Not that I am all that sophisticated now but when I went away to college, I was really a country boy. Not only was I educated academically at Duke but I also grew up a lot in those four years. One of the early highlights of that process was to learn about The Angus Barn. Located between Durham and Raleigh, it was "the place" to go if you really wanted to impress a date. (Sometimes I wondered if it wasn't the place to go to impress our male friends that we really knew how to splurge on a woman.) My visits there were rare (because they were so expensive) but prized because it was the classiest (by far) barn that I had ever seen and I grew up on a farm. Plus the food and service were unbelievable. This was the first restaurant I was ever in (other than a cafeteria) where you actually got to go to the refrigerated case and pick your steak, lobster, or whatever else you might be having as your main course. I was back in the area recently and it has aged much more pleasantly than I have.
Favorite Dish: While the steaks, prime rib, et al. were invariably tender and delicious, my favorite item on their menu was, and still is, chess pie. Much like the game with which it shares a name, chess pie is a puzzle. Where did this tasty pie originate? How did it get its odd name? What few people question is the fact that this dessert is delicious—think pecan pie, minus those pesky pecans. Made in home kitchens throughout the South, you can buy yourself a slice of fancy chess pie (it has chocolate in it!) at The Angus Barn.
Hayashi Ya is a relatively new sushi restaurant in the Brier Creek shopping center and since it opened, this is our first choice for sushi. The décor of the restaurant is very Japanese and besides regular tables and booths, they also have the booths that are recessed into the floor, so its like your sitting on the floor but actually in a seat. We've only ever eaten the sushi here, but were always very pleased with our selections. They also have a good selection of wine and sake. I've never tried just saki, but they make really good saketinis. The prices are about average for sushi, maybe a little on the high side, but at dinner they have a good deal on a three-roll combo for about $25 which is more than enough for my wife and I.
Favorite Dish: The Extra Hot Roll. With habañero and jalepeño peppers, it's more Mexican than Japanese, but I love spicy food so I always get this one. The Alaska Roll is another good one with a special apple sauce to put on the roll. For drinks, I like the Berry-Pom Saketini with pomegranate and lychee fruit.
Plaza Azteca is a new Mexican restaurant near Brier Creek in North Raleigh. It used to be El Dorado, but has recently re-opened under the new name. We had been eating at El Dorado for some time and I was pleased to see that, despite the new name, it was the same great food. I pretty much always get fajitas at Mexican and have been very satisfied with the meal. And their chips and salsa are very good too. But what really sets Plaza Azteca apart from other Mexican places is their fresh guacamole for $6.99. The server brings a cart to the table and makes the guacamole right in front of you, smashing up avocados, onions, peppers, tomatoes and squeezing lime juice over the mixture. Can't get any fresher than that and its absolutely delicious with chips or mixed in with your meal.
Favorite Dish: Their fajitas are good, but what really makes me come back to this restaurant is the fresh guacamole prepared at your table.
I was asked to join some colleagues for a dinner; and it was quite a good experience. The restaurant is not that large, but it is comfortable and the staff are friendly and professional.
There is a bar area and a main dining room; there is also another dining area for functions (I think so anyway).
The clientele were very mixed and the atmosphere was pleasant. I must admit, that as I looked around the dining area, it brought back images of all the American detective series I have watched over the years. So I suspect it was a kind of traditional decor that was present.
Favorite Dish: I had a ceasar salad, followed by the organic turkey medallions - excellent choice as it turned out. Dessert is fairly standard, but very enjoyable.
I am a huge sushi fan and I am constantly trying to find the best sushi. This place makes some of the best sushi I have had in the area. This place also is a hotspot for nightlife downtown- has a great bar with some really delicious coctails. On Tuesdays from 10pm to 12 midnight the sushi is half-price!
Favorite Dish: Crunch Rolls, but all the rolls are awesome!
A restaurant with decor to honor the World War II generation, Hayes Barton is reminiscent of another generation. It is housed in a smallish space, so go with some extra time or at a non peak hour. The desserts are the reason for many patrons' visit. They're yummy and served in very large portions, so bring a friend to share it with or get it to go.
It's fun to sit near at the window at night, perched on a barstool with a view of Five Points while enjoying a delicious slice of cake.
The New York Times called the Irregardless "the place to eat when you're in Raleigh," and I wholeheartedly agree. This is by far my favorite restaurant in the area, for the food, the atmosphere, and the service.
Founded 35 years ago as a vegetarian restaurant before its time, the Irregardless has changed over the years to meet the needs of its customers. The menu varies daily in order to prepare meals with the freshest foods available.
On birthdays and anniversaries, the Cafe gives you a free bottle of wine, and their selection includes many great wines. They also offer a cooking class one night a month which includes dinner and wine tasting. Live musicians perform nightly and Sunday afternoons - dancing is Saturday night from 9pm-midnight.
Listen to an interview on NPR with the former chef, Arthur Gordon, who founded and owns the restaurant with his wife Anya, here: http://wunc.org/tsot/archive/sot0107a08.mp3/view
Favorite Dish: The brunch menu is constant with weekly specials, and I've had the fruit pancakes - wheat batter filled with strawberries, blueberries, or banana, walnut, and coconut - and several of the omelets - asparagus & brie and the Florentine. All were delicious. The omelets come with home fries, which are wonderful wedges of potatoes prepared with rosemary and olive oil. I've heard the steak & eggs and the crab & eggs are also excellent. The shrimp & grits (a Southern favorite) are next on my list.
