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Lunch Spots in Raleigh & @ Southpoint... NOFO?

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Hey All
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!

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  1. 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.

    Have fun!

    1. 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.

      1. When you are at Southpoint, head north back over I40 for about 3/4 mile and Bocci is on the left hand side.....great Italian... you can't go wrong with their pizzas or paninis at lunch and plenty of great entrees. That's pretty much it for non-chain restaurants.

        3 Replies
        1. re: klaatu47

          Thanks for all of the suggestions so far! I really appreciate it. I am picking my friend up from the airport (RDU) and then I think we will head over to Bocci (it sounds great!) before hitting Southpoint. Can you tell me where I should get off of I40?

          1. re: aphayes

            Just get off of I40 at Fayetteville Rd (same exit as Southpoint) and turn right.....up abou 1/2 mile on left hand side....turn left at third stoplight to enter parking lot.

            1. re: klaatu47

              IMO, Bocci is overrated. It's not bad but it's not great either. Heck, I actually like Maggiano's (a chain) better. If you want brunch near Southpoint, you should try Brig's at Hwy 55 (exit 278, one exit prior to Southpoint).

        2. 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.

          -----
          Vit Goal
          2107 Allendown Dr Ste 101, Durham, NC 27713

          Chosun OK Korean BBQ
          2105 E NC Highway 54, Durham, NC 27713

          Akashi
          2233 E Nc Highway 54, Durham, NC 27713

          Roast Grill
          7 S West St, Raleigh, NC 27603

          Dalat Oriental Restaurant
          2109 Avent Ferry Rd Ste 110, Raleigh, NC 27606

          Pulcinella Restaurant
          4711 Hope Valley Rd, Durham, NC 27707

          Rick's Diner
          4711 Hope Valley Rd, Durham, NC 27707

          1 Reply
          1. re: rossgrady

            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.

            -----
            Shiki Sushi
            207 W Nc Highway 54, Durham, NC 27713

            Baba Ghannouj Mediterranean Bistro
            225 W Nc Highway 54, Durham, NC 27713

          2. 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.

            1. Hayes Barton Cafe is great. Get the turkey ruben or the hamburger. Try a milkshake or a cherry coke. They make the cherry coke the old fashioned way. They are cash only. Also, you may try Red Dragon or EVOO. They are located up the road from NOFO and Hayes Barton at the corner of Oberlin Road and Fairview. Evoo has a great steak sandwich and a gread ruben. Very inexpensive as well.

              1 Reply
              1. re: RaleighHound

                Ohhh, I always forget about the Red Dragon. Good and cheap Chinese, athough I probably wouldn't go there for a special occasion since it's not particularly "fun" or festive.

              2. I recently had dinner at An in Cary, every detail of the meal was perfect. They are open for lunch, have an imaginative and delicious menu and there are several rooms for private parties. It would be a perfect pampered girls luncheon! www.ancuisines.com