With sun, sand, and more than 35 miles of glorious coastline, there’s so much to do in Virginia Beach that it would be easy to let food fall by the wayside. But the city’s elevated, farm-fresh culinary scene is getting hotter by the day. Here’s how to do it right.
Breakfast: Three Ships Coffee
There’s no better way to start the day than with a top-tier cup of coffee, and there’s no better place to do that than at Three Ships Coffee Roastery + Coffee Counter. Located in the ViBe Creative District, this husband-and-wife-owned spot offers a variety of coffee, pastries, and espresso drinks (including its signature Pungo Latte, seasonally sweetened with locally grown fruit) around a sleek, industrial horseshoe bar. And for those who like what they taste, the shop sells a variety of beans to take home and brew yourself. (Select shops in Virginia Beach and Norfolk sell the beans, too.)
If there’s one can’t-miss restaurant in Virginia Beach, it’s Commune, located in the ViBe Creative District. Helmed by owner Kevin Jamison (formerly of New Earth Farm in nearby Pungo) and executive chef Barry Smith, the breakfast and lunch spot serves local, organic, seasonal fare (including produce from its 2,000 square-foot on-site garden, which it shares with neighboring dinner restaurant, Esoteric). In terms of the menu, it’s impossible to misstep, but the Southern rice bowl (a delectable combustion of Carolina Gold rice and Virginia barley, charred onion, aged cheddar, homemade pork sausage, roasted seasonal veggies, sunny-side-up egg, and smoked house-made tomato jam) is a standout. Even though Commune’s brick-and-mortar space has only been open a year (it started as a crepe pop-up), its rustic communal tables are always bustling with happy diners—and with good reason.
Also located in the ViBe district, Hearth is hands-down the best pizza spot in Virginia Beach and perfect for a laid-back but delicious dinner. The space itself is open and airy, but if you’re craving a more intimate vibe, head to one of the elevated booths and split a pizza (or two): a highlight is the Pig And The Goat (with crushed tomato sauce, pancetta, baby arugula, Peppadew peppers, Vermont goat cheese, and extra-virgin olive oil). To add a bit of balance to the meal, opt for any of the wood-fired small plates.
Dessert: Soft-Serve Ice Cream
When in Virginia Beach, a soft-serve cone on the city’s iconic boardwalk is a must. Though there are multiple soft-serve stands along Resort Beach, the aptly named “Soft-Serve Ice Cream” (right on Atlantic Avenue at 11th Street) is a real gem—the custard is creamy yet light, and the stand is adorned with rainbow neon. Really, what’s not to love?
New York-based journalist Avery Stone is exploring Virginia Beach all season for Coastal Living. Follow her adventures here, and catch up on her previous discoveries, below!