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Triangle NC area Top 5

Mine, in no order but these are the top 5:

Allen and Son Barbecue (Millhouse Road, Chapel Hill, NC) for pulled pork 'cue
Saffron (Morrisville, NC) for Indian
Saxapahaw General Store Cafe (Saxapahaw, NC) for whatever they're cooking on a Saturday night
Waraji (Raleigh, NC) for sushi and sashimi
The Barbecue Joint (Chapel Hill, NC) for fun tricks with smoked meats, non-pulled-pork category

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  1. Tell us more about this Saxapahaw General Store Cafe... sounds intriguing.

    13 Replies
    1. re: Tehama

      A couple took over the Shell Station in town and has turned the gas station grill into a really great little restaurant (and they still sell gas)

      This weekend's menu from the weekly mailer
      And in case you're around for supper, Jeff has prepared the following for this weekend:

      -Wild caught sturgeon over risotto, and braising greens, braised
      -NC trigger fish over chickpea succotash and braised napa cabbage
      -Pan-seared sea scallops with risotto and asparagus
      -Crabcake with duck fat fries and local green wax beans
      -Mussels, big bowl, garlic bread
      -Local beef short ribs with local mashers and local bordeaux spinach
      -Sirloin 8 oz., local, with duck fat fries and sauteed spinach
      -Local beef and pork meatloaf, mashed potatoes, local green beans
      -Quarter NC chicken with potato salad and house made cole slaw
      -Linguine with meat sauce and roasted garlic baguette
      -Chicken picatta, NC chicken, over mashers or linguine with local braising greens
      -Bib lettuce salad with bagon and herb dijon vinaigrette
      -Sweet potato and spiced pecan ravioli in pumpkin puree
      -Eggplant parmesan with local mixed greens side salad
      -Duck breast on baguette with local figs, local arugula, and local goat cheese
      -Tomato pumpkin bisque

      1. re: brokegradstudent

        Holy Cow that sounds good! What are the hours? That sounds like a good road trip from Raleigh!

        1. re: Tehama

          We were out that way (not meal time) and checked on the location. It was about an hours drive from Raleigh. It is a tie between them and Chef and Farmer in Kinston for our next dinner field trip!

          1. re: meatn3

            I'm from Kinston originally and never got around to Chef and Farmer and don't think I'll have the chance to any time soon, but I hear great things about it. The town also go it's first microbrew. I'm sure if you google search for it it will pop up. It's not far from Chef and Farmer (but then in Kinston what is really far).

            1. re: burgeoningfoodie

              I saw the brewery when we were at Chef and the Farmer. It was about a block away, but I don't think it had opened yet.

          2. re: Tehama

            the menu flyer i picked up in june has the hours:
            M-F 6:30-9:00
            Sat 7:00-10:00
            Sun 10:00-8:00

            Everyday Breakfast is M-F 6:30-10:30AM, Sat 7-2,Sun 10-2
            Weekend Brunch is Sat and Sun 10-2

            Dinner themes:
            Casserole Sundays
            Taco Mondays
            Special Bistro Fare Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays

            Again, this was from June, so not sure if this is the most up to date. But at least it gives you an idea of the hours.

            1. re: cervisiam

              Well, I am ready to go! Say no more! :-) Thank you so much for the times and the additional info.

              Meat-N-3: what is this Chef and Farmer in Kinston you speak of?

              1. re: cervisiam

                The cafe is closed on Mondays. I think dinner may end a bit earlier in the winter.

              1. re: sabarrett

                Please clarify. I assume you mean the burger is topped with goat cheese and not so named because the burger is made of goat meat.

                1. re: Chow Penguin

                  The burger is made from local goat meat. It's not baaaaaaaad!

                  1. re: peetoteeto

                    often with oven dried tomatoes and manchego. Criminally good with a side of duck fat fries and a beer.

          3. I like casual and inexpensive places, so here's my list:

            1. The Federal in Durham for highly creative and inexpensive food and the best fries I've had.
            2. Backyard Barbeque in Durham for chopped pork and country sides, but family style at Barbeque Lodge in Raleigh is hard to beat.
            3. Fiesta Grill in Carrboro for tasty Tex-Mex.
            4. Weathervane in Southern Season in Chapel Hill for weekend brunch and eating outside
            5. Akashi or Sushi Love in Durham for sushi.

            2 Replies
            1. re: wvurx

              I prefer casual, unpretentious style. My Top 5

              1) Wild Turkey Lounge (in Angus Barn)
              2) Vin Rouge
              3) Vic's Italian
              4) Vinnie's Steakhouse
              5) Fuddrucker's (still the best burger and bun)

              1. re: Fu Dee

                Is it me, or are 3 of those chains? I know 4 and 5 are, just guessing on 3. Come on, bro.. Get out more!

