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Driving from RDU to Chapel Hill - Nice place for lunch?

Driving from RDU airport to Chapel Hill. Looking for a nice spot for lunch. Not looking for BBQ, have that covered later in the trip. Nice surroundings, glass of wine, great food. That would do. Thanks.

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  1. You'll basically be in Chapel Hill by the time you get to it, but there is a very nice pan-Asian place on 54 just before 15/501 (1201-L Raleigh Rd in the Glen Lenox shopping center) that is open M-F. Just put the address in google and you'll find the info.

    I think there are some good places in Research Triangle Park (which is between the two) but I never get out there so don't really know.

    1. Lulu's Mom is right (and I like her suggestion), there really isn't a lot of "between" there. 20 minute drive or so. I'd say Sandwhich in Chapel Hill but I'm not sure they have wine as an option since 3cups moved (they do have beer).

      You'll go by downtown Durham (small jog down 147 off of I-40) and on that route between the airport and Chapel Hill Rue Cler, Parker & Otis, Piedmont, Fosters Market, Guglehupf and many others would fit your specs.

      1. If you are heading straight down 40 and then 54, the places that come to mind are Jujube whch LulusMom was hinting at (I believe). Not far off of Fayetteville Rd. (ex 276) in Durham is a place called Bocci. A fair number of people seem to enjoy Nantucket Grille. However, there are several places in Chapel Hill itself that would afford you the things you are looking for. Il Palio in the Sienna hotel being one of them though it is a bit steep compared to the others.

        5 Replies
        1. re: burgeoningfoodie

          Bocci is lovely, but Nantucket is *entirely* overrated.

          1. re: guenievre

            im not sure I would call nantucket overrated - it's a good place to go on your lunch break if you're at the office and want a good sandwich and maybe a slice of cake. It's not destination dining, I agree.

            1. re: batdown

              Maybe overpriced would be better? I've been there once but it has been a while ago. I enjoyed the food (I'm not saying it isn't something you couldn't find else where), but I do remember the prices being a little high for a sandwich.

              1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                yeah, the prices are pretty high, probably due to the location. There really isnt a lot of decent food in that area and I'm guessing that nantucket has a slice of the lunchtime market sewn up, so they can charge higher prices. I havent eaten there in years but I remember hating dining in there - I would always grab something to go. something about the atmosphere and regular clientele really turned me off

                1. re: batdown

                  I find a dramatic difference in quality between the three locations. The original (Ram's Plaza in Chapel Hill) is much, much better than either of the other two. We had a particularly bad meal at the one on Fayetteville by Southpoint

                  I could be wrong but I'm under the impression that the original owners only operate the CH location and the other two are franchises. Again, I'm nowhere near certain of this but I always explained the differences that way.

        2. Mez on Page Rd. near the airport is upscale Mexican with decent wine. The Capital City Chop House is very close to the airport that I think of as a business lunch place. Still, good service, decent food, wine, etc. Once you get into Chapel Hill Jujube (I believe that's what LulusMom was referring to) is very good, pan-Asian with excellent food, wine and service. Bon apetit!

          1 Reply
          1. re: PeterB

            Il Palio, having been mentioned, is definitely a place to go for intelligent Italian food with a focus on local ingredients. This is the essence of Italian cuisine. Regional products highlighted with talented and passionate cooking. The current chef has been flying under the radar because of the dated image of the hotel and dining room. Some updates have been made with decor and makes it a much more comfortable lunch spot.

            I also have to mention Superwok in Cary. If you want a taste of authentic Chinese food, go to Chatham Square and find this treasure. Make sure you get the Chinese menu, not the american menu. Highlights include pea shoots, whole fish, dan dan noodles, chicken with three peppers and anything involving stomach or intestines. Don't let the last rec turn you off, as you can taste authentic Chinese flavor without having to challenge your constituiton. Beer only, but you can bring wine in.

          2. Give the Sienna Hotel a whirl. Quiet, pretty, good food, service, wine, etc.

            1 Reply
            1. re: bimmertimmer

              I like the food at il palio, but quiet it is NOT.