17 Irresistible Restaurants in Raleigh, NC
WARNING: Your taste buds may never be the same after you try these Restaurants in Raleigh, NC!
If your mouth isn't watering yet, just wait until you see the pictures and read about each restaurant in Raleigh!
While our website is focused on real estate, and helping people find homes for sale - we love to provide value and local guides. It was a difficult task, eating at so many great local Raleigh area restaurants, but somebody had to do it!
The recipe (pun intended), for making our best Restaurants in Raleigh list, involves a commitment to high-quality ingredients, customer experience, and bonus points to those restaurants who aren't afraid to stray from the status quo. A lot of these also appear on our list of best restaurants in downtown Raleigh as well!
We hope you will enjoy these restaurants as much as we did.
If you find this guide helpful, please take a minute to share it with others on social media!
Without further ado, here is our guide to the BEST 17 RESTAURANTS IN RALEIGH, NC!
Ranked as one of the top 10 coolest restaurants in the world by Forbes, people travel from all over the country to try Raleigh's newest Restaurant/Brewery/Flower Garden/Library sensation, Brewery Bhavana. One of my personal favorites, you'll want to make sure your reservations are made far in enough in advance you can reserve a table. If for whatever reason you're reading this and unable to book a reservation because you're like me and wait until last minute, here's my recommendation: Go to the restaurant before the dinner rush and see if they have room, if not, try Bida Manda (Laotion) OR Caffe Luna (Italian) which are both next door and on this list!
You may want to come into the restaurant with a gameplan or ask your server for advice as the menu can be a bit intimidating the first time you look at it. The Seafood Dumplings are my favorite appetizer, just make sure you load up on the mushroom sauce! If you're bringing children fear not, there's something for everyone on this menu. The Lo Mein and General Tso's are some of the best I've ever had and the Nasi Goring Crab Fried Rice is likely my personal favorite!
Brewery Bhavana's story gives you insight into how the restaurant formed and the story adds to the personality of this community gathering place.
Second Empire Restaurant and Tavern
We are kicking off our list with Second Empire Restaurant and Tavern, a downtown Raleigh restaurant that will keep you coming back for more, and often!
A dining experience that combines an atmosphere of Raleigh's history (Dodd-Hinsdale House) with a cuisine that is equal parts unique and delicious. The restaurant is the former house of Raleigh Mayor, William H. Dodd. Built in 1879, and sold to John Hinsdale in 1890. Second Empire Restaurant holds a lot of history.
Second Empire Restaurant and Tavern offers a menu with variety. From your classic Seafood and Steak to Roasted Duck, and a Grilled Australian Lamb Rack that will make your hands messy... in a good way! This Downtown Raleigh Restaurant has something for every person's appetite, and flavors that will hit taste buds you never knew you had!
Celebrating a birthday, an anniversary, or a wedding? Second Empire Restaurant and Tavern is a great place for your event.
Located at 330 Hillsborough street, Second Empire is a fantastic option for Downtown Raleigh dining experience, and only a short drive from the NC State area. If you're looking for a great restaurant in Raleigh, Second Empire is a great option!
Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar
"And so was the 'tail' of the cow and the fish
From two separate places they had but one wish
To bring to the world in a way, so delish
An unusual place to enjoy a great dish"
An excerpt from "The Legend of the Cowfish" breaks down the evolution of this unique restaurant concept, and simplifies it to its roots. The Cowfish is a one-of-a-kind dining experience, thriving on its ability to fuse two niche products seamlessly on the same menu. Certainly unusual, absolutely great! The first and only "Sushi Burger Bar"! - Cowfish
A restaurant in North Raleigh that is so unusual you can't help but curb your curiosity, and your appetite!
Offering some of the best sushi and burgers in Raleigh, the Cowfish restaurant is constantly packed, and they don't take reservations. So go early! Offering both an unconventional and traditional sushi menu, the restaurant brings balance to the table.
Situated in the middle of the room at Cowfish is an amazing Fish Tank, and the decorations throughout the restaurant are as you would expect for a creative dining venue.
