Rich Palate

Eat in Richmond at Secco Wine Bar, Can Can Brasserie, For the Love of Chocolate and 8 1/2

With tulips and orchids exploding into bloom at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden and priceless Picasso works on display at the newly renovated Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, now is the perfect time to travel to Richmond. To aid in the planning, we've assembled our favorite food stops.

Secco Wine Bar Unwind from the drive at this wine bar, decorated with whimsical murals by local artists. The wines include local pours and creative flights that showcase lesser-known varietals and regions. Don't ignore bar snacks like peppery fried chickpeas and charcuterie from local purveyor Olli. 2933 West Cary St.; 804-353-0670 or seccowinebar.com

8 ½ This tiny takeout restaurant and market specializes in simple, superbly executed Italian-American standards. White pizza is crisp and garlicky, while slick spaghetti carbonara is packed with chunks of bacon. 401 Strawberry St.; 804-358-8505

Ellwood's Café Ultra-local neighboring grocery store, Ellwood Thompson's, shares most of this casual coffee shop's purveyors. Sip the house coffee from local roaster Blanchard's while sampling such menu items as seared Brussels-sprout salad with pecans and bacon, and great breakfast sandwiches. 10 South Thompson St.; 804-612-1827 or ellwoodscafe.com

Can Can Brasserie This bright brasserie is ideal for a leisurely French brunch–or a quick pastry–on Sunday mornings. Crowds gather early, so idle at the bar with a Champagne cocktail or latte, then take a seat for pecan rolls, fluffy omelets or a croque monsieur. Buy a few baguettes to take home, too. 3120 West Cary St.; 804-358-7274 or cancanbrasserie.com

For the Love of Chocolate Before hitting the road, fill up on sweets from this emporium of sugar. The staff stocks the sweet mother lode, from obscure salty licorice bites to small-batch bars from Lillie Belle Farms and Askinosie. It's also an ideal spot to find every Easter candy imaginable. 3136 West Cary St.; 804-359-5645 or lovchoc.com

Editor's note: Ellwood's Cafe has closed.