Staunton Virginia is a charming town and boasts a disproportionate number of very good restaurants, perhaps courtesy of the Blackfriars Theater. Aioli is a terrific addition.
Aioli is on Augusta street, about 150 feet north of the main drag in Staunton (Beverly) so you might not see it immediately. It is across the street and a little further north from the movie theater. Once you step inside, you know you're going to have a nice meal. The setting is simultaneously chic and traditional with bare brick walls, wood floors, and yet a more modern sub-ceiling over the original tinwork (which you can still see). It was the kind of place where you immediately felt in the mood to enjoy the company of friends and a good meal. I have posted one photo, but you can see others on the the restaurant's web site.
The chef is from Casablanca, Morocco, and there are some middle eastern offerings but the food reminds me the most of Spain or the western Mediterranean in general, with lots of tapas and different plate sizes. You can go with tapas, full entrees, or just about every combination of plates you might want. I had a quail tapas that was very savory. The other offerings include everything from bread and olives to scallops, mussels, or lamb sausage. I found the tapas to be more than enough for a meal, but they also have entrees ranging from salmon to paella, to steak, all with the same Mediterranean twist. I believe the menus are also available on line, although they also have specials on the chalkboard.
They have a wide selections of wine, both by the bottle and by the glass, and they will let you taste a little to try something new. The wait staff also seemed very knowledgeable about the food and made helpful recommendations.
I went to Aioli before a show at the Blackfriars (which is wonderful, by the way). They had no trouble getting me out before it began.
I would recommend Aioli both for a meal before a show or as a destination in its own right.
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