Of the 500 or so restaurants in Greater Richmond and that's not counting the franchises we've challenged our food critics to name their favorite 50, representing a range of styles and prices.
The most difficult part of this months-long process is leaving out worthy contenders, and there are many. It's especially difficult as other excellent restaurants crowd in 14 restaurants, marked by asterisks, are new to the list this year.
But even if you disagree with these choices, you have solid evidence that Richmond is becoming quite a food town, with a spectrum of ethnic fare to complement the regional classics.
Many dedicated chefs and solid line cooks are just hoping you'll venture into their places for a new dining experience. * Denotes restaurants new to this year's list.
Amici Ristorante Fine Northern Italian, intimate and authentic. 3343 W. Cary St., 353-4700.
Azzurro Charming, upscale Italian with pizza and desserts. 6221 River Road, 282-1509.
Buz & Ned's Real Barbecue Stellar ribs, brisket, pulled pork and sides. 1119 N. Boulevard, 355-6055.
* Café Gutenberg Creative lunch, dinner, coffee and dessert with a view. 1700 E. Main St., 497-5000.
Can Can Brasserie Landmark for versatility and scene. 3120 W. Cary St., 358-7274.
* Chez Foushee Divine lunch, First Friday suppers. 203 N. Foushee St., 648-3225.
Comfort The best at real-food cooking, lively scene. 200 W. Broad St., 780-0004.
* Coppola's Deli sandwiches such as The Industrial are a strong point. 2900 W. Cary St., 359-6969.
Croaker's Spot Fish fried to perfection in bustling café. 119 E. Leigh St., 421-0560.
* Da Lat Vietnamese in low-key, friendly setting. 9125 W. Broad St., 762-9330.
Davis & Main Reliable Fan classic for grilled fare. 2501 W. Main St., 353-6641.
Dining Room at The Berkeley Hotel Chef Michael Hall rules in a classic setting. 1200 E. Cary St., 225-5105.
Dogwood Grille & Spirits Memorable cuisine served with cheer. 1731 W. Main St., 340-1984.
* Edible Garden Locally grown items, freshly prepared. 12506 River Road, 784-2011.
Edo's Squid Nuanced Italian in popular upstairs spot. 411 N. Harrison St., 864-5488.
* El Caporal Mexican fare that's reliably flavorful. 1417 E. Ridge Road, 673-1090.
* Enoteca Sogno Classic wine bar, tasty cuisine. 2043 W. Broad St., 355-8466.
* Europa Tasty tapas, festive scene, busy bar. 1409 E. Cary St., 643-0911.
Fox Head Inn Fine, seasonal cuisine in classic Goochland County setting. 1840 Manakin Road, 784-5126.
Full Kee Dim sum, authentic Chinese, a foodie favorite. 6400 Horsepen Road, 673-2233.
* Havana '59 Theatrical, bustling, tasty Cuban cuisine. 16 N. 17th St., 780-2822.
Helen's A Fan classic, reliable fare and busy bar. 2527 W. Main St., 358-4370.
Ichiban Superior sushi in the far West End. 10490 Ridgefield Parkway, 750-2380.
Ipanema Café Bohemian mostly-vegetarian hideout. 917 W. Grace St., 213-0170.
Julep's New Southern Cuisine Romantic, delicious. 1719 E. Franklin St., 377-3968.
Kuba Kuba Lively scene, zesty fare, great desserts. 1601 Park Ave., 355-8817.
La Grotta Shockoe Slip standout, fine Italian fare. 1218 E. Cary St., 644-2466.
Lemaire The Jefferson Hotel's luxury dining room. 101 W. Franklin St., 649-4644.
Mamma 'Zu Expect to wait for delectable Italian. 501 S. Pine St., 788-4205.
Mandarin Palace Longtime Chinese favorite in Stratford Hills. 2811 Hathaway Road, 272-8020.
* Mary Angela's Pizza and Subs Affordable N.Y.-style standards. 3345 W. Cary St., 353-2333.
Mekong Beloved Vietnamese spot with wide-ranging menu. 6004 W. Broad St., 288-8929.
Michelle's at Hanover Tavern Traditional fare, historic setting. 13181 Hanover Courthouse Road, 537-5050.
Millie's Diner Ultimate in fun and deliciously inventive. 2603 E. Main St., 643-5512.
* Nile Ethiopian Restaurant Expertly prepared, healthy fare. 309 N. Laurel St., 225-5544.
1 North Belmont Top-notch French from Chef Frits Huntjens. 1 N. Belmont Ave., 358-0050.
Patina Grill Brilliant, creative dishes, smart setting. 3416 Lauderdale Drive, 360-8217.
* Pegasus Old-school Mediterranean with loyal following. 5604 Patterson Ave., 282-3719.
Perly's Classic breakfasts, simple lunches are beloved. 111 E. Grace St., 649-2779.
Pescados Fun with seafood, Latin influences. 13126 Midlothian Turnpike, 379-7121.
Pomegranate Euro Bistro Chef Kevin La Civita's inventive cuisine. 1209 E. Cary St., 643-9354.
Rowland Fine Dining Delectable low-country-inspired fare. 2132 W. Main St., 257-9885.
Sensi Like Franco's, always delicious and chic Italian. 2222 E. Cary St., 648-3463.
Shackleford's Restaurant Diverse menu, family friendly. 10496 Ridgefield Parkway, 741-9900.
Six Burner Restaurant Innovative and personable. 1627 W. Main St., 353-4060.
* Tarrant's Affordably tasty fare adds coziness downtown. 1 W. Broad St., 225-0035.
The Track Consistently fine fare in a classic setting. 2915 W. Cary St., 359-4781.
* Twenty-seven Refined Mediterranean in gorgeous spot. 27 W. Broad St., 780-0086.
Zeus Gallery Café Varied, flavorful, bustling. 201 N. Belmont Ave., 359-3219.
Zuppa Bigger and better, full range of fresh options. 101 N. 18th St., 249-8831. S