Best restaurants in Shenandoah Valley, Virginia

Published: November 12, 2013

The Shenandoah Valley is a beautiful destination for hiking, canoeing, and watching the fall leaves or spring blooms.  For the purposes of this list I'm taking into account everything in Harrisonburg to Winchester including Page County.  Because it's spread over such a large area it is sometimes hard to know where to eat.  Here is a list of the best restaurants in the Shenandoah Valley aka Shenandoar Valley.  I've compiled a list from the places I've enjoyed the most over the past twenty nine years of living here.

  1. Bluestone Inn

    This restuarant is right beside Route 11 on the north side of Harrisonburg.  It's a family dining atmosphere with amazing seafood and steak.  I went there on a Saturday night for my brother's birthday and we had a forty-five minute wait at 6:00 PM.  Our food was delicious.  I ordered crab legs which turned out to be king crab when I was expecting snow crab and split them with my brother who ordered a NY strip, which he split with me and was also fantastic.  The homemade mashed potatoes and hushpuppies are great as well as the fresh salad and house dressings.  The wait was worth it and a packed restuarant is a good sign.

  2. Joe's Steakhouse

    There are two Joe's Steakhouse- one is in Woodstock, VA and one is in Front Royal, VA.  I've only been to the Woodstock one because there was no need to go to the second one after the experience in the first.  There is outside seating as well as upstairs seating and a bar area.  The salmon, steak, and sides are well cooked and seasoned and the atmosphere is nice and casual.  The last I heard a husband and wife own this restaurant and I've seen the wife work as a server when they need her.  This is a great place for a date or family gathering.


  3. Cafe Jako

    Cafe Jako doesn't pop out at you online since it has no website or as you drive by but inside is cozy and friendly and the sushi is fresh and creative.  It's in a shopping center behind the mall in Harrisonburg and they also cater events as well as deliver.  I tried three or four different types of sushi and was very satisfied with them all.

  4. Jalisco Mexican Restaurant

    Jalisco's is on Route 11 right in the middle of New Market.  There is some outside seating and the servers are great about refilling drinks and chips with salsa.  The food is fresh and I usually order the taco salad or burritos, both of which are authentic mexican food.  The staff is super friendly and even though they don't speak a ton of English they are all about making you happy.  They have a second location in Strasburg, VA.


  5. Cristina's Cafe

    This is a great place to get a cup of coffee and a muffin or sit down and have a full breakfast.  I ordered breakfast here and they fulfilled all my special requests like an egg white omelet with whole wheat bread and fresh fruit.  I was feeling healthy that day.  I was really suprised by the fresh fruit because typically you get a couple pieces of cantaloupe and some squishy grapes with maybe a honeydew mixed in but here I recieved fresh strawberries, blueberries, and pineapple.  I was over the moon.  That was a couple of years ago so I don't know if that's still the mix but I would be happy to go back and see.  Relaxed atmosphere and a younger crowd.

  6. Village Square Restaurant

    Old town Winchester is the place to go and Village Square Restaurant is located right on the walking mall.  It has a much larger dinner menu than lunch menu where options are limited.  I had buttercorn squash soup and a bacon salad for lunch.  The soup had cream and was out of this world and the salad was fresh but if you don't like bacon fat, don't go for the salad.  I also had some freshly pressed coffee which tasted very clean.  I'm a coffee fan so this scored major points.  The atmosphere is fine dining but the staff and customers are pretty relaxed so jeans would probably be okay.  I'm invited to a dinner there in the next few weeks so I'll be happy to report on that.

  7. Chop Stick Cafe

    This is another place where you wouldn't know how great it is until someone told you about it.  From the outside it looks pretty small and since it's a cafe you wouldn't expect many options but that is way off base.  I would go back again just for the homemade key lime pie which was my favorite part of the meal.  I ordered the sushi here and it was very good as well.  This is casual atmosphere and you can tell it's a well kept secret among the locals who are scattered across the cafe when you look around.

  8. Woodstock Cafe and Shoppes

    This is on Route 11 in Woodstock near Joe's Steakhosue.  This used to be a Daily Grind and I worked here in high school until ownership changed.  Now it is breakfast, lunch, coffee, and desserts and most recently they have added dinner options.  They celebrate certain events like Valentine's Day with a separate menu and all inclusive price.  Live music and entertainment is often performed in the evenings and there is an extensive wine selection and shop along with antiques and books that are fun to look through on your way to the bathroon in the back of the building.  I really enjoy their coffee, scones, and sandwhiches. 

  9. Gathering Grounds

    Stop and have a rest and a bite to eat here after walking the Greenway Trail through Luray.  The trail is flat and paved and has great art along the way.  I took my dog here and we sat outside while I had a sandwhich and some diet coke and gave her water and doggie treats.  It was busy that day but we still had good food and a great walk.  I would definately go back, especially with my dog since this is one of the few places in Luray with outside seating.


  10. Roma Casual Italian and Greek Dining

    Yes, that's a mouthful and I thought they may be confused when they decided to put all of that under one roof.  But they have amazing Italian food which tastes authentic and also delicious Greek options as well.  I would go with an entree here like lasagne or chicken parm.  They put special effort into the entrees versus the appetizers.   Very casual, almost like a mexican restaurant for some reason.  Confusing but tasty.

After writing the list I see that I've put them in order of where I had the most enjoyable experiences as well as the best food.  I think this makes sense but keep in mind that if you don't like a certain type of food then you won't like the restaurant like I did.  Or if you're in the mood for something specific, then go for it!  It may not have made the list but adventure is all part of the game.  This is just what I think, not the be all and end all of the Shenandoah Valley.  Happy trails!