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Thanksgiving recommendations in the Raleigh area?

Last year we enjoyed the Thanksgiving buffet-style service at Heron's at The Umstead Hotel but found it a bit pricey at I think $80 per person (?) and perhaps not quite as incredible of an experience as we might have hoped at that price point. It's hard to put my finger on what exactly the issue was as everything was delicious but there was something missing.

Does anyone have any high quality Thanksgiving restaurant suggestions for the Raleigh / Cary area for this year? We would certainly consider Durham and Chapel Hill but would prefer Raleigh or Cary since driving is not our favorite activity. Thanks!

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  1. Eighty dollars per does sound mighty pricey to me, but I may have an idea what was missing. Probably the drunk uncles, bragging in-laws, the traditional side dish that nobody ever wants to eat, the gluey gravy and cranberry sauce with the ridges still visible, and the nasty fights over politics. In other words, you were missing family.

    1 Reply
    1. re: rockycat

      Hahaha, almost but not quite. ;)

      I'm usually the one who cooks the Thanksgiving feast so I will refrain from throwing myself and my cooking under the bus in that way! (But you did hit the nail on the head regarding stress from relatives, I'll give you that!)

    2. (I hate to reply to myself but there doesn't seem to be an edit option that I'm aware of, so, sorry!)

      No suggestions, really?! I can't imagine we're the only family in the Triangle not cooking on Thanksgiving.

      Maybe this is a better question to pose then - between Il Palio in Chapel Hill and The Fairview Dining Room at the Washington Duke Inn in Durham, which is better (in general, not specifically at Thanksgiving)? We have not dined at either and recognize that both will more than likely be served buffet-style for this holiday, so I'm sure it's not quite an apples to apples comparison but it would be nice to hear from some local Chowhounds who have eaten at both or either. I've read past posts and checked on Yelp (*gasp!*) and both appear to be well regarded so the choice between the two is a bit tough.

      Oh, I'll throw this out there too, we are also potentially considering Four Square Restaurant in Durham for their 3-course Thanksgiving dinner, however we haven't eaten there in a few years and the last few times we have gone were a bit hit or miss so we're a little hesitant but if anyone has any recent Four Square experiences to share, they would be welcomed too.

      Thanks again!

      5 Replies
      1. re: Erika RollerGirl

        All right I just do Chapel Hill as I always go out with my parents for Thanksgiving (I'm a vegetarian..lol) Carolina Inn is consistantly good if you're keen on traditional turkey served buffet style, great atmosphere if you book in the proper dining room, service and food.. I've been to Elaine's (okay), Acme was just plain bad. Never been to Il Palio, so I cannot say.

        1. re: Rory

          Since Acme seems to go through cycles I thought I'd give my 2014 experiences. I attended a birthday dinner there in January. I also was there for Mother's Day brunch. Both times the food was quite good and enjoyed by my group. Service was also good although it did take a long while to get our bill processed on Mother's Day but they were slammed. Based on those visits I would be pleased to return.

          I think Acme is my hosts choice for Thanksgiving this year. If so I'll report back.

          1. re: meatn3

            I had dinner at Acme some months ago but it was delicious, so I'm interested in your report.

            1. re: meatn3

              We did dine at Acme for Thanksgiving.

              Menu offered choice of soup (squash bisque iirc) or a very nice salad to start. Several mains were offered:
              beef, salmon (iirc), what looked to be a vegetarian risotto and turkey with all the fixings. I opted for the turkey which had a nice cranberry relish, dressing, mashed potatoes with a mushroom gravy, mashed sweet potatoes, green beans and greens (collard I think). Nicely prepared in traditional renditions. Everything was tasty with the exception of extremely over salted greens. Several of the party ordered the beef which looked very good and was prepared as they requested. Dinner rolls were served too.

              Dessert choices (relying on memory) were apple crumble, pumpkin pie, chocolate pecan pie, something chocolate and perhaps one more option. I didn't look carefully - not big on sweets - so let another diner decide and take my portion to-go. Those who indulged seemed happy.

              Service was quite good, portions were more than ample and the pace allowed for a holiday get together. The turkey dinner had the flavor and selections that you would expect if invited to someones home. Nothing earth shattering or inventive but a nicely done taste of "home". Which for Thanksgiving is exactly what most people want.

              The dining room had a mix of large parties and tables of two. The bar had very little action and probably could have accommodated a solo diner or small party without reservations.

              My party enjoyed the meal and I'd have no hesitation returning next year.

          2. re: Erika RollerGirl

            Most Thanksgivings we've gone out of town (LulusDad is a professor, and it just makes sense to use that time when both Lulu and her dad have time off as travel time). One year we did Carolina Inn, and we'll be doing it again this year. Pretty much the basics of what T-giving entails, and in a nice atmosphere.

            Last time I was at ACME it was *really* bad. I used to be a fan. It must have been over a year now. Any recent reports?

          3. I have heard good things about Margaux's Thanksgiving service although I have not had it. The price and the menu looks good though!

            http://margauxsrestaurant.com/menus/t...

            I've only had Thanksgiving at one restaurant in the Triangle. Unfortunately it closed a year or so ago...

            1. I don't know about quality but why not try the Triangle Vegan/Vegetarian Thanksgiving? Are you looking for something traditional?

              2 Replies
              1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                it's very cool, I've been dying to go. I think it's the biggest Veg Thanksgiving in America!

                1. re: Rory

                  Yes the person that heads it up lives in my neighborhood.

              2. This might be too far away, but the Granary at Fearrington Village serves a sit-down prix fix Thanksgiving meal.

                1 Reply
                1. re: ksbee

                  Fearrington was definitely one of the top considerations but we'd like to stay closer for now. We may do that next year (or I may cook again), depending on the circumstances.