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Locals Eat Here

From Back Bay to Chesapeake Bay, Oceanfront, Town Center, and beyond, Virginia Beach’s restaurant scene offers a rich and diverse food culture. Our beach community is a melting pot of tastes featuring international cuisine, American fare, and, of course, great seafood. Whether you are looking for that farm-to-table eatery, family, or pet-friendly, fine dining establishment, or a casual night out, you can find it in Virginia Beach. Travel anywhere in the city, there are restaurants for every taste and any budget. The restaurants listed on this website are active, participating members of the Virginia Beach Restaurant Association (VBRA). Each one of these establishments is committed to keeping Virginia Beach’s dining scene innovative, vibrant, and trendy while ensuring our diners have the most enjoyable and rewarding experience possible.

The Locals Behind the Plate

Your senses come alive when your plate is delivered to your table. It looks amazing.  The smell makes your mouth water, but what does that plate of food represent?  History, family, commitment, and fortitude.  In 1939, Robert Steinhilber opened what has become one of the oldest family-owned and operated restaurants in Virginia, Steinhilber’s Thalia Acres Inn. Today, continuing his commitment to service, quality and tradition are his daughter Jeanne and his grandson, Brady.

BJ Baumann, owner of Rockafeller’s with her son, Matt Henley
BJ Baumann, owner of Rockafeller’s with her son, Matt Henley

The Icehouse restaurant, built in 1910, was the original icehouse that serviced oceanfront homes and businesses for years.  In the late 1970s, it was converted into a restaurant.  Although ownership has changed, it remains the meeting place for the southern portion of the Virginia Beach oceanfront.

In 1989, Rockafeller’s opened its doors as a family-owned and operated seafood restaurant in Virginia Beach, seeking to provide guests with fresh food and renowned service. Today it serves as a legacy to late owner Frank Baumann, as it continues an institution of a friendly, fun, atmosphere providing creative renditions of classic dishes.

New to the Virginia Beach restaurant scene is Elevenses. Opened in Summer 2022, it was born out of the desire to give back to the community that has given so much to the owner, Dennis Ferrigno, Jr.  Guests are invited to enjoy a fresh take on international brunch & dinner favorites, spirited bevies, and cocktails with a royal vibe. 

These restaurants tell a story that is only a small chapter of the Virginia Beach culinary life.  Once a farm town, Virginia Beach is the largest populated city in the state of Virginia and welcomed over 11.5 million visitors in 2021 according to Tourism Economics. These traditional small businesses have opened their doors to locals and visitors alike, supporting their families and generations in this eclectic beach community.   

photo of fried seafood

Sensible Seafood

Sustainable Seafood is seafood that is either caught or farmed in ways that consider the long-term viability of harvested species and the well-being of the oceans, as well as the livelihoods of fishery-dependent communities. Many beach restaurants have committed to incorporating items considered sustainable into their menus whenever possible. The Sensible Seafood™ program helps businesses and diners make better seafood choices.

photo of farm vegetables

Farm-to-Table

Harnessing the produce from local farmers and livestock of Virginia ranchers, farm-to-table restaurants connect people to the freshest food grown in Virginia Beach and our sister cities. By sourcing locally, chefs and restaurants can get their ingredients quicker while at peak freshness and full of nutrients. These restaurants have made a special effort to connect with local farms to serve the freshest and most seasonable food available so you can enjoy the great taste of regional cuisine. Ask for local foods at your next dinner out and support local farm families.

photo of pad thai

Bringing the World to You

Collins dictionary: International Cuisine - “The cuisine of a country or district is the style of cooking that is characteristic of the place…”

No need for a passport to enjoy the many dishes of the world, they are here in Virginia Beach. The influences of the US military are apparent in our culinary scene. Our brave women and men serve their country, retire, and open restaurants in our community bringing with them an offering of eclectic food dishes to intrigue the taste buds. In addition, visitors to our shores decide to make our community home by sharing their tenured family recipes that are passed down from generation to generation. VB locals and visitors are fortunate to experience the very best in international cuisine in their own neighborhood or within steps of their hotel door.

photo of happy hour

Happy Hour

Happy hour provides the perfect opportunity to unwind with friends and co-workers over discounted drinks and half-priced appetizers, and Virginia Beach restaurants are hosting some of the best Happy Hour deals around. Grab a friend and take advantage of the many restaurants across town offering great deals on fresh local oysters and specialty cocktails.

hand holding a sprout

Green & Sustainable

Green is more than a color; it is a way of doing business and being a responsible steward of our environment. Virginia Beach restaurants are embracing green environmental practices, eco-friendly food packaging materials, and composting. Offering smaller portions is not just to help with calorie control, but also to lessen waste. Many restaurants compost uneaten food, food-soiled paper and compostable packaging. Asking diners if they would like water rather than assuming helps to reduce 2 gallons of water per glass in addition to the dishwashing (sourced from simplotfoods.com). Many have taken additional steps to become certified Pearl Businesses supported through Lynnhaven River Now, www.lynnhavenrivernow.org and Virginia Green, virginiagreen.net.

Our Latest News

Meet Winston – the Chief People Officer of VBRA

Winston’s job is to promote VBRA member restaurants, their employees, and the VB culinary scene. Look for “Where’s Winston?” segments coming soon. As Winston is blind, his community interaction will increase his socialization skills and his ability to adapt to different environments, smells, and sounds. We are so excited to welcome Winston to VBRA.

What to Do in Virginia Beach

With endless possibilities at every twist and turn, Virginia Beach is a true family beach destination. From adventure sports to pristine beaches, you will find something that appeals to everyone.

hotel room bed

Dine & Stay

Whether visiting for work or pleasure, or a little of both, make your stay in Virginia Beach a pleasant one, and you’ll return again in the future to enjoy our family-friendly resort area.