It might be the Himalayan sea salt lamps on the bar or the artisanal handcrafted furniture, but Red Pump stands out for its warm, relaxed and elegant bohemian-café atmosphere. The ambience in this Tuscany-inspired, ample restaurant is amazing. The decoration is astonishing, with a vertical garden, a stunning wooden bar, and an open kitchen with a classic wood oven. Outdoor seating and large windows are highlights during summertime.
If you are planning to go with a group of friends, ask for the Chef’s Table. It is available for parties up to 12 guests and features a 5-course prix-fixe menu with optional wine pairings.
At Red Pump, they believe in the power of local and seasonal ingredients and work with Virginian farmers. Chef Lee Hendrickson’s menu includes creative antipasti like garlic mussels on crostini or crispy octopus with charred lemon; wood fired gourmet pizzetes; impressive pasta dishes like the Maine lobster tortellini; and some fish and meat entrees.
The wine list is rich in Italian and Virginian wines. They carry their own wine Red Pump (Merlot and Chambourcin), produced by the sister winery Pippin Hill, just 20 minutes away from Charlottesville. However, the gentle and helpful staff might suggest an interesting cocktail if you are not that much into wine. Another great spot to consider located on the historic Downtown Mall.
Phone: (434) 202 – 6040
Hours: Tue-Thu and Sun 5:30pm-9pm. Fri-Sat 5:30pm-10pm
Text and photo: Edu Bayer