20 Must-Try Lunch Spots in Downtown Norfolk, VA
Looking for where to go for lunch? Whether you need a quick meal or have time for a leisurely lunch, Downtown Norfolk has the best lunch spots around. Here are some of our favorites for every kind of lunch break.
If You Need Lunch To Go
1. Gourmet Gang – Local bistro serving up healthy food fast.
What to Order: Our favorite is the Baja Chicken Salad with black bean and corn salsa and an incredible cilantro lime vinaigrette. We're also big fans of the Turkey and Provolone sandwich and love seeing what the pasta salad of the week will be on the side. They also have delicious vegan options.
Pro Tip: Gourmet Gang offers delivery services downtown! You can order online here.
2. Uncle Al’s – An old greasy spoon classic close to Hampton Roads natives' hearts.
What to Order: Obviously we have to say a hotdog. The Granby Street Hot Dog celebrates exactly where you are and includes diced tomato, onion, bacon, cheddar, and spicy mustard. But we also love the Pastrami (or Turkey) Rueben.
Pro Tip: Check out the Daily Specials to plan your week accordingly.
3. Cuisine at Slover – Cute little takeaway cafe located right inside Slovery Library.
What to Order: Slover's duos are a great deal. We love half a Virginia Club Wrap with half a Greek Salad. Or you can't go wrong with the Grilled Steak on Homemade Foccaccia's savory goodness.
Pro Tip: A trip to Cuisine at Slover is the perfect time to return those library books you've had sitting on your desk all week, or take a look around and find something new to read!
4. aLatte Cafe – More than just coffee (but also, really good coffee).
What to Order: If you are looking for a solid BLT, this is the place for you. Or if you want something with a little more meat, the Turkey Club on a bagel is delicious.
Pro Tip: If you've got a sweet tooth, aLatte Cafe also serves up delicious ice cream! Dessert, anyone?
5. California Burrito – Authentic California-Style Burritos right on Granby Street.
What to Order: Is everything an option? We love a good shredded pork chimichanga, or maybe a lighter burrito bowl filled with half veggies and half chicken. And don't forget the chips and salsa. All their ingredients are organic, too!
Pro Tip: For our vegan Downtowners, California Burrito offers a full vegan menu, including burritos, chimichangas, nachos, and quesadillas.
If You Have a 30 Minute Lunch Break
1. The Stockpot – Modern healthy comfort food restaurant.
What to Order: Our favorite lunch is the Zucchini Noodle Salad – think a Greek salad with zucchini noodles and garbanzo beans. But we also love the Cypress Combo: a cup of soup (the chicken noodle is so, so good), a Virginia ham & honey biscuit, and a side salad.
Pro Tip: Check Stockpot's Instagram for Daily Specials, usually posted in their stories! They also have an in-house baker, and the dessert options are to die for.
What to Order: Our go-to food court picks are either the tacos from La Hacienda Fresh Mexican Grill or the go-to mall dining classic, Chicken Teriyaki from Sakura Elite.
Pro Tip: The mall has way more to offer than just the Food Court. Check out Chili's, Johnny Rockets, California Pizza Kitchen, or even Texas de Brazil (on Fridays) if you have a little more time.
3. Slide Thru #Fam – Modern handhelds with Filipino and American flavors located inside Selden Market.
What to Order: If you are hungry or with friends, do yourself a favor and get the Mixtape. It's got everything Slide Thru #Fam has to offer: 8 sliders (including the special for that month), 8 lumpia, pancit, and both garlic and spicy fried rice.
Pro Tip: While you're waiting on your order, take a minute to browse the shops at Selden Market. We guarantee you'll find something you like, like a vintage top from Kor Vintage or something unique from one of Selden's pop-ups.
4. Jack Brown’s Beer & Burger Joint – No fuss burger place that tastes like it should cost way more.
What to Order: A plain cheeseburger with fries is going to be amazing, but we also love The Chiflet, with Applewood smoked bacon, egg, and an American-Cheddar blend cheese. You can also check out their daily specials to decide what you want to try and when to go.
Pro Tip: Don't ask for lettuce and tomato. They don't have it. Just trust the burgers as they were designed, and you won't be disappointed.
5. Lamia’s Crepes – Authentic French delights, featuring both sweeat and savory crepes on Granby Street.
What to Order: We love the Goat Cheese crepe with honey, spinach, and pecans; but if you want something a little heftier, you can't go wrong with the Rosbif (roast beef, spinach, tomatoes, red onions, swiss, and horseradish sauce). And don't forget dessert!
Pro Tip: You can also create your own crepe at Lamia's, just choose from their ingredient list posted inside. And don't forget to watch your crepe being beautifully made in front of your eyes.
