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Can't miss food in Raleigh?

I'm going to Raleigh next week for a convention. My schedule is pretty flexible. Anything to recommend an out of town girl from Atlanta? I eat all kinds of things, but I'm a sucker for soul food.

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  1. Assuming that you'll be at the Convention Center, I recommend Poole's Diner is just across the street. It's not quite soul food but it's southern/comfort food influenced. You're also within walking distance to quite a few things downtown (and discussed heavily in other threads).

    It's a little bit of a hike from the Convention Center - although just minutes by car - but the Pit is a good representation of Eastern Carolina BBQ (just my opinion, others will argue with that) and has some good soul food staples.

    For other interesting options, the Oakwood Grill just north of downtown does Argentinian and Cuban food. J. Betski's is also a cool spot for German/Polish food, two things I was convinced that I did not like prior to eating there. It might be worth a look because it's a genre of cooking that's hard to find done as well as they do it. It's just north of downtown and just a few minutes by car.

    Oakwood Cafe
    300 E Edenton St, Raleigh, NC 27601

    4 Replies
    1. re: dinersaurus

      Hi Dinersaurus, As a non-pork, not-much-meat, sauerkraut hating person, I'm intrigued by your comments about thinking you wouldn't like the german/polish food but being proven wrong. Do you think someone with my tastes would walk away with the same feeling? I have to say, I've lucked out with a couple of really great meals in Germany, but they took some work in finding.

      1. re: LulusMom

        There's only one way to find out!

        There are always some non-pork, non sauerkraut options. Non-meat ...eh, not as much. But, their pieroges are definitely worth trying. I've always enjoyed their salads as well as their non-pork dishes too. If you're still on the fence, you should go for drinks in the bar. They have small plate bar specials. That way, you could sample some pieroges, and whatever else looks good without committing to a full meal. And, if you like beer at all, they have an outstanding selection of German/Austrian/Czech brews. If not, they have some nice Austrian and German wines as well. Note that you can also order from the full menu in the bar. Another option are their lunches which are surprisingly reasonable. Now that I mention it, their dinners aren't that pricey either.

        Have I talked you into it yet? Must convert, must assimilate.

        1. re: dinersaurus

          You had me at beer.

          Seriously though (and I was kind of serious), since we live in CH, we don't make it that often to Raleigh for dinner, but I do keep hearing such great things about this place, but sort of nixed it for the rare times we are there because I assumed it would be a pork and sauerkraut bonanza. I love pierogies. Better look into the menu. Thanks so much for taking the time to answer.

          1. re: LulusMom

            Ah well then... the beer alone is worth the price of admission. Be sure to ask the bartender or waiters what's new or interesting. They sometimes get in some rare stuff (e.g., they claimed that a recent beer I had there was from one of the only two kegs that came into the country) and occasional cask beers.

    2. We love dining in Atlanta and cannot hope to compete with the range of good food you have at home. The Triangle taken as a whole is not a shabby place to eat at all and Raleigh does its part to support the effort.

      Within walking distance of the Convention Center -- I echo the praises and support for Poole's Diner. The Pit is the closest to soul food, or Clyde Cooper's BBQ place.

      In addition, in downtown there is Dos Taquitos Centro for Mexican, Sitthi for middle eastern, Gravy for Italian, Duck & Dumpling for Chinese/Asian, The Mint for contemporary high-end food, Spize for Thai/Asian, BuKu for what they call Asian street food, Mo's Diner for Southern-influenced French, and Raleigh Times for bar/pub food.

      West of downtown but still south of Hillsborough Street is Humble Pie (tapas). North of Hillsborough St is Second Empire (French/continental), and further north is 18 Seaboard and J Betski's, though you have to like all things German (I don't) to go there.

      North and a bit west of Hillsborough Street is the Glenwood South area with Zely & Ritz (owns a farm, serves locally grown food), the Globe (french/continental), Solas (continental), Tasca Brava (Spanish), 42nd Street Oyster Bar (seafood/steaks), and 518 West (Italian).

      I do not think you would be disappointed in a meal at any of these, given appropriate expectations about their cuisine. If you will have access to a car and feel more adventurous, let us know for recommendations further afield.

