What it is: Relatively new restaurant in Belmont specializing in rustic Italian food, open Tuesday through Saturday for dinner, starting at 5pm. Focuses on local and seasonal foods, so menu sometimes varies slightly. They also have an extensive wine list. See their website for a sample menu.
Why it’s rad: Charlottesville has no other good Italian food. In fact, I’m not even going to give Charlottesville that much credit. We have terrible Italian food, unless you go to Tavola. Delicious antipasti, especially the antipasti misti (meat and cheese plate), and consistantly well prepared pasta and entrees, such as the hanger steak and fried veal chop. The dining area is small and comfortable, and also includes an awesome bar if you just want to go for drinks. The staff is also made up of extremely nice people who do nothing but be awesome. Tavola is not exactly cheap, but you are paying for good Italian food made out of good and often ingredients, not a mess of cheese and red sauce. Don’t eat Italian food out anywhere else in Charlottesville unless you want to make me and yourself sad.