It's a buyer's market. More than ever we pay attention to taste and hospitality and especially dining value for what remains of our money. We'll tip well for good service. We'll compliment the chef when it's warranted. We'll recommend good places to others and be proud to steer all willing diners away from the franchises and into the truly local spots. But this list is only as good as the intentions of the chefs, owners and staffs to follow through with their lovability and their desire to please. So far, it's worked well on us.
Acacia Mid-town. Top chef, soft swank with seafood. 2601 W. Cary St., 562-0138.www.acaciarestaurant.com.
Amici Ristorante. Experienced upscale Italian. 3343 W. Cary St. 353-4700.www.amiciristorante.net.
Angela's Ristorante. Classic Italian lovingly served. 425 N. Ridge Road, 288-7483.
Aziza's on Main. Fresh Mediterranean lunch-brunch charmer. 2110 E. Main St., 344-1523.
Bacchus. Very Fan intimacy with fashionable food. 2 N. Meadow St., 355-9919. www.bacchusonmain.com.
Bistro 27. Citified Med-Italian knock-out. 27 W. Broad St., 780-0086.www.bistrotwentyseven.com.
Buckhead's. Upscale steaks with superior service. 8510 Patterson Ave., 750-2000. www.buckheads.com.
Buz and Ned's Real Barbecue. Smoky brash brilliance. 1119 N. Boulevard. 355-6055.www.buzandneds.com.
CafAc Gutenberg. Companionable for veg and carnivore. 1700 E. Main St., 497-5000.www.cafegutenberg.com.
CafAc Rustica. Euro-style simplicity perfected. 414 E. Main St., 225-8811.
Can Can Brasserie. Fab, bright, busy. 3120 W. Cary St., 358-7274.www.cancanbrasserie.com.
Chez Foushee. Elegance, taste and service. 203 N. Foushee St., 648-3225.www.chezfoushee.com.
Chez Max. Warm and welcoming French classic. 10622 Patterson Ave., 754-3464. www.chezmaxva.com.
Comfort Restaurant. Popular scene maker for simple flavors and whiskey. 200 W. Broad St., 780-0004. www.comfortrestaurant.com.
Cous Cous. Moroccan with attitude and atmosphere. 900 W. Franklin St., 358-0868. www.couscous900.com.
Croaker's Spot. Famous fried fish with history. 119 E. Leigh St., 421-0560.www.croakersspot.com.
Da Lat. Vietnamese so good, it's grown. 9125 W. Broad St., 762-9330.
Edible Garden. Farm-to-table with stunning desserts. 12506 River Road, Goochland. 784-2224. www.ediblegarden.org.
Edo's Squid. Popular for overall deliciousness. 411 N. Harrison St. 864-5488.
Full Kee. Stripped-down foodie haunt for Chinese. 6400 Horsepen Road, 673-2233.
Gibson's Grill at the National. Ample, affordable and affable. 700 E. Broad St., 644-2637. www.gibsonsgrill.com.
Helen's. Rollercoaster of love usually worth riding. 2527 W. Main St., 358-4370.
Ipanema CafAc. Quirky cellar bar with focused vegetarian. 917 W. Grace St., 213-0190. www.ipanemaveg.com.
Havana '59. Theme-y Cuban atmosphere meets mojitos and seafood. 16 N. 17th St., 780-2822. www.havana59.net.
Julep's New Southern Cuisine. Romantic, gracious and flavorful favorite. 1719 E. Franklin St., 377-3968. www.juleps.net.
Kuba Kuba. Deservedly busy, beloved full-service bodega. 1601 Park Ave., 355-8817.www.kubakuba.info.
LuLu's Restaurant. Chef-driven industrial comfort. 21 N. 17th St. 343-9771.www.lu-lusrichmond.com.
Malabar. Better Indian with a following. 3456 Lauderdale Drive, 364-7077. www.malabarindiancuisine.com.
Mamma 'Zu. For many, the best Italian in Virginia. 501 S. Pine St. 788-4205.
