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Need 2 restaurant picks (Lantern, Glasshalfull, etc.) in the UNC/Chapel Hill area!

I'm visiting UNC for a few days and will have the chance to do 2 dinners in the area. Which of the below you would recommend for the best food or most unique experience?







106 S Greensboro St, Carrboro, NC 27510

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  1. I would unreservedly recommend The Lantern. I also think you should take a look at Elaine's - just like the Lantern, it is walking distance from UNC. http://elainesonfranklin.com/

    4 Replies
    1. re: LulusMom

      fantastic, thanks! the lantern looks amazing

      1. re: meigga

        If you are thinking of coming as far as Four Square, you should also check out Guglhupf Cafe - it is an incredible German bakery and cafe: http://www.guglhupf.com/cafe/. Their dinner is quite good - not traditional German fare, but German influenced with fresh ingredients.
        Il Palio at the Sienna Hotel in Chapel Hill doesn't get much love on this board, but I have had a couple of great meals there recently.http://www.sienahotel.com/IlPalio.aspx

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

        1. re: ksbee

          Speaking of places that dont get much love, I've never had a bad meal at Carolina Crossroads at the Carolina Inn. Only proviso is I haven't been there in three years or so, although before that I ate there a couple of times a year as it was a favorite of my in-laws.

          Carolina Crossroads
          211Pittsboro St, Chapel Hill, NC 27516

        2. re: meigga

          Lantern and Nana's. Or you could do Lantern twice.

      2. For a unique dining experience, spoil yourself at Four Square.

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

        1. Yep, Lantern has to be on the list. The area's best cooking and ideas are coming out of that kitchen. As other's have said, you can also eat very well at Four Square, although I think Nana's has better food, but I like Four Square's atmosphere, being in an old home. One is pretty good too and has a sleeker, more contemporary feel to it. If you like things a bit funkier, then Gulghupf might be an interesting option. I'm not as big on Il Palio, although I had a good meal there recently. But, the ambiance just doesn't click for me, as it seems a bit cold.

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

          1. I'd say Lantern for sure. Just to add a couple other candidates to your list: Crook's Corner is something of an insititution in town, even if the food won't really wow you. I haven't been, but the Fearrington House is ultra fancy and reportedly outstanding. And finally, another place I haven't been to, but heard great things about, is Vimala's CurryBlossom Cafe.

            Crook's Corner
            610 W Franklin St, Chapel Hill, NC 27516

            Fearrington House Restaurant
            2000 Fearrington Village, Pittsboro, NC 27312

            1 Reply
            1. re: brsmith2

              I'd pick Watts Grocery in Durham over Crooks Corner.

              For a change of pace, you could try The Pig or Allen & Son for bbq.

              lantern is my favorite place right now.

              Watts Grocery
              1116 Broad Street, Durham, NC 27705

            2. A nice list you're starting from.
              Everyone is right about Lantern.

              I like Crooks more than most on the list (and Cheese Pork is back this weekend!). I've also enjoyed Glasshalfull. I especially like GHF for small plates at the bar.

              Since you're including Durham in the list, I'd also consider Rue Cler and Magnolia Grill

              Rue Cler Restaurant
              401 E Chapel Hill St, Durham, NC 27701

              106 S Greensboro St, Carrboro, NC 27510

              6 Replies
              1. re: brokegradstudent

                I'm usually a big fan of Glasshalful, but was thinking of taking Lulu for dinner this week and figured I'd look up their menu (it changes seasonally - something I like). I was surprised to see that there weren't any small plates options. This is sad - it was one of the points that initially attracted me to the place (that and the wine ...). The menu still looked very good, but just thought I should let people know that, at least as far as I could see from the website, the small plates part of their schtick is gone.

                  1. re: brokegradstudent

                    Maybe check the website and see if somehow I just missed the small plates portion. I'd hate to be giving out bad info. But I looked, and didn't see, and was disappointed.

                    Here's a link to the dinner menu: http://glasshalfullcarrboro.com/index...

                    1. re: LulusMom

                      I would pick McDonalds, Burger King, Wendy's or just not eat over Crooks.

                      1. re: rf24230

                        If you love Indian food, go to Vimala's it's really excellent, freshly made, my got-to place in Chapel Hill. I'm a big Indian food fan & cook.

                        1. re: Rory

                          Vimala's is really great. Well Worth a visit.

              2. May I ask where you are coming from? I have not been to the Lantern but it is the top spot between UNC and Duke areas. I'm assuming you aren't venturing toward Raleigh. I've not been to Four Square in a while and my judgement is biased based on it being a holiday when I was last there.

                I enjoy Vin Rouge and Watts in Durham. I'd also look at Revolution though many give it mixed reviews. I've never been to Crooks but it seems to be a darling of the area. Acme in Carrboro I remember being good and Elaine's was good but for the price I'd choose Lantern and then something else. If you aren't from NC, but want to try NC BBQ without the fuss and without having to travel all the way to The Pit which is good but pretentious for NC BBQ. I'd suggest Backyard BBQ Pit on Hwy 55.

                I've wanted to go to Nana's and have not been but it has been around for a long while. Another place that hasn't been talked about in awhile is Piedmont. You may have to hunt for recent experiences. If you want something much less formal, you can hit up Mediterranean Deli on Franklin Street.. loads of counter displays as well as the typical Gyros, Shawarma, etc.

                Sticking to your list... I would go with Lantern and Four Sq or Lantern and Nanas. Pops is a typical Italian place and Glasshalffull just wasn't that great in my opinion. One has a chic vibe and a new chef and the food is fine but ultimately not up to par with the other 3 mentioned.

                One last Durham recommendation is to look into Blu Seafood. I've not been but it seems to get a overall positive response.

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

                Vin Rouge
                737 9th St, Durham, NC 27705

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

                Blu Seafood and Bar
                2002 Hillsborough Road, Durham, NC 27705

                1 Reply
                1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                  I love Blu seafood.

                  Has anyone at all been to Piedmont now that they've changed owners? I used to like the place a lot, but since I haven't heard anything I haven't bothered to go. Has to have been 2 years now since they switched. Would love to hear any reviews.

                2. I agree, Lantern and Elaine's are fantastic. We've also have had great experiences at Pancuitto in downtown Hillsborough, which is close to Chapel Hill.