Lunch Spots in Raleigh & @ Southpoint... NOFO?
One of my girlfriends is getting married and hates to shop (imagine!). As one her bridesmaids, I have graciously agreed to host her in Raleigh to do her registry (for the national chains: Macys, Williams Sonoma, Pottery Barn, etc). Soooo I am looking for some good lunch spots to break up the days. I was thinking NOFO after hearing good things. What do you think about it and what are some of your other favorites? Would you please include favorite dishes (I am terrible at deciding what to order!)? We will also probably go to Southpoint one day because the Pottery Barn at Crabtree is closed for renovations. Thanks for all of your help. I am sure my girlfriend will appreciate the balance of painful shopping (for her) and delicious meals!
If you're going to be in the Five Points area, I'd recommend Hayes Barton or Lily's over NOFO. The last two times I've gone to NOFO, the service has been terrible and the food has either been overcooked, cold, or just plain not what we ordered.
At Hayes Barton, the hot dog, egg salad sandwich, and BLT are my favorites, but I've never heard anyone have anything there that they didn't like. Lily's has pizza with a million different toppings and do NOT miss the side salad - just consider eating outside, as I always end up smelling funky (like a pizza oven) when I dine inside there.
Near Southpoint, I've not found much that I'm crazy about. Lots of chain stuff of course, which isn't terrible, just not very original. Some folks more familiar with the Durham area may be able to help in that regard.
Unfortunately, the nature of malls is chain dining. You will have to leave either Crabtree or Southpoint in order to find more unique or "local" food. Hayes Barton Cafe does have a great lunch and fabulous desserts (the white chocolate banana cream pie is to DIE for!), but be warned, they close at 2. My favorite is the chicken salad croissant.
Five minutes up Glenwood from Crabtree is Waraji, my favorite for sushi in Raleigh. If you like a little heat, try the Scary Jerry, which is a secret roll not on the menu!
If you want to go further south on Glenwood than Five Points, the Rockford has got great sandwiches, a funky arty atmosphere and a beautiful copper topped bar...they make a nice cocktail if the shopping has gotten to you *that much*! I like the ABC (Granny Smith Apples, Bacon and Cheddar) and both versions of their Cuban. Like Hayes Barton, and Waraji for that matter, they also close for lunch at 2.
Im afraid Im no help when it comes to Durham.
I ate at NoFo once and wasn't impressed; while the menu read fairly well & the ideas seemed good, both the execution and service were kinda half-assed. But that was only one trip, and was a couple of years ago.
Of course, if I were going to be in Raleigh at lunchtime, I'd be eating banh mi (Vietnamese subs) at Dalat every day. Or maybe banh mi one day, and hot dogs at Roast Grill the next day, and . . .
As for Southpoint, the other posters are correct that the Fayetteville Rd. exit is pretty much just Southpoint and its accompanying posse of chain restaurants at this point. However, there is a wealth of good eating at the exits on either side of it: Highway 55 to the east, and Highway 751 to the west.
At Highway 55, you've got two excellent Korean restaurants, Chosun OK and Vit Goal. Chosun OK is more comprehensive, while Vit Goal focuses on tofu soup boiling furiously in superheated stone bowls (they've been adding more stuff to the menu lately, though). There's also my fave sushi resto in the Triangle, Akashi (super-fresh high-quality fish), plus other ethnic joints (most of which are beloved by RTP-ites, but which aren't necessarily shining examples of their respective cuisines).
At highway 751, you drive north a mile or so to Highway 54 and are then in close proximity to City Beverage (coffee in the AM; semi-interesting New American menu and excellent draft beer selection the rest of the day), Rick's Diner (best pancakes in the Triangle), and Pulcinella, which has gotten a few favorable mentions on the current Italiano thread on this board.
2107 Allendown Dr Ste 101, Durham, NC 27713
Chosun OK Korean BBQ
2105 E NC Highway 54, Durham, NC 27713
2233 E Nc Highway 54, Durham, NC 27713
7 S West St, Raleigh, NC 27603
Dalat Oriental Restaurant
2109 Avent Ferry Rd Ste 110, Raleigh, NC 27606
4711 Hope Valley Rd, Durham, NC 27707
4711 Hope Valley Rd, Durham, NC 27707
Rick's Diner on Hope Valley Rd closed a while ago, and Pulcinella is <u>not</u> great at all. Best bets for Southpoint area are: Shiki Sushi (has buy 1, get 1 free deal on sushi rolls for dine-in), Baba Ghannouj Med. Bistro, and City Bev. If you're willing to drive 7 minutes down Hope Valley Rd., try Guglhupf or Thai Cafe.
207 W Nc Highway 54, Durham, NC 27713
Baba Ghannouj Mediterranean Bistro
225 W Nc Highway 54, Durham, NC 27713
Wait...there is a great place to eat in Southpoint! The cafe in Nordstroms is a hidden gem! Great food, quiet, lovely. Great pizza, salads, etc. I love the nicoise salad or the crab cake salad, although the pizzas are great. No one knows it is there and they go to the terrible chains outside. Although I guess it is a chain too, it is great.