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moving from California

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I'm possibly moving from SF Bay Area and currently work in a Michelin star rated restaurant. I will likely be moving to the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill area and was wondering what the best restaurants are in the area. I'm not necessarily lookin for something to match a Michelin star rated restaurant. Thanks.

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  1. Off the top of my head, and just to get the thread started...

    PF Changs
    Maggiano's
    Johnny Carino's

    (okay, I'm kidding)

    -- Bonne Soiree in Chapel Hill is arguably a "Michelin-ish" restaurant and the best lil' restaurant in the Triangle

    -- Fearrington House south of Chapel Hill gets lots of stars and love, but is a little old-timey for many

    -- Magnolia Grill in Durham is a James Beard favorite (and yours truly worked as a waiter there for three years)

    -- Nana's in Durham is a successful spin-off of Magnolia

    -- Four Square in Durham is nice and fancy

    -- Enoteca Vin in Raleigh (Vin to many) is trendy and hot, you know what I mean

    -- An's in Cary is new and upscale (think Americano at the Hotel Vitale)

    -- J. Betski's in Raleigh is a big surprise -- word of mouth is strong for this German/Polish restaurant

    Chowhounds, what am I missing?

    5 Replies
    1. re: peetoteeto

      hahaha peetoteeto wasn't too far off with those first couple of choices...really there are slim pickings around here, just a lot of mediocre food at that...I'm so glad to be moving back to CA!

      I think the best meals I have had around here were at Bonne Soiree and Elaine's.

      1. re: californialoving

        cya, cali loving. Did you live in Cary, or North Raleigh?

        I think the food scene here is just great, especially in Durham and Chapel Hill.

        Even better, the locals tend to support good restaurants for many years. I worked and traveled in CA from 2000 to 2007. The disturbing trend I see is that too many good restaurants get labeled as passé or "discovered", then they quickly go out of business.

        It's a generalization, of course. But I really do believe that many Californians are always in the hunt for the next great place, rather than enjoying the bowl of soup in front of them.

        1. re: californialoving

          Have fun back in the most overcrowded place in the USA!

          I left CA (native) for NC 6 years ago and have never looked back. Is Asheville as food savvy as LA or SF not yet....but we don't have the crowds or attitude either!

        2. re: peetoteeto

          I posted a few other restaurants last night that I forgot about. For some reason, it's gone. Too lazy to list all of them, but I know Piedmont, Rue Cler, and Lantern were in the mix.

          The PF Changs et al was a joke -- I'm very surprised that Chowhounders here would even think that was a serious jab at the area.

          1. re: peetoteeto

            Fairview at Washington Duke

            I also enjoy Angus Barn and Capital City Chophouse but I don't think that either of them are in quite the same class as Fairview and Nana's.

          2. I remember when Fearrington House was the hot new place -- went there for dates back in day. I'm not in the Triangle anymore, but here's an ominous foreshadowing for you: my next door neighbor just moved from SF two months ago and declares the food in Nashville -- even the good places -- to be completely subpar and bordering on unacceptable. Good luck kitchen guy!

            2 Replies
            1. re: fluffernutter

              I think the food here is fantastic. The fish over at Acme the other night was new york class for sure. Pasta & bread at Panzanella first class. Those gnocchi are soft little pillows of deliciousness. Wild blueberry cobbler, bliss, Acme. Some firsts at Tallulah are splendid. The Indian food at Udipi Cafe was 1st class, everything made there: the chutnies, pickles...so fresh.

              1. re: Rory

                kitchenguy, are you coming to the area to be part of a local restaraunt and if so can you give us any details.

                and peetoteeto you left off cheese cake factory from your list. :P

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              1. The original comment has been removed