I don’t care if my new-found adoration for Edo’s makes me late in the game. I also don’t care if their customer service is not always warm, their steep staircase might detract elderly guests or I sometimes worry during dinner the floor might cave in.

Just like Millie’s, Coppola’s Deli and Dukes mayo, Edo’s Squid is a Richmond staple.

As it should be.

Braised Fennel.  Yes, it's as good as it looks.
Braised Fennel.
Yes, it’s as good as it looks.
Sausage (spicy), polenta and white beans.
Sausage (spicy), polenta and white beans.
Chicken cacciatore
Chicken cacciatore

I’m embarrassed to admit I hadn’t walked up the dark stairs until last September when I took my dad for dinner while he visiting from Texas. We dined on squid, arugula, and white bean salad, drank beers and fell in love with the sausage, polenta, and white beans while my dad did the same with his spaghetti.

Something about the cozy atmosphere, whizzing servers and smells of spice and pasta felt perfectly … Richmond.

Since then, I’ve been a fan. And that means dinners at Edo’s are with other fans – meaning my three Edo obsessed friends. I remember for a months last summer, they went twice a week. I should’ve known then the place was dynamite.

Edo’s no-nonsense service, hearty dishes, and cozy locale is a recipe for Richmond restaurant success. No wonder their tight dining room bustles with hungry patrons nightly and also tops Yelp, Urbanspoon, and was just mentioned in Style’s recent “The 30 Places to Eat in Virgina Before You Die”.

However, my opinion and adoration is very one-sided. If you don’t like a snug, noisy dining room, long waits and the possibility of having to grab your server’s attention, then this is not the place for you.

Not the place for you at all.

In fact, I’ve seen folks at Edo’s that didn’t get this memo – their arms crossed, standing in the narrow doorway all flustered and wondering why the wait is so long or holding bitch face at their table because it’s too noisy. My friends once witnessed an “almost” patron spit on the floor and yell through the kitchen window because his reservation was pushed back.

But don’t take it from me, listen to these other disgruntled diners (via Yelp) who make my fascination for Edo’s even stronger …

“If you like crowded, dark, loud restaurants with little to no description of what’s in the dishes, where you have to yell to hold a conversation, squint in the darkness to see what you’re eating, search for the waitress who seems to have forgotten about you, and leave with a large hole in your wallet: Look no further! This is the perfect restaurant for you!

I’m not sure why so many people recommended this place to me, but I probably won’t be back. To be fair, the food was pretty good, but for the price, I expect a much more pleasant dining experience.”

 or …

“The food was actually ok.  Not great, but not bad. Few notches above Olive Garden.

The food might have tasted better if not for the two major negatives below.

My 2 complaints, and the reason I won’t go back is:

1) unbelievable level of room noise.  Like no other restaurant I’ve ever been to. It sounded like a crowded loud noisy bar or nightclub.   My wife and I literally had to shout at each other to be able to hear from across the table.  Needless to say there wasn’t much conversation, we ate as quick as we could and got the hell out of there.
(you’d think they would install some ceiling baffles to dampen the noise)

2) We ordered a nice  glass of wine each.   It came in a scratched up juice glass… WTF?  I asked the waitress for a real wine glass, and got a snarky reply “that’s the way wine is served in Italy, and that’s the way it’s served here”.

I asked her if She had ever been to Italy.  Of course she said “no”

A few notches about the OG (Olive Garden)? I object.

Edo’s is not for the pretentious, agoraphobics or restless folks.  It is for people who love good food, can understand a busy dining room and go back wanting more.

What I recommend? Make reservations but if you miss this and wait, grab a bottle of Masciarelli. People watch a little.

Finally seated? Order the braised fennel. You cannot go wrong. Drown other people’s conversation with your own. Eat, drink and you’ll be good to go.

Edo's Squid on Urbanspoon


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