Vida Manda is a thoughtful dining experience with a cool twist on the food and culture of Laos. The fusion in trendy atmosphere and authentic roots are emblematic in the name which honors the “Father and Mother” (Bida Manda) of the owners back in Laos. Bida Manda is known “go to” by all the local professionals. They have a couple great plates that are not represented on the menu, so make sure you ask the waiter.
A Chinese dumpling shop; limited, affordable, unique. The dumplings are very good. It is one of those spots that are truly unique and maintain their culture by not trying hard to show everyone that they are maintaining their Chinese immigrant roots. They have one bulletin board that showcases their accomplishments from local newspapers and businesses that capture the founders inspiring story that sits behind a couple of weird oriental trinkets. Other than that, it looks like a humble shop with a bell counter where you pick up your food and drop off your money. If you want water, you can grab it from a plastic trey on the counter where they fill up plastic cups from the sink. You can take it back to your tiny space at your tiny table where you listen to pop music played from a chintzy radio that is made to look like a record turntable. Marco & Luca is looking to impress no-one! They simply let their dumplings speak for themselves. Its nice to see an honest mom and pop without any gimmicks. I mean…they don’t even have a website. Additionally, because M&L refrains from adopting a trendy brand, they are often passed over by the bougie college crowd looking for something more along the lines of the Sky Bar down the street, usually just stopping in as a preventative recovery srtategy after a night of binge drinking. However, M&L just opened a second shop in the mall. So check it out before they become mainstream and will most likely be forced to sacrifice their genuine identity for the sake of scalability.
Good spot to bring coworkers or someone you want to impressive with your street knowledge of the local area. If you didn’t know where Alley Light was located, you would walk right passed it. The door to the place is down a crappy little alley under a crappy little light (hence the name). But once you go in, it is a small, up scale restaurant with a sweet bar. I especially love it because the bourbon selection is awesome. However, Virginia has some weird laws where they can’t get select brands such as Willett. The only thing that would make it better is if they snuck in the restricted labels and served it out of another bottle… then they can be a real speak easy!
A hidden gem that ironically manifests the best of the unwitting Red Neck Riviera. Joe Patti is a fish market located directly on the docks, delivering a plethora of sea food fresh off the boat (literally)! When I move, this is the only place I will truly miss. Embedded in the market is a beignet truck, sushi bar, and little stores offering delicious spreads, oils, sauces and seafood delights to be eaten on a park bench in Pensacola or the picnic benches out back. If you are in the area, go!!!
Soup Nazi of bbq! Get in line and order either ribs or a burger, thats all the options you’re gonna get. Grab a bag of chips on the way out if you’re still hungry. So if you want to “have it your way”…head on over to the golden arches. Additionally, good luck getting in, and don’t get tricked by the schedule on the door. The hours are whatever the owner feels like! Call beforehand…but even that isn’t a sure thing (true story). But if you do succeed, oh man…it is worth it. Btw…its not worth asking around…no one seems to know about Blue Dot unless they live within a few blocks.
An interesting liberal oasis in a sea of “Roll Tide!”…and I’m a conservative. Slug’s is a hip little vegetarian restaurant and safe haven to the artsy fartsy vagabond type from Pensacola College. Parked next door to a gay bar where you can eat awesome vegetarian food in one room and dance to some heartfelt, slightly off key indie band in the next. Ideal to experience weird art/music/beer/people and great food.
Freakin Amazing Burgers. Established by a local family with a mission to provide the Crab People with a blessing that will forever be underappreciated. They are the best I have ever had….and I’m a burger snob from In-N-Out territory. However, the few that do know share my sentiment. The rest are too busy driving through Whataburger (not being sarcastic).
This little burrito truck brings San Diego burrito style with the Red Neck Riviera culture. I can’t go to this spot without seeing someone I know and chatting it up with the owners. The owner operator, retired Navy Seal, will most likely learn your name right off the bat and ensure you are having a good time, a refreshing change in an area with TERRIBLE customer service. The stay open till they sell out, and they usually do, so make sure to call in advance.