18 Best Restaurants in Raleigh, NC (Reviews, Photos, Maps)

Raleigh is one of North Carolina’s most diverse cities and there are many things to do, including eating great food. When you’re visiting Raleigh, NC, one of the top things to do is to find a good spot to grub. Raleigh has the cool distinction of being one of the state’s top foodie destinations. Fortunately, the cuisine choices are just as diverse as the people that live there.

This list focuses on wonderful restaurants, catering to affordability and their proximity to the downtown area. Instead of being full of regret for missing out, you can get full on a delicious meal at one of these top spots. Here is a quick list of the best restaurants in Raleigh.

Big Ed’s City Market Restaurant

$ | 919-836-9909 | WEBSITE

Best Restaurants in Raleigh, NC

Big Ed’s is so dedicated to welcoming everyone to grab a plate, it doesn’t accept weekend reservations. It’s first come, first serve. One of the reasons that this longtime dining spot remains so popular is because it has great food for very reasonable prices.

Downhome country cooking best describes the menu selection. Buttermilk biscuits, grits, fried catfish, and many other Southern cuisine staples are on deck to order. Of course, don’t forget to grab a glass of sweet tea for the full experience.



The Fiction Kitchen

$$ | 919-831-4177 | WEBSITE


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If you’re looking to stick to a vegan diet, but still want good food, The Fiction Kitchen is a great place to grab a meal. Reasonably priced, it’s a popular venue for anyone, especially for those looking to find out how delicious vegan dishes can be. It is highly recommended that diners reserve a table because it is such a hot spot in the city.



Humble Pie

$$ | 919-829-9222 | WEBSITE


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Located in downtown Raleigh’s warehouse district, this restaurant’s menu is true to its name. Comfort foods and traditional American fare are offered for dinner and brunch.

Diners can fill their bellies with breakfast tacos or buttermilk fried chicken (which is practically a must-have meal in the South). You can also keep it light with a robust green salad or crispy brussels. Make reservations to guarantee your seat.




$$ | 919-239-4070 | WEBSITE


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If Lebanese cuisine stokes your appetite, then take a trip to Sitti. This restaurant is famous for its seared scallops, coupled with lemony couscous.

For a sweet treat, order a plate of Zalabya, a Lebanese fried bread dessert. Authenticity is what Sitti strives to offer. So, patrons will find a nice selection of Lebanese wine and beer on the menu.



Oak Steakhouse

$$ | 984-255-1818 | WEBSITE


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Diners that are in the mood for a steakhouse meal will find what they’re looking for at Oak. The restaurant is well known for its freshly made bread.

The menu goes beyond steak, offering diners some surf-and-turf options. Mussels, oysters, and lobster are on the menu, too. However, it is definitely a steakhouse. So, everything from tomahawk to ribeye steaks is available to order.



Salt and Lime Cabo Grill

$$ | 919-872-2230 | WEBSITE


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Salt and Lime Cabo Grill is a restaurant that draws inspiration from the coastal region of Baja California. Menu items include calamari, queso dips, nachos, spicy chicken wings, and Cabo rolls. One of its most popular dishes is roasted brussel sprouts.

Different varieties of guacamole and salsa give diners more sauce options for their meals. Soups include corn and poblano bisque and chicken and poblano chowder. Southwest Chicken and avocado-tomato are some of the offered salads. Fajitas, Mahi Mahi, and salmon Veracruz are some of the main entrees on the menu.



Taverna Agora Greek Kitchen and Bar

$$ | 919-881-8333 | WEBSITE


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Anyone craving Greek cuisine can make a beeline to Taverna Agora Greek Kitchen and Bar to satisfy their appetite. Classic Tzatziki sauce, spicy feta, and hummus made with sun-dried tomatoes are available spreads to pair with meals. Stuffed grape leaves and Spanakopita are some of the traditional Greek fare offered to diners.

Calamari and grilled octopus are also on the menu. Lamb, pitas, eggplant, and chicken are prominent ingredients in the wide variety of this restaurant’s offerings. Taverna also has a rooftop area for diners to sit and enjoy their meals.




$$$ | 919-832-4477 | WEBSITE


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Poole’s is one of Raleigh’s hotspot restaurants, so making reservations to dine is encouraged. This place offers traditional American fare with a modern twist. It takes the concept of comfort food and gives it a snazzy update. So, offerings like mac and cheese won’t look or taste like it’s from a box. It’s a smaller venue, so dine-in seating is limited.



Cape Fear Seafood Company

$ | 984-242-4600 | WEBSITE


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When a person is looking for seafood in the American South, it’s typical to find menu items like hush puppies, chowder, shrimp, and crab cakes. Cape Fear Seafood Company rises to that expectation and goes even further.

Fresh-caught seafood is what keeps this popular Raleigh restaurant in the top ranks. However, it also offers salads and fried okra, a traditional Southern staple.

Diners can choose from two different locations in the city. It’s also notable that, for seafood (or any other type of meal), the menu selections at Cape Fear Seafood Company are comparatively affordable.



Parkside Restaurant

$$$ | 984-232-8969 | WEBSITE


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Parkside’s menu is highly diverse. So, there’s a bit of something for everyone that wants to eat there. Shrimp and grits is a very popular Southern dish and it’s offered at this restaurant. Burgers and meatloaf are on the menu, too.