Mekong. Top Vietnamese and serious about beer. 6004 W. Broad St., 288-8929,www.mekong-restaurant.com.
Mezzanine Restaurant. Fresh, smart and artfully locavore. 3433 W. Cary St., 353-2186.www.mezzanine3433.com.
Michelle's at Hanover Tavern. Well-chosen menu, historic setting. 13181 Hanover Courthouse Road, 537-5250. www.hanovertavern.com.
Millie's Diner. A must eat to truly know Richmond. 2603 E. Main St., 643-5512. www.milliesdiner.com.
Mom's Siam. Fave patio, friendliness and fresh Thai. 2811 W. Cary St., 359-7606.
Nile Ethiopian. Trailblazing, health-aware, genuine. 309 N. Laurel St., 225-5544.www.nilerichmond.com.
1 N. Belmont Restaurant. Upscale French with notable chef. 358-0500. www.1northbelmont.com.
Patina Grill. Smart classic Short Pump culinary getaway. 3416 Lauderdale Drive, 360-8217.www.patinagrill.com.
Pescados. Fresh, Latin personality on a plate. 13126 Midlothian Turnpike. 379-7121.www.pescadosseafood.com.
Q Barbeque. Snazzy spot for prize-winning meats and sides. 2077 Wal-Mart Way, Midlothian. 897-9007. www.qbarbeque.com.
Rowland Fine Dining. Low Country character with surprises. 2132 W. Main St., 257-9885. www.rowlandfinedining.com.
Sensi Italian Chophouse. Succulent pasta in swishy setting. 2222 E. Cary St., 648-3463.www.opentable.com.
Shahi Kitchen. Value-driven, plentiful and tasty Indo-Pak. 7927 W. Broad St., 290-0666. www.shahikitchen.com.
Six Burner. Reinvigorated Fan foodie favorite. 1627 W. Main St., 353-4060.www.sixburner.net.
Stronghill Dining Company. Bold take on Southern comfort. 1200 N. Boulevard. 359-0202. www.stronghillrestaurant.com.
Sushi O. Red-hot setting for sushi and cocktails. 1228 Alverser Plaza, 897-9878. www.sushiova.com.
Tarrant's CafAc. Versatile, charming downtown winner. 1 W. Broad St. 225-0035.www.tarrantscafe.org.
Tastebuds American Bistro. Chef-oriented cuisine, moderately priced. 4019 MacArthur Ave., 261-6544. www.tastebudsamericanbistro.com.
The Black Sheep. Affordable taste with comfortable kitsch. 901 W. Marshall St., 648-1300. www.theblacksheeprva.com.
The Hill CafAc. Consistent neighborhood favorite. 2800 E. Broad St., 648-0360. www.thehillcafe.com.
The Phoenician. Lebanese fairy tale standout. 4401 W. Broad St., 359-5590. www.thephoenicianrestaurant.com.
The Track. Return of a Carytown fine-dining classic. 2915 W. Cary St., 359-4781.
TJs at the Jefferson. Showy traditional with high standards. 101 W. Franklin St., 649-4672. www.jeffersonhotel.com.
Verbena. Uptown menu innovation with energy. 2526 Floyd Ave., 359-3122. www.vergenarichmond.com.
Zeus Gallery CafAc. Still rocks the gourmet chalkboard. 201 N. Belmont Ave. 359-3219.
Zuppa. Tasty breads, soups and moderation. 101 N. 18th St., 249-8831. www.zuppa.org.
We just can't say enough about these, either.
Perly's, CafAc Ole, Tanglewood Ordinary, Cupertino's, Coppolla's, Sticks Kebob Shop, the Grill at Waterford, the Tavern, Arianna's, Mosaic CafAc, Moshi Moshi, Carytown Sushi, Barrel Thief, Chiocca's Downstairs Deli, 821 CafAc, Akida, Davis & Main, A Movable Feast, Tenjinmura, Grandpa Eddie's, Savor and Sette. And there are many more. Find your favorites and let us know, at email@example.com.