If You Have a One Hour Lunch Break
1. Todd Jurich’s Bistro – An upscale dining experience with casual elegance.
What to Order: We love the ease of the "Designer" Salad, just pick your favorite options from the special menu and congratulate yourself on a salad well ordered. If choose-your-own adventure isn't your thing, Todd Jurich's is famous for it's "A Really Good Meatloaf & Mashed Potatoes."
Pro Tip: If you're in a rush but still want Todd Jurich's for lunch, stop by the Bistro Kiosk, located inside 150 West Main Street's lobby.
2. 219 Bistro – Chef-inspired and locally-owned casual American dining.
What to Order: We love 219's Petite Crab Cake with red potatoes, vegetable melange, and dijonnaise. It's a classic. This is also a great place to get a Cuban sandwich and house made chips.
Pro Tip: 219 Bistro is part of the RZ Restaurant Group, which also includes 456 Fish, Leone's, Norfolk Seafood Company & Big Easy Oyster Bar, and Byrd & Baldwin Bros. Steakhouse. Each restaurant is distinctive in it's own way. How many have you tried?
3. Saffron – Authentic Indian cuisine using traditional methods and modern techniques.
What to Order: We love the Executive Lunch at Saffron, starting with a Veg Samosa (filled with potatoes and green peas) or the Gobi Manchurian (Cauliflower florets) and then savor the chicken Korma, though you can never go wrong with Tikka Masala.
Pro Tip: Saffron also offers a lunch buffet, which is a great way to try several new things. What new favorite dish will you discover?
What to Order: The, and we cannot stress this enough, curried chips. Picture hand-cut steak fries covered in chip-shop curry sauce and why are you even still reading this? Go order some. Also, the Corned Beef Blarney Sub with Paddy Old Irish Whiskey sauce, Swiss, and coleslaw is a solid sandwich option.
Pro Tip: The dark wood interiors and beautifully sculpted bar were all imported from Ireland during construction of Grace O'Malley's, so a lunch break here really is (sort of) like a mini-vacation to the Emerald Isle. Feel free to brag about it to your friends.
5. Yama Sushi – Fresh sushi and more in a warm, intimate atmosphere.
What to Order: We love the Christmas Tree Roll, a spicy tuna roll topped with tuna tataki and seaweed salad. The Yama Lunch Box is good deal as well, as you can pick 2 regular rolls and get a salad on the side.
Pro Tip: Yama's special rolls are where they really shine. Do yourself a favor and order at least one for the table.
If You're In the Mood for a Leisurely Lunch
1. Southern Eats – A new twist on an old soul.
What to Order: You can't go wrong with Big Al's Wing Basket, a classic favorite from the locally owned eatery. Just pick your sauce: Classic Buffalo, Spicy Peach and Bourbon BBQ, Lemon Pepper, Chesapeake Bay dry rub, or just plain old Southern Fried (and this is a place that knows how to fry a chicken).
Pro Tip: Southern Eats prides itself on fresh, made to order food, so settle in for a lunch straight out of a good old-fashioned Southern kitchen.
2. The Green House Kitchen – Giant portions of fresh, unique, and filling salads.
What to Order: On a warm day, we love the light, veggie-packed nature of the Ribbon salad, with ribbons of zucchini & carrots, lemon thyme couscous, grape tomatoes, berries, avocado, almonds, and goat cheese with balsamic vinaigrette. On a colder day, we want something a little meatier, and the Thai Me Up is perfect with Chimichurri flank steak, soba noodles, Asian slaw, and a Thai ginger dressing.
Pro Tip: These salads are HUGE and oh so instagram-worthy, so you will probably get enough for two meals even on the single orders. Be ready to snap a pic and bring home a doggie bag!
3. Omar’s Carriage House – Historic site with New American menu and Moroccan accents.
What to Order: Treat yourself to the Paella, it is delicious. You also can't go wrong with a Falafel sandwich or the Merguez sandwich, lamb sausage with tomato salad.
Pro Tip: Omar's is off the main path, nestled in the heart of the Freemason neighborhood on Bute Street. But it is definitely worth the walk!
4. Luce – Intimate spot with a contemporary twist on classic Italian food.
What to Order: The Bolognese is slow simmered and to die for, topped with basil infused ricotta cheese. We also love the Turkey Artichoke Panini with fontina, sliced tomato, and pesto mayo.
Pro Tip: Luce's new outdoor seating is such a great way to eat, see, and be seen. You will want to take a long lunch just to enjoy the great outdoors!
5. Commune – Farm to table in the heart of the NEON District.
What to Order: For a Southern lunch experience, go with the Cornmeal Fried Oyster Sandwich, with collard stem chowchow and burnt onion aioli. We also love the Sorghum Pancake Stack, with hickory syrup and Edwards bacon. Who doesn't love breakfast for lunch?
Pro Tip: Commune is also a little off the regular path, still on Granby Street, but in the NEON District. Take in some of the murals on your way to and from lunch.