Rockefeller Room

A culinary love letter to the South

Banish thoughts of ye olde country restaurant when it comes to Rockefeller Room. While Rockefeller Room is, indeed, in the heart of Colonial Williamsburg, it’s a sophisticated culinary love letter to the South.

The dining room is warm, spacious and chic. Named for John D. Rockefeller Jr., the restaurant pays homage to the man who not only created Williamsburg Inn, but whose mission to rescue the entire 18th-century city resulted in one of the country’s greatest treasures.

Far from being stuck in the past, Rockefeller Room is a rare spot where old guard Southern families rub elbows with food-forward travelers, a place to dress up and eat well — very well.

Our Inspector's Highlights

  • Located within Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Williamsburg Inn, this Colonial Williamsburg restaurant lives up to its storied surroundings without being stuffy. The dark wood tables (sans white tablecloths), plush green banquets and high ceilings make for an elegant ambiance.
  • Executive chef Travis Brust taps local purveyors for much of the food on his rotating seasonal menu. Three standouts are culled from the nearby Chesapeake Bay: an appetizer dubbed oysters Abby(Tangier Island bivalves served with a champagne sabayon), blue crab cakes paired with a crisp cucumber rémoulade, and plump rockfish seared and drizzled with brown butter.
  • Without being cute about it, the menu is crafted with a nod toward its location in Colonial Williamsburg. Ingredients reflect European influences brought to the New World, including spices, herbs and preparations.
  • The wine list is noted for its breadth and depth. It takes a thorough journey through Old World favorites, but also presents some prime selections from Virginia’s wine country, including a savory cab franc from nearby Barboursville Vineyards.
  • Get ready for high-touch service. This is still the friendly South, so think more knowledgeable guide than stiff-backed butler.

Things to Know

  • Dinner skews early in the Virginia countryside. Plan for a 6 p.m. dinner during the week or a 7 o’clock reservation on the weekends.
  • While visitors to Colonial Williamsburg make pilgrimages to the Southern restaurant, it also has a faithful local crowd, which brings a steady stream of energy.
  • Although children are permitted, this is not a restaurant geared toward family dining.

The Food

  • Start with a locally harvested bibb salad tossed with a poppy seed vinaigrette and irresistible hunks of toasted cornbread.
  • The Williamsburg restaurant is prized for its bold flavors in dishes like a buttery rack of lamb paired with roasted root vegetables and a potato-chèvre puree perfumed with lavender.
  • Desserts aren’t an afterthought.The best way to tap into the sweet goodness of plates like toasted honey-oat panna cotta and a pecan-studded financier laced with local small-batch bourbon is to order The Rockefeller Collection, so you can get a bite of all five desserts offered nightly.

The Look

  • While coats and ties aren’t required, this a sophisticated restaurant where people do dress up. It’s not unusual in summer to find men in seersucker suits and bow ties and women in party dresses and heels.
  • The bright, airy dining room befits its setting in the stately hotel with high ceilings, carved wood moldings and black-and-white photos harkening back to Rockefeller’s day.
  • For date night, aim for one of the most romantic tables in the dining room, those cocooned by curved velvet banquettes.

Reservations recommended
Getting There
136 East Francis Street, Williamsburg, Virginia 23185
Rockefeller Room
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