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Triangle Area - Family visiting, and I'm new - where do we eat??

I just moved to Raleigh a month ago. I'm hosting my family and my boyfriend's family (nine adults) for Thanksgiving. Usually, we eat out except for Thanksgiving, when I cook. So, I'm looking for three restaurant recommendations:

1. Casual "locals" place for dinner - I'm almost committed to Allen&Sons - really want to do BBQ, but the families will have been traveling all day, and I don't necessarily want to haul them over there from Raleigh. I've eaten there before and I'm a big fan

2. Steakhouse - boyfriend's family are huge steakhouse fans. We've already been to Angus Barn, and frankly, wasn't crazy about it - felt a little too "kitchy" and "cafeteria". We're not afraid to pay steakhouse dollars for the meal, would love some other ideas.

3. Fun dinner restaurant, good example of what we do best here: some place nice, doesn't have to be, but can be upscale. Places I've already tried are: Magnolia Grill, Glennwood Grill, Bloomsbury Bistro, Maximillians, Anotherthyme, Margaux's, Nina's, Midtown & Bar 115, Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen. My favorites in this list were Midtown Restaurant & Bar 115, Magnolia Grill and Margaux's. Would like to do something new, along these lines.

Really want to show off for the family - and try some new stuff myself. Any suggestions are appreciated. And even if they don't get on the list for the family visit, I'll put them on my list!!

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Anotherthyme Restaurant & Bar
109 N Gregson St, Durham, NC 27701

Magnolia Grill
1002 9th St, Durham, NC 27705

Midtown Restaurant & Bar 115
4421-115 Six Forks Road, Raleigh, NC 27609

Lucky 32 Restaurant
109 S Stratford Rd, Winston Salem, NC 27104

Glenwood Grill
2603 Glenwood Ave Ste 151, Raleigh, NC 27608

Angus Barn Restaurant
9401 Glenwood Ave, Raleigh, NC 27617

Allen & Son Inc Pit Cooked Bar-B-Que
5650 US Hwy 15 501 N, Pittsboro, NC 27312

Lucky 32
7307 Tryon Rd, Cary, NC 27518

Margaux's Restaurant
8111 Creedmoor Rd Ste 111, Raleigh, NC 27613

Nina's Ristorante
8801 Lead Mine Rd, Raleigh, NC 27615

Bloomsbury Bistro
509 W Whitaker Mill Rd, Raleigh, NC 27608

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  1. I'll throw out three for consideration:

    1. The PIt. I'd rather go to Allen & Son but The Pit would be a lot closer for you.
    2. Bin 54 in Chapel Hill. Pricey but very good.
    3. Coquette in Raleigh.

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    Bin 54
    1201 M Raleigh Rd., Chapel Hill, NC 21517

    4 Replies
    1. re: bbqme

      Totally agree on Bin 54 for the steak house.

      Have you considered Vin Rouge for your fun/upscale-ish dinner? The place is bustling and funky, and has good food. Coquette is also a good choice. We really liked 18 Seaboard if you like seafood - really nice looking room and friendly service, we were impressed with most of what we ordered. Feels upscale but my 4 year old was comfortable there.

      Good luck - let us know how it goes.

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      Vin Rouge
      2010 Hillsborough Rd., Durham, NC 27705

      Bin 54
      1201 M Raleigh Rd., Chapel Hill, NC 21517

      18 Seaboard
      18 Seaboard, Raleigh, NC 27604

      1. re: LulusMom

        For upscale, I agree with LulusMom, as I love Vin Rouge. It's exactly what I think a good bistro should be. It has great food, good drinks, and a fun, laid back and slightly funky atmosphere. If you want something a little fancier, consider Nanas. I had a really outstanding meal there recently.

        I also like the Pit for BBQ. To me, the que is consistently good. I love Allen & Sons on a good day, but they haven't always had good days when I've been there.

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        Vin Rouge
        2010 Hillsborough Rd., Durham, NC 27705

        1. re: dinersaurus

          And, I did mean Nana's, which is in Durham, and is not the same as Nina's in Raleigh.

        2. re: LulusMom

          Btw, I'm not ruling out Coquette, I think it's really good and I go there quite a bit. (Although, the lunches and brunches seemed to go downhill in recent months. Heard they have a new chef now, so it could be changing...). I think it's a solid choice if you don't want to go to Durham.

      2. I'm with bbqme - these options fit your criteria nicely.

        The only change I'd suggest would be Beefmastor Inn in Wilson for steak. It's about an hour from Raleigh, excellent steak and quite unique. Atmosphere is pretty minimal, but service is good. It is just all about the steak, to the extent that Rib-eye is the only thing they serve. No menu, just your choice of size and temp on the meat, salad bar, baked potato and Texas toast. Baked onion on request.