The burgers are a great size, with the freshest of ingredients and great sides. For those of you looking for the sushi burger combination, we recommend the bento box which allows you to sample a mini burger, along with your choice of sushi roll and three sides! The portion size is relatively small so if you're hungry you may want to look elsewhere. It could even make for a great appetizer to share with the table.
The Cowfish restaurant offers a great environment for families, dates, and all type of celebrations. The atmosphere inside is designed to fit your lifestyle whether you want to wear gym shorts or a suit to dinner.
North Hills - CAPTRUST Tower
4208 Six Forks Road, Suite 100
Raleigh, NC 27609
Sunday - Thursday 11am-10pm
Friday and Saturday 11am-11pm
The Angus Barn is a Steakhouse/Seafood Raleigh Restaurant with a great reputation for great service and delicious food. A lot of folks are quick to recommend Angus Barn if you're celebrating a birthday, anniversary or looking for a great dinner in Raleigh.
Angus Barn is a delicious steakhouse restaurant that is located on Glenwood Ave in Northwest Raleigh. Known for its beautiful wine cellar, a large cigar bar, and top-notch experiences, the Angus Barn is a restaurant you have to try. The menu consists of numerous different appetizers, steaks, ribs, seafood, complimented with great sides, and if you have room, dessert. Their wine selection is endless and they have wine tastings and wine cellar dinners for anyone who likes to get out and meet new people.
Hosting a wedding? No problem. The Angus barn is happy to accommodate your party, and event! Ask for a tour of the Wine Cellar!
Although a bit pricier than some of the Restaurants on our list, the Angus Barn ensures the quality of food and ambience you would expect.
When you are looking for top restaurants, the Angus Barn is quick to appear on the 'best of restaurants in Raleigh' lists. With a five star chef, your culinary experience is sure to keep you coming back for more time and time again.
It is a dinner-only restaurant. The Angus Barn opens it's doors at 5:30 PM and stays open until 10:30 PM every night during the week. On Saturday the restaurant opens at 4:30 PM, and is open from 5:00 PM - 10:00 PM on Sunday.
Admittedly, Italian is my favorite type of restaurant. When it comes to Italian restaurants in Downtown Raleigh, Caffe Luna is my go to spot. The owner is one of the friendliest people you will ever meet. He's the type of guy you just want to hug and say thank you. You feel like family in this restaurant and they set a great example for the rest of the dining establishments in Raleigh.
The reason Caffe Luna is topping our list is a combination of great food, service, location, attention to detail, and a commitment to your experience.
One of my friends ordered Salmon and said it was the best she's ever had! Imagine that, an Italian restaurant topping seafood restaurants for the best Salmon she's ever had. That comment is a direct result of the wine she had to drink... just kidding :) ... it's a direct result of the company she was with.. kidding again... it's a result of the commitment to fresh fish, proper preparation and cooking, and the right ingredients.
You are sure to find something you love at Caffe Luna!
If anyone recommends Italian food in Raleigh you are bound to find places like Caffe Luna, Bella Monica, Vic's and more. For me, it's Caffe Luna and Bella Monica that set the tone in Raleigh for great Italian. Thankfully, they are in such different locations that convenience to where you are, or where you are going to be, will be your deciding factor in which restaurant to choose. If you have others we need to try, please drop us a comment in the comments section below.
If you have other Italian restaurants we need to try, please drop us a comment in the comments section below.
Bida Manda is a restaurant in Downtown Raleigh that is a hands-down must try! Some people will go as far to say this is the best restaurant in Raleigh, NC!
Come together with friends or family to experience and celebrate the diverse food and cultural traditions of Laos. The meaning behind, Bida Manda, is from the Sanskrit ceremonial terms for Father and Mother.
Lao cuisine is a flavorful marriage of Thai, Vietnamese, and Chinese foods, refined by French cooking techniques. From the Crispy Pork Belly Soup, to the Pad Thai and Basil Stir Fry, Bida Manda has the types of dishes anyone will enjoy while maintaining a Laotian culinary experience.
This Downtown Raleigh Restaurant is located in Moore Square. It is so popular that it is nearly impossible to get reservations for a Friday or Saturday night without scheduling days in advance. They typically have walk-in availability after 10pm, and truth be told it's worth the wait!
