2 Fun Hidden Gem Restaurants to Try in Norfolk, VA This Holiday Season

Norfolk, Virginia is quite the culinary haven, particularly during the holiday season. Here, two hidden gem restaurants are redefining the dining scene with their exceptional offerings. These hidden gem spots skillfully blend local traditions with innovative culinary artistry, promising a dining experience that’s both authentic and surprising. Let’s go!

Sam’s Texas Sub Shop

Sam’s Texas Sub Shop in Norfolk, VA, is a true gem for food lovers. Despite its unassuming location on Colley Avenue, next to Cogan’s Pizza and opposite Mack’s Barge, this small eatery packs a big punch in flavor and hospitality. Recently, it earned a spot in Travel + Leisure’s Top 25 places for BBQ in the USA, a testament to its exceptional offerings.

Conveniently situated within walking distance of a friend’s house, this charming shop is a must-visit, especially during summer when the student crowd thins.

Food Highlights:

  • Brisket Chili: A delightful mix of sweet and spicy, filled with generous brisket chunks. The 6 oz serving is surprisingly filling.
  • Brisket Slider: Perfectly balancing sweet BBQ flavors with a hint of vinegar, complemented by slaw and served on moist, crunchy bread.
  • Black and Blue Brisket Sandwich: A top-rated choice, served with potato salad and au jus sauce.
  • Traditional Italian Sub: A classic done right.
  • Southwest Chicken Sub: A new favorite, featuring made-to-order preparation and fresh baking.
  • Meatball Sub: A standout dish, despite the minor inconvenience of cheese sticking to the wrapping paper.

Atmosphere:
Sam’s Texas Sub Shop offers a cozy and welcoming environment. The owners are genuinely interested in their patrons’ experiences, fostering a sense of community.

Kenny V.

Along with great food, visitors can enjoy engaging conversations and learn about the owners’ adorable pets, including their grandpup and rescued dogs. The shop’s commitment to both quality food and customer rapport makes it a destination worth multiple visits, whether for dine-in or carry-out.

Sam’s Texas Sub Shop is more than just a place to eat; it’s a delightful experience that combines great food, a warm atmosphere, and genuine hospitality. Amazing hidden gem in Norfolk, give them a shot!

4311 A Colley Ave Norfolk, VA 23508

Blanca Food + Wine

Salmon over brown butter cabbage Courtney W.

Blanca, a charming restaurant in Norfolk, VA, surprises diners with its exceptional offerings and cozy atmosphere, despite its unassuming exterior. Hidden between a McDonald’s and a seamstress, Blanca proves that looks can be deceiving, providing a unique dining experience that leaves guests longing for more.

Blanca

Food Highlights:

  • Appetizers: Guests rave about the French Onion Soup, a must-try for soup enthusiasts. The Brussels and Kale Salad with Caesar dressing, Walnuts, and Crispy Shallot offers a fresh, crunchy start to the meal.
  • Main Courses: The Duck with Autumn Vegetables, a seasonal dish, stands out with its perfectly roasted, soft vegetables. The Spaghetti al Limone is another favorite, so much so that it’s craved long after the meal. The flavorful Chicken and Fish with a rich, savory broth are also notable mentions.
  • Desserts: The Chocolate Mousse with Crème Fraiche is an essential finish to any meal at Blanca.

Atmosphere:
The restaurant’s ambiance is particularly suited for romantic dates, with a comfortable interior that belies its small external appearance. The staff is known for their friendliness and expertise in offering meal suggestions, enhancing the dining experience.

Melissa M.

Blanca’s menu changes seasonally, ensuring fresh and innovative dishes throughout the year. The Focaccia with butter, complimentary as a starter, is praised for its fluffy texture and herby taste.

Basque cheesecake! Sam A.

The service is excellent, and while popular and often crowded, maintains a pleasant vibe. Prices are reasonable which is always a plus. Making a reservation is highly recommended due to the restaurant’s popularity.

Its unique location only adds to its charm, making it a must-visit destination for both locals and visitors. Give them a go if you have not already, true hidden gem in Norfolk.

4117 Granby St Ste A Norfolk, VA 23504


As you leave the vibrant city of Norfolk, remember the unique flavors and warm hospitality of these hidden dining treasures. Their perfect melding of Norfolk’s seafood heritage with creative culinary techniques has added a distinct flair to your holiday experience. Be sure to revisit these gems and share their stories with fellow food enthusiasts on your next Norfolk adventure!