                1. Superior for tacos lengua and consome de borrega (although my favorite place for consome was called taquito d'oro- it was a truck (NOT the bus) outside the old buckhorn market, and I haven't found its new home)
                2. Fiesta Grill for whole fish and Caldo de 7 mares.
                3. Poole's Diner for, well, anything
                4. Jujube on an "on night"
                5. Saigon Grill for Canh Chua and pork crepes

            2. Boy it's hard to do just 5 but....

              1-The Federal for the braised pork sandwich and fries. I've lived here 35 years and I think I might prefer this to NC BBQ, sue me.

              2-La Vaquita-If I could find a place that served tacos de lechon and panuchos that would make the list but until then.

              3-Magnolia Grill-best pork chop ever and that grits souffle, oh boy.

              4-Humble Pie

              5-Randy's Pizza, I've known Randy for years so I'm biased but it's still my favorite pizza by the slice in the area.

              1. Add me to The Federal in Durham

                Rest in Raleigh:
                Soloman's for Meditterean
                Waraji for Sushi
                Mo's Diner and Bloomsbury Bistro for special occassion
                Oakwood Cafe - my favorite "hole in the wall" and the best churrasco steak ever!

                1. My top 5 at the moment, and subject to change:
                  - Cypress
                  - Poole's Diner
                  - J Betskis
                  - An Chau cause I needs my pho
                  - Kashin for rustic Japanese and ramen

                  1. Hmmm this is a toughie as I've not really explored as much of the restaurants (Fins, J.Betskis and such) that I'd like to.. This may be more of where I've had the best meals and not my top favorite restaurants (places I go to often because I really enjoy the food) but that may be due to price.

                    In Chapel Hill/Durham
                    Mint (not THE Mint)
                    Bonn Soiree
                    Med Deli
                    It's a toss up between Momoyama and Sushi Love (for Sushi).

                    I'd list others in different areas like Coquette and Mo's Diner in Raleigh.

                    1. These are the ones I visit frequently and am always very pleased with:

                      Fortune Palace
                      a little bit of a drive in Williamston-
                      Sunny Side Oyster Bar

                      Watts Grocery would be on our frequent rotation if it were closer and a little lower in price. (They are reasonable for the fare, just a little higher than we can do frequently!)

                      1. Hello from the SF Bay Area of California! I'm already missing Triangle offerings, so here's my top 5:

                        1) Magnolia Grill - Chez Panisse in CA may have invented the philosophy, but Ken and Karen Barker take the idea of intricate interplay of dozens of fresh, local ingredients in a single dish to a whole new level.

                        2) Bonne Soiree - the epitome of classy yet wholly approchable cuisine and service.

                        3) Watts Grocery - casual, fresh, local, Southern - who can ask for more?

                        4) Yancey House Restaurant in Yanceyville, NC - winner of "best dish in NC" this year, this place is outstanding. Gorgeous home out of which the restaurant is run. Best casual-style seafood I had in my 3.5 years in North Carolina, including scores of seafood places along the coast. The Aunt Maude's sampler on Sunday with all-you-can-eat gumbo, beef brisket, mashed potatoes, fried pork chops, collards, squash casserole, and dessert - is the best comfort food spread I've had anywhere in the state, including the buffets.

                        5) Tonali - a dark horse place that people tend to forget, but it's rare to find a restaurant that does "upscale" Mexican, much less using high quality ingredients and deft preparations.

                        1. I've chosen the five places I've been going to recently with some frequency. None of them special occasion restaurants - that would merit a different list.

                          Saigon Grill
                          Twisted Noodle
                          Vit Goal
                          Chubby's Tacos

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: suse

                            I just saw that the Chubby's Tacos at Woodcroft opened. I almost stopped by, but the place was PACKED full of people, and I had the kids. But I'm sure we'll get takout from there for dinner sometime this week.

                            1. re: durhamois

                              Thanks for letting us know, Durhamois. I like the super weird chili relleno taco. I'm sure it's not authentic, but i love it.

                          2. In No particular order:

                            Bin 54 (Chapel Hill, very pricey, but fantastic. I heard from an employee that the food lately has been somewhat uneven).

                            Waraji (Raleigh, sushi, always on point)

                            Twisted Noodles (Durham, just opened a resto in Chapel Hill. Rockin' Thai food)

                            Los Comales (Durham, the king of Taco Row)

                            Revolution (Durham, often maligned on the website, and while I understand the reasons for that, I still think it's the crown jewel of Durham's restaurant scene)

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: durhamois

                              I've definitely noticed a problem with quality control at Bin 54 over the past year. Disappointing, because it used to be our go to special occassion place. At those prices, you really want it to be perfect.

