Wednesday, April 15, 2009
As promised here is a list of ten of my favorite Triangle-area restaurants! Being the foodie that I am, I've grazed in all parts of Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Cary, Apex and Morrisville during my time at UNC and before my college days when I lived in Cary.
While it was very hard to narrow the list down to the top ten since there really are so many great restaurants in the area. My list includes elegant to casual and everything in between. You'll see a bit of diversity in the types of food, and I'm a sushi-holic so I apologize if that's not your thing (I'm already lamenting the thought of not eating sushi for nine months while I'm pregnant and that is still many, many years away).
It's not in favorite to least-favorite order or anything like that; these all just are really great places to eat! Bon appetit!
Penang, Chapel Hill
With a combination of Thai and Malaysian cuisine, the menu at Penang is full of colorful and flavorful dishes including traditional curry and satay-based dishes along with a sushi bar. I recommend the Thai Pineapple Fried Rice, which is served hot in a halved pineapple or the Rendang, which is a delicious combination of cinnamon, cloves, lemongrass and coconut milk along with your choice of chicken or beef.
The food at Penang ranges from spicy to sweet with options for
vegetarians and meat lovers alike!
Photo Source: Self
Mediterranean Deli, Chapel Hill
A purveyor of Middle-Eastern and Greek cuisine, Mediterranean Deli, also known as "Med Deli" by the locals, is fresh and tasty. Order the sampler platter so that you can try two to four different dishes. Some of my favorites include tabouli, falafel, and hummus with pita bread. Now that I have a new found love for moussaka, I'll have to try that next! The Franklin Street deli also has an olive bar and fresh-baked desserts.
Top of the Hill, Chapel Hill
Simply put, if you are a Chapel Hill-first timer, you have to have a meal at Top of the Hill. Known for their award-winning beer and elegant Southern cuisine, Top of the Hill or "Top O" is a great place to experience Chapel Hill nightlife or to enjoy the view overlooking the heart of Franklin Street. While the menu changes, one favorite is their Chicken Parmesan. Even if it's not on the menu, they'll make it for you with their heavenly Buttermilk Fried Chicken atop a heap of hot noodles and a sweet tomato sauce. If you're sampling their brews, I recommend the Old Well White.
My fiance and I love many Mexican restaurants and burrito spots, but Carrburitos certainly has our hearts. The variety of tasty fresh salsas and the colorful upbeat atmosphere of the restaurant makes this place a standout. Tip: there is limited outdoor seating tucked away on the side of the building.
Weaver Street Market, Carrboro
This is a favorite breakfast spot for Kris and I. We love hitting up the hot breakfast bar on Sunday mornings, which includes favorites such as dill biscuits, eggs with peppers and corn tortillas and, my favorite, mediterranean strata. The laid-back atmosphere of eating at outdoor picnic tables is enjoyable, and often there is a musician or two playing the guitar, which can be nice. Beware that it's a popular place on the weekends and during nice weather, so it can be difficult but well worth it to find a seat.
Breakfast Bar $5.99/lbHours: 7:30 - 10:30 a.m., Monday - FridaySaturday, 8 a.m.- noonSunday, 8 a.m. - 1 p.m.
You won't ever find Weaver Street this empty on a Sunday morning
during their brunch buffet!
Photo Source: Infrastructure of Milk Blog
Milltown has delicious Belgian-style food and a variety of beer from around the world. The grilled chicken sandwich with gorgonzola cheese and grilled pear is my all-time favorite, and I'm always torn between pairing it with their salad, which is delicious and healthy or their skinny French fries, which are possibly more delicious but are certainly a calorie killer. Their grilled cheese with avocado and tomato (I've dubbed this dish "sexy grilled cheese") is also awesome. Milltown hands down has the best selection of beer in Carrboro with 100+ choices on their menu.
Shiki Sushi, Durham
As a self-appointed sushi connoisseur, I've eaten my way around quite a few sushi digs. Of all of those, Shiki Sushi is my all-time favorite. I would probably eat their daily if it wouldn't break my budget and if I still lived in the area. Their unique and ecclectic rolls such as the Sumo Roll with tuna, yellowtail, salmon, white fish, spicy mayo tempura top with mixed roes, crab stick, conch, sprinkle eel & cream sauce is fantastic. Shiki is the only place where I've ever had conch on sushi, and the sweet buttery meat is a fantastic addition. Other favorites include the Atlantic Lover, which has snow crab meat, cream cheese inside out with four kinds of fish and three kinds of roe on top and North Carolina Sunset, a roll with spicy tuna, salmon, cream cheese and spicy mayo inside out with flying fish roe. Tip: one of the best parts of eating at Shiki is that all sushi is buy one get one free - always.
518 West Italian Cafe, Raleigh
Three words on 518 West for you - delicious Italian food. A perfect date restaurant, 518 has great ambiance in addition to a wonderful menu. Notable entrees include The Crab, which is red pepper papardelle pasta tossed with a dill cream sauce and a saute of wild mushrooms, scallions and bacon topped with fresh crab meat and Lemon Linguine Pasta, which is a delicious combination of shrimp, scallops, roasted tomatoes, garlic and scallions in white wine with lobster butter sauce.
518 West Italian Cafe has ambiance, charm and decadently delicious Italian cuisine.
Photo Source: Technimo
A long-time family favorite, Daniel's is another great Italian restaurant in the area. While it's less romantic than 518 West, Daniel's is a restaurant that's good for a family outing or a date. Try out the Penne alla Vodka, which is pasta in a yummy pink vodka sauce. For dessert? Sample a slice of Oh, My God, Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie.
Sweet Tomatoes, Cary and Raleigh
While Sweet Tomatoes is a chain restaurant, I truly love this place! Named one of America's Healthiest Restaurants by Health Magazine, Sweet Tomatoes is famous for their healthy and affordable seasonal soups, salads, bakery delights and pastas. Some favorites are available year round, such as the Big Chunk Chicken Noodle, which is a yummy version of Chicken Noodle Soup that has big fat dumpling-like noodles. Tip: for dessert try the Chocolate Brownie Muffin with Vanilla Soft Serve for a healthy and delicious treat!