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Dinner in the Triangle - On Someone Else's Tab

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I'm in the enviable position of being invited to dinner - my choice and someone else paying. Of course, now I'm drawing a blank on where I'd like to go. Anywhere in the Triangle is good and I'd like to stay at about $75/person, before alcohol. Since I don't go out for those kind of meals that often, I can't come up with good ideas.

So far I'm considering Heron's, Il Palio, and Fearrington, but I'd like get some input on where you've been and what you've liked.

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  1. If I were in your shoes I would either go to Heron's if i wanted to stick to a place that I have tried or go check out Mandolin and see if the fuss is warranted. From their menu it certainly looks like it is.

    1. All three are worth a trip. Coincidentally, I've been to all three in the past six months. Had great meals at il Palio. Just love what the kitchen is doing there. Very comfortable feel in the dining room. Fearrington certainly nailed all the little details. Expected of a relais & chateaux. Great service, great bread, great wine list and beautiful property. Herons, while a very good restaurant, felt like dining in a hotel. Good food, good service, good beverage program, but my least favorite setting. All in all, three very good restaurants to choose from. I'd pick il Palio for most satisfying food and best value. You can order a lot without feeling guilty on someone else's dime. Fearrington would be the pick for most romantic and most formal. Great service. Herons would be my pick for most inventive cuisine. Certainly worth a visit. Hope this sheds some light.

        1. I was also wondering about An. The menu looked very interesting.

          2 Replies
          1. re: rockycat

            I've had some wonderful meals at An. I have not been since the change in chef nor have I heard anything.

            1. re: rockycat

              My wife's favorite restaurant was An before the chef change. We haven't been back since then only because we had gone too much. Is there a place that you've said..'ya know I'd go there.. if I didn't have to pay?' Herons and Fearrington are probably the priciest on the list. I don't recall much about the Washington Duke Inn but that might be good. Is there a certain type atmosphere you are looking for? I'm going to Mandolin on Saturday with in-laws. A friend of mine considers it their replacement for Magnolia Grill. There is also the somewhat new Oakleaf in Pittsboro and Little Hen in Holly Springs.. If you wanted something completely different, you could go for the recently lauded Japanese food at Yamazushi or the oft talked about Indian fair at Cholonad. Lastly, there is the always talked about Lantern.

            2. I'd put Bin54 on your list too.