                              Anyone been to the CH Twisted Noodles yet? Is it as good as the Durham branch?

                              1. re: LulusMom

                                Not really. I've been to both Twisted Noodles locations three times each, and Durham is always superior. But that's just my opinion.

                                And still, it's quite good. I'd be hard-pressed to find a better Thai/Asian restaurant in Chapel Hill...though I'm more than happy to be proven wrong.

                                1. re: LulusMom

                                  I've heard that it is not as good as the Durham resto, but I don't know firsthand.

                              2. Mostly lunch spots-
                                Cloos' Coney Island
                                Oakwood Cafe
                                Battistella's New Orleans Kitchen
                                Pizza Italia
                                Stephenson's BBQ

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: jiminea

                                  Jiminea - I think you may have wandered off your path and ended up smack in the middle of a North Carolina thread....

                                  1. re: jiminea

                                    Thanks for the reminder about Battistella's! I think since they are so tucked away from view they keep falling off my radar. Appreciate the mention and hope to finally try them soon.

                                    1. re: meatn3

                                      Their location (Crabtree Inn) is supposed to be replaced with a new Hilton starting spring of 2010......they're scouting for a new location.

                                      1. re: jiminea

                                        oops - sorry about my response before. I had never heard of any of your places on this site, but I'm not in Raleigh much so maybe I just overlooked them before. It was the "Cloos Coney Island" that totally threw me off.

                                        1. re: suse

                                          That's OK- you oughta try these spots....here's what I like about them:
                                          Cloos'- best chili cheese fries and patty melts.
                                          Oakwood Cafe- very good Cuban & Argentinean dishes...try the Ropa Vieja w/plantains as a side!
                                          Battistella's- best gumbo I've ever had..and they've got beignets and chicory coffee for dessert.
                                          Pizza Italia- Authentic NY pizza by the slice and a great philly steak.
                                          Stephenson's- Eastern NC 'que cooked over wood...'nuf said.

                                  2. my faves are--

                                    Rue Cler
                                    Blue Ridge Restaurant at NC art museum

                                    1. many good selections. too hard to pick top 5 i think. but no mention of Glass Half Full in Carrboro? well executed food, nice decor, wine deals

                                      7 Replies
                                      1. re: aenverga

                                        I'd put Glasshalful on my list, if I was making it up today. They're doing a great job recently.

                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                          Has anyone been to GlassHalfFull since their chef went to work at Georgio's in Cary? I expect the food quality would remain the same? I've had some great meals there in the past and hope their winning streak continues.

                                          1. re: ToothTooth

                                            I've been a couple of times since the other chef left. I have to say, I really liked the other guy's work a lot, and I do see a slight change for the worse. But ... I still have had some very good meals there with the new guy. Just not great meals. Maybe with a little time. I'm still more than happy to spend my time and money there; the room is comfortable, the wine is good, the service is friendly and the food is still pretty darned good.

                                            1. re: ToothTooth

                                              Ate there at New Years and was underwhelmed. Would rather go to Six Plates or some other small plates place.

                                              That said, last I heard Chef Moore isn't doing much to help Georgios either.

                                              1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                                Yeah, but NYE is always an iffy proposition food-wise at a restaurant.

                                                Very interesting about the Georgios thing. I really thought that chef was doing some great stuff at GHF.

                                                1. re: LulusMom

                                                  Yeah I know about NYE and food times (I think it goes about as well as Valentines).

                                                  1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                                    Exactly! and forget about mothers' day.

                                        2. Our top 5.
                                          Cypress on the Hill. So good that our daughter took us there for Father's Day and my wife chose it for her birthday. We are going there on New Year's Eve.
                                          Elaine's on Franklin. We've been there a number of times, most recently on Christmas Eve. Has always been very good, but just a smidgen below Cypress.
                                          Lantern, Rue Cler, and Vin Rouge. All very good. Lantern when we have been in the mood for Asian food, Rue Cler and Vin Rouge for French food, although they have different types of French. You need to check their web sites to see the differences. For example, Rue Cler has coq au vin at dinner and beignets at Sunday brunch, Vin Rouge has sweetbreads and liver with onions (both of which I love to have occasionally, depending on my mood) at dinner.

                                          1. I would hardly call south of burlington the triangle...

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: zekkius

                                              If you're talking about Saxapahaw, about half of the folks living out here (including us) lead Triangle centered lives....and we're closer to Chapel Hill than Chapel Hill is to Raleigh or Cary. My commute to UNC is shorter than my colleague who lives in downtown Durham.