Merchants Square Dining

Dine at Your Own Pace in Williamsburg

Get a Taste of Williamsburg’s Creative Culinary Scene

by Arielle Patterson

While visiting Williamsburg, you won’t want to miss a chance to dine on delectable dishes, seafood platters, internationally inspired cuisine and more. You’ll also find restaurants that are perfect for the whole family, serving kid-friendly fare, or ideal for a couple’s romantic night out.

During the 18th century, the colonists centered their social scene around the local taverns. Locals and visitors would share a delicious meal and a pint of ale over good conversation. This remains the same in Colonial Williamsburg’s restaurants and taverns in the Historic Area. Colonial Williamsburg has four taverns with an array of menu options to satisfy everyone.

Merchants Square, located right along Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area, features a blend of 18th-century charm and modern shops and restaurants. The restaurants within Merchants Square range from upscale eateries to pub fare. Most restaurants even have seating on an outdoor patio so you can dine with your pet. Grab a bite to eat from a local café or enjoy a sit-down meal prepared by an award-winning chef.

For a meal with a view, head to nearby Yorktown or Jamestown where you can dine overlooking the water. Situated on the York River, James River and other waterways in the Greater Williamsburg area, these restaurants serve up tasty dishes with a side of breathtaking waterfront scenery.

Fuel Up for a Day of Fun
They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and that certainly rings true in Williamsburg. All across Williamsburg you can find as many pancake houses as you can historical landmarks. Enjoy flapjacks piled high with warm syrup and fresh fruit, along with bacon, sausage, eggs, French toast and more. Enjoy a filling breakfast before hitting the historic sites, outlet shops or nearby rides and amusements.

Williamsburg Culinary Experiences
Many restaurants in Williamsburg embrace the farm-to-table culinary movement. Area chefs support local agriculturists by serving fresh, local and seasonal ingredients. Enjoy dishes prepared with local and regional meat, cheese and produce for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Williamsburg’s tidewater cuisine has been prevalent since the colonial days. The area still holds a love for seafood that is shown through contemporary recipes in restaurants serving tide-to-table cuisine. Local chefs use menus to celebrate the Chesapeake, while offering a modern take on coastal American cuisine. Dive into creamy crab dip or a cup of she-crab soup. Scallops become a sumptuous dish when blackened, broiled or sautéed. Virginia is known as the oyster capital of the East Coast and it shows not only through production, but also through each enticing entrée. Restaurants serve our famous York River oyster fried, steamed or on the half shell.

Image Courtesy Of Visit Williamsburg
Image Courtesy Of Visit Williamsburg

In the 17th and 18th centuries, Southern cooking became more prominent thanks to techniques taught by African Americans and the Native people. Southern restaurants in the area, specializing in these classic techniques, are serving up dishes passed down from generations and are offering some good ole’ Southern hospitality on the side. Try staples like fried chicken livers and onions, collard greens seasoned with pork, fried okra, cabbage, catfish and, of course, fried chicken.

Throughout Greater Williamsburg you’ll find restaurants to please every palate and budget.