Sample the world when you visit the local restaurants in Virginia’s Blue Ridge. From A to V, our area dishes up unexpected food & flavors from unexpected places.
Who would have thought the mountains of Virginia would be a great place to taste entrees from Afghanistan or Venezuela?
Let your palate travel the world in a most convenient way: a Virginia’s Blue Ridge foodie getaway.
COVID-19 UPDATE: Note, many restaurants are currently offering adjusted hours and service due to the impact of COVID-19, including some that are operating as take-out only. Please check with the restaurant in advance to determine their current services.
Bamyan Afghan Cuisine opened in downtown Roanoke in 2018 and offers a buffet for those who enjoy sampling, as well as a full menu of ingredients that aren’t so foreign. A variety of kabobs, curry, vegetables, and meats work together with dumplings, spices, Afghan brown rice, and traditional Afghan noodles to create entrees most palates will enjoy.
See the Menu: Bamyan Afghan Cuisine >
Carlos Brazilian International Cuisine is the place to try fried bananas, spicy chicken and shrimp dishes, and traditional feijoada (a meat, bean, and rice dish). The restaurant's hilltop location provides an open dining room & patio that also serves as one of the best options for dining with a view in Virginia's Blue Ridge.
See the Menu: Carlos Brazilian International Cuisine >
Caribbica Soul in Downtown Roanoke combines the flavors of the Caribbean with Southern soul food for a delicious dining experience, with dishes like jerk chicken & waffles or curry goat with baked mac & cheese and collard greens.
See the Menu: Caribbica Soul >
Cuban Island is a dream come true for early 90s Cuban refugees turned restauranteurs. Their menu features authentic Cuban cuisine like ropa vieja (shredded beef with peppers, onions, and cilantro), black bean soup, yuca, fried plantains, and of course, the classic pressed Cuban sandwich.
See the Menu: Cuban Island Restaurant >
It doesn't necessarily represent one particular country, but Sidecar in Downtown Roanoke offers a menu that showcases a variety of European foods and drinks, including traditional German, Polish, English, and Belgian style favorites. The drink list also features many old-world inspired cocktails.
See the Menu: Sidecar >
Athens Corner Grill and Veranda Bistro in Roanoke and Zorba's in Salem are tried and true Greek restaurants with devoted diners who love their saganaki (hot breaded bubbly cheese), dolmades (stuffed grape leaves), and falafel (fried ground chickpeas). And those are just the appetizers! Tackle a gyro, pick away at a souvlaki skewer, or indulge in a hefty helping of spanakopita for the main course, but be sure to save room for the baklava!
For a quick Mediterranean meal, consider a visit to Abra Kababra in Salem, which serves lamb, chicken, and falafel on platters, sandwiches, and salads, each of which is packed with flavor.
Taqueria Rosita is a food truck slinging some of the best food around, and one Yelp reviewer raved about their papusas specifically.
Follow on Instagram: Taqueria Rosita >
Nawab is an excellent place to dine well; a place to dine as if you were a Nawab, which is “a man of wealth and influence,” according to their website. Taaza is an upscale Indian restaurant in Roanoke's Grandin Village offering traditional fare as well as Mediterranean delights. Both restaurants feature lunch buffets that make for a delicious Indian food feast.
Fortunato’s menu includes octopus while Luigi’s boasts a few escargot options. In Salem, Mamma Maria’s is the top spot for a wide variety of pizza, garlic knots and more. In Daleville, the pizza of Tizzone Wood-Fired Kitchen & Wine Bar can’t be beat.
Set sail on a delicious adventure with friends & family by ordering the sushi boat at Cafe Asia. Ben Gui Sushi Japanese Cuisine is another top sushi experience with The Red Dragon roll, a favorite of readers of The Roanoke Times. For a wide variety of sushi and excellent lunch specials, Wasabi’s has more than 30 options from fried tofu to eel. You can also chow down on authentic Japanese dishes like ramen and katsu at Ike's Kitchen.
Wonju Korean is a “mom and pop” restaurant dishing up authentic Korean fare. Bulgogi Hot Pot is a popular dish to try.
