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2 Nights in Durham..........................would like great food experiences

kaydee Mar 18, 2014 12:17 PM

I have never been to this area before and would like some good suggestions . We will be staying in the university area.

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  1. LulusMom RE: kaydee Mar 18, 2014 12:24 PM

    I'll highly recommend Mateo and Vin Rouge (the first for a southern take on Spanish, the second for French). But there are tons of great options in Durham.

    1. r
      Remsleep RE: kaydee Mar 18, 2014 02:17 PM

      Lunch at Guglhupf is always nice, but be aware that they are closed Mondays. Get the cucumber salad, it's awesome.

      I also like the Q Shack, but I'm a heathen in that I don't eat the pig. Their brisket is very good, as is their chili.

      If you want to splash out, Four Square is excellent. I've been up and down on Nana's, mainly because I think the ambiance is way too loud for fine dining, but the food is very good.

      If you're willing to go farther afield into Chapel Hill and other parts of Durham, the world becomes your oyster.

      1. brsmith2 RE: kaydee Mar 18, 2014 05:59 PM

        There's a lot of good food in Durham. I'm sure a search of the boards will yield some good info.

        Some of my favorites are Mateo (Spanish/Southern tapas), Rue Cler (French), Scratch or Daisy Cakes (two excellent bakery/cafes), Pizzeria Toro (if they have reopened after a recent fire), Toast (great panini), Taqueria La Vaquita, Bull City Burger & Brewery, Monuts Donuts, Tonali (upscale Mexican), Watts Grocery (farm-to-table Southern), and don't miss Rose's Meats & Sweets - in my opinion the finest desserts in the Triangle. I'm sure there's more that I'm leaving out, and that's just in Durham.

        2 Replies
        1. re: brsmith2
          LulusMom RE: brsmith2 Mar 19, 2014 02:28 AM

          BTW, does anyone know when Pizza Toro will be re-opening?

          1. re: LulusMom
            D R C RE: LulusMom Mar 19, 2014 05:56 AM

            My co-worker who was affected says they've most recently said May. But that has moved out a couple of times already.

            My Durham favorite is Nanas. I remember Scott in the kitchen at Magnolia Grill, eating at Nanas in the first few weeks they opened, countless wonderful meals there over the years since. My kind of comfort food.

        2. b
          burgeoningfoodie RE: kaydee Mar 19, 2014 06:37 AM

          Where are you coming from is always a question I like to ask..

          That being said you have the recommendations. If you are coming during a weekend, by all means go to the main farmer's market and hit some food trucks of which Porchetta and Kokyu (if there) are my faves. I second all the items below except Bull City Burger and Brew which is just an average burger and brew place to me. I have heard that going Omakase at Kurama is still a good adventure and if you want to get away from downtown durham and want a leisurely but pricey meal in Durham than check out Yamazushi and set up a kaiseki dining experience. I also like Dame's Chicken and Waffles. Good food but not fine dining. Revolution is also good.

          9 Replies
          1. re: burgeoningfoodie
            kirol7777 RE: burgeoningfoodie Mar 23, 2014 07:14 AM

            Agreed: Market & food trucks are fun. A lot of the restaurants listed here are good, but a few are fairly mediocre to poor: Geer Street Garden, Bull City Burger, & Dos Perros (a shame because JuJuBe -- their sister restaurant -- in Chapel is pretty yummy). Yamazushi is worth the splurge.

            1. re: kirol7777
              bbqme RE: kirol7777 Mar 23, 2014 08:21 PM

              To each their own I suppose. I think Dos Perros and Tonali are the two best Mexican restaurants in the area. Head and shoulders above the run-of-the-mill Tex-Mex joint.

              1. re: bbqme
                kirol7777 RE: bbqme Mar 24, 2014 03:54 AM

                Tonali is great -- agreed.

                1. re: bbqme
                  TerryG RE: bbqme Mar 24, 2014 10:03 AM

                  Never had a bad meal at Dos Perros and the friends we dragged there agree.

                  1. re: TerryG
                    burgeoningfoodie RE: TerryG Mar 24, 2014 12:23 PM

                    Dos Perros isn't bad but it isn't as good as some of the more authentic places. I don't often get the hype of the place.

                    1. re: burgeoningfoodie
                      TerryG RE: burgeoningfoodie Mar 24, 2014 09:03 PM

                      It's not authentic and doesn't pretend to be. I enjoy Los Comales and I enjoy DP. Two very different experiences and I don't think you can compare them.

                      Not sure what you mean by hype. When I think of hype, I think of loud places with micro portions and skinny, cramped seating -- or overpriced chains, but that's not Dos Perros. The margarita I recently had there (something like blood orange and cayenne) was damn good.

                      1. re: burgeoningfoodie
                        bbqme RE: burgeoningfoodie Mar 25, 2014 10:24 PM

                        What makes a restaurant authentic? Nora Mendez who cooks there is from Veracruz. From this article in last week's IndyWeek she sure sounds like the real deal. They have several "authentic" dishes on their menu. I love taquerias as much as the next guy/gal but trying finding cochinita pibil in one. Also, it's nice to eat Mexican food in a pretty, upscale establishment once in awhile without a tv blaring futbol or a telanovela.


                2. re: burgeoningfoodie
                  kaydee RE: burgeoningfoodie Mar 24, 2014 06:25 AM

                  We will be coming from Baltimore. We don't need fine dining, just good food experiences.

                  1. re: kaydee
                    burgeoningfoodie RE: kaydee Mar 24, 2014 08:14 AM

                    Okay good to know that fine dining isn't a requirement. I would still try to squeeze in a visit to Dame's Chicken and Waffles. I don't know if Baltimore has such a place or not. Watts Grocery is good but can be loud and crowded (not that Dames can't but they are a bit more spread out). Vin Rouge for a bit more classy but homey and yummy dinner or Revolution. Nana's for classy and quieter dining. You can of course look at almost all the restaurant websites and menus and base it on that too. If you want baked goods for like snacks after dinner, I would recommend Loaf, Scratch and or the bakery at Guglhupf. Personally I like Loaf and Guglhupf much more than Scratch but that is just me. Again if you are here on the weekend you can grab bites at food trucks or Scratch's stand at the Sat. farmer's market. Loaf has a stand too but they offer more at their store. You can also grab a decent breakfast at Daisy cakes but it is small inside on that same day. Eh you've got enough suggestions.. start lookin' and bookin'.

                3. k
                  ksbee RE: kaydee Mar 19, 2014 12:03 PM

                  If the weather is nice, another great spot is Geer Street Garden. Nothing beats sitting outside in the beer garden for experiencing the downtown Durham vibe, and good food too!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: ksbee
                    kirol7777 RE: ksbee Mar 23, 2014 07:06 AM

                    Nice to be outside, but the food is mediocre, IMO.

                  2. g
                    gildeddawn RE: kaydee Mar 19, 2014 12:10 PM

                    If you're willing to go to Chapel Hill, Lantern is just amazing.

                    1. b
                      bbqme RE: kaydee Mar 22, 2014 08:12 PM

                      In conversations about downtown Durham Dos Perros usually gets left out of the conversation and that's a shame because if one is looking for Mexican food upscale from the offerings at taquerias this is the best place to go. Lunch is particularly reasonable and the space is gorgeous.

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