Searching for a Vegetarian restaurant in Raleigh, NC? Look no further!
A hidden gem in the Warehouse District of Downtown Raleigh, NC is a vegetarian restaurant that will keep carnivores coming back for more! For those of you who despise vegetables, or eating a vegetarian diet, you are a lot like me! With that being said, I kept an open mind and am sure glad I did. The Mushroom Risotto is worth going back for time and time again.
One of the best parts about Fiction Kitchen is the experience, the service, and the commitment to high quality local ingredients. A lot like Bida Manda, Fiction Kitchen is regarded by many as one of the best restaurants in Raleigh, NC! If you check local reviews it's hard to find anything under 4.5 stars for Fiction Kitchen, and it is usually found among the top 5 restaurants.
The only thing brighter than the restaurant's exterior walls, is it's colorful and flavorful menu!
Fiction Kitchen - Located at 428 S. Dawson St. Raleigh, N.C. 27601
Hours: Tuesday - Thursday 4:30pm-9:30pm
Sunday Brunch 11:30am-3:00pm
Looking for food with some serious inspiration, and a commitment to knowing local farmers? Check out one of Raleigh's best restaurants, Tazza Kitchen!
Located in Cameron Village, the Tazza Kitchen restaurant a short drive west of Downtown Raleigh and north of NC State. A perfect spot for anyone who is in the mood to have brunch, lunch or dinner.
It holds one menu that has a variety of foods on it from appetizers and tacos, to seafood and pastas. But if you are really just craving an oven baked, delicious pizza, then look no further. Tazza Kitchen is european inspired so if you're looking for Italian, Mediterranean, or anything with some unique European flavor, it's a great place to eat.
When you see the pizzas on their menu you will know you picked the right place. Tazza Kitchen is known for their pizzas. Although the menu is not the longest, they have plenty of varieties. They are known for their Spicy Sausage and Black Pepper Honey pizza. Along with their delicious food, are some appetizing prices, and thirst quenching drinks. The service at Tazza Kitchen is great. There is outdoor seating on a decorated patio if you prefer.
It is a delicious cozy sized restaurant that is open from 4:00 PM until 10:00 PM for dinner during the week and on Saturday. On Sunday, it opens at 10:30 AM, and does not close until 9:00 PM.
If you're searching for a great steakhouse in Raleigh, Sullivan's is constantly showing up on some of the 'best restaurants' lists!
Located on the quickly growing Glenwood Ave in Downtown Raleigh, Sullivan's Steakhouse is a prime place for a steak (see what we did there?) or seafood. Their menu covers a lot of favorites including Filet Mignon, Lobster Tail, Burgers, Soups, and Salads. Is your mouth watering yet? The side dishes are handsome portions of baked potato, macaroni and cheese, king crab, gnocchi and much more!
One of Downtown Raleigh's top restaurants, Sullivan's is located near many of the places within this article, including its neighbor, Sushi O. A combination of great food and drink, Sullivan's is known to keep their guests coming back for more. One of the best things a restaurant can have is happy customer's ... Sullivan's has it. If you check out reviews online you will not see anything less than 4 stars for one of the top restaurants in Raleigh!
With 18 locations around the United States, Sullivan's Steakhouse can be found from the west coast to the east coast. Downtown Raleigh, NC has become a popular place for restaurants as the strong local economy is growing by 65+ people per day!
With an awesome dining experience, and great location, sometimes it means you will need to make reservations in advance. Give Sullivan's a call to see if there is a wait 919-833-2888.
It's not hard to find great Italian Restaurants in Raleigh, NC - It is however, hard to find any as good as Bella Monica!
If you are someone who loves Italian food, we highly recommend Bella Monica. It's one of the best Italian Restaurants in Raleigh, hands down. It is some of the best pizza in Raleigh as well! From pasta to pizza, to Italian seafood dishes, Bella Monica is extremely tough to beat! If you're going out for a nice meal with your family, Bella Monica is sure to be a crowd favorite.
