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Chapel Hill - Tarantini and Raaga

mpjmph Nov 28, 2012 11:35 AM

I have a group of colleagues coming in next week for a meeting, and they just asked for dinner advice. Most of the restaurants they mentioned are familiar, but a few are new to me, so I figured I toss it to the 'hounds. Does anyone know anything about Raaga (on Environ Way http://www.raagafinedining.com/contactus.html) or Tarantini (Governor's Club http://www.tarantinirestaurant.com/


There are several vegans in the group, so if you have experience as (or with) a vegan, that would be especially helpful.


ETA: I just realized Raaga is the Saffron of Chapel Hill, so I know where we stand with that.

  1. r
    Rory Nov 28, 2012 03:49 PM

    I cook vegan at home eat vegetarian out, so I firmly recommend Cholanad over Saffron, as Saffron is North Indian cuisine and the veg dishes contain dairy (cream, yogurt) and may/use ghee (butter). Cholanad is South Indian cuisine which uses oil and coconut milk. There are many, many vegan dishes to choose from as well as fish/meat for your other colleagues.

    Just checked the Tarantini menu; all the pasta dishes are served with cheese. Panzanella is more vegan friendly, I've asked them many times to leave cheese off or to use tomato sauce. Hope this is helpful.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Rory
      burgeoningfoodie Nov 29, 2012 10:02 AM

      There is an additional thread that was recently started (within the month) about some Vegan places. Do be careful as some tomato sauces use butter.

    2. Tehama Nov 30, 2012 04:05 AM

      I'm afraid I can't speak to the vegan aspect, but I have eaten at Tarantini before and it was absolutely wonderful. I recall it took longer to drive there than I expected, but the meal was terrific.

      1. m
        mpjmph Nov 30, 2012 07:47 AM

        Thanks everyone. There is only one vegan in the group, but she is the boss. I've passed on your feedback for Tarantini and Raaga/Saffron. I also suggested Chola Nad and Vimala's.

        5 Replies
        1. re: mpjmph
          Remsleep Nov 30, 2012 11:52 AM

          Honestly, I don't think I've had better Indian food outside of actual Indian home cooking than Cholanad. I'm neither vegan nor vegetarian, but my daughter is, and we eat from Cholanad a lot. I've never had anything from there that is less than very good.

          1. re: Remsleep
            Rory Nov 30, 2012 07:12 PM

            I love both Cholanad and Vimala's: Cholanad for uber refined cuisine in an elegant atmosphere (great wines too) , Vimala for homey delicious food and a warm gemutlich atmosphere. Vegan-wise you can't do better. Our pleasure to help.

            1. re: Rory
              Rory Dec 1, 2012 03:15 PM

              Can't believe I didn't mention The Spotted Dog in Carrboro; they cater to vegans with many dishes, tofu, faux meats, tempeh, plus meat/fish for everyone else & tons of on tap quality beers.

              1. re: Rory
                bbqme Dec 4, 2012 07:26 AM

                One caution about Vimala's is that it's a small space. Not sure it would be amenable to an office get-together, even a relatively small one. Cholanad has much more room.

                1. re: bbqme
                  Tom from Raleigh Dec 6, 2012 05:21 AM


                  Vimala's has expanded into the space next door, so there's a lot more seating than when they first opened.

          2. m
            mpjmph Dec 6, 2012 06:49 AM

            Thanks everyone for you thoughts! The group ended up going to Saffron/Raaga, and enjoyed it. The vegan in the group happens to also be the boss, and she made the final decision. I didn't mention the North v. South Indian thing. She's been vegan long enough that she can either pretend the vegetarian dishes didn't have any dairy, or ask tons of questions and make due with what was available. They were seated under the dome, which was a nice touch for a large group. I ended up not going because I forgot I had class that night (oh yeah, that Tuesday and this Tuesday were the same Tuesday...).

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