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RDU quiet special restaurant

Hi Friends, I'm choosing a Chapel Hill-Durham area restaurant for my mom's 90th birthday in July. It needs to be inside, air-conditioned, QUIET (hearing loss a big issue), with great food. She was a vegetarian and very health conscious until she lost so much weight she had to eat non-healthy again, and she likes that healthy and local-produce stuff. We are having two long-lost relatives coming in so it needs to be a very, very special occasion. We went to Fearrington house for her 50th anniversary years ago so that's out. She likes Magnolia Grill. Loves Acme, Squid's, Glass Half Full and Weathervane. Lantern isn't going to work for us, as good as it is. But we need something really special. No Crook's Corner and Bonne Soiree didn't go over that great. Anything new? Ideas?

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  1. How far are you willing to drive? My favorite special occasion restaurant is St. Jacques in North Raleigh. My parents lived in N. Raleigh until last summer, and prior to their move I would happily drive 45 minutes to St. Jacques for a special meal with them. It's a small place, professional staff, and they love to dote on their customers, even more so for birthdays and anniversaries. They will be closed July 18-27 for their annual trip to France, but open for dinner Tues-Sat the rest of the month.

    1 Reply
    1. re: mpjmph

      I will definitely check it out on my pre-birthday trip!! Thanks!

    2. Just curious--why are the places she's been to "out"? I would imagine returning to any of the places you mentioned would be fine if she enjoyed her previous visits.

      2 Replies
      1. re: d.v

        Hi DV. Most are too informal or we go too often. I live in CA (am a Chapel Hill native) but have a couple of chances to try out something new. She also loves to try out new places. Of the places we know, Fearrington or Magnolia are top of the list. I'd love to know about something new as I don't live there anymore. We all kinda dislike Crook's Corner -- always seemed a little touristy and we're 110% southern for real so grits don't seem all that novel -- and although I love Bonne Soiree, she didn't. Also the cousins are coming from far away (also actual southerners so we don't want that southern Mama Dip's kitsch thing) so we want to make it really nice. Weathervane is great but a bit noisy and the new ownership earlier this month didn't seem promising. Carolina Club would be perfect but we're not members anymore. Aw geez, I'm fussy.

        1. re: d.v

          She also wants to "impress" the cousins, haha!

        2. Bloomsbury Bistro in Raleigh, Nanas in Durham, or Herons in Cary might do the trick.

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

          1. Four Square in Durham is both very good, and non-noisy. I've also found Il Palio, and The Fairview at the Washington Duke work very well for dining out with two sets of friends with one in each couple getting more hearing impaired as they age.

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            Four Square Restaurant
            2701 Chapel Hill Rd., Durham, NC 27707

            1 Reply
            1. re: walras

              I second the Four Square recommendation.

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              Four Square Restaurant
              2701 Chapel Hill Rd., Durham, NC 27707

            2. Wow, believe it or not the quite part is sort of stumping me! On your side of the world I would toss out The Kitchen and Revolution as two possibilities. French bistro (a bit casual) and then seasonal American (upscale). I've also heard wonderful things about Herons.

              Out in Raleigh I'd look at Second Empire or maybe Tasca Brava if they would be interested in Spanish.

              Good luck and let us know what you find!

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              Tasca Brava
              607 Glenwood Ave, Raleigh, NC 27603

              2 Replies
              1. re: RonboNC

                I second the Second Empire rec and I'll throw in another for Mo's Diner. Both have quiet atmospheres and both places know how to handle special occasions with class.

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

                1. re: sisterbeer

                  I have been to Mo's once and thought it was definitely a great atmosphere for a special date.

                  One other thought is that for most of these restaurants, if you go during an off-peak period you should be ok noise-wise. Just avoid Thur - Sat from 6:30 to 9:00pm and you should be ok even with those hard of hearing...