was a little surprised that Richmond only has one Italian restaurant. I thought that given its size it would have an Olive Garden or something like that, but it does not. I love Italian food and found this one while driving down the Richmond Bypass one afternoon. After reading a review on it here at VT I thought I would give it a try out. I was not disappointed. It is a family restaurant ran by Jose (who is Mexican) and his brothers and sister-in-law. (Or perhaps his sister, I can’t really remember.) I went at lunchtime when the prices are lower, although the dinner menu wasn’t expensive. It is a small restaurant but tastefully decorated and has a nice feel to it. For lunch I ordered a garden salad and pasta with meat sauce. His pasta is homemade, as is the sauce, and I was impressed by the flavor and by the amount that I received for such a small price. The bread was hot and tasty. For dessert I had what reminded me of a cheese chimichanga. Half of it was cheese and the other half was chocolate. It was good but rich. The service was very good, attentive, and the servers friendly. I mentioned that I knew someone who had reviewed the restaurant on their website and the owner immediately knew who I was talking about and raved about them.
When I go back, and I know I will, I will probably try the pork chops. Someone else ordered them and they looked good. It wasn’t terribly crowded at the time that I was there but the crowd picked up as I was leaving. He said that on Friday and Saturday nights there are usually a lot of people there.
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