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Best Meals in Raleigh?

  • m

Please advise? Just moved to town and really having a hard time finding the real Gems in Raleigh. I am very tired of the tourist traps. I am Looking for the best places to eat in Raleige they do not have to be high end, can be a small local place as well. Thanks.

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  1. Here's a couple of my favorites: Hayes Barton Cafe, Cafe Luna (try the salmon pasta), Fins, Jibarra, South and the meatloaf at North Ridge Pub. For good reviews, check out Greg Cox's reviews in the N&O. What type of food do you like?

    1. In the Raleigh/Cary area, I'd recommend:
      Hayes Barton, Lily's Pizza, Raleigh Times Bar, Cafe Tiramisu, Amedeo's, Lotus Leaf, Maxmillian's, Mura, Prime Only, and 518 West.

      1. I live in Durham and rarely get to Raleigh. From everything I've heard, if I lived there, my first stop would be J. Betski's. Waraji Sushi is fantastic - I have been there.

        1 Reply
        1. re: suse

          can't believe i forgot to mention j. betski's, esp. after i gushed about them to you at dinner the other night! duh... that's about as much of a gem as you're going to find. killer austrian/eastern european food--schnitzel, pierogies, cured fish... and a stellar wine list with lots of stuff offered in quartino (small carafe).

        2. Fins-- great seafood, although i haven't been to the new incarnation (his previous resto was much smaller).
          Enoteca Vin-- fresh. local, simple, and a 50 bottle cruvinet. one of my personal faves.
          Frazier's--pretty little room, excellent food, a nice date spot.
          Roast Grill-- the best hot dog I've had that wasn't cooked on my grill at home. 8 seats at a lunch counter, homemade chili, no ketchup offered--the real deal.
          Dos Taquitos--pretty good mexican food, and excellent margaritas.
          Thai Villa in Cary-- excellent thai, and they'll actually make it "thai hot". 'nuff said.
          Times Bar-- they cure their own corned beef for the reuben. best belgian beer selection around.

          I have to respectfully disagree with the assessment of Greg Cox as an accurate arbiter of taste in the Triangle-- he seems to give just about everyone 3 stars if they're even moderately good. Not that some of those places aren't deserving, but it seems as though he's afraid of hurting people's feelings a lot of the time.

          1. I have only lived in Raleigh for about six months, but the best meal I've had was at Frazier's. It's definitely high-end, but the food was just wonderful.The menu is heavy on the seafood - I had triggerfish over a leek and mushroom ravioli, in a pancetta broth . . . mmm. Good crusty bread, too.

            My favorite casual lunch spot/ coffee shop downtown is Sosta Cafe, on Davie St.

            1 Reply
            1. re: dubedo

              Some lower price options are

              LOS CUATES 4524 Old Wake Forest Rd., Raleigh, NC. Great fish tacos.

              Holy Smokes BBQ 335 Tryon Rd. At last, real Texas BBQ in he triangle.

              La Shish 908 Ne Maynard RdCary, N C Good Lebanese.

              The Food Factory 211 East Chatham Street, Cary Good deli

              Cindy's House Cafe 140 E Chatham St Cary. Breakfast and lunch, see their web site for dinner options.

              Havana Grill 404 W Chatham St, Cary. Great Cuban.

              You should be able to eat at all these places for close to $10.

            2. Don't miss Porter's on Hillsborough St, Moe's Diner (great rack of lamb), Vivace, Waraji, and Bella Monica. Lower price options are Hi 5, Salsa Fresh and Oakwood Cafe (Argentinean/Cuban)

              1. My husband and i actually take weekend outings to raleigh (we live in durham) specifically to eat a Pho Cali Noodle Palace on Capital blvd (across from the Mayflower restaurant and Sam Ashe Music)

                its a general hole in the wall Pho joint, and we're generally the only, or one of 2 parties of non-asians in the place at any given time.

                their small bowl of pho, at $6 is literally bigger than your head, with a big plate of fresh culantro, basil chiles,, sprouts, etc.. and a big selection of sauces, sambals, relishes, etc...


                1. I found this restaurant review site for Raleigh and it focuses on local, independently owned restaurants. www.raleighrestaurantreview.com

                  1. J Betski's-most underrated overrated place in town....great food, great prices, awesome cocktails and service

                    Frazier's-used to be awesome, but i hear things are still inherently good

                    Neomonde-simple middle eastern food, cheap prices, go for lunch

                    Raleigh Times-bar food and beer, enough said

                    Forget Waraji-most overrated sushi in NC, go to NYC instead, if that's too far, Whole Foods might be better(sorry people, but waraji is a joke)

                    La Vallarta-Mexican open until 2am in the week, 24 hours on the weekends....there's better mexican out there, but it's authentic and open late. the torta cubana is off the chain.

                    Pho Cali is terrible, Dalat isn't much better but if you want Vietnamese, go to Greensboro, Van Loi II will blow your mind.

                    Fins-people say this place is great but i don't trust white people and their pan asian weirdnesses, plus he keeps chilean sea bass on the menu after 10 years of being endangered.

                    Tasca Brava-used to be in cary, but is now in north raleigh. Was very good spanish food, but the menu is bigger and that often means bigger problems, but still the owners are really from Spain.

                    Stay clear of South East Asian in raleigh unless you're in greensboro, Indian is the most reliable thing in the triangle.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: insectrights

                      The people that run Tasca Brava told me they were from South America. Has it changed ownership since it moved from Cary?

                      1. re: insectrights

                        " i don't trust white people and their pan asian weirdnesses"

                        insect, what on earth is that supposed to mean?

                        I wanted to add Tookie's, since I'd neglected to mention it earlier. Definitely not fine dining (two locations are in local gas stations and the first freestanding location is in Seaboard Station), but great sandwiches and especially the chicken salad.

                        1. re: Suzy Q

                          "Stay clear of South East Asian in raleigh unless you're in greensboro"

                          How can you be in Greensboro if you're in Raleigh?

                          1. re: cackalackie

                            I was drunk when I wrote that, but I still stand by what I said. No, I don't think some white American can do justice to every Asian country's cuisine(which is what Fin's menu covers). And about the South East Asian, I meant to say that the only place that it's well represented is in Greensboro, so don't waste your time hoping to get a great experience in Raleigh.

                            1. re: insectrights

                              I actually deleted my rhetorial question about your state of inebriation - before I posted......

                      2. For a good sub or pizza try Romas Italian on Harrison ave in Cary