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“Stick to the Menu”

Eat-An American Bistro
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Ranked #44 of 1,414 Restaurants in Virginia Beach
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $18 - $30
Cuisines: American, Fusion, International, Contemporary
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Special occasions, Local cuisine, Business meetings, Bar scene, Romantic
Dining options: Late Night, Dinner, Accepts American Express, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Full Bar, Outdoor Seating, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Waitstaff
Dining style: Casual Dining
Neighborhood: Northeast Virginia Beach
Description: This small, intimate location tucked away at the north end of the virginia beach oceanfront, has truly become a local fave. The award-winning eclectic menu, extensive wine list and casual atmosphere is underscored by a friendly and attentive staff. Deemed "One of the 30 Places to Eat Before You Die" by writer Lorraine Eaton, this local gem converts first-time guests into long-time fans on a daily basis. Open 7 days a week, it's a MUST-TRY in the resort area.
Level Contributor
74 reviews
61 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
“Stick to the Menu”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 8, 2012

EAT is a cosy little ocean front place, at 40th and Atlantic, a location best suited to the off season when traffic and tourists are at an ebb. Parking is tight - so plan ahead.

The menu is comfortable with classic Virginia Beach fare, Oysters Rockafeller (an awesome version), crabcakes, oyster stew (quite good), shrimp n grits (good enough for a tired recipe I suppose) a steak or two, and fish. Every on-menu item I saw and tasted - looked and tasted great. Well done Chef.

Trouble looms however on the specials blackboard. A starter of house cured Gravlax was overly mild - and lacked traditional touches such as a mustard dill sauce. The entirely washed out flavor of this fish was married with a dollop of flavorless creme fraiche and a sliced radish. Bleh. Boring. Another starter of grilled octopus over not quite cooked gigante beans with grilled chorizo slices was on the other end of the flavor scale and was quite tasty but unreasonably tough. Chef, if you're going to serve octopus and gigante beans, please learn how to cook them until done - it's not difficult, at all.

From my experience, I suggest that you ditch the specials and stick to the menu with dishes which the kitchen prepares over and over again with a great degree of success.

Service was attentive and appropriately friendly.

  • Visited November 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Griller333
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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192 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Chantilly, VA
Level Contributor
65 reviews
43 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 80 helpful votes
“The highlight of our Virginia Beach trip. Get a reservation and don't eat outside”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 13, 2012

Located at the North end of the Boardwalk, Eat is a jewel among so many "faster food" restaurants catering to the family masses at Virginia Beach. Many locals visit for special occasions, but the prices are quite reasonable for the quality of food and service.

My wife and I loved the selection of appetizers and could have ordered a variety of them and skipped the entrees. I highly recommend the mozzarella stuffed meatballs. The deviled eggs were dijon heavy but yummy if you like mustard. The scallop appetizer with corn and cheese was delicious. For entrees, both the scallop and steak frites dishes are very good.

In comparison for the other restaurants Virginia Beach has to offer, I would like to give Eat Bistro 5 stars, but unfortunately I have to knock them back for several reasons:

1) The chef clearly likes to experiment but it doesn't always work. One of the specials was a korean short rib. Unfortunately the flavors weren't there, and the meat was too crispy and tough because they flash fried it. I just didn't get it

2) Some of the specialty drinks were a bit disappointing. We liked the passion fruit yuzu cooler, the lil Italy and Palomo drinks had little flavor and were just too watery. Perhaps the bartender just had a bad day

3) Outside dining area is intolerable due to so many flies. While the restaurant is very clean, there is something about it's outdoor location that attracts the bugs. Just make sure you get an inside table when you make your reservation and all will be well. Show up without a res and... well, enjoy the extra company.

  • Visited August 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank FudRover
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Isla de Vieques, Puerto Rico
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 19, 2012

I have enjoyed some good meals in Virginia Beach BUT this is the best meal I have enjoyed anywhere in awhile! Deciding what to eat was hard, hard, hard.....it was for all of my table. The use of fresh local ingredients shines thru so strongly, the atmosphere is lovely, the service very good - there are no negatives!
Some of our favorites were "fire & ice", "lump crab pizza" (melt in your mouth delicious), "oysters rock", "caprese salad" (local heirloom tomatoes, really fresh mozzarella and mini home grown basil)......you get the idea!
Don't miss it, I don't think they missed a beat and having been in this particular industry for many years I am probably more alert than many.
Thank you "eat"

  • Visited September 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank seaglassgirls
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Greenville, South Carolina
Level Contributor
23 reviews
14 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Special birthday dinner”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 8, 2012 via mobile

Found this restaurant on TripAdvisor and liked the menu, so decided to try it. Unassuming from the outside, eclectic and a bit noisy indoors. Has a small patio area and is just steps from the beach. We ate indoors, as it was windy and damp outdoors. There were many blackboard specials in addition to the printed menu, and several extra wine choices, including some Virginia wines. We opted for two small plates each instead of full entrees. All four of them were delicious as was the warm homemade bread. We had room for dessert, and split the cappuccino pots de creme. Very good mocha flavor and just the right ending to the meal. Service was attentive and we were able to get a table without a reservation. We arrived around 6:45 and the dining room was full by 7:30.

Thank Boscoe1695
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Midlothian, Virginia
Level Contributor
145 reviews
90 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 91 helpful votes
“Interesting fusion menu - with a few cautions”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 4, 2012

The atmosphere: At the extreme north end of Virginia Beach, this is an easily overlooked restaurant favored by locals, without much tourist traffic or many children. The patio seems a relaxed, drinks-and-dinner after work setting. It’s bounded on three sides by the restaurant, the adjoining hotel, and Atlantic Avenue, so while it has a bit of a beach view it’s not really oceanfront dining. The inside is oddly partitioned, a small area with a few tables just inside the door, crowded by people waiting for tables and traffic to the bar – avoid this section at all costs. The larger dining room (still small) is a bit rustic and unfinished, cozy enough for couples. It gets pretty noisy when large groups assemble, as there’s just not much space overall. Comfortable enough, not particular romantic.

The food: The Fire & Ice appetizer was the low point, soft and pasty instead of fresh, likely marinated too long. Thankfully the rest of the meal showed real culinary talent, both in the combination of flavors and artful presentations. The Oysters Rock were pretty good, huge heaps of cheese, spinach and bacon that may have had some oysters involved. We shared a an exceptional Caprese salad (chalkboard special), meaty, fresh red and yellow tomatoes with a tangy, light herbed oil. The Shrimp & Grits entrée had a Southwest-inspired red sauce, more spiced and flavorful than most restaurants offer. Finally, a sweet caramel blondie dessert and crème brulee were both well-crafted, sweet without being syrupy.

The service: Knowledgeable, eager to explain the flavor combinations and preparation details, very useful when trying to sort through the fusion style of cooking. Overtaxed, though, so while they seemed to be working hard to take care if us they were not as attentive as they could have been. Our cocktails were initially forgotten, our salad served out of sequence (but they did comp that). Two large parties took a lot of attention from the other tables. In short, they need more staff.

Overall: Worth a visit for an early dinner before it gets crowded, interesting combinations make for some distinctive variations. Service could improve.

  • Visited September 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1 Thank Jesse W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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