Parkside has a wide selection of intricate and robust salads that can serve as meals in their own right. Soups and sides include items such as tomato bisque and mac and cheese. This spot would be a good choice if a group of diners has varying tastes because everyone will find something that they want.



Seasons 52

$$ | 919-787-3052 | WEBSITE


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Seasons 52 Grill and Wine Bar’s fare is regarded as New American, a modern take on traditional food found in the U.S. Menu offerings include a variety of flatbreads, avocado toast, a host of different soups, and indulgent mini-dessert items.

Main entrees include burgers, mac and cheese, pasta, and chicken tenders. What makes Seasons 52 unique is that the menu is calorie-conscious and lists how many calories each meal has. It also strives to offer diners meal options made with fresh, seasonal ingredients.




$$ | 919-896-8513 | WEBSITE


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Despite its name, Gravy is actually a restaurant that specializes in Italian-American cuisine. Serving lunch and dinner, its menu offerings include fresh soups such as Zuppa and other appetizers like bruschetta and calamari. Sandwiches include grilled portobello and chicken mozzarella.

There are different antipasto and pasta options. Diners can also indulge in items like lasagna, spaghetti and meatballs, scallop risotto, and primavera. Gravy also provides a kids’ menu for dining families. Large salads are also on the menu.




$$ | 984-200-8614 | WEBSITE


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Stir is a restaurant that also serves as an oyster bar. One of Raleigh’s most popular spots for brunch, its entire menu caters to brunch specials. Southern staples such as chicken and waffles and shrimp and grits top the menu selection.

Fresh fruit waters (also known as agua frescas) such as strawberry basil, honey peach, and lemon cucumber are available. Diners will find various sandwiches and omelets on the menu. Oysters are brought in fresh daily and patrons can order a large number of them, raw or steamed.



Crawford and Son

$$$ | 919-307-4647 | WEBSITE


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Crawford and Son offers meals that are more on the non-traditional side as some of the ingredients are harder to find. Main entrees such as seared monkfish, a highly coveted fish that many gourmet chefs love to cook with, are one example.

Crispy duck breast and seared Denver steak are also on the entree menu. Crawford offers some raw food selections, such as beef tartare, yellowfin tuna Crudo, and heirloom apple carpaccio.

Confit pork belly and ricotta gnudi are offered as appetizers. The dessert menu includes items such as warm honey cake, purple sweet potato pie, and chai custard.



Firebirds Wood Fired Grill

$$ | 919-788-8778 | WEBSITE


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Firebirds Wood Fired Grill is open for brunch, lunch, and dinner. Its signature “Firebar” is what draws many patrons to its doors. This restaurant also features a kid-friendly menu. This place puts a twist on American food. So, you’ll find items such as lobster spinach queso and Philly Cheesesteak eggrolls on the menu.

Chicken tortilla soup and Colorado Chicken Salad are other available offerings. Wood-grilled salmon and baby back ribs are two of its many specialties. There’s an expansive wine bar available to diners and mocktails for those that want non-alcoholic options.



Plates Neighborhood Kitchen

$$ | 919-828-0018 | WEBSITE


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Plates Neighborhood Kitchen is open for brunch, lunch, and dinner. Its menu varies, offering different selections during weekdays, while other options are available during weekends. For example, avocado toast, tomato bisque, and ham baguettes are on the weekday brunch menu.

However, the weekend brunch menu includes items such as French toast and a big breakfast plate. The dinner menu delves into locally sourced ingredients such as roasted trout, seared scallops, and oven-roasted chicken. Plates Neighborhood Kitchen also offers holiday package deals for diners throughout the year.



Irregardless Cafe

$$ | 919-833-8898 | WEBSITE


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Irregardless Cafe is open for brunch, lunch, and dinner and offers a large variety of different types of meals. Diners can order interesting dishes such as smoked trout dip and wild mushroom pie as appetizers. There is also a vegan calamari option to try.

Lobster manicotti, rack of lamb, and oscar filet are some of the main entree options. Eggplant Moussaka is a great main entree option for vegan diners. Other items such as hummus, focaccia, and spinach artichoke dip are available as dinner starters. Mushroom stroganoff, Barbacoa, and Chile Relleno are some of the dinner entrees that are available.



Winston’s Grille

$$ | 919-790-0700 | WEBSITE


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Winston’s Grille is a restaurant that prides itself and making its meals from scratch with fresh ingredients. Set to combine the authentic taste of homemade meals with sophisticated restaurant chic, diners have diverse meal options that include items such as New Orleans Creole gumbo and tomato and goat cheese bruschetta.

Each day, the restaurant offers a soup of the day. So, patrons can ask about it whenever they saunter in for a good meal at Winston’s. Chicken quesadillas and pizza are also menu options for diners. It’s a good spot for a diverse group of diners because it has something everyone would like.




If you are ever in the Raleigh area, know that there are many great restaurants to choose from. It really is a great place for culinary enthusiasts. However, the places on this list will provide diners with some of the best dining experiences that are available in the city of Raleigh.

So, when you are looking for the best restaurants in Raleigh, look no further than this list. There is truly something for everyone here. Happy dining!

Best Restaurants in Raleigh

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About Restaurant Observer

Restaurant Observer is the ultimate go-to destination on the web when looking for nothing but fantastic places to genuinely enjoy food across the United States. Inspired by the saying when there’s good food, there’s a good life, Birch Restaurant starts the food blog to scout the best food places across the country.