15 Raleigh Restaurants That Will Blow The Taste Buds Out Of Your MouthSo you think North Carolina is all about barbecue? Think again.
1. Dive Into Poole’s And Step Into A Delicious Past
426 McDowell Street
Yelp: 4 stars, 282 reviews Poole’s Diner has been in business since the end of World War II. In 1945 the restaurant was famous for its delicious sweet pies. That was then. Transformed from Poole’s Pies to Poole’s Luncheonette in 1950, the diner began to serve signature main dishes that were just as tasty as their pies. Chef Ashley Christensen is responsible for Poole’s delicious fare and received the James Beard Award for Best Chef- Southeast. Which is no surprise considering Poole’s serves perhaps the best macaroni and cheese dish in the world.
2. Fiction Kitchen Is Almost Too Good To Believe
428 S. Dawson Street
Yelp 4 ½ stars, 172 reviews Fiction Kitchen is a taste bud wake-up call. The vegetarian restaurant offers great food, but you don’t have to be a vegetarian to enjoy it. Meat-lovers indulge, too. “Crispy fried chicken with waffles” is on the menu. Chicken, you say? The chef actually dredges “mock” chicken in their special combination of herbs and seasoning before frying and serving with fluffy Belgian waffles. Dessert is equally creative and scrumptious.
3. Chirba Brings Dumplings To Your Door (Almost)
Yelp 3 ½ stars, 102 reviews Chirba roughly translated is “eat,” which is exactly what you should do a lot of at this Raleigh restaurant on wheels. The big yellow truck resembles a dumpling of sorts, and patrons lucky enough to find it get treated to Chinese dumplings made from a secret recipe. Just about every imaginable and delicious rendition of Chinese dumplings—especially the juicy buns,
4. Taste Venezuela At Guasaca
4525 Lake Boon Trail
Yelp 4 ½ stars, 317 reviews Arepas are a popular dish in Venezuela—and they’re becoming popular in Raleigh too thanks to Guasaca’s. If you’ve never sampled an Arepa, it is similar to a tortilla (kind of) made of corn or maize flour and stuffed with good ingredients. Arepas at Guasaca are actually pretty overstuffed full of fresh, delicious ingredients like chicken, beef, cheese, avocado, guacamole, tilapia and much more.
5. Clyde Cooper’s Barbecue Is The Real Deal
Clyde Cooper’s Barbecue
327 South Wilmington St.
Yelp 4 stars, 117 reviews Clyde Cooper’s produces food quick—but not fast food. If you visit Raleigh and have only enough time to visit one barbecue restaurant, make it Clyde Cooper’s. It’s that good. When was the last time you went to a restaurant that had pork rinds on the menu? That come complete with hush puppies, of course. You’ll also be blown away by their fall-off-the bone, savory barbecue ribs, and good old-fashioned sweet tea. And bonus: If you want to make barbecue at home (as if you could ever get tired of coming here) Cooper’s sells its secret sauce.
6. Treat Your Palate At 18 Seaboard
18 Seaboard Restaurant
18 Seaboard Avenue
Yelp 4 stars, 217 reviews First of all, there’s the chocolate ganache cheesecake. What, you want more? Fine. 18 Seaboard serves a serious salmon and even better cheese grits. Fried green tomatoes star on the appetizer menu and you can’t beat the ambiance. The restaurant makes an effort to buy a significant amount of its supplies from locals, so you know everything is fresh. Ask to be seated on the outdoor deck for the perfect evening.
7. Oui, Oui Mandolin
2519 Fairview Rd.
Yelp 4 stars, 96 reviews Saying yes to Mandolin would probably be the best idea you have all day. The Southern inspired restaurant is owned and operated by a hometown boy that returned to his roots and brought everything good about Raleigh to the restaurant. Good food, good ingredients grown locally and a good atmosphere are central to Mandolin. Try the Hangar Steak with smoked potato and shiitake mushrooms, or the mouthwatering open face BLT. To die for.
