My wife and I visited Charlottesville over this past holiday weekend. It was our first prolonged visit and really enjoyed it. I wish I had gone to Grace Estates. Ended up going to Keswick, Barboursville, Pollack, and Afton. Nothing really stood out. Reinforces my opinion Linden, Glen Manor, and Delaplane are the best all-around vineyards/wineries in the state (RDV too but I haven't been). I know Barboursville makes great wine not available for tasting, so I'll give them a pass...considering they set up their tasting room for quanity over quality (zoo over zen). I did like their pinot gris and Italian reds (I regret not buying some since they turned out to be the better wines of the trip). After doing their tasting, I had terrible palette fatigue so I didn't enjoy Pollack and Afton's wine as much as I would have probably. It is a beautiful area, the whole region. I guess I'm just biased to Jim Law and his apprentice's wines.
We did do Ivy Inn and enjoyed the food a lot. However, dining out on the patio was awkward. Its a rectangular brick patio that is obviously shaped well for larger events. For normal dining, it was a bit too spacious and we were sat at a table with leaves extended. It could have sat 6 people, so it also was awkwardly spacious. The meal started with a tasty amuse bouche of pimento cheese on a cracker. We split an app (crispy fried holloumi cheese), salad (local heirloom greens), one pasta (gnocchi with Polyface chicken and Rock Barn andouilli), and a dessert (peach crisp w/ ice cream). Everything was very good. Just wish we could have tried more dishes, but we were still carrying lunch in our stomachs from the destination worthy BBQ Exchange in Gordonsville. An easy stop if going to Barboursville, Keswick, or other nearby wineries.
Other places we ate at were:
Petit Pois - wife raved about the trout amandine and I had a very good pork loin not listed on the website menu. Portions were fairly large.
Blue Mountain Brewery - really nice but large, busy setting. Beer was alright. I had the kolsch but have enjoyed better ones locally (Mad Fox). Food was more than adequate for a brewery.
Shenandoah Joe - wife enjoyed her pour-over. nice, spacious interior. I don't drink coffee so can't add much.
Carpe Donut - all organic doughnuts with originally one flavor (cider cake donut rolled in cinnamon sugar); initially sold from a food truck or catering now with a tiny storefront in an interesting refurbished (faux?) low density industrial park. They had two new flavors in the store (maple glazed and bourbon), but preferred the original. The donuts were a bit spongy for my taste. One donut was cooked longer/hotter and had a crispier exterior than the others, so that one was the best.
Bizou - nice setting on the mall, but no tables with shade so we ate inside. Perhaps a bit outdated of an interior, but the food was surprisingly very good. I hadn't reviewed this place prior to our visit. It was brunch so had an excellent vegetable frittata. really fresh and little dots of roasted red pepper sauce made it stand out.
one more note on wine. I was surprised how cheap bottles of VA wine were at the restaurants. Generally not more than 50% additional cost from retail..most seemed less. Lots to choose from too. Cville really does take local to the next step.