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Durham NC restaurant recommends?

We will be there a few days - maybe one nice dinner out, and several local inexpensive paces. We aren't big meat eaters but like fish and ethnic food. We live near Smith Street in Brooklyn, so that's our frame of reference.

Also would love some eating suggestions for the drive down 95, if there's any hope.

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  1. For a nice dinner out in Durham, I highly recommend Revolution. The dishes I've had there range from very good to sublime, and the atmosphere is sophisticated without being fussy.

    Don't miss out on the Mexican food in the area. Suggestions will vary widely on this board, but I love Taqueria la Vaquita. I also enjoy Costa Azul; you can get great Honduran/Mexican food there. La Vaquita only has picnic tables outside, and Costa Azul lacks atmosphere, but they are both excellent and a great value.

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    Taqueria La Vaquita
    2700 Chapel Hill Rd, Durham, NC 27707

    Revolution
    107 W. Main Street, Durham, NC 27701

    Costa Azul Restaurant
    2721 Guess Rd, Durham, NC 27705

    1. Amazingly enough, I'm not familar with Smith Steet in Brooklyn; however, the "search" feature is your friend.

      1. For your one "nice" dinner out....I would recommend Pop's...you have to get the mussels for an app.

        1 Reply
        1. re: RRG

          I like Pop's, but if you haven't tried the mussels at Revolution, RRG, they are amazing. You don't have to commit to a whole meal there, just hit the bar (drinks are too expensive, I think, but the beer is fine), grab a beer and have the mussels with some of their bread. Really good.

        2. Elmo's Diner..lots of breakfast items all day, but when I went I had Spinach Enhiladas. I thought the food was really diverse, good quality, served hot and varied menu. Loud inside but good food from $8 to $10 a plate..tops.

          7 Replies
          1. re: BurgJoy

            On Sunday mornings we either had breakfast at Elmo's or Foster's Market and never were disappointed with either.

            1. re: Lewes17266

              Avoid Elmo's at all costs. It is terrible. Especially if you live near Smith St. in Brooklyn, you will absolutely despise this place. The only thing you can find here that you don't have near Smith St. in Brooklyn is good BBQ, and for that, go to Allen and Sons. I'll second the suggestion for using the Search feature. It works very well.

              1. re: Shag Waits

                I agree with Shag that Elmo's does the big S and sucks. The food is overrated and under seasoned. And all they are is a bland tasteless dinner.

                But to say that the area has nothing to offer that you would not find near Smith St in Brooklyn is just plain wrong headed.

                Try Magnolia Grill for the one blow out meal. There style of high end southern is not something you see in New York, and they do have the best desserts in the area .

                Also Crooks Corner in Chapel hill is another great example of high end or gourmand southern.

                But a word of advise, while you are down here try not to tell everyone that things are better in Brooklyn, this coming from an ex resident of Brooklyn Heights.

                1. re: chazzer

                  well at least I know where to go now when i get off the train - Smith Street

                  1. re: chazzer

                    I agree with the Magnolia Grill dessert assessment. Top notch. I've found the savory food to be hit or miss. Last time I had a seared foie gras appetizer, it was stone cold. Ambiance also kinda blows. Only good thing I've had at Crook's Corner is shrimp and grits. Maybe worth a stop for that.

                    While not particulary unique or Southern, I had a fantastic tasting menu at Nana's a few weeks ago. It is a quite a steal at $55 (even though their website says $50) for 5 courses and $25 for wine pairings. I don't think you can find a deal like that near Smith St. in Brooklyn. Nearly everything was technically perfect. Our wait dude was super cool, too. He was the first dude to say, "I'm going to wait a bit before putting the order in to allow you some time to enjoy your cocktails." Practically every place serves the first course while I'm working on my martini. I hate that. My boyfriend usually has a cosmo and he hates that, too.

                  2. re: Shag Waits

                    I love Allen and Son, but given that the OP said they aren't big meat eaters, it doesn't seem like a place they'd interested in.

                2. Is the Top Hat still around? That was a great little dive in Durham for a great burger, excellent fries, and a cold one back in the day.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Buddha49

                    The Top Hat is looooooooooong gone. Selling drugs out the back door did them in. I loved their chili cheese burgers.