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Stay-cation in the Triangle Area (March 1st-10th)

Any suggestions? I'm a grad student at NCSU and my boyfriend and I decided to stay in town for spring break rather than spend money to travel else where.

I've grown-up in Chapel Hill, lived in Durham for six years, and in August we moved to Raleigh.

Please share with me local delights that I just can't miss. Food or activities would be great.

Thank you!

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  1. Is there any particular kinds of foods you especially like (or dislike) or want to try? Is there a price limit?

    1. My favorites are the following:
      Merlion in Chapel Hill
      Sandwich in CH
      The Waffle Place on Franklin st in CH
      Crook's Corner for brunch on Sunday
      J.Betski's in Raleigh- get the mushroom or potato pierogi and some sausage
      Kurama's for sushi or off the special menu-sit at the sushi bar and ask for Tomo
      Next door is Sitar Indian- the buffet is good but a la carte is better.
      Watts Grocery- but you must go on Fri/Sat for dinner. Make reservations. I have been Sunday night and it was clear I was eating leftovers- but Fri/Sat is excellent.

      1 Reply
      1. re: fara

        I'll happily second Merlion. Interesting Malaysian choices along with some more mainstream Asian stuff. Not great atmosphere, but friendly service and delicious food.

      2. Given you lived in the Triangle most your life I think you've got that down pat. I'd head out to Wilmington and the beach, west out to Mooresville or southwest to Charlotte and Atlanta. How about Carolina Tiger Rescue (Pittsboro) or the Lemur Center (Durham)? The Lazy 5 Ranch in Mooresville? BBQ tour in Lexington? Grab a cheap hotel in Charlotte and hit up IKEA and Amelie's French Bakery? Out to Asheville for beer and food? Lots of local options but I'd probably go explore beyond the Triangle and grab some cheap hotels on Priceline or Hotels.com

        2 Replies
        1. re: RonboNC

          You make a great point - there are a lot of good day trips from the Triangle. If I had a week to just explore and eat, I'd probably drive down to the Greenville area on day for a BBQ feast (lunch at B's, dinner at Skylight, and maybe even swing down to Wilber's for takeout if time permits). It would make for a long day, but you could be home in time for bed.

          1. re: mpjmph

            Yep, plenty of day trips mpjmph! I heard Goldsboro does some good que.

            On a sidenote since you're sorta new to Raleigh I'd also hit up the NCMA, Museum of Natural Science for free. A movie at IMAX or maybe a Taste Carolina or Triangle Segway tour downtown. For First Friday hit up Artspace, VAE, DesignBox for art galleries? Drag show at Legends and visit to Videri Chocolate in the Warehouse District? How about the State Farmers Market and breakfast at the SFM restaurant? There are options in the City of Oaks but timing is everything...

        2. In Raleigh as opposed to Durham and CH and not so expensive:

          Korean food at Seoul Garden on Atlantic Ave at Millbrook.

          Chinese food at Super Wok, no too far down the road from NCSU, on Maynard at Chatham.

          Peruvian food at Machupicchu on Falls of the Neuse at Old Wake Forest.

          BuKu on Davie at Hargett St downtown.

          Bida Manda on Blount St in the old Duck and Dumpling location.

          There are many more options if also going to Durham and CH and spending $100-120 vs. $50-60 for two.

          1. Allen and Son BBQ (between CH and H'boro)
            Saxapahaw General Store
            NC Museum of Art
            Fearrington House
            Oakleaf in Pittsboro

            1. I would opt for day trips myself.

              Spring is herring season. Combine that with excellent bbq and all around Southern cooking at Blackbeards in Conetoe for a fantastic casual meal. They are only open Thurs - Sun though.
              Have lunch then wander further East to my favorite NC oyster bar, Sunnyside. Open evenings seasonally in Williamston.


              For a really wonderful meal head to Kinston for dinner at the Chef and The Farmer. Reservations are advised unless you are arriving just as they are opening. This is a truly exceptional spot.


              1. Check out visitraleigh.com for lots of suggestions on things to do.


                The trolley tour is fun and informative. We always find something interesting at the NC History museum or Raleigh City Museum. I would recommend lunch at Sitti, Clyde Cooper's for BBQ, or a visit to Bida Manda if you are walking around downtown.

                Visitraleigh.com has a section on dining too.

                1. I've always wanted to do this so I'll share with you in case you like the idea. Pick a food theme for the day and then comparison test some of the best known places in the Triangle to decide for yourself who you like best: sushi, burgers, pizza, breweries...or head over to Lexington for a day of BBQ tasting.

                  1. So many of the places you've named I haven't tried! Thank you! I think so often when you live somewhere it is easy to settle into a rut of visiting the same places.

                    I really like Indian food, we like SPICY food.

                    Some of my local favorites are:

                    Acme- Sunday Brunch
                    Thai Villa - no atmosphere but awesome food
                    Neo Asia - the sushi chefs take their sushi rice seriously and it shows!
                    City Beverage - the 'outrageous steak sandwich' is super rich, but worth every calorie
                    Dawat - Very accommodating for large parties, service staff are lovely (not a fast food restaurant- prepare for a long leisurely meal), and the food is amazing

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Janiedoe111

                      If no one has mentioned Cholanad then that is another Indian place in Chapel Hill you should check out. I'm truly impressed by their food.

