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Restaurant Gift Certificate in Triangle Area

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Hi everyone.
I need help finding a nice restaurant to buy a gift certificate for my parents for X-Mas. They often come and visit me in NYC and enjoy ethnic and creative foods. Some places that I know that they enjoy are Taverna Nikos, Starlu (before it closed), & Anotherthyme. I find formality annoying but I certainly do not want a casual hang out either. The price is not a factor. They live in the Duke University area so Durham and Chapel Hill are preferred but they will definitely travel to Raleigh for great good.
Your recommendations are appreciated.

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  1. What about Watt's Grocery or Piedmont? Those are definitely local favorites!

    3 Replies
    1. re: sarahUNC

      I'd be thrilled if someone gave me a certificate for Watts Grocery!

      1. re: romansperson

        While Watt's Grocery and Piedmont are good, I still feel that Magnolia Grill is better as far as food is concerned.

        1. re: chazzer

          I don't think you can go wrong with any of the restaurants listed so far. I'd add Nana's and Four Square to this list. Tonali is a local Mexican place that they may like. It was started by an alum of Magnolia Grill, I believe.

          If they want to travel to Raleigh, I find The Pit, Poole's Diner, and Fins worthy of the trip.

    2. This is a little off topic, but another souce for a gift certificate might be Southern Season in Chapel Hill. They often have classes taught by folks from many of the restaurants mentioned here, not to mention all kinds of other goodies - cheeses, wines, candy, prepared foods, fresh flowers, kitchen/food/entertaining-related trinkets, teas, coffees, and a very nice coffee bar and in-house restaurant (Weathervane).

      1. When we lived in the area we loved Foster's Market in Durham and Chapel Hill.
        We loved a Greek restaurant in Raleigh called Neomonde but it is also casual.

        Have you considered the Duke Washington Inn?

        I will think about it some more.

        1. Thank you for the recommendations. I know that they have tried Watts Grocery and enjoyed it. They did not enjoy Nana's and Magnolia Grill, which I agree are both overrated. The Washington Duke Inn isn't what I would consider ethnic or creative. After looking at Piedmont's menu, I think that is right up their alley.
          Thanks again!

          1 Reply
          1. re: izzyeatsny

            When I tried Watts Grocery, the service was very good. We showed up with a 6 year old and without a reservation. and were made to feel welcome. The food was just OK not outstanding.

            On the other hand I have yet to have a meal at Magnolia Grill that was not outstanding, yes it is crowded and nosy, and if you are judging the restaurant on those attributes and not just the food then I can understand thinking is may be overrated. But, on food alone Magnolia is one of the top places in the area.