Making reservations is a wise move for those who plan to dine-in at Bella Monica. Takeout is always a great option since the restaurant is at full capacity a lot of the time. If you want to dine in, you may want to call ahead of time.
This Italian Restaurant in North Raleigh is open at 11:00 AM and they close at 10:00 PM. On Friday and Saturday they are open until 11:00 PM. Sundays they are closed.
The story and DNA behind Bella Monica is 'an extension of Nana's table.' On Sunday's, the owner, Corbett Monica would spend time at his grandmother's house with family, great food and laughter. The goal behind Bella Monica is to recreate these special moments for families to enjoy over great food and dining.
Did you know that the history of North Carolina Barbecue dates back to a time period before European settlers reached America?
Prepare your taste buds for a true North Carolinian barbecue when visiting the Pit. There are several different options of BBQ sauce to go with your entree, and the North Carolina sauce has a vinegar base. The Pit is more than great entrees, they are about a true BBQ dining experience and begin smoking their pigs early and often.
It is one of the best BBQ restaurants in Raleigh, and the locals will tell you that it's a spot 'You have to try!'
The Pit Restaurant and Barbecue offers a classy setting to its visitors with dim lighting, great decorations, and a comfortable seating arrangement. The Downtown Raleigh Restaurant is typically packed, especially on the weekend - so be sure to get a reservation ahead of time so you are not standing at the hostess stand waiting. Don't worry though, with a large selection of beers and cocktails for you to order, The Pit has bar seating as well!
The Authentic Barbecue restaurant, is located in the Warehouse district, in Downtown Raleigh on W Davie St. It is a nice brick building across the street from Crank Arm Brewery and next to Boxcar. A great place to grab brunch, lunch or dinner with friends and family. If you're celebrating something special be sure to let the staff know!
The prices are fair, and quality of ingredients is excellent. The restaurant has a great dining room making it a nice place for a romantic or a relaxing family dinner. It has hours from 11:00 AM until 10:00 PM all week except on Fridays and Saturdays when it stays open an extra hour later until 11:00 PM. On Sunday it only stays open until 9:00 PM.
Beasley's Chicken and Honey
At the corner of Wilmington and Martin street is one of Raleigh's best restaurants, Beasley's Chicken and Honey.
Beasley's is one of the handful of Ashley Christensen's downtown Raleigh Restaurants and is a great place for brunch, lunch and dinner. It's been on a number of lists for the best restaurants in Raleigh, NC, and for good reason!
The fried chicken and waffles is an absolute must try when you visit Beasley's Chicken and Honey. The restaurant uses some of the best ingredients, and the chicken has to be some of the highest quality. The chicken is flavorful in and of itself, combine that with maple syrup and a waffle and you have one of Raleigh's most famous meals!
The menu offers far more than fried chicken and waffles (although it would probably do just fine without other options!), there are biscuits and gravy, sandwiches, egg casseroles, and plenty more. A true combination of southern flavor with a foundation built off of fried chicken!
If you're looking for a great Restaurant in Downtown Raleigh, you'll want to make sure you visit Beasley's Chicken and Honey!
Beasley's Chicken and Honey - Located at 237 Wilmington St. Raleigh, N.C. 27601
Hours: Monday - Wednesday 11:30am-10:00pm
Ashley Christensen's first Raleigh area restaurant opened in 2007. An Italian restaurant in Downtown Raleigh (one of the first restaurants in Downtown Raleigh) that uses a chalkboard menu to bring some classic American comfort food to your table.
If you're anything like me, you love Macaroni and Cheese. Poole's diner has a Macaroni Au Gratin that is worth a flight to Raleigh, just to try it! Be careful though because this meal is big, and you will be the highlight of the table... everyone is going to want to 'try a bite' or two ;)!
When I first heard about Poole's diner it was the Macaroni Au Gratin specifically that people were talking about. It made my mouth water. I rounded up a couple of friends and we headed on over to try one of Raleigh's most famous restaurants, and of course the Mac and Cheese!
If you're heading on over to Poole's you won't know what to expect on the menu (although the Mac and Cheese is always there!) whether you're looking for an Italian restaurant, or a seafood restaurant in Raleigh, Poole's will be a great spot to enjoy a meal.
