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Seeking inspiration in Chapel Hill/Durham

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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. (Sigh...so much for Rue Cler...)

The folks have loved:

Acme
The Lantern
Elaine's

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?

Thanks!

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.

          Link: http://www.washingtondukeinn.com/Dini...

          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.

            1. Thanks, y'all! I've long wanted to take them to Magnolia Grill, but I have heard that the sound is a problem. And thanks also for the Hillsborough rec -- they liked visiting there, and it's nice to have an excuse to go back.