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Anniversary dinner in Winston-Salem

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My wife and I are looking for suggestions for our anniversary dinner in August. We moved to W-S from DC a few months ago and have had mixed results so far with area restaurants. We are primarily looking for fine dining suggestions, but we would also consider other suggestions if they are special experiences. My wife was treated to Christopher's, Salem Tavern, and Bonefish while interviewing for a job, so we'd probably want to try something besides these establishments. Thanks for any suggestions.

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  1. I've just moved to the Triad from Charlotte so I haven't been many places, but the best fine dining I have had so far has been at Noble's.

    1. Welcome to Winston! Milner's on Stratford is excelent (upscale low country food), Paul's (Robinhood) "old school" italian, Xia's (downtown-Spruce St.) Asian Fusion and Noble's is a good choice. Check out Sweet Potato's on Trade (southern/soul food) in a cool spot, also, the new "Botta Bing" pizza restaurant on Country Club (near Peacehaven) is good. Downtown the Mellow Mushroom is real fun as well. Downtown Thai on 4th St. is a good place as well. Enjoy

      1 Reply
      1. re: jnorris

        Is Paul's in a strip mall, very old school, seems very out of place?

      2. I would echo brentk and recommend Noble's. If gso is not too far there are more fine dining options there(Berts, bistro sofia, 223 south elm, etc) or even Saigon(upscale vietnamese). I like Milners but it is not fine dining.

        What did your wife think of Christopher's and what have your other experiences been in the area?

        1. <<What did your wife think of Christopher's and what have your other experiences been in the area?>>

          Her dinners at Christopher's have been mixed, but more favorable than not. She normally orders a fish entree, which I think have typically been good; the appetizers have been more erratic (I'll ask for more details when she is awake).

          We have tried several restaurants, but mostly relatively inexpensive ones where our daughters could comfortably accompany us. Our list would include Arigato, The Loop, Nawab, Mi Pueblo, La Carreta, Village Tavern, Athena, Mr. Barbecue, Little Richard's, Lucky 32, Cha Da Thai, Sampan, Kowloon, and Oriental Cafe. Of these, Oriental Cafe was good to very good, particularly since it came after disappointing dinners at Sampan, and Kowloon (take out)and mediocre dinners at Cha Da Thai and Arigato. Village Tavern (Reynolda Village) was good for bar food (ie. better than national chains), although I'm not inclined to wait for a table at the Hanes Mall Blvd location. I was disappointed in both barbecue places; neither was as good as I remember Woodlands in Blowing Rock and were several notches below how I remember Lexington No. 1, Wilbur's, etc (I'm originally from NC). Mi Pueblo and La Carretta just didn't live up to expectations. While the breadth of dishes is improved over what I could order in NW NC 15 years ago, I expected the quality to be better, given the influx of Latinos over the past decade.

          Granted, I may be judging these restaurants by DC competition instead of the competition in the Triad (with the exception of the BBQ joints). Let me know if you want detailed info about any of the restaurants that I mentioned.

          1 Reply
          1. re: kdbarlow

            I agree with your comments on the mexican food - but have you tried an out of the way strip mall place called El Sombrero? They have a "real mexican" section of the menu and the food is great and pretty authentic. The whole fried fish with chili sauce is wonderful as is the rustic guac dip and green sauce. It's not much on atmosphere - but give it a whirl. P. S. Good reviews on the other spots as well!

          2. <<If gso is not too far there are more fine dining options there(Berts, bistro sofia, 223 south elm, etc) or even Saigon(upscale vietnamese).>>

            I've been to Saigon once, while visiting friends in GSO and we had a very good meal. We each had a vermicelli entree, one beef and the other seafood, and both were very good. The only mediocre dish was the Hanoi Pho, which was weak that night. I also appreciated the wine list, which is much better than most Asian restaurants.

            Saigon definitely deserves a return visit. The other restaurants may have to wait until another anniversary, or at least until we find a good baby sitter, but thanks for the suggestions.

            1. Thanks for your suggestions, thus far. I'd appreciate any additional info that you could share about your dining experiences at Nobles (I've got the menu from their website) and Milner's (read the Dinner Belle).

              Also, the following restaurants have been suggested off-line: Bernardin's, 1703, Michael's on Fifth, and The Vineyards. Has anyone tried any of these establishments?

              1 Reply
              1. re: kdbarlow

                Also, the following restaurants have been suggested off-line: Bernardin's, 1703, Michael's on Fifth, and The Vineyards. Has anyone tried any of these establishments?

                1703 is the best in town.....hands down! Small, intimate the food is always great and they change their menu every day. It is a great place to go all the time because they change often. Many people who go there are regulars too. great place you should try it.

              2. I had a business dinner with a large crowd at Bernardin's. I liked the atmosphere and my colleagues seemed pleased with the food (although their standards may be different than mine). I had a special chicken entree (cannot remember the details but it was seared with spices) that arrived at the table as dry as a piece of shoe leather. Otherwise, my food was decent, but not memorable.

