Forbes magazine has called Raleigh one of the fastest growing cities in the United States. I moved to North Carolina in 2012 not knowing anything about the area. I’ve lived in Boston, and because of work have spent time in dozens of cities across North America but I must say the food in Raleigh is something special!
I’m still fast testing but thought I would compile a list for the other triangle area newcomers to try:
1- An- An Cuisines Cary, NC
They call their cuisine ‘Asian Fusion.’ Their sushi is some of the best I have ever had! Even though I’m not the biggest fan of panko or tempura, my favorite sushi roll is the ‘SAS’ with spicy tuna. I got two orders of it the last time I visited. The oysters are amazing and really, anything you try on the menu is delicious. The portions are smaller than what you’d get at most popular sushi spots, and it’s pricier but you are getting what you pay for. The service is top-notch and the drinks are strong, but delicious. The milk and chocolate chip cookies for desert are baked to perfection. It’s a date kind of atmosphere but the bar is a fun place to hang out for happy hour after work. This is a MUST-try place and my favorite restaurant in greater Raleigh.
Runner up for best sushi and THE coolest atmosphere is Cowfish.
Also try Mura sushi in North Hills.
2- Sitti – Authentic Lebanese downtown Raleigh, NC
I’m biased on this choice because I am Lebanese; but I can’t stop telling people about this place. Everyone who I’ve sent to Sitti has loved it and keeps going back! I can say for a fact that their food really is authentic Lebanese flavor. Go with a friend and get the ‘Sitti Tasting,’ with hummus, baba ghanouj, fattoush, chicken shawarma, kibbee mikli and cheese rolls. Their drink selection is great as well! The interior and laid-back environment only adds to the appeal.
3-Relish – Relish Cafe and Bar Raleigh, NC
Comfort food at it’s finest! It’s a cozy little spot tucked away in a plaza near the Crabtree mall. The menu is diverse (including lots of gluten-free options) and they have great drink specials too. I was never wild about tomatoes until I tried the tomato soup here. WOW! Their grilled cheeses are delicious- my favorite is the ‘Wisconsin’ with applewood bacon. Mmmm! I love going here with my girlfriends after work. A casual spot you have to check out!
Also try- Beasley’s Chicken and Honey, Raleigh Times food and Lynnwood Grill and Sunflowers.
4-Poole’s Diner – Poole’s Downtown Diner Raleigh, NC
Trendy spots are popping up everywhere but this is the place to go. The menu is on a chalkboard, the drinks are really good and the atmosphere is chic and cool. People are wild about their gourmet mac and cheese but I think it’s far too filling. I have loved the salads, chicken and shrimp dishes I’ve had there. It’s on the pricier side but the perfect spot to go for a late night date or drinks with friends but it’s always packed so be prepared to wait.
Also try Oro- it’s right downtown with a unique menu and a fun and sophisticated atmosphere!
5- Taverna Agora- Taverna Agora Greek Restaurant and Bar Raleigh, NC
Who doesn’t love good greek food? My father and I went together and he tells everyone about it. The menu is filled with delicious entrees. Bring your appetite because the portions are hearty. The Athenian Chicken is the best I’ve had! The wine selection is awesome in a cozy family-friendly set up.