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Raleigh area - Date night Restaurant Recommendations?

My wife and I are planning a regular date night throughout 2011. I would like to hear some restaurant recommendations.

Requirements:
- TVs are not everywhere in the restaurant. (We have precious little time together just the two of us, and don’t want to be distracted.)
- Noise level such that we can actually talk and hear each other
- Comfortable place to linger and talk. (We expect to spend about an hour and a half.)
- Raleigh and Westward. (we live where Cary/apex come together.)
- Does not have to be fancy. One of our date night places has been Lucky 32.

Thanks in advance,

Alan

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Lucky 32
7307 Tryon Rd, Cary, NC 27518

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  1. There are obviously a ton of fine dining options that you'll hear about that would suit your needs perfectly, but for something fun and different, check out the original Dos Taquitos at Millbrook and Creedmoor in Raleigh. It's fairly cheap, the food is great, and the atmosphere is both festive and intimate. (The decor is funky but it's also Raleigh's most dimly lit restaurant.) Very fun for a night out.

    2 Replies
    1. re: rafeco

      We love Dos Taquitos. If you go, do yourself a favor and have one of their lovely soups. Many of the entrees come with "soup or salad." If not, order one.

      1. re: rafeco

        The noise level may be too high for the Poster, especially on weekends.

      2. If you don't mind driving a bit, I'll recommend three places in Chapel Hill. First, Bonne Soiree. Classic date night place. Small, cozy, space. High end menu. Second, Lantern's Asian-influenced menu is some of the most forward thinking food in the Triangle. The room is dark at night which makes it seem like your party is the only one there (perhaps ask to be seated on the left side of the room as you face the back of the restaurant). The last place is a bit of a stretch. Vimala's Curryblossom Cafe. While this is more of a hole in the wall than a classic date night spot, I recommend it for the warm vibe I get whenever I go there.

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

        Vimala's Curryblossom Cafe
        431 W Franklin St, Chapel Hill, NC 27516

        1. Some of my fave date nights would be:

          Tasca Brava: A bit pricey but great Spanish food and ambiance
          Jibarra: Nouveau mexican, great margaritas
          Bu*ku: Slick decor, broad menu but haven't been since chefs changed
          Oakwood Cafe: Down-home Argentinian/Cuban food
          Red Room: For decent tapas, interesting decor. Avoid late-nights on Thur-Sat due to club
          Hayes Barton Cafe: Great comfort food and cakes, may need to wait for table
          Sono: Sexy sushi and cool dining room
          Humble Pie for small plates in an urban space, great deck when it warms up
          Bella Mia: Fantastic neapolitan pizza pies, casual
          Unaabi Grill: Tasty and unusual Afghani food, love the place even if it doesn't get much press
          Cafe Caturra: My favorite casual wine bar and sandwich spot, can get noisy at times
          Fraziers: Another great wine bar for small plates right on Hillsborough
          Sawasdee Thai on Glenwood or Capital: Still probably the best Thai food in area

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          Jibarra Restaurant
          7420 6 Forks Rd, Raleigh, NC 27615

          Sawasdee Thai Restaurant
          3601 Capital Blvd Ste 107, Raleigh, NC 27604

          Sono
          319 Fayetteville St, Raleigh, NC 27601

          Red Room
          510 Glenwood Ave, Ste 101, Raleigh, NC 27603

          Oakwood Cafe
          300 E Edenton St, Raleigh, NC 27601

          Tasca Brava
          607 Glenwood Ave, Raleigh, NC 27603

          Bella Mia
          2025 Renaissance Park Pl, Cary, NC 27513

          3 Replies
          1. re: RonboNC

            Love these - especially the shout out for Humble Pie.

            1. re: RonboNC

              We ate at Buku last week -- I thought the food quality was just as good as it had been before. Not my favorite place in Raleigh, but it was still very very solid.

              1. re: rafeco

                Thanks for the update on buku, rafeco! Glad to know they're still doing a good job in the kitchen, need to get back and try it again...

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                buku
                110 E Davie St, Raleigh, NC 27601

            2. I'll second Dos Taquitos, Oakwood Cafe, Sono, Cafe Caturra and Sawasdee. Also, perhaps consider Hayes Barton, Coquette, The Point (does have TVs), Bella Monica, The Pit, Shaba Shabu, and Glenwood Grill.

              Enjoy your dates!

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              Bella Monica Restaurant
              3121 Edwards Mill Rd, Raleigh, NC 27612

              Sono
              319 Fayetteville St, Raleigh, NC 27601

              Oakwood Cafe
              300 E Edenton St, Raleigh, NC 27601

              Sawasdee
              730 Augusta Rd, Warrenville, SC 29851

              Glenwood Grill
              2603-151 Glenwood Avenue, Raleigh, NC 27608

              1. I hear about the following but haven't been, but will toss them out to see what others may say. Rey's, Maximillians, Daniel's (which I'm guessing you have been to in that area), Waraji, Taverna Nikos, An, Angus Barn, Heron's (if you want to dress up)...

                I take that back I've been to Taverna Nikos and Herons.

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                Angus Barn Restaurant
                9401 Glenwood Ave, Raleigh, NC 27617

                1. We enjoy Firebirds, Fleming's, Michael Dean's (they have a special on Monday night, fixed price), David's Dumpling & Noodle Bar - very affordable. I agree about Bella Monica and Hayes Barton.

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                  Bella Monica Restaurant
                  3121 Edwards Mill Rd, Raleigh, NC 27612

                  Barton Hayes Cafe & Dessertery
                  2000 Fairview Rd, Raleigh, NC 27608

                  Michael Dean's Seafood Grill
                  6004 Falls of Neuse Rd, Raleigh, NC 27609

                  Firebirds Rocky Mountain Grill
                  4350 Lassiter At North Hills Ave Ste 118, Raleigh, NC 27609

                  Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar
                  4325 Glenwood Ave, Raleigh, NC 27612

                  1. Bistro 64 offers their bar menu for half price on Thursday nights. You can order small plates style and stretch it to an hour and half easily. Nikos Taverna in Morrisville, but I haven't been in months.

                    For Much less fancy - If you like soul/southern food and can enjoy a buffet for your date then get to Joyce and Family in Fuquay - I find it hard to stay under an hour when I go. We love the burgers, onion rings, and beer du jour at Abbey Road.

                    Less chowish, but still good and nearby is La Rancherita in downtown Apex which is a notch or two better than Tres Magueyes. I won't go back to Daniels.

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                    Bistro 64
                    103 Edinburgh South Drive, Cary, NC 27511

                    La Rancherita Mexican Restaurant
                    102 N Salem St, Apex, NC 27502

                    Abbey Road Tavern & Grille
                    1195 W Chatham St, Cary, NC 27513

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: AreBe

                      My wife told me to let Alan and everyone else know that after thirty years together I do still love her, but our concept of an appropriate venue for a date is somewhat changed.

                    2. Coquette is nice without feeling fancy or overdone. Basic but well cooked french bistro food.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: LulusMom

                        I agree! We just tried it for the first time last weekend. Very nice night out with friends at a table for four. We could hear each other too!

                      2. I've loved Maximillions in Cary ever since my husband and I tried them several years ago. It is a small space, so I recommend a reservation. Great food, quiet atmosphere, good service, and nice wine list.

                        1. Thank you everyone for the many suggestions!