Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Taste of Virginia Beach

This week, ToP and PID went coastal.

A trip originally designed as a Rock 'n' Roll 1/2 Marathon adventure turned in to a seafood marathon in it's own right. PID and I ate like kings of the sea for six straight days without waning. I just about turned in to a scallop myself.

My goal in life is to tell ya'll all about Pittsburgh dining at it's finest, but even a burghaholic like myself needs to spread her wings every once a while!  So PID and I flew down south to expand our palates to a bit of southern cuisine, Virginia Beach style.

In case any of you are planning a trip to VA Beach in the near future I'll give you a few hints as to your dining destinations!  If you're considering places to vacation, think about this family friendly location as a great place to catch some rays and lick your lips!

Our 4-5 Star Recommendations:

Name: Tautog's

Location: 23rd St. between Atlantic and Pacific
We ate: Oysters Rockefeller and Corby's Original Crab Dip as appetizers, PID the Crab Cakes and I the Scallops Barca for dinner.
We thought: Absolutely outstanding! I was moderately disappointed in the ORocks.  I've had better.  They had a slightly fishy scent and way too much spinach.  But the scallops and crab cakes were broiled to perfection. We walked right past the restaurant twice before having to ask where it was. Keep your eyes peeled! Hidden in the form of a beach house with no sign of a...well...sign anywhere, this establishment is a fine piece of trickery that keeps tourists at bay while catering to the locals and tourists-in-the-know like PID and myself. We were told we'd have an hour wait and were seated in 20 minutes. What a fine evening!
The price: $$

Name: Baja Cantina

Location: 23rd St. between Atlantic and Pacific
We ate: PID ordered the mahi mahi famous fish tacos and I went for the tuna flautas
We thought: WOW.  Relatives of mine had been raving about this place for years. I finally took the step since we noticed it across the street from Tautog's the evening before.  PID and I rented bikes (yes, we did it) and rode our way down from our 36th Street hotel for lunch on Sunday afternoon.  Though we were joined by a few fellow racers, there was no wait for a well shaded outside table.  Mahi tacos and tuna flautas were TO. DIE. FOR. The Cantina's queso sauce and homemade pico de gallo made the dishes truly stand out.  Don't wait as long as I did to put this place to the test for yourself.
The price: $

Name: Pocahontas Pancakes

Location: 35th and Atlantic
We ate: Strawberry Belgian Waffles to share, PID the Eggs Sampler and I the Gyro Feta Omelet with diced tomatoes.
We thought: We were pretty darn lucky to be staying across the street, or else we may not have discovered this gem. Though we were slightly cramped against our neighbors, it only proved a problem as we became embarrassed about the fact that we ordered three large breakfasts and scarfed down every single bite. The staff was extraordinary, it kept the place flowing regardless of the mega millions waiting outside for their delicious morning treat.
The price: $

Our 3-4 Star Recommendations:

Name: Catch 31 Fish House and Bar

Location: Laskin and Oceanfront
We ate: Steamed clams, crispy fried calamari, PID had the Catch "Ciopino" and I had the Bronzed Yellow Fin Tuna
We thought: Delicious, but not worth the three hour wait.  We arrived at 6:15, about an hour before hunger pangs kicked in, anticipating a long wait.  As expected, we were told to expect an hour and 15 minutes.  So we waited in the beautiful white rocking chairs and took in the setting sun and sea breeze.  But an hour and 45 minutes later when we still weren't seated, I had to ask what was going on. I was then told 10 more minutes. Thirty minutes later and still, we waited.  Finally, at 9:05 we were seated. Though I had complained at the wait and the notable occurrence where a couple who arrived 20 minutes after us were seated before us, we were offered no complimentary...anything. Luckily the service was swift and the food was tasty, but PID was less than impressed and though the Tuna was perfect, my rice was slightly overdone. I say check it out for the ambiance and fresh fish alone, but go in the off-season.
Price: $$$

Our 1-2 Star Spots to Avoid:

Location: 29th & oceanfront
Why: Most of the buffet food had been sitting out for hours. The clams were watered down. The butter tasted like...mystery liquid. The stuffed mushrooms were the only saving grace.

Fish Bones
Location: 12th and oceanfront
Why: Just....blech.

Waterman's Surfside Grille
Location: 5th and oceanfront
Why: SUCH A BUMMER!  This place had been recommended to us numerous times. But we were sorely disappointed. My "Just Seafood" platter consisted of completely unseasoned scallops, watered down lump crab meat and tough shrimp. The "veggies" offered me a steamed carrot or two, one quarter of a sprig of asparagus and about 30 slices of squash. BORING! PID got the fried seafood platter and quickly regretted it. It was way too much, even for him. If you claim to have the best crab cakes on the beach you'd better back it up. They did not. Don't listen to the hype. A seafood specialist who can't properly season seafood?  Not worth the trek to the inlet.

I will post a few more (coming soon) but for now, these are the best and worst of our vacation! 

We had a delicious time, but we're certainly glad to be back in the 'burgh!

1 comment:

  1. Did you try the Surf Club Ocean Grille located oceanside of the Wyndham Virginia Beach Oceanfront Hotel? Best seafood and ocean view at the beach!


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