See the Menu: Wonju Korean Restaurant >
Thai Oudone Valley Grill is known for its incredible spiciness. The menu is split between Thai, Laotian, and Chinese cultures, and most folks enjoy all three, and the portions are large for the price.
See the Menu: Thai Oudone Valley Grill >
Cedars Lebanese Restaurant offers many traditional dishes and easy eats for those who want to dip a toe into Lebanese cuisine. Do try the taboulleh! Shishka Mediterranean Grill & Hookah Bar has a similar menu plus a robust hookah menu to try.
Typically, Mexican restaurants don’t deviate too far from one another, but each certainly offers a slightly different atmosphere. Alejandro’s is consistently voted a local favorite Mexican restaurant and has locations in Hollins, downtown Roanoke and Salem – each one offering its signature popular chips & salsa bar.
Roanoke’s Tuco’s Taqueria Garaje focuses on fresh and light ingredients and the area’s most impressive tequila menu. Tuco’s sister restaurant, El Jefe Taqueria Garaje, offers a similar menu and atmosphere but is located in Salem.
La Casa del Burrito in Vinton does not have a bad review anywhere. Period. People rave about the wonderful flavors and excellent service.
Authentic tacos, burritos, and tortas are favorite dishes at Tacos Rojas in Roanoke. Check them out at their original location in Roanoke’s West End or their new spot in the City Market Building in downtown Roanoke.
Mi Tapatia on Roanoke’s historic Williamson Road serves the fresh flavors of Guadalajara, Mexico, from which the owners hale. Taco Riendo is a Roanoke food truck and a favorite of locals. Find them on Williamson Road - Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Finally, Carniceria Lily is also a food truck on Williamson. Place your order inside the Latin grocery and pick up your food at the truck.
Head to the City of Salem to KJ's Grill and Kabab House, a family-owned restaurant sharing their recipes for authentic Pakistani food. They offer a large selection of grilled meat dishes, which are all halal, as well as many vegetarian entrees and side dishes.
See the Menu: KJ's Grill & Kabab House >
Bethlehem Restaurant & Grocery in Roanoke offers a chicken shawarma that seems to top everyone’s list, and be warned…the spices may catch you off guard with their intensity. Vegetarians will love the Mezze platter of assorted appetizers, including wonderful spreads like Foul Mudammas and Baba Ghanouj.
See the Menu: Bethlehem Restaurant >
Introduce yourself to the incredible flavors of Peru with a meal at Inka Grill Peruvian Cuisine in Downtown Roanoke. The menu features an exciting assortment of beef and seafood dishes with a rich blend of spices and seasonings, showcasing the amazing tastes of this part of South America.
See the Menu: Inka Grill Peruvian Cuisine >
Champloo Desserts is a rolled ice cream and bubble tea establishment found in Roanoke and Salem. Choose from fruity, non-fruity, seasonal, and plain handcrafted ice cream, or try a bubble waffle. A bubble waffle is a puff pastry that originated in Hong Kong and features a crispy edge and fluffy middle. Red Jasmine in Vinton brings “sweet, hot, and spicy foods” to those seeking traditional Thai.
Leonore Restaurant in Roanoke offers a flair of Italian with their Venezuelan cuisine. Try an arepa - Venezuela’s bread – with black beans and mozzarella, chicken and cheddar, or even scrambled eggs, bell peppers, and sautéed onions.
See the Menu: Leonore Restaurant >
Viet Sub in Roanoke receives consistent acclaim for their pho and banh mi sandwiches. Vina Café is known for their rice paper spring rolls and beautiful, flavorful pho. A stop into either restaurant promises to be a real treat.
If you can cross all of these flavors off of your fictitious palate passport, we want to hear about it! So many tastes, so many interesting people to meet, and so many stories to share.
Because that’s what happens over food, right? Great conversation of travels and experiences.
Virginia’s Blue Ridge would be honored to be included in those tellings. Be a tasty #Trailsetter and let us know on social media! Happy travels!