      Raleigh Times Bar
      14 E Hargett St, Raleigh, NC 27601

      18 Seaboard
      18 Seaboard, Raleigh, NC 27604

      Mo's Diner
      306 E Hargett St, Raleigh, NC 27601

      Zely & Ritz
      301 Glenwood Ave Ste 100, Raleigh, NC 27603

      The Duck & Dumpling
      222 S Blount St, Raleigh, NC 27601

      J Betski's
      10 W Franklin St, Raleigh, NC 27604

      Tasca Brava
      607 Glenwood Ave, Raleigh, NC 27603

      Spize Cafe
      121 Fayetteville St, Raleigh, NC 27601

      1. If you have a car there is a wonderful soul/southern food restaurant about 10 - 15 minutes from downtown. Southern Flavor is inside the beltline on the east side of town at Glascock and Raleigh Blvd. The shopping center is not the most inviting, but the restaurant is very welcoming and everything I've had has been delicious. The oxtails and fried chicken are outstanding.


        I think J. Betski should be on your "can't miss" list. They take eastern European food several dozen notches above the usual presentations found in the U.S. The food here is wonderful. Service too. I do find their meat dishes to be stronger than their seafood options. Very nice desserts too!


        13 Replies
        1. re: meatn3

          >I do find their meat dishes to be stronger than their seafood options

          I guess this is kind of an uh-oh to my question above.

          1. re: LulusMom

            Their seafood options are still quite good, but I feel the meat dishes shine brighter. Looking at the on line menu you have a number of very nice non-meat options and even more if you go with fish. Between the pub plates and the apps you could have a fantastic meal!

            1. re: meatn3

              Thanks meatn3. I definitely eat fish, and even poultry - just shy away from red meat (should have been clearer about that). I'm going to give the menu a look and then see how I can get the family interested (or do it next time I spend the night in Raleigh on my own).

              1. re: meatn3

                Those pub plates look very enticing.

                1. re: LulusMom

                  When we ate there, I had chicken. I'm not big on chicken, but the preparation (with noodles and in a riesling sauce) looked interesting. It was *delicious* - and all white meat chicken if that matters to you. I totally wanted to lick the plate when I was done, it was that good, lol. And not a heavy meal at all - Betski's is not the kind of place one usually thinks of when it comes to German food.

                  1. re: romansperson

                    I definitely think j betskis is worth the money and time. Also, Sitti is consistently really good. It's cool because you can order a bunch of little tastes of stuff you might not ordinarily try. Also, a really good place that you'd never expect with modest food is backyard bistro. They have great ribs, wings, and burgers. The burger meat is the grind from the angus barn, and they'll serve it mid-rare if you want. Not gonna blow your mind, but if you're with a group of people who aren't adventurous, this is the spot.

                    137 S. Wilmington St., Raleigh, NC 27601

            2. re: meatn3

              I like J Betskis too!

              J Betski's
              10 W Franklin St, Raleigh, NC 27604

              1. re: meatn3

                Meatn3, thanks for the lead on Southern Flavor! Rarely get to that side of town but may be worth a side-trip. But looking at the menu, I don't think I'm ready for the hotpot with pigs feet and hogs maws... :-@

                Southern Flavor
                400 Ernest W Barrett Pkwy NW Ste 119, Kennesaw, GA 30144

                1. re: RonboNC

                  If you really want an E. Raleigh field trip, work in Jerk Masters on Poole Rd and then top it off on Capital Blvd. with the taco truck at Hodges and then Saltwater Seafood and Fry Shack.
                  You may need to take advantage of the Greenway and walk it off in between noshes!

                  Jerk Masters
                  1909 Poole Rd, Raleigh, NC 27610

                  1. re: meatn3

                    Haha, sounds like calorie-rich trek there, meatn3! I may swing by Southern Flavor tomorrow, they've got some sort of oxtail dish/pork chops on special. I think I've seen the taco truck on Capital but typically I'm whizzing by at 45mph. And yes, have tried SS&FS already and remember the meal clearly. Needed to take a serious nap after downing their shrimp & flounder plate, zzzz...

                    Southern Flavor
                    400 Ernest W Barrett Pkwy NW Ste 119, Kennesaw, GA 30144

                    1. re: RonboNC

                      Get the ox tails! The time I had them they were wonderful! Maybe I'll pick some up for dinner tomorrow!

                      1. re: meatn3

                        Haha, I did get the oxtails today! They were really good but I could have used a bigger helping... :-O Candied yams were ah-mazingly good! Between the sugar and carbs I felt like a happy hummingbird.

                        Nice call meatn3, will definitely be back. Asked at the counter but the owner is from NYC but been in Raleigh a while. I would qualify the restaurant as Southern soul food still...

                        1. re: RonboNC

                          So glad you enjoyed the meal! Try the fried chicken next time...

              2. Be sure to check out Market. http://www.eatatmarket.com/index.cfm
                great neighborhood restaurant.