                    2. It doesn't really count as the Triangle Area but my wife and I did an overnight at creamery/goat farm in Siler City. With breakfast the next day. You could then head to Pittsboro and do lunch or dinner at Oakleaf or just get the huge $8 banasplit at S&T soda shoppe and maybe explore Starlight meadery if you like Mead.

                      I don't know if there is anything to eat but there are places to be rented at Hyco lake and the other lake near it (not Gaston).

                      1. OH, there are too many!

                        Vietnamese- Dalat in Raleigh
                        Japansese - Sushi Tsune in Raleigh
                        Indian - India Mahal in Raleigh
                        Drinks/American bar food and a nice patio - The Borough in Raleigh
                        Coffee/people watching - Cup-A-Joe on Hillsborough Street in Raleigh
                        Italian - Picola Italia in Cameron Village in Raleigh
                        Lebanese - Neomonde in Raleigh
                        Mexican - El Rodeo in City Market in Raleigh

                        8 Replies
                        1. re: arthurb3

                          I have to disagree about El Rodeo. It is not Mexican so much as it is Tex Mex. There are better choices for Mexican and similar. I thought Dalat was Indian?

                          1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                            No, Dalat is the Vietnamese restaurant at Mission Valley. I still miss their sub shop.

                            Arthurb3, do you think Dalat is better than Pho Far East off Capital? That's been my go-to, but I'm willing to reconsider.

                            1. re: rockycat

                              Rockycat- I live downtown so I tend to stay in the area. I am a true ITB (Inside the Beltline) type. I have been to Pho Far East and its great. I have gone to Dalat (for 13 years) so often we are on a first name basis.

                              Each establishment tends to have their own style so I do like to mix it up occasionally but my partner prefers no surprises and like to go to the same places.

                              The El Rodeo in City Market is where we tend to go on First Friday Gallery walks as most of the galleries and the City's ArtSpace artist lofts/wharehouse is right next door!

                              Same thing with Sushi Tsune. They know me there and I really like it when an establishment knows its customers.


                              1. re: arthurb3

                                Did El Rodeo move? I just Googled it and the address is 4112 Plasant Valley Rd.

                                1. re: edinaeats

                                  Its a local chain so there are many of them

                            2. re: burgeoningfoodie

                              I agree with you burgeoningfoodie, however the list was strictly Raleigh and I've had a hard time finding good Mexican food here. Fonda y Birrieria Jalisco is pretty good, and though it's Salvadoran, for a number of years ago we ate a lot at Mar y Sol. Jibarra never did it for me. It's OT but it would be neat to find really good Mexican and central American places here in Raleigh.

                              Dalat was great when I was in college in the 80s...one of the first places I ate out at with my future wife who is originally from that part of the world. Somehow it wasn't the same 10 years later...there may have been a change in ownership. I haven't tried recently though. I'm not aware of a really good Vietnamese restaurant these days any closer than Greensboro.

                              1. re: D R C

                                For Salvadoran food try La Cocina de Mama Greta in North Market Square. They're at 1604 N Market Drive.

                                I don't know much about Salvadoran food in general, but I'm addicted to their guisquil relleno (stuffed chayote).

                                1. re: rockycat

                                  Espiga Bakery has Ecuadoran food. I've only been a few times but enjoyed what I had. They are by Triangle Town Center Mall (540/Cap. Blvd.) and are located in the strip center behind the Burger King.

                                  Quick description in this list:

                          2. Jujube, for spicy food

                            Fearrington House - everyone should eat there once. everyone should spend the night there once (but it's quite expensive).

                            Squids, for good seafood, and a great raw bar

                            Spankys, a chapel hill institution, and they have antibiotic/ hormone free burgers.

                            Roast Grill, hot dogs in downtown Raleigh

                            Angus Barn, eat in the Wild Turkey Bar, get dressed up outrageously nice and pretend it's prom night.

                            Arboretums in Chapel Hill and Raleigh
                            Horse trail riding

                            NC Museum of Natural History
                            NC Museum of Art

                            Hillsborough BBQ company
                            Pancuito (dinner, nice, in Hillsborough)

                            Saxapahaw General Store
                            Ye Olde Country Kitchen, Snow camp
                            Larry's Southern / Country Kitchen (Garner)
                            Joyce & Family, Fuquay
                            a blt at Merritts, chapel hill

                            ...that's a good start.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: fussycouple

                              Wait Squids.. I have yet to know anyone who has actually eaten there.. until now. I'm surprised places like that and Fishmongers in Durham still exist. Granted I haven't eaten at either but I also grew up near the coast so take my comment with a grain of salt.

                              1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                I love to sit at the bar at Squids and eat. I don't think the food is stellar, but it isn't bad (except the crabcakes, which are lame). The seared Asian tuna with rice is actually pretty darned good.

                                1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                  Yeah, we go there when we want oysters and don't want to drive to Blu. The also have a decent bouillabaisse