One of the greatest living history museums in the country is Colonial Williamsburg and it's one that makes an impression. The second visitors step foot into this city, it feels as though they've transcended time to be transported back to a place where life was simpler, albeit on the verge of a major revolution.
It was one of the first colonial outposts in America and maintained its quaint English charm for centuries, allowing visitors to experience a life very different from their own. While there's plenty to do in this town, which is also home to The College of William and Mary, making it a college town, as well, the food culture is a large part of the atmosphere. You can find any number of excellent restaurants within Colonial Williamsburg and many, if not all of them, have a historic edge to their dishes. Therefore, it's a historic trip on all accounts, making it one of the most unique destinations in the U.S. The only question is this: where does one start with such a diverse range of places to choose from?
Christiana Campbell's Tavern
The thing about Colonial Williamsburg is that there are many historical taverns, so picking just one can definitely be a challenge. Christiana Campbell's, in particular, has a reputation for its food as well as its history thanks to an unlikely source: George Washington.
It's said that this was the first president's favorite place to dine out, and those interested will be able to enjoy more than just food at this establishment. Live music is often on the schedule and, if you're one of the lucky diners, you'll have a visit paid to your table by Christiana Campbell's 'daughter,' who is entirely period-accurate to the 18th century.
Blue Talon Bistro
The Blue Talon Bistro is a little more modern but is also hailed as one of the best restaurants in Colonial Williamsburg, according to Grace & Lightness. There, diners will be treated to a full French-inspired menu that encompasses breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and excels at each one.
The unique thing about this bistro is that in keeping with the theme of French cuisine, the menu also includes some local Virginia favorites, such as an upscale meatloaf and a tender rotisserie chicken. The menu is far more varied than many might realize and each dish is carefully curated to reflect both the culture, the theme, and the history behind the area the bistro caters to. The dessert list is also a winner, as many people walk away from the table wondering where the Blue Talon chocolate mousse has been their entire lives.
For those looking to save a bit of money and dine out at a place that still holds true to the history of Colonial Williamsburg, look no further than Chowning's Tavern. This restaurant fits into most budgets and offers an experience that feels as authentic as the tavern you're sitting in.
The menu is classic tavern fare with a modern twist, and the staff is always friendly which goes quite a long way. While the tavern doesn't take reservations, there's not usually a long way and even if there is, there's plenty to walk around and see in the immediate area.
Food For Thought
If a vegetarian-friendly menu is on the itinerary, then Food for Thought is the place to be. While this restaurant isn't necessarily historically based, it does offer a wide range of meat-free options that anyone will love. And if you are looking for something meaty and packed with protein, don't worry - this restaurant offers that, too.
Food isn't the only reason why people like to frequent Food for Thought, though, and it's the cool philosopher theme of the establishment that really seems to catch everyone's attention. With a scholarly design and quotes from well-known philosophers and thinkers, it's a great place to hang out and grab a bite. Food for Thought also sports dishes named after famed philosophers, so that's a lot of fun, too.
Raleigh Tavern Bakery
For a quick bite to eat in the morning or a fast snack during the day, the Raleigh Tavern Bakery must be on the list. Located not far from the center of Colonial Williamsburg, this bakery has a long-standing history that you can feel the second you walk in.
Some of the bakery's menu is also historically accurate, offering baked goods that one might not find at your typical bakery nowadays. Everything is baked fresh to start the day and, most of the time, it'll arrive fresh and hot in your hand, as the kitchen is open and visitors can watch the baking process in action.