The history of Poole's diner is worth talking about as the restaurant has kept it's roots, formerly Poole's pie shop.
If you're looking for the Best Sushi Restaurant in Raleigh, NC than you need to take a long close look at Sushi O!
There is something for everyone on this menu. One of Raleigh's best Asian inspired Restaurants, Sushi O offers much more than just sushi. The menu consists of Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese and of course Japanese cuisine. If you're in the mood for pad thai, or sesame chicken, you are going to find your favorite asian dishes on the menu!
Aside from the best sushi rolls in Downtown Raleigh, Sushi O has absolutely stellar service. Personally, I love sitting at the bar because Patrick, the bartender, is a great guy. You should definitely ask to sit at the bar and to request him as your server! If you're not feeling the bar find out if Helicia is working, she is amazing!
Located at 222 Glenwood Ave, Raleigh, NC, Sushi O has a great downtown location. If you're planning a night out, you are in walking distance to some of the best nighttime attractions Raleigh has to offer. A short walk to Cornerstone tavern to enjoy drinks with friends, or to catch a sports game at Carolina Ale House, or to the world's largest beer garden - Raleigh Beer Garden!
Date night? Birthday? No matter the occasion, Sushi O is a great Restaurant in Raleigh, NC! Let us know what you think in the comments section below.
222 Glenwood Ave, Raleigh, NC 27603
Glenwood Grill is an inspired Carolina cuisine, bringing the flavor of the south to Downtown Raleigh.
Whether it's lunch or dinner, you will not be disappointed with your Glenwood Grill experience. Especially if you're looking for some Southern cooking and flavors.
If you are looking for a seafood restaurant in Raleigh, and someone else in your party is looking for Italian, or Steak, Glenwood Grill has something for everyone... be ready to share your Lobster Mac and Cheese with the table, everyone is going to want a bite!
For lunch, the windows allow for a lot of natural light to shine through and brighten the entire restaurant. At dinner, the restaurant is dimly lit and cozy, giving it a more romantic setting.
Glenwood Grill serves a variety of different types of foods from the grill. From seafood to steak, watch how Glenwood Grill is able to combine southern flavoring to some of your favorite dishes! Their lunch menu is different from their dinner menu, so you can go to eat at whatever your preference and enjoy your time there.
The restaurant's lunch hours are from 11:30 AM - 2:30 PM and their dinner hours are 5:30 PM - 10:00 PM during the week. On Saturday, they are only open for dinner and they are not open on Sunday. The restaurant is typically busy, it is a good idea to make reservations for dinner. The service is great and we would love to hear about your experience in the comments section below!
Glenwood Grill is located just north of downtown Raleigh on Glenwood Ave, between Five Points and Crabtree Valley Mall.
If you are looking for something different and more cultural, then look no further than Guasaca.
It is a South American restaurant located in west Raleigh. Guasaca is an arepa and salsa grill. If you are not sure what an arepa is exactly, it is a type of bread made from corn and it can be filled with any type of combination of foods. Guasaca is affordable, fresh and healthy. Above all, it is straight out delicious!
At Guasaca you have the freedom to either choose one of their ready to order arepas from the menu, or if you are feeling creative, you can create your own arepa. This restaurant is an excellent place that lets you taste a bit of the Venezuelan heritage.
Guasaca does a great job with bringing the many flavors of South America to the Triangle. It is open 11:00 AM until 9:00 PM every day of the week including Saturday and Sunday. It is the perfect restaurant to stop by and grab a quick healthy bite to eat at anytime throughout your day. Awaken your taste buds to Guasaca's unique South American flavors!
The restaurant is located ten miles from Raleigh Durham Airport, and two miles from Crabtree Valley Mall.
The recipe (pun intended) for making our best Restaurants in Raleigh list is to be a little creative and unique. Without a doubt, Standard Foods executes at a high level in serving as both a grocery store and a restaurant in Downtown Raleigh.
