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Chapel Hill/Durham Birthday Dinner Suggestions

Hello all!

I am turning 21 in a few weeks and my big sister is coming from Charleston to celebrate with me. We both work in the food & bev industry, naturally we love food. I'd love some suggestions on some upscale restaurants in the triangle area to enjoy a great meal. Price and type of cuisine have few limitations.

I've already tried the Lantern and Magnolia Grill, both were excellent but I'd love to go somewhere new! (Preferably somewhere with a decent wine list :-] )

M. Craig

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    1. Bonne Soiree. on franklin street, great wine-flights that they pair with your meal. Excellent food, nice people.

      Fearrington House. Consistently ranked as one of the best restaurants in NC. Strangely dunned in these pages, but check out their website and look at their list of current awards and ratings.

      Jujube on 54 in Chapel Hill. Asian fusion. chef has a nice hand for seasoning, excellent bar, thoughtful wine list. Lunch for a regular habit, dinner periodically.

      Pancuito in Hillsborough. Currently one of my most favorite places in the area. Great chef who invests in buying locally whatever he can, short excellent menu, one of the best innovators in the area since Bill Neal showed up. (e.g., I had a great piece of duck (cooked french style) on grits with a truly authentic red-eye gravy) .

      1. I'll add another vote for Bonne Soiree.

        3 Replies
        1. re: romansperson

          Third for Bonne Soiree. Others to consider adding to the great suggestions above are Four Square (Durham)-- think Magnolia Grill in a quieter, prettier setting; Glashalfull (Carrboro) if you're really into the wine aspect; Tonali (Durham) for great, authenic, upscale (in food quality not price) Mexican cuisine.

          1. re: bbqme

            Second for Four Square as not only is the food terrific, the setting in the old house befits a special occasion.

            1. re: bbqme

              Second, as well, for Jujube. The food is innovative and terrific, but the atmosphere might not be what you are seeking for a celebratory dinner.

          2. Try Cypress on the Hill (cypressonthehill.com). My daughter took my wife and me there for Father's Day. It was excellent, and my wife chose to go to it on her birthday on Aug. 3, over the many good restaurants in the area--Elaine's, Lantern, Magnolia, Bonne Soiree, and others--all of which we go to several times a year.

            1. Piedmont (Durham) best country pate I've ever eaten, Fraziers (Raleigh) superb cuisine using local products; 18 Seaboard (Raleigh) creative and delicious offerings that should cost much more than it does!

              1. I really liked Revolution (I'd mention Bonne Soiree but why be repetitive). I don't know about their wine list. I like Il Palio the few times I've been there but again don't know about their wine list.

                1 Reply
                1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                  For a change of pace, why not head over to the Capital City?

                  Start your evening with the unique beverage stylings of Foundation and then make your way to Poole's Diner where the food is excellent and menu is on the wall.

                2. I'm not hearing any votes for Nana's. Has it gone downhill? I haven't been there in a while but I've always enjoyed the food there.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: suse

                    Bin 54 for steak-- I love a great steakhouse and this one is excellent! great sides and wine list.

                    1. re: suse

                      I didn't get a Nana's vibe off the OP. I've never had anything but great food at Nana's. We'll be making a return visit soon.

                      1. re: suse

                        And I've not been to Nana's or Rockwood.... yet.

                        1. re: suse

                          Seven of us dined at Nana's for the first time last night. Food and service were excellent. Yukon gold and vidalia onion vichisoisse...yum! As you know, they have a great wine list, but I enjoyed a Belgian beer on draft.

                          None of us had room for dessert.

                        2. La Residence is always good. Seasonal ingredients, always fresh, superb preparation and casual, elegant atmosphere. On Rosemary St. in CH.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: stephenhait

                            I had a horrible meal there this past spring. And they double charged my credit card.

                          2. Four Square has that "special" atmosphere. So does Fearrington.

                            1. Hey everyone! Thanks for all the wonderful posts! I think we've decided on Bonne Soiree for dinner and Lantern for desserts and drinks after. I'm definitely considering a few other places for my next big night out though!

                              M. Craig