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Apr 18, 2008 12:40 PM

al fresco dining in the triangle, NC

Spring fever has me in its grip and I'm soliciting suggestions for al fresco dining all over the triangle area...raleigh, durham, chapel hill...though, for this weekend I'm particularly interested in the Raleigh downtown/NCSU area.

I'll start the list with one of my favorites, Lilly's pizza. I know some don't like it, but their patio is a nice place to sit outside and people watch, then you pop next door for a bit of dessert and coffee at Third place.

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  1. Try the cafe at the Nasher Museum at Duke. Very pretty view.

    I know the Sarah P. Duke Gardens has a cafe as well - and if I recall correctly, you are allowed to picnic on the grounds (though I'd call about that beforehand to make sure). Don't know anything about the food for sale there though.

    Here's an article about alfresco dining in the area - I don't get over to Raleigh much so I don't know what any of those places are like but I have heard good things about the food at Vivace and Bella Monica (not sure if the outside environment is any good though).

    Tyler's in Durham has outdoor seating in their courtyard area, but I like the beer there more than the food. Their seating is good for people watching.

    Fridays on the Front Porch is starting up next Friday at the Carolina Inn, if you like bluegrass music:

    1. Firebirds, Mura, and Vivace at North Hills;
      As you mentioned, Lilly's, Bogart's and several other restaurants in Glenwood South;
      Lotus Leaf in Cary;
      Babymoon Cafe in Morrisville;
      Cafe Carolina (all locations), Village Deli (same), Village Draft House at Cameron Village;
      and I'm sure there are many others that will follow...

      1 Reply
      1. re: Suzy Q

        La Shish in Cary has a few tables outside. Great fresh middle eastern food with sit down service.

        Mythos, also in Cary, has a lot of tables outside. The food was great as recently as lunch today.

        The Cary location of Hibernian has a couple of patios available.

      2. Don't get over to Raleigh much, but here are my Triangle recs:
        Vin Rouge in Durham for sure.
        If you can get a spot at the Federal in Durham, that's always fun.
        Guglhupf in Durham.
        Milltown in Chapel Hill.
        Best outdoor cafe: Driade in Chapel Hill

        1 Reply
        1. re: suse

          Had lunch today at Foster's Market in Durham. Great dining at the picnic tables outside.

        2. Raleigh Times has several outdoor tables on the sidewalk that are very popular on a sunny afternoon. Every time I walk by on my beeline between the coffee and my law office, I am green with jealousy at those lucky souls who are drinking microbrews in the sun in the middle of the afternoon.

          Moonlight Pizza (Boylan and Hargett) has a big patio, decent pizza, and pitchers of Blue Moon. Very popular with local hipsters, dog owners, and families with little kids.

          1. Try Cameron Village in general -- Or try North Ridge Shopping Center Falls Neuse/Spring Forrest -- NR Pub great food small patio lots to watch -- the guys from there are opening a place in Cameron too -- should be open any day now -- You may find the people watching is better at Cameron Village -- Cameron Bar and Grill will have great food -- I have seen the menu :)