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One Meal In Raleigh - Near Downtown

Can I get a recommendation for a good meal in Raleigh on a Monday night? I'll be staying downtown, but don't mind ranging some distance. American or ethnic, just looking for honest, high-quality food and preparation. Nothing formal. Thanks.


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  1. Glenwood South area is your best bet. Sullivan's Steak House is excellent, a bit pricey but not bad. Bogarts is good. 42nd Oyster Bar has been around for ever years and is the best place for seafood. 518 West has good Italian. Sushi Blues on Glenwood is my favorite sushi place in town.

    1. Although it is pizza, I love Lilly's Pizza in 5 points - just down Glenwood from Bogart's. I also highly recommend the Second Empire on Hillsborough - you can get reasonable priced food if you sit downstairs and it is excellent. website: http://www.second-empire.com/

      1. If you are staying downtown, there are many options. My new favorite place is Yancey's. It has good southern/cajun food and music every night. It is less pricey than some other places and lots of fun, although the food is not high end. Another great place downtown is Riviera on Wilmington...although it can be a little pricey. They make a great drink though. The best place for "honest, high-quality food" in downtown is Raleigh TImes Bar. Simple outstanding food, great beer selection, great bar vibe....although it can be a little loud. If you are by yourself, it is a great place to eat at the bar and do some people watching.

        I can not agree with all of countgrog's recs. in Glenwood South. Sullvans and 518 are good, although I think Sullivan's is too expensive....good steak, but mediocre sides. The last time I went to 42nd Street, my food was inedible. It used to be the best seafood in town....but I think that was years ago. At Bogarts, I have had good and I have had REALLY bad food. A good place for a drink though. Sushi Blues is good, but I think there is better sushi in town, just not in downtown. Some other good bets in Glenwood South, if you want to wander over there, are Vin, Zely & Ritz, and Rockford. The first two are a little more pricey. Vin, obviously, is a great wine place too, and Zely & Ritz is great tapas. Rockford is more sandwiches, salads, bar food, but has fresh great bar, unique bar food and a great bar to boot. Glenwood South is a good place to go, as you can wander to a couple places, have a drink and a bite, then go to Amra's for jazz.
        Likewise, in downtown, Riviera and TImes Bar are, basically, across the street from each other (okay, catty-cornered) and Yancey's is around the corner. You could have a bite at both/either and end up at Yancey's for music.

        just my 2 cents.

        1. A lot of places, such as Vin, are closed on Mondays. I love the suggestions, though, of Lilly's pizza and Rockford. They should go on the local food thread!

          And if you go to Raleigh Times, you must get a shrimp burger and some fried pickles. Or the pork nachos.

          I have to disagree about 42nd Street. It strikes me that it is overpriced and relies strictly on its history and past. Last time, I swore I'd never go back. (Having said that, it was packed. Someone's going....)

          Oh - and about Yancy's (no longer has an "e") - I asked about this recently in a thread and got two positive responses. But again, you'll want to make sure they're open on a Monday.

          1 Reply
          1. re: cackalackie

            Just noticed that they are on the local thread now......

          2. I would go to Porter's Tavern. It is not formal and it is tasty. It is across the street from the NC State campus. www.porterstavern.com

            Oh, and I would skip Bogart's at all costs. I have been there multiple times and I am always disappointed.

            1. I can't believe no one has suggested Fraziers. It is located on Hillsborough St. and is terrific. It is small and intimate with an oft-changed menu and excellent food, wine and service. Sullivans is nice but a chain and you should sample true Raleigh flavor with a local restuarant.

              1. Went to Yancy's at 9 PM on Monday night. They had a crowd. Pros: Live jazz, Dogfish 60-Minute IPA. Cons: Everything else. Food was pretty awful. I had some fried oysters that were all batter, no oyster, served on a bed of soggy fries that had clearly come from a bag. I then had a pasta dish that was terrible. It left a nasty aftertaste. It came with two hunks of really bad garlic bread. I asked the waitress for regular bread and she looked at me like I was crazy.

                As a Louisiana native, the menu depressed me. All the "red beans and rice" dishes, there had to be a dozen of them. I should have ordered one just to see what I would get. But I had been disappointed enough. I just wish that if you're going to bill yourself as a Cajun / NOLA restaurant, then do a little homework. I don't expect Commander's Palace, but at least try. There's no place in LA where you can order RBAR and "add" grilled shrimp or chicken. Nor are dishes served over (or under) RBAR, as many are at Yancy's. Based on my experience, I would go for the beer and the music, but avoid otherwise.

                1 Reply
                1. re: LPM

                  I've had a similar experience at Yancy's. I don't consider it NOLA but more of an unappealing mish-mosh of Louisiana-style and southern-style, and not particularly good at either. A step up in downtown Raleigh is The Big Easy, also right on Fayetteville street. I've only eaten there once, but the food was much better than Yancy's (but still only good, not great, NOLA style cooking). The part that stood out, though was the service. We started at a table near the door, and cold blasts of air hit us every time the door opened. There were no other tables available, so we moved (four of us) to the bar. THis was after we'd ordered drinks and apps. The waitress was great about moving us, and sort of tag-teamed with the bartender for the rest of the evening. OrganicGuy wanted to substitute raw oysters for broiled on a particular entree, and they had no problem with it. And they had Abita Restoration Ale, which is currently my favorite of the Abita line. The best part of it is that a friend of mine that was visiting from Nebraska wanted raw oysters without spending too much for them (Nelson's way out of the price range), and we were able to satisfy her craving without breaking the bank. Overall a really nice evening out.

                2. LPM,
                  Sorry! I feel bad as it was my recommendation! We have always had good luck there, but I must admit, I have not eaten any "cajun" food there, only the southern things (chicken, ribs, etc) and they were fine. I wouldn't go there just for the food, but the food was fine for a good price and I like to get a good drink and hear good music too. Sorry the La. food was terrible! Hope you managed to salvage a decent evening out of it!