Standard Foods objective is to reintroduce people to the food, farmers and artisanal production methods of our region. The South’s rich, agrarian history has been lost in the push for mass-production and cheaper, faster ways to bring products to the market. There is a small but burgeoning group of farmers and artisans who have gone back to the old methods – and those who never left. We will seek them out and give them a place to highlight their life’s work. The restaurant and market will showcase the unparalleled quality of their products. - Standard Foods
Tired of processed and manufactured foods? A commitment to the best ingredients from vetted local farmers is what Standard Foods is about. It's the type of freshness you can taste.
At the moment there is a lack of grocery store options in and around Downtown Raleigh. If you've been to the closest one, the Cameron Village Harris Teeter, you know the parking lot is a nightmare - This is one more option for Downtown Raleigh's Residents!
Grocery: Tue – Sat 10:00am – 7:00pm
Bad Daddy's Burger Bar
Searching for a great burger in Raleigh, NC?
Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar is a Downtown Raleigh Restaurant known for having some of the best burgers in Raleigh.
Located on Seaboard Ave., and just off of Peace street, Bad Daddy's Burger Bar offers guests a convenient, cozy, and comfortable dining experience. Aside from their burgers, the menu includes sandwiches, salads, and a number of great appetizers and sides to enjoy with your friends and family.
If you're in the mood for a great burger in Raleigh than Bad Daddy's is a must try. There are a number of quality burger places in the area, and Bad Daddy's is constantly being recommended as one of the top options.
There is truly something for everyone at Bad Daddy's, vegetarians have a terrific salad menu, and anyone who doesn't like red meat has plenty of other options such as buffalo chicken, turkey burger, even a tuna burger. The 'create your own' options allow for endless possibilities and combinations for your burger or salad.
Some of our favorite waitstaff at Bad Daddy's includes Jacob and Ashley - these two are awesome so be sure to ask for them!
Check out other great Burger spots, Chuck's and MoJoe's, in our Honorable Mentions section!
Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar’s hours are from 11:00 AM until 10:00 PM every day except for on Friday and Saturday when it stays open an hour later and closes at 11:00 PM. Bad Daddy's has had two different happy hour times: The first one that starts at 3:00 PM and ends at 6:00 PM, then the next one from 8:00 and goes until it closes.
Peri Brothers Pizza (NY Style)
Menu and Directions
A taste of New York, in Raleigh, NC!
Peri Brothers Pizza is a delicious Italian restaurant that specializes in bringing the taste and quality of NY style Pizza to Raleigh. A great pizza place to visit in North Raleigh with a menu that extends to sandwiches, wings, salads, and other tasty appetizers.
People love to go to Peri Brother’s Pizza Restaurant because it is fun, friendly, and a great spot for families to enjoy some New York Style Pizza. The folks who have moved from New York to Raleigh are huge fans of the Italian restaurant's offerings. The reviews online showcase how people are reminded of the pizza they had back in New York.
It is not easy to find pizza around here with that specific New York style taste that Peri Brother’s brings. If you love NY Style pizza, Peri Bros. is a must try.
One of the criticism's Raleigh has faced is the lack of great pizza places in the area. Luckily, places like Peri Brothers Pizza help raise the bar for the best pizza places in Raleigh!
Final Thoughts on the 17 Best Restaurants in Raleigh, NC
Check back periodically as we plan to update this article with more restaurants in and around Raleigh, NC! If you have any you would like to see added, please drop us a line in the comments section below!
These are not necessarily everyone's 17 best restaurants, however these are 17 that have a great reputation for providing people with great experiences!
If you're moving to Raleigh, or shopping homes for sale in the area, you are going to want to make sure you have a guide to some great local restaurants! You'll also want a guide to fun things to do in Raleigh, NC!
We hope you enjoyed our article on the best restaurants in Raleigh, NC and we would LOVE for you to drop us a line in the comments section about your experience!
Raleigh Realty is a Raleigh, NC Based Real Estate Company that enjoys providing high quality and valuable local information for consumers.
Hi there! I'm Ryan Fitzgerald, a REALTOR in Raleigh-Durham, NC and the owner of Raleigh Realty. Chances are you and I share a similar passion, Real Estate! I also have a passion for technology, sports, and people. Would love to hear from you. Drop me a note in the comments section below and feel free to share this article socially!