New American cuisine comes to life at Lemaire, located in Richmond’s historic Jefferson Hotel. The restaurant is named for Etienne Lemaire, who served as maitre d’ to President Thomas Jefferson, and was widely credited for introducing the fine art of cooking with wines to America. His love of food and wine is continued at Lemaire, where contemporary Southern cooking goes upscale with local, seasonal ingredients.
Our Inspector's Highlights
  • In recent years, Lemaire has drawn acclaim for its modern takes on Southern cuisine and emphasis on fresh, local and sustainable ingredients, nearly all sourced from farms and purveyors within a 90-mile radius of the restaurant.
  • Both the menu and the expansive wine, cocktail and craft beer lists at Lemaire provide plenty of opportunity for exploration of taste and combinations. The service staff is well versed in their beverages and pairings so be sure to ask for their recommendations.
  • Don’t even think about not ordering dessert. The restaurant’s executive pastry chef will impress with both masterfully created dessert classics and modern riffs on childhood favorites.
  • The best thing about this Richmond restaurant? No item is over $30, which makes this an affordable fine dining experience for all.
  • The service at Lemaire is impeccable, as would be expected from a restaurant inside The Jefferson Hotel. Servers are friendly and knowledgeable, attentive without being effusive or overbearing.
Things to Know
  • Lemaire, one of Richmond’s finest restaurants, is located downtown, inside the Jefferson Hotel at 101 West Franklin St.
  • Since the restaurant’s makeover in 2009, Lemaire’s dress code is now more casual — guests are encouraged to come dressed as they are most comfortable.
  • We recommend collared shirts for men, though blazers and ties aren’t necessary. Women have a bit more flexibility, as appropriate outfits can consist of a trendy dress or skirt.
  • The operating hours of Lemaire’s dining room are dinner Monday to Sunday from 5 to 10 p.m.; the bar and lounge is open Monday to Sunday from 4 p.m. to midnight.
  • To make a reservation, you can book online, call or speak to someone in person at the restaurant. If you’re staying at The Jefferson Hotel, you can also call the concierge and arrange a specific date and time for your meal.
The Food
  • The menu at Lemaire is influenced heavily by seasonal and local cuisine and changes frequently, but it’s a contemporary Southern menu with meat, vegetable and seafood options.
  • Some menu items are regulars — like oysters on the half shell, served over ice, and the Berkshire pork chop, which is served on a bed of collard greens and ultra-creamy mac and cheese.
  • Other items, like a tuna tartare served in a martini glass with avocado and a lotus root chip, rotate on and off.
  • If you think you’re going to split the peanut butter cheesecake with someone else, think again — you won’t want to share it. Its deconstructed presentation makes it look more like a pile of peanut butter mousse under a chocolate dome than cheesecake, but it was probably the best dessert we’ve ever had.
The Drinks
  • Whether it’s a pre-dinner martini or a late-night whiskey sour, Lemaire’s cocktails change seasonally, but on our last visit, the menu featured a few standouts worth trying.
  • Indulge in the Garden Martini, made with Hendrick’s gin, cucumber water and rosemary syrup, or the refreshing Ginger Mojito, made with Bacardi Silver rum, Canton ginger liqueur, ginger beer and mint from the restaurant’s own garden.
  • Another favorite from the summer menu was the Franklin Street Sparkler, which includes pomegranate juice and Moscato d’Asti.
  • While Lemaire has an impressive wine list including special wines, the highlight is actually its affordability — most bottles are under $50. If you’re looking to order a bottle, be sure to ask your server or sommelier Shawn O'Keefe for suggestions.
Getting There
101 West Franklin Street, Richmond, Virginia 23220
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