                1. When you hit saigon again try the pork with vermicelli, there is a better pho place down the street, Van Loi and another pho place on spring garden. but for vermicelli,rice dishes, wine and atmosphere saigon is better all around.

                  I would skip michaels and the vineyard. have not been to michaels in years but it was mediocre then and I have not heard of any improvements. I remember a very bad review of vineyard on the board last year.

                  for mexican skip, la carreta, mi pueblo, monterreys and most other places labeled restaurant. The only mexican resties i will hit are el arriero in old town, and the place by wal mart on hanes mill road. Try your hand at a tacqueria. I would recommend the gordita @ Taco riendo on reynolda(near the movie theater) and el paisano (sopes and burritos) on waughtown. no beer or liquor and no atmosphere but great food.

                  I have been to nobles at lunch and was very pleased. If you go to milner's I would make a meal of the appetizers which are great. The entrees are uneven. I would describe milners as a step or two up from VT but below nobles.

                  What did you not like about Mr. BBQ and lil richards? Their cue is not heavily smokey but both their hushies are better than the couple of places I have tried in lexington.

                  In my opinion Cha Da Thai just sucks. I actually think the food is slightly better at the hane mall blvd Village tavern which is a change from several years ago and if you call ahead you can eliminate the wait

                  1. <<What did you not like about Mr. BBQ and lil richards? Their cue is not heavily smokey but both their hushies are better than the couple of places I have tried in lexington.>>

                    Thanks for the recs.

                    I found the barbecue at both Mr BBQ and Lil Richards to be a bit on the lifeless side, so I may be missing the smoke. In DC, we had one place that cooked with wood (Rocklands), but I thought their barbecue was greasy and their sauce was too sweet. Despite its shortcomings, the fragrance of the oak and hickory cooked pork made mediocrity taste better than it should (and probably accounted for why take out was never quite as good). I did give both establishments a second try and Mr BBQ was improved over the first visit. The pork was chopped more coarsely and the sides were fresher, plus the young ladies at the counter were friendly, as always. My wife liked the hush puppies at both places, at least when we got fresh ones. Even with the return visits, I preferred the sandwich (coarser chop) and sauce that I got at Smithfield's in Mebane while traveling over the 4th.

                    One possibility that an old timer threw out for me is that I may be missing the old NC pig, rather than the 'cue. He contends that much of the pork on the market is too lean and that the best barbecue requires a fattier animal with darker meat. Of course, I may remember these places as being better than they actually were. I'll have to make a road trip to Lexington to test that theory.

                    <<In my opinion Cha Da Thai just sucks.>>

                    For us, somewhere between sucks and mediocrity is the truth. I think one appetizer and one entree was OK, but that was only batting .333, which isn't so hot in the restaurant biz.

                    <<there is a better pho place down the street, Van Loi and another pho place on spring garden>>

                    Coming in from the direction of Guilford College, my friend pointed out another Vietnamese place which appeared to be closed, though I don't recall the address, so I don't know whether it was either of these.

                    1. Is the place you mention near a bb & t? if so I have never been

                      One pho place(Pho Hien vuong) is on spring garden on the left befor you get to market street.

                      If you take high point rd from the mall towards meredith van loi is on the left in the same strip center a napa auto. This place also has a really good duck soup, to me its better than the pho but the few vermicelli(bun) dishes I have had were disappointing they also have whole roast ducks and roast pork for take out.

                      there are two more vietnamese places I have seen. One is on wendover by rooms to go. I have yet to try them. the other is at florida and freeman mill. Food is just ok and service has been poor but they do have more authentic choices(tripe, durian shakes). There is a small banh mi place in the same center that does a great roast pork banh mi. Just ask for the #3.

                      1. 3 downtown places to try, Downtown Thai on 4th st, Xia on Spruce St.,-an Asian Fusion place, Mellow Mushroom. Sitting outside at the Reynolda Village Tavern is always a good choice. For Mexica, try Las Estrellas on Silas Creek, owner is ex-pro soccer player so soccer stuff everywhere, menu has a lot of seafood. For a no frills, barbecue chicken meal (kind of spicy) try Ted's Kicking Chicken on Robinhood (west of town, intersection of Robinhood and Yadkinville Rd.) and S. Main St., near 52. Smoke quotient can be high, S. Main does serve lunch. The Zevely House on 4th is neat, old historic house. I think I've mentioned Sweet Potatoes on Trade-great food!

                        1. Ryan's Restaurant - Steaks, Chops, Seafood - Since 1977

                          Located at 719 Coliseum Drive, Winston-Salem.
                          336-724-6132; www.ryansrestaurant.com

                          This place seems to be an overlooked jewel in Winston-Salem. I proposed to my wife there. I have dined there frequently since the early 1980's; even though we now live about 2 + hours from Winston-Salem, we still manage to eat there 3 or 4 times a year.