Step out of the board room and into one of Norfolk’s delicious restaurants for lunch. These restaurants are more than your average soup and salad place, but Saltine does have those options for the more traditional lunch eaters. Scrumptious fresh seafood dishes, classic bagel sandwiches and straight-off-the-bone butcher shop subs and burgers are all dishes that can be found at our favorite spots for your afternoon meal. From dine-in to take-out orders, below are all the best places to eat for lunch with your colleagues.
Freemason Abbey encompasses the three pillars of our city – astounding art, rich in history and a thriving culinary scene. First, the building in which Freesmason is housed was once a church and dates back to 1873 – making it one of the oldest establishments in the city. Then, its award-winning She Crab soup plays a crucial role in our thriving culinary scene along with its other scrumptious dishes like their Seafood Fantasia (shrimp and sea scallops sautéed with peppers and onions, tosses with linguini in a white wine Old Bay cream sauce and topped with lump crab meat). The restaurant’s stained glass windows are stunning works of art and are original to the building – mesmerizing and remarkable! Freemason Abbey’s historic presence combined with its decadent, comforting southern seafood cuisine is the perfect place to enjoy lunch.
Trying to please everyone’s appetite for your business lunch can be tricky, but at Hell’s Kitchen your taste buds will be more than satisfied. Options range from classic pasta dishes, to light-fared Tuna wraps to wimpy or purgatory spiced wings. We highly recommend the local’s favorite, seafood nachos; tortilla chips topped with she-crab soup, backfin crab, shrimp, melted mozzarella cheese, lettuce, diced tomato, Old Bay and scallions, served with sour cream and hell sauce. Their dessert selection is ever changing so be sure to have a piece of whatever is freshly baked, for you don’t know the next time you will be able to have a Cinnamon Toast Crunch cheesecake.
When having lunch at Saltines you will enjoy southern seafood cuisine. They offer a traditional half sandwich and half soup or salad option, but also serve up classic southern seafood dishes like shrimp and grits. We recommend their VA Blue Crab Cake appetizer served with a gazpacho aioli. If the boss allows lunchtime cocktails, try one of their seasonal concoctions. The Chief Mixologist ties his personal passions, childhood memories or what’s trending into the drinks, so don’t hesitate to ask them how your drink came to fruition.
It’s hard to come by healthy comfort food, but Executive Chef, Michelle Bui, combines the flavor satisfactions of a hearty meal with fresh ingredients that are full of nutrients in dishes like their Miso Pan Seared Salmon Bowl (organic salmon, zucchini noodles, stir fry vegetables, spicy miso broth, sesame seeds), Chicken Salad Toast (chicken breast, celery, green onions, raisins, dijon mustard, greek yogurt and aioli dressing, sunflower seeds, mixed greens) or the most comforting of them all Chicken Soup (chicken broth, chicken breast, tamari, ginger, soba noodles, green onion, kimchi, cilantro).
Hopefully you are in town on a Monday, for their appetizing ramen menu is exclusively available the first day of every work week. Their house-made broth is accompanied by sun noodles, a soft egg, sesame seeds, green onion, togarshi, nor and house kimchi – yum!
One of the most beloved seafood restaurants in town, Stripers offers fresh catch seafood and sweeping views of the Elizabeth River. Their outdoor patio makes for the best ambience when slurping down an oyster or snacking on their bacon wrapped scallops. Entrees range from light Mahi Tacos to more filling dishes like their Seafood Pasta – shrimp, scallops, mussels, tomatoes, and spinach in a white wine butter sauce over penne pasta and served with toasted bread.
Outskirts of Downtown
Pendulum is not your stereotypical, intimidating butcher shop; in fact, it’s just the opposite. Locals pop in and out, friends gather around family-style tables for lunch and the owner’s mother makes desserts from scratch. Their lunch menu is droolworthy and because they’re a whole animal butcher shop, no piece goes unused. The pork bones are shared with a local restaurant, Alkaline to make their ramen and collaborations with local breweries (like Smartmouth and Benchtop) are common. Owners, Dana and Dylan, love their location in the Ghent neighborhood for its historical buildings, sense of community and walkability — we know you will too!
You’re welcome to sit inside or outside on the patio at this Ghent staple, and TASTE is also popular for to-go orders. Famously known for the best food to take to the beach, TASTE’s selection of fresh ingredients and appetizing flavors will be far greater than your mundane boardroom lunch. Menu favorites include the Virginian (prosciutto, turkey, baked ham, provolone, romaine, tomato, banana peppers, balsamic vinaigrette on ciabatta) and the Freemason (Classic chicken salad, hardwood smoked bacon, romaine, tomato on multigrain bread).
Taste also has a great selection of local pantry items to take back to the hotel room for later snacking or to pack to take home including regional wines and bottled up house-made sauces. Taste has several locations throughout the area so no matter your location, there should be a Taste nearby.
Who doesn’t love a great bagel sandwich for lunch? Yorgo’s is the best spot in town to cure your carb craving. They offer all the classics, lox with cream cheese, egg sammies and the simplistic flavored cream cheese spreads. Make sure you check out their vegan options – they are plentiful. Local tip: they sell everything seasoning for only 25 cents!