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The city has hundreds of restaurants, of which I have room to mention only a few. You won't go wrong following the "Critics' Picks" in Richmond's free alternative newspaper, Style Weekly (www.styleweekly.com), available in boxes throughout town.

Shockoe Bottom

Like Shockoe Slip and Carytown, "The Bottom" has several restaurants offering a variety of cuisines. You will be well fed at Alex's Thai Cuisine, 13 N. 17th St. (tel. 804/343-3934) and The Halligan Bar & Grill, 3 N. 17th St. (tel. 804/447-7981). The latter is full of firefighter memorabilia, and it smokes its own barbecue pork.

Shockoe Slip

With a bevy of good-to-excellent restaurants, East Cary Street between 12th and 15th streets is Richmond's premier dining mecca, especially for tourists and conventioneers. On-street parking is always at a premium in this busy area, but you can resort to the municipal garage on East Cary Street at 14th Street.

You can get fresh sushi at Niwanohana, 1309 E. Cary St. (tel. 804/225-8801); excellent Italian at La Grotta Restaurant, 1218 E. Cary St. (tel. 804/644-2466); Chinese at the venerable Peking Pavilion, 1302 E. Cary St. (tel. 804/649-8888); Chesapeake Bay seafood at the Hard Shell, 1411 E. Cary St. (tel. 804/643-2333); upscale American at Sam Miller's, 1210 E. Cary St. (tel. 804/643-1301); and Spanish tapas and paella at Europa, 1409 E. Cary St. (tel. 804/643-0911).

Steak lovers with extra cash can grill it at a branch of Morton's The Steakhouse at 111 Virginia St. (tel. 804/648-1662), a block south of East Cary Street (tel. 804/643-0911).

Consistently popular as a professionals' watering hole, Siné Irish Pub & Restaurant, 1327 E. Cary St. (tel. 804/649-7767), is anything but a typical Irish pub, offering a wide selection of seafood, steaks, and chicken in addition to the usual corned beef and cabbage. In warm weather you can dine and drink on the deck out back.

My top spot for morning coffee, tea, and breakfast is Shockoe Espresso & Roastery, 105 Shockoe Slip (tel. 804/648-3734), which is actually on the cul-de-sac at the end of 13th Street south of East Cary Street.

Downtown

Although much of West Broad Street is still down on its heels, the area around the Empire Theatre, between North Adams and North Jefferson streets, has seen a renaissance with the opening of art galleries and restaurants. In addition to Comfort, reviewed below, you can have Mediterranean fare at the more refined Bistro Twenty Seven, 27 W. Broad St. (tel. 804/780-0086), and at Popkin Tavern, 123 W. Broad St. (tel. 804/343-1909), a hip, high-energy sports bar.

A Sobering Experience -- Richmond's favorite spot for after-the-bars-close sobering-up meals is the 3rd Street Diner, 218 E. Main St., at 3rd Street (tel. 804/788-4750), which stays open 24 hours daily. It's a noisy diner with less-than-lightning-fast service, but nothing on the menu costs more than $12.

The Fan

You pay a premium in the Shockoes for ambience and location. You get equally as good but less expensive fare by driving out to The Fan, where the two neighborhood restaurants below have been feeding the locals for years. You'll get a good look at The Fan's gentrified row houses, too, as you drive around hunting for a parking space.

Carytown

You and few other travelers will find a wide variety of cuisine along the 7 blocks of West Cary Street between Boulevard and Nasemond Street. Among them are four Thai restaurants, of which Mom's Siam, 2811 W. Cary St. (tel. 804/359-7607), at Colonial Avenue, has plentiful outdoor seating.

Picnic Fare -- In Carytown, Coppola's Delicatessen, 2900 W. Cary St., at South Colonial Avenue (tel. 804/359-NYNY [6969]; www.coppolasdeli.com), evokes New York's Little Italy with an aromatic clutter of cheeses, sausages, olives, pickles, and things marinated. Behind-the-counter temptations include pasta salads, antipasti, cannoli, specialty sandwiches, and pasta dinners. Prices are low; this is a down-to-earth deli, not a pretentious gourmet emporium, though the fare is as good as any the latter might offer. Hours are Monday through Wednesday from 10am to 8pm, Thursday through Saturday from 10am to 9pm, Sunday from 11am to 4pm. There's a branch a block north of Shockoe Slip at Main and 12th streets (tel. 804/225-0454), which is open Monday through Friday from 10am to 4pm.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.