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New ideas for nice dinner in Durham or Chapel Hill

scrubbdubdub Apr 30, 2008 06:51 PM

New ideas for nice dinner in Durham or Chapel HillI'm looking for somewhere nice to go to celebrate our first year of marriage and would like a new idea in Durham or Chapel Hill. For comparison...The places we think are the best on this side of town are Four Square, Piedmont, and The Lantern. Places we have tried are Magnolia Grill (not totally sold... maybe we just didn't order right), Nana's, Elaine's, Crook's Corner, Rue Cler, Anotherthyme, Chamas, and Parizade. Is there anyone else? Or should we go back to our top 3.

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  1. d
    dubedo RE: scrubbdubdub Apr 30, 2008 08:49 PM

    Have you ever tried Il Palio? I've only had dinner there once, the food was nice (if not outstanding) and the service was very, very good.

    There's also Bonne Soiree - I can't afford to try it but it might be just the place for a first anniversary. Fellow hounds, thoughts?

    2 Replies
    1. re: dubedo
      BryanZ RE: dubedo Apr 30, 2008 11:20 PM

      Yeah, BS has anniversary written all over it. Much stronger cooking--technically speaking--than the other spots you mention if you're into the classic thing.

      1. re: BryanZ
        bbqme RE: BryanZ May 1, 2008 06:26 AM

        Another vote for Bonne Soiree.

    2. f
      fussycouple RE: scrubbdubdub May 1, 2008 12:50 PM

      Bonne Soiree, Il Palio, Pancuito in Hillsborough, Fearrington House are my regulars for fine dining.

      Yes, I know that there is a virulent "ooooh, Fearrington, ick" strain by local chowhounders, but I'll bet you a dollar that in 10 years when you want to celebrate your 10th anniversary that Fearrington is *still* there, and I couldn't bet on the other 3 that way. And continuity is nice.

      I wouldn't go to Magnolia Grill for an intimate dinner, ever. The atmosphere is simply not to my taste, though when other people were paying the food was quite fine -- not as good as Crooks when Bill Neal was still there, but fine.

      1. p
        PeterB RE: scrubbdubdub May 1, 2008 02:09 PM

        We went to Bonne Soiree for a recent anniversary and the experience was flawless. Highly recommended. Happy Anniversary!

        7 Replies
        1. re: PeterB
          romansperson RE: PeterB May 2, 2008 05:26 AM

          I've been thinking about making a reservation at Bonne Soiree for our 20th anniversary that's coming up at the end of the month. Do any of you who have been there have any particular recommendations on what's best to order? They do wine pairings, correct?

          And while yes, this isn't food related - I just have to ask. How should we dress? I've dressed up for restaurants/occasions here that I thought warranted it, only to find out when I got to the venue I needn't have bothered - everyone seems to dress down here.

          1. re: romansperson
            LulusMom RE: romansperson May 2, 2008 06:30 AM

            When we went to BS there was an older crowd there, so a jacket wouldn't have been at all out of place.

            1. re: romansperson
              bbqme RE: romansperson May 2, 2008 08:05 AM

              Menu changes fairly regularly so unless someone went recently I doubt recs would be very helpful.

              1. re: romansperson
                fussycouple RE: romansperson May 2, 2008 11:37 AM

                Personally, both of us getting dolled up in a Tux and Evening gown are part of the fun. Just because half the population no longer understands basic ettiquette, how to dress up, or how to answer an invitation is no reason for the rest of us not to enjoy it all.

                1. re: fussycouple
                  BryanZ RE: fussycouple May 2, 2008 07:25 PM

                  While I'd argue a tux and evening gown are perhaps over the top, I applaud you for wearing what you want. Most people, however, would feel uncomfortable in that attire in ANY restaurant, three Michelin stars or not.

                  A jacket works at BS and is what more gentlemen wear. Some people don't like jackets. Fine. I wear them to class, some people wear sweats. I'm not saying you should wear sweats to BS, but just go in what you're comfortable in and will help the evening feel special. That's most important.

                  It's not at all an intimidating place.

                  I had the stuffed quail a couple weeks ago, and it was killer.

                  1. re: BryanZ
                    schmems RE: BryanZ May 4, 2008 05:54 PM

                    How much should you expect to spend per person if you want a nice meal with wine pairings?

                    1. re: schmems
                      BryanZ RE: schmems May 4, 2008 11:18 PM

                      I got three courses and wine pairings for like $105ish after tax and tip. You can see my full report in the BS thread.

            2. d
              durhamois RE: scrubbdubdub May 2, 2008 10:30 AM

              Bonne Soiree is a good rec. If you want steak, you might consider Bin 54.

              1 Reply
              1. re: durhamois
                LulusMom RE: durhamois May 2, 2008 02:45 PM

                Yes! Bin 54 is our go-to place for special occasions.

              2. lawyerlady RE: scrubbdubdub May 2, 2008 02:17 PM

                a new restaurant opened up on fayetteville street, the mint, supposed to be the only 5 star one in raleigh. you may want to check it out. i haven't eaten there but the decor mimics a ny quality restaurant so it may be what you are looking for.

                1 Reply
                1. re: lawyerlady
                  BryanZ RE: lawyerlady May 2, 2008 07:21 PM

                  5 stars. That's a lot. Look at the menu first. I'll be honest, previous ones have been painfully boring. Supposedly the place looks nice, as the poster above also mentions, in a big box kind of way.

                  The chef there may or may not be working on some more creative items which I find interesting. Whether these actually come to fruition remains to be seen.

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