        Quirky, delicious and on the Our State list of NC foods not to miss.

        http://www.ourstate.com/articles/100-...

        I also bring visitors to Neomondes and Bosphorus for an experience they may not have at home.

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        Beefmastor Inn
        2656 US Highway 301 S, Wilson, NC 27893

        1. I didn't think Nina's was still open.

          The Pit is a good choice for local Q. As far as steakhouses, I don't know many that aren't chains though Flemings and Sullivans have their followers and are both in Raleigh. Does anyone know about Rey's in Raleigh/Cary as far as Steak goes? AnotherThyme of course is no more.

          I just went to Bu.ku and really enjoyed it. As far as upscale, you could try Revolution for something with a more Metropolitan feeling. I've always been satisfied at Watt's Grocery in Durham though that is not necessarily upscale and uses local products. Another upscale choice is Bonn Soiree. For casual, I like Mediterranean Deli, but it is much like Neomonde but in Chapel Hill.

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          Mediterranean Deli
          410 W Franklin St, Chapel Hill, NC 27516

          Watt's Grocery
          1116 Broad St Ste 100, Durham, NC 27705

          1. For the full dinner experience, I'll recommend Lantern in Chapel Hill.

            http://lanternrestaurant.com/

            5 Replies
            1. re: d.v

              Fun , funky, and fine - Poole's Diner

              Old School steakhouse - Vinnie's. Great non steak selections and sides too.

              Vin Rouge is the real deal French Bistro.

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              Vin Rouge
              2010 Hillsborough Rd., Durham, NC 27705

              1. re: Fu Dee

                Fun locals fare in Raleigh: The Pit for 'que. They have a wide enough menu to serve most eaters and you can have a grown up drink, plus if you'll be able to impress the foodies in your family, because The Pit gets a lot of love from the Food Network and media. Alternatively, try Sitti downtown and get a bunch of small plates to share.
                2. If you've gone out for 'que the first night, don't go out to a steak house the second night! Two heavy meals in a row will turn people off. Try buku for small plates or head to Chapel Hill and go to Vimala's. Vimala's serves homestyle Indian food that's tasty and interesting. It was unlike any Indian food I'd had before. Vimala's has a really nice vibe which will resonate with family. Vin Rouge would be another good choice.
                3. The finale: I think the most exciting thing about our local food scene is the emphasis on fresh, local ingredients: I'd hit up one of the following restaurants: Watt's Grocery, Poole's Diner, Nana's in Durham, Acme in Carrboro. I've been to all these places fairly recently and they're really hitting on all cylinders.

                Be aware your group size will make some small more romantic places less desirable for you. Nine adults will be cramped in Lantern or Bonne Soiree, for instance. Lantern is also pretty dark, which I see as a negative for a large group.

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                Vin Rouge
                2010 Hillsborough Rd., Durham, NC 27705

                Sitti
                137 S. Wilmington St., Raleigh, NC 27601

                Bonne Soiree Restaurant
                431 W Franklin St Ste 10, Chapel Hill, NC 27516

                Watt's Grocery
                1116 Broad St Ste 100, Durham, NC 27705

                buku
                110 E Davie St, Raleigh, NC 27601

                1. re: Tom from Raleigh

                  I agree - I think the quality of the food at Acme has gone up considerably in the past year. And it is a cozy but nice place.

                  I'd recommend Toast in Durham, but am having a hard time figuring out how you'd get 9 people in there. It's a nice lunch stop though.

                  1. re: Tom from Raleigh

                    Tom excellent point about 'que and steakhouse in a row - hadn't thought of that. My brothers follow Man v. Food religiously, so the Pit was featured in their Triangle show. I am glad to hear that it wasn't only hype! Love the recommendations for local, I'm really big on that, and have been trying to figure out best places to find it!

                    1. re: Tom from Raleigh

                      Adam Richman also went to Backyard BBQ Pit in Durham (Hwy 55 location) which gets very little love on this board.

                2. Another thought - Glasshalfull in Carrboro. We had dinner there tonight and it was really nice. They specialize in small plates, but also have full size. We had calamari (fried, and not as good as usual, to be honest), pumpkin risotto - very good; mushroom tart - delicious, and a special of tuna tartar - really wonderful. Lots of nice wines by the glass (and bottle). Again, it is a comfortable room but also feels special.

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                  Glasshalfull
                  106 S Greensboro St, Carrboro, NC 27510