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Restaurants & Bars

The Best Dumplings Anywhere are in Charlottesville

lpfaf | Mar 21, 200801:39 AM     5

I know this is a bit out of your range, but the "Mid-Atlantic" board seems to be all about New Jersey.

Charlottesville, Va doesn't have a lot going for it other than Jeffersonian history, but there was this tiny closet (literally four feet by four feet with a window to the sidewalk) that a guy from China and his wife from eastern Europe turned into a take-out dumpling spot. You could get pork dumplings, two noodle salads, and sodas. When I first discovered the place, they were such recent immigrants that he barely had the English to ask me to help him make change for my five dollar bill. This was in 2002 or so.

They moved into a full-sized restaurant spot in the spring of 2007. I was in town briefly after a few years away, and after discovering that my beloved "dumpling guy" had moved into a real restaurant, I had to eat there. The menu might have two or three things more to offer. He remembered me (it was his opening weekend! I was flattered as all hell), welcomed me back to town, thanked me for being one of his early, loyal customers. But it wasn't loyalty on my part--I've just never had chinese dumplings anywhere ever that have been that good--small, crispy, puffy, tender, juicy, well-seasoned. And still two and a half bucks for what's supposed to be half a dozen and is often seven or eight little morsels of perfection. The place is called Marco and Luca, after the couple's two sons, who probably wait tables now but were stroller-age when they opened the little closet.

Please eat there if you happen to be in Charlottesville or driving through town. I've never had as much joy for as little money as I've had from a half-dozen little fried pork dumplings from Marco and Luca in Charlottesville, VA.

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