8. Stop The Debate: 42nd St. Oyster Bar Wins For Best Seafood
42nd St. Oyster Bar and Seafood
508 West Jones St.
Yelp 4 stars 157 reviews Here’s all you need to know about 42nd Street Oyster Bar and Seafood: It’s the best place to eat seafood in Raleigh, period. The raw oysters are choice—and speaking of choices; there are so many at this restaurant. Everything’s good, but the Manhattan clam chowder rivals Manhattan’s. This spot has been serving the city since 1931—which also explains the excellent shrimp and grits.
9. Be It Ever So Humble, There’s No Place Like Humble Pie
317 South Harrington St.
Yelp 4 stars, 141 reviews Humble Pie is hands-down the best place for brunch in Raleigh—but every other time is great too. And, if you love meat, this is your home-style restaurant. It comes well prepared in many fashions and recipes, like short rib tostadas. And the surroundings may be humble, but there is nothing humble about the Huevos Rancheros. Think of it like a little slice of Southern heaven, Spanish style.
10. Bella Monica
3121 Edwards Mill Road
Yelp 4 stars, 201 reviews This Italian restaurant is a 2014 Diner’s Choice Award winner, and one visit will show you why. The flatbread is enough to bring in the masses. The pasta is fresh and delicious, especially in the deep and divine lasagna. Gluten-free? No problem. They’ve got you covered there too. And always save room for dessert, which has to be tiramisu.
11. Comfort Yourself With A Big Ol’ Helping Of Southern Comfort at Big Ed’s City Market Restaurant
Big Ed’s City Market Restaurant
220 Wolfe Street
Yelp 4 stars, 147 reviews Eating at Big Ed’s is kind of like saddling up to a big breakfast on the farm. The restaurant opened in 1958, and since that time has been doing what it does best: Serving old-fashioned good home cooking. No surprise that grits is on the menu, nor red eye gravy and fresh eggs, and bacon made just the way you like it. Lunch is just as delicious with everything comfort food from macaroni and cheese, collard greens, fat home fries and morel—and did I mention the biscuits? Heaven.
12. Second Empire Victorian Home To Second Empire Restaurant and Tavern
Second Empire Restaurant and Tavern
330 Hillsborough St.
Yelp 4 ½ stars, 186 reviews Listen up, guys: This is the spot to spend an anniversary. The food is not only delicious, but the restaurant offers a special menu for couples that are celebrating. Fresh, seasonal ingredients are the basis for food prepared by award-winning culinary chef. The desserts are the real stars of this menu, like the Empire Chocolate Soufflé, or Vanilla Bean Crème Brulee set the restaurant apart from all others.
13. Cafe Helios Is More Than Coffee
413 Glenwood Avenue
Yelp 3 ½ stars, 136 reviews That’s not to say the coffee isn’t amazing. It is. Don’t skip the latte or the iced coffee. But Cafe Helios also serves tea and hand crafted coffee and has a fun flair for artistic foam art. Helios also serves breakfast and lunch (be sure to try the Farmer’s Breakfast) but it seems that coffee is the laid-back cafe’s signature. It keeps people coming back for more.
14. Hayes Barton Cafe And Dessertery Fulfills All Your Sweet Tooth Dreams
Hayes Barton Cafe
2000 Fairview Rd
Yelp 4 stars, 105 reviews Is “dessertery” even a real word? If you are not sure, visit Hayes Barton Cafe and Dessertery for confirmation. The restaurant was awarded the “Where The Locals Eat Award,” “Best Dessert” and to sum it all up, the “Best of Everything Award.” The best advice I can pass on is to try anything for a good time (like the meatloaf), but above all, have dessert. In fact, eat it first, since the portions are huge, and you may not be able to save room. Go for the Boston Creme Cake. Trust me.
15. Eat Authentic Lebanese Food Without The Long Travel Time
137 S. Wilmington
Yelp 4 stars, 353 reviews Sitti translated means “grandmother” and the traditional food at this restaurant would make any Lebanese grandmother proud. It’s served at communal tables perfect for sharing. You just don’t know what pita bread really is until you sample the warm fluffy pita at Sitti’s. Trust me. The same goes for hummus, but the dinner platters are so much more. Try the lamb chops, and don’t ever skip the baklava. Feature Image Source: Sitti Facebook What’s your go-to for great grub in Raleigh? Tell us in the comments below!
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