With brunch, you get a small glass of freshly squeezed orange juice and either coffee, tea, or water. A blueberry muffin, lemon poppyseed bread, and a garlic cheese biscuit are also included.
The dinners always include fresh vegetables with the perfect mix of herbs and spices. I have never been disappointed here.
This place is great for great sushi. They have buy one get one free everyday. They are very affordable and delicious. If you're looking for a new sushi place try this one! It is definitely the best sushi especially for their prices. Worth every penny. Try the honeymoon roll it's my favorite. If you're looking for something spicy the marry roll is good, and if you just want your sushi cooked try the bagel roll. This place is somewhat trendy, but people where what ever they want here. Just don't show up in your man tank top and mess shorts.
On the newly gentrified Glenwood Ave in Raleigh, a popular Sushi place.
East (Japanese sushi) meets west (Jazz and Blues music in the background).
Favorite Dish: Many to choose from (see official website).
I had at lunch time:
Sushi, Sashimi, Shrimp Tempura $10.75
"1/2 order cucumber R, 3 pieces sushi, 4 pieces sashimi, shrimp tempura"
The food was good.
A relaxed place with boat shape sushi bar. Sushi comes in boats as well. Two locations, one here and one in Cary.
The Raleigh location has a much more elaborated deco: the tables in Cary location are all rather simple, but the ones in Raleigh are all w/ a fancy wood carved top (not sure if directly shipped from Thailand), then topped with a piece of glass.
Favorite Dish: The sushi is fresh. Besides common types of rolls and sashimi, they also offer sushi rolls with own twist, e.g., adding soft cheese etc - some people like it, while others do not.
- Sushi/Sashimi Boat for one $28
With sushi, sashimi and miso soup (OR salad).
This will be enough for a regular sushi lover, even enough for two for light eaters.
- Pad Thai/Vegetables $8.95 (add shrimp, chicken or pork would be a bit more)
"Stir fried noodles with pad thai sauce, egg, bean sprouts and ground roasted peanuts"
Good but the sauce sometimes is a bit too sweet.
We tried some other stir-fried dishes, which are not too great.
See their official website for menu.
There is something inherently wicked and delicious about the idea of chicken and waffles. Perhaps it is the notion of fried chicken mixed with waffles, switching up the breakfast-dinner paradigm. Or it is the health taboo of sweet waffles and salty fried chicken. However, as often as it is touted, chicken and waffles often falls short.
Except at Dame's. This small spot in Durham has perfected the art of the chicken and waffle. His waffles are light and fluffy, either regular, blueberry, or sweet potato (a definite win). They come with either butter, or about a dozen different flavored 'shmears' that you can smother your waffle. The chicken is delightful. Fried and crispy without being oily and heavy, and comes in several different styles and flavors (try the Frizzled chicken, a breast coated in panko crumbs served over a classic waffle, all with a plum sauce... an Asian twist to chicken and waffles!!). There is no bad combination on the menu, and you'll want to come back and try them all!
In addition to the chicken and waffles, the entrees come with a choice of side. You can have a delectable mac and cheese, cheesy grits, fruit cup, or side salad. These rotate, so you might land the fried greens if you nab it at the right time.
The whole place is small, with a classy look to it that is at the same time casual and upscale. Jazz posters from many of the greats are on the walls, and there's a nice bar in the middle if you're waiting for a table or wish to be more social. The waitstaff is friendly and inviting, attentive without being over-bearing, and willing to accommodate special requests. And keep your eye out for Dame... he often is working the kitchen, and makes the rounds to see how things are going. Tell him your opinion, and be sure to enjoy the chicken.
Chubby's is a decent outing for taqueria-style Tex-Mex in the Raleigh area. It offers a nice selection of tacos, burritos, tortas, toastadas, and other offerings.
I had the barbacoa burrito with a side of guacamole and chips. The guacamole was a nice chopped mixture of avocados, cilantro, onion, tomato, and jalapeno. It had a great bite to it, a sharpness which often is lacking. The chips it came with were ho-hum. Some were good, others tasted stale, and a few had a spice mixture on it which was barely discernible.
The burrito was filled with chunks of meat, beans, rice, cheese, with some sour cream added in (75¢ extra) wrapped in a large flour tortilla. It was gutsy to not wrap it in foil, and it held together fairly well. The meat was tender, but the other ingredients were average, not really adding to the burrito but not horrible either.
They did offer agua fresca and horchata, which are a must if you ask me. The horchata was fresh, cold, full of cinnamon, just the way I like it. Perfect accompaniment to a hot day and large burrito. :)
I stumbled upon Humble Pie quite by accident, but decided to go for it and went there for a first date. Kind of risky, but HP had a great atmosphere, nice and unique, with not too much of a formal vibe. We had a reservation, as it was generally recommended, but it didn't look like we needed it (on a Friday night).
The food was a good collection of Southern tapas dishes. The Shrimp and grits were cooked well, and the grits were buttery smooth. Fried green tomatoes helped round out the snacking. The whole menu looked good. The beer selection wasn't fantastic, but was decent enough, with some local and microbrews from across the country.
We both had a terrific time, the staff were casual but informative, with a good blend of checking on us and letting us take our time deciding, talking, and eating. A great place for sure :)
cafe luna is a very good cafe style italian restaurant located near moore square in downtown raleigh. good selection of tuscan inspired pasta, meat, and seafood dishes. a very good dinning value in downtown raleigh.
the mint restaurant offers contemporary southern cuisine, steaks, and seafood. in my opinion the best restaurant in downtown raleigh. the mint has an opulent contemporay decor and a great up stairs bar. a great place to entertain business associates in downtown raleigh. expensive.