Places I like around Raleigh
I've only been living in this area for half a year and this is my first Chowhound post of any kind, but I'm all for the concept. I am not really a foodie and almost never go to truly fancy restaurants, but I have lived most of my life around self-styled foodies and in places fashionably acclaimed for good food (e.g. Berkeley, CA) and finally I do very much care what I eat, so interpret my recommendations in that context.
Royal India Cuisine
3901 Capital Blvd
Raleigh, NC 27604
Meat and veg. Attractive interior decorated with photos of the maharajahs. Among the best Indian buffets I've ever had. Roti's always fresh.
Tower Indian Restaurant
144 Morrisville Square Way
Morrisville, NC 27560
Veg only. South Indian. Exotic array of dishes for lunch buffet. Idiosyncratically delicious palak paneer. Five million kinds of dosas.
Little Tokyo Japanese Restaurant
1401 E Maynard Rd
Morrisville, NC 27560
Lousy music. Some of the best sushi I've ever had. especially the Tuna Takaki appetizer. Beautiful presentation.
908 NE Maynard Rd
Cary, NC 27513
Lebanese I think. Tasty shish, good spanikopita, nice vegetables, free toasted pita chips w/ nice dips. Not transcendental, but quite nice and economical.
Capital Creations Gourmet Pizza
3055 Medlin Dr
Raleigh, NC 27607 (and several other locations)
Had it only once, chose toppings unwisely, but struck me as very high quality and I'll be trying again.
Global Village Organic Coffee
2428 Hillsborough St
Raleigh, NC 27607
Intermittently wonderful beans, e.g. the Sumatra Gayo
I think I've read most of the recommendations from this message board that have the word "Raleigh" in them, but if anybody has any other places to recommend, I'd be interested.
Thanks for the insightful post. I see you like Indian food. Perhaps you should check out Udipi Cafe in that Indian section near Maynard on East Chatham St.
All veggie, really good dosas. Absolutely charming owners. The lunch buffet is good, that is, for a buffet. Dinner, however, is the time to go.
Also, check out Neomonde. They have one in Morrisville , but the main one is in Raleigh sort of near the Fairgrounds. Great Middle Eastern grub and a good market as well.
Went to Udipi, but alas too long ago to say much with confidence. It's a very nice atmosphere and if I recall correctly I found the menu a challenge (that's good) and the meal tasty. It was pricier than I have come to expect for developing world cuisine eaten out, but I suppose that's a step in the direction of justice.
Re: Neomonde I am very grateful for the recommendation, and I am now a loyal ~once-a-week regular, but so as not to appear too provincial I want to go on record here as saying it's not _all that_. The majadara (lentils,rice & carmelized onions) is wonderful, but the pita has never impressed me with freshness and once somewhat the opposite (on the other hand, some sesame seeded pita they put out to sample, b/c they were beginning to offer it bagge, was excellent). The leboneh is good, the hummous and baba ganouj above average, the veggie wrap sandwich is quite nice but not as savory and interesting as it looks; the pizza-like things are a disappointment out of the microwave, but alas that seems to be the only way they serve them (and yet I enjoyed the spinach and feta calzone-style thing). I was not impressed with the hot dish I ordered from the behind the glass on my first visit, and have it seems unconsciously avoided them ever since. Ditto for the fava whole-bean salad (i.e. not ful). I believe I liked another salad I had that first day, though. From the grocery I recommend the sushi-maki-style Turkish delight sold in generic plastic containers mysteriously labeled "cocktail." The staff are very nice and I think a couple of them recognized my (not especially noteworthy) face after only a few visits. The atmosphere also is very pleasant and clean, full but not crowded with happy, chatty probable regulars, and they have a patio which is perfect on these increasingly nice days (to those who haven't been recently, the patio seems to have had work done on it lately).
I lived in Chapel Hill for three years and have been in Raleigh a year and a half, so I am still trying new places and figuring out my favorite places. There are some places I gravitate to already, though.
I, too, enjoy Royal India Cuisine. Other favorites are Dos Taquitos on Creedmoor (but skip it if you don't eat red meat-- I think the steak dishes are the high points) and Sawasdee Thai Restaurant on Capital.
As for pizza, personally, I didn't think Capital Creations was all that great. We only went once, though, so maybe we didn't catch them on their best day. For pizza with gourmet-ish toppings, my husband and I like Milton's on Six Forks (no delivery and it's always packed with families, so we do take-out to avoid all the kids) and Lilly's at 5 points. Milton's has a special on Tuesdays for pizza-- $3 off a large. For a NY pizza fix, I like Assagio's on Millbrook and Glenwood.
We had dinner at Dos Taquitos this week and had a rather terrible experience. The service was very slow compared to most Mexican restaurants and we had to ask twice for the cheese dip we ordered. The pitcher of Margaritas was not as strong as most and at $29 a pitcher (which seemed a little steep) we thought it was unprofessional when the man who brought them to us poured himself a glass to taste them. On a more positive note, my chimichanga was pretty good, yet nothing spectacular. To top off our dining experience, my friend ordered mahi tacos which tasted and smelled like they had an entire bottle of vinegar poured on them. She took one bite and did not touch them again. When the waitress took them away, she explained that they did not taste right. The waitress did not ask if she would like something else or apologize, but they did end up on the bill. When we requested that the manager/owner's brother remove them, he informed us that the waitress told him my friend had eaten 2 of the 3 tacos. All in all, the experience left a rather bad taste in our mouths!
Dos Taquitos has gone downhill since I made that post. Since 2/05, they raised prices significantly (i.e. the steak fajitas I was fond of went up $4 in price one day). Further, whoever their manager is must be one stingiest people ever. I once was charged for cheese I did not request. When I asked to have it taken off the bill, the waitress acted like it was a huge deal and had to ask permission. She said the manager was really strict abut stuff like that.
Between that and the huge price hike, my enthusiasm fo Dos Taquitos has dwindled. I wish I would have updated my post!
I just went to Waraji. Little Tokyo's Tuna Tataki beats Waraji hands down, although it's a bit of an apples to oranges comparison. They're also much cheaper. I didn't try anything exotic (e.g. crunchy/spider) at Waraji because none of those came without shellfish, which I don't eat, so that hampers my ability to the two places. At this point I'd call the makis "comparable." The yellow-tail on this one occasion was very very nice. The salmon was a little bland. But the fish was especially succulent, which appealed to me.
I'm in the area and I would like to find a good eat for a friend and me to go one day. I've read through this post and I guess it sounds like Royal India is our best bet. Is that buffet for lunch only, or lunch and dinner? I would like to find a good Vietnamese Restaurant in the area too, if anyone can help with that. I went to one on Capitol, forgot the name, last summer but it wasn't very good. It was in a shopping center close to the beltline and on Capital. They couldn't figure out how to work their Visa machine either, and charged me 3 times for my meal. I called them to fix it, but couldn't really follow through properly myself, as it's my husbands card, and he was quite busy, so I really don't know if we ever really got the credit or not.