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Nov 26, 2008 01:29 PM

Tri Area for New Year's - Please Help!

Hello all!

I'm a law student at the University of South Dakota, but I have the good fortune of being able to spend some of my Christmas break in beautiful Charlotte, NC! My gf and I have never been to any of the cities in the Tri and were planning to spend New Year's there.

I was hoping that I could get some recommendations as to fine dining in the Tri area. We were looking for a 7-10 course tasting menu with wine pairings, preferably somewhere with some sort of events or nightlife to be had after.

So far, I have considered The Mint, Saint Jacques, Herons, Bonne Soiree, Frazier's, Vin Rouge, and Savoy. However, I obviously know nothing about any of these restaurants, nor the area in general. Any thoughts or advice on where to go, both for a fantastic dining experience and for a great night in general, would be very much appreciated! Thanks to everyone for the help!!


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  1. If you are going to be in Charlotte, is there a reason you don't want to try someplace there? All the places you mention are a minimum of 2 hours away in the Raleigh-Durham area. I'm not sure I'd want to drive that much on New Year's Eve (aka Amateur Night) ...

    Of the places you mention, I can heartily recommend Bonne Soirree in Chapel Hill - just make a reservation and make sure they'll be open that night. They don't have a tasting menu regularly though - not sure what they'll offer (if anything) on New Year's Eve. They do offer a wine pairing on the regular menu.

    As for nightlife, they are in downtown Chapel Hill, which is a University town, and it tends to be fairly quiet down there on the main drag while the students are out of town. Some restaurants there just close up for the holidays. When the students are in town, if you've been to college, then you know the kind of nightlife you'll get in that case.

    We'll be going to the hockey game in Raleigh that night - they have a nice restaurant in the RBC Center we'll be making reservations at, and then we'll watch the game and possibly stay for the after party.

    2 Replies
    1. re: romansperson

      Nice! Never even thought of catching a game after dinner, before the wildness begins...

      In answer to your question regarding Charlotte, I have spent a significant amount of time there, and have hit up what I consider to be the "top" dining establishments in the city; also, since neither of us have ever been to Raleigh, Durham, or Chapel Hill, we were planning on heading to the Tri a day or two early just to chill and check out the cities.

      Thanks for the advice on Bonne Soiree!

      1. re: lhollers

        No one else? Just looking for advice or reviews on the above-listed places...

    2. The Mint is grossly overrated and tries too hard to impress with gastroscience instead of quality cuisine. Saint Jaques is very nice, but a but suburban. Heron's and Savoy are the best of your short list.

      1 Reply
      1. re: mattb3

        Thanks! Any other good spots that I might have missed or that you enjoy?

      2. Forgive me for being presumptive, but I'm wondering if there may be a bit of geographical confusion? :)

        Not sure which area you're referring to as "Tri", but in North Carolina, the Triangle area is Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill. That's a good 2.5 drive away from the Charlotte area.

        The Triad area (also sometimes called the Piedmont Triad) is Greensboro-WinstonSalem-High Point. That's about 1.5 hours from the Triangle. Not sure how far it is from Charlotte, since I've never driven between the two, but I'd guess at least a couple of hours.

        Charlotte isn't any sort of "tri"... it is called the Queen City.

        The above is all very commonly confused among people who haven't lived in NC... took me a bit to get it all straight, too! :)

        (edit... just re-read your post & see that you 'get' that the Triangle is not near Charlotte, sorry! But it is a bit confusing to hear the term "Tri" since there are 2 major areas in the central part of the state that both begin with those 3 letters... just a heads-up.) :)

        4 Replies
        1. re: MlleYeuxBleus

          Again, thanks for the heads-up on the namings...not sure how to edit the post heading to read "Triangle Area (Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill)...", but hopefully people will get it.

          I also noticed that you are from Raleigh, yet didn't leave any thoughts on the restaurants I had mentioned, nor did you posit any favorites of your own! ; ) For shame!

          But seriously, as someone in the area who obviously enjoys good food, what do you think?

          1. re: lhollers

            Not being a Raleighite, I haven't been to any of the Raleigh restaurants you've mentioned or Vin Rouge in Durham (which I should fix, it's really not far at all from where I live), but if you want to try something in Raleigh, I can recommend J. Betski's (it's mainly German/Eastern European inspired food).


            And there's always Magnolia Grill in Durham, too.


            You should be able to do a search on these, or any of the other places you've mentioned right here on Chowhound and come up with more info.

            1. re: romansperson

              While I heartily agree that Magnolia Grill is a fabulous place to eat - they are closed 12/24 - 1/05 for the winter holiday. Too bad, I wanted a rez for Christmas Eve....

            2. re: lhollers

              Apologies... my post seemed already too long, & I was really starving for turkey (& I didn't get *one* reply to my post , sob!).

              For nice & delicious, I recommend Magnolia Grill in Durham, also Nana's in Durham. Both have creative takes on food, but not in an abstract or silly way... everything is still extremely yummy & satisfying.

              La Residence in Chapel Hill is, imho, ridiculously overrated. Tempting menu, but both the food & the service were way sub-par.

              I don't often go out in Raleigh, despite living there. Places in Durham & Chapel Hill seem to be more in touch with community, using more local & organic ingredients, etc. I really appreciate that! :)

          2. If you're talking about New Year's Eve/Day specifically you may want to call the restos that interest you to see what they're doing since most do prix fixe and/or events instead of regular service those days.

            1. I think Frazier's is wonderful, and I am sure they will do something special for New Year's. It is on Hillsborough Street, which is sort of the NC State main drag and fairly college-y - but after dinner you could drive a few blocks into downtown Raleigh if you wanted to toast the New Year, at a bar like the Raleigh Times or Landmark or maybe the bar at the Marriott. If you decide to eat in the downtown Raleigh area, the downtown Marriott and Sheraton are both good options to spend the night.

              1 Reply
              1. re: dubedo

                Best restaurants in the Triangle (Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill) are

                In Raleigh, Zely & Ritz (locavore), Poole's Diner (features Ashley Christenson who was featured recently in Bon Appetit), Enoteca Vin (Ashley used to cook there), all in or near downtown. Frasier's is also fine, and Vivace (north of downtown) is also good.

                in Durham, Magnolia Grill, Nana's, Piedmont (locavore Italian), Rue Cler.

                in Chapel Hill, Lantern (panAsian), Elaines, Bonne Soiree, Acme, Crook's Corner (for gourmet southern). Have no idea which if any are open New Years but you can't go wrong with any.