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Jul 13, 2008 10:38 AM

Seeking inspiration in Chapel Hill/Durham

Hey, my culinary inspirators -- The Folks are coming to town, and I'm once again faced with planning a Nice Dinner Out. They are good foodie people, love Acme, but Dad is in his mid-60s with the accompanying difficulty hearing -- which means that many places with post-industrial concrete floors that bang noise around are out. ( much for Rue Cler...)

The folks have loved:

The Lantern

among others. I've taken them to Piedmont, but we were there at a dark time of year (February is not great for local produce!) and if there's a decent crowd, it's too loud for Dad. I'm running out of ideas! Any thoughts? Has anyone been to the fancy place in the Courtyard that I forget the name of?


P.S. Don't worry, there is always 'cue on the weekend menu. That will happen. This is the other end of the spectrum.

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    1. Bonne Soiree is that "fancy place in the courtyard" and they are small and not loud.

      Il Palio at the Sienna is excellent, and unless they are having a major party somehow, their acoustics are fine. (Also good for brunch).

      Pancuito in Hillsborough on Churton Streeet is small, like Bonne Soiree, and is also not loud.

      All 3 of these are perfectly good "nice dinner out" restaurants.

      Magnolia Grill is *exactly* where you don't want to go, with the crowding and the noise level there. Both I and my father have problems hearing over "background noise" and when there is a decent crowd it is difficult for me to hear at Piedmont as well (I still go sometimes, it's just hard to hear).

      1 Reply
      1. re: fussycouple

        agree with fussycouple. i love magnolia grill but it is not a quiet place.

        i also agree with those recommendations. note that of those, pancuito is going to be the least formal. i ate there last night and it was very, very good -- which it has been for me every time i've visited.

      2. I'm a big fan of Ashley Christensen. Though in Raleigh, she's running Enoteca Vin and Milner's Diner

        2 Replies
        1. re: Tinasky

          What's Milner's Diner? Do you mean Poole's Diner, or does she have another one in addition to Poole's?

          1. re: dubedo

            No, no...I goofed. Thank you for the correction. It is Poole's.

        2. The Fairview at the Washington Duke has worked well, both for the food and the accoustics.


          1. Bonne Soiree in the Courtyard is excellent fine dining. I also really like Four Square in Durham. I've never had anything but a great meal there and it's in a beautiful Victorian house. If the weather's nice dining on the veranda is a wonderful experience.