Waterside Dining: Only in the River Realm

During the week, it’s okay to take a quick lunch break. It’s okay to scarf down dinner with the kids. We get it. Day-to-day life gets hectic. When you visit the River Realm, though, we recommend indulging during meal time a little more slowly.

Like the calming flow of our rivers, our local chefs take their time creating and preparing meals. They use seafood right from the waters around us and produce from our local farms. One of the best ways to enjoy the culinary masterpieces of the region is at one of our restaurants situated right on the banks of our rivers.

Fish Hawk Oyster Bar at the Tides Inn

480 King Carter Dr., Irvington, VA

Down by the pool of the Tides Inn, there is a new culinary destination: Fish Hawk.

Surrounded on three walls by floor-to-ceiling windows, it feels as if you are literally eating ON the water. You might see a sea plane parked on one side, kids with nets hunting for crabs on another, and the relaxing pool on the next. Crab cakes with pico de gallo and avocado, steamed edamame with Old Bay ™ and classic fried oysters with fries are just a few of the menu items.  New Executive Chef Also Pasco is bringing a bit of his San Francisco and Arizona background to the creative process. Be on the lookout for new evolutions in the menu, paired with well-done classics like burgers and peel-and-eat shrimp. If you’ve got some extra time for culinary exploration, consider a Mixology Class on Thursdays at 3 p.m. or an Oyster Class Fridays at 3 p.m.

Willaby’s Cafe

327 Old Ferry Rd., White Stone

If you like the sound of a private beach, you should head to Willaby’s Cafe. This is where lazy Saturdays begin and sometimes end! The restaurant is shaped like a boat and the back porch leads out to a private beach with picnic tables. The brunch menu is lined with breakfast items like Eggs Rappahannock with eggs benedict topped with sautéed oysters. Throughout the day, enjoy local classics like fried and raw oysters, burgers, and more. Wash everything down with something from the extensive beer menu (try a flight!) or creative cocktail list.  If the bites and views don’t draw you into this popular eatery, then the music will. Willaby’s welcomes artists nearly every week. Expect a variety of easy and high energy waterside listening. Blues, folk, Americana and reggae are all part of the regular rotation here. Visit the Willaby’s website for a full calendar of music.

Portside Grill

25 Cross Street, Urbanna

There’s a new eatery in town: Portside Grill.

Tucked away in a marina, but still within walking distance to Main Street in Urbanna, this new foodie spot highlights the region’s best seafood offerings along with a view of boats of all shapes, sizes, and ages. Pull up a seat at the full-service bar inside, one of the tables in the newly refinished interior, or open a blue umbrella outside and watch the boats roll in and out. Executive Chef Mitch Johnson’s menu features inspiration from his grandmother’s kitchen like the crab cakes, low on the filling and big on the flavor. Other creative offerings in include “Sea Sprouts,” Brussel sprouts roasted with sea salt, and the Trophy Burger with a crab cake on top and a burger on the bottom. If you aren’t too full, save room for desserts like Blueberry Buttermilk or Chocolate Pecan Pie.

 Deltaville Tap and Raw Bar

1134 Timberneck Rd., Deltaville

Arrive to this waterside destination by boat or by car. Long dormant, the former Cocomo’s building has been renovated and reimagined by restauranteur Travis Brazil. He brings inspiration from around the country, including Nashville. The creative food menu is complimented by a large whiskey selection, which Brazil intends to grow to ensure its largest selection within 100 miles. In addition, a 16-line tap will feature local and international craft beers. There are few seats at the bar, the patio or even inside that still offer up a view of Broad Creek, the perfect place to watch the sunset or boats tooling by or check out the boat houses at the docks. Menu items will change with the season, bolstered by classics like strip steak and raw oysters.

Urbanna Seafood Market & Raw Bar

453 Johnsons Dr., Urbanna, VA

It’s not often you can sit down to enjoy your dinner and enjoy the breathtaking environment from which it came. Urbanna Seafood Market & Raw Bar is one such haven. The “boat to plate” philosophy comes to life at this River Realm mainstay. The Raw Bar is situated next to the former Shores & Ruark Seafood, a wholesale seafood processing company founded in 1976. Here, oysters, crabs and other fresh catches come in off the boat. Some are served up fresh on the menu, sold in the on-site seafood market, and around the area in stores and restaurants. Pull up by boat or car. Enjoy lunch or dinner in the casual dock setting. Indulge in creations like Crab Bites, Spicy Tugboat Dip, Oysters Three Ways or a Low Country Boil bucket for two.

Merroir

84 Locklies Creek Rd, Topping

There’s a reason Merroir is a frequent day-trip destination for people around Virginia. For starters, guests often encounter Rappahannock Oyster Company’s delicacies in restaurants around the state and all over the world. The flavor of the river and the company’s ability to develop a relaxed, yet upscale atmosphere leave guests wanting more. Why not go to the source? It all started with Merroir, the first tasting room of Rappahannock Oyster. The founding eatery overlooks the waters where their fresh oysters are grown. On the weekends, things kick off at 11:30 a.m. for lunch and brunch specials. Work your way through menu items like Angels on Horseback, oysters roasted with ham and herb butter. Spoil yourself with the oyster cream sauce that drenches a Stuffin Muffin for a filling and savory treat.  Everything is served small-plate-style and beautifully paired with craft brews and world-famous wines. While you’re waiting or after you’re full, take a walk around the property and soak in the River Realm view.

Share Your Foodie Pics

We hope you and your pals enjoy not only the amazing food but the charm of the River Realm while you’re here. If your food looks as good as it tastes, we want to see! Tag us on Instagram at @virginiasriverrealm.

 

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