So I get that maybe not a ton of people are visiting the Raleigh/Durham area, but I’ve had several people request this blog post, and also this area is growing so fast and has been voted one of the top placed for young professionals to live. Whoop whoop!! So in that case, I think that this area has a lot to offer and I want to share some of Stephen and my favorite spots!
Let’s start with breakfast…
-Monuts. Okay so you know that breakfast place that Stephen and I are always going to? Hehe. Well, yes, this is it! No matter how hard we try we just always end up going back here. They have the best homemade donuts and their breakfast is just amazing! I usually get their avocado toast on focaccia, or will branch out and try one of their breakfast sandwiches or biscuits. Stephen mixes it up but always gets their siracha maple home fries/breakfast potatos which are soooo good. Oh, and of course we get donuts too! It’s a local Durham place that we love.
-Rise. This is another local spot that originated in NC and they are now expanding to other states (maybe one near you!?) They have tons of fun donut varieties and also amazing biscuits. I think I was told that these biscuits have one a national competition of some sort? Can’t remember the details exactly but wouldn’t be surprised…they are good!!
-Guglhupf. This is a German bakery in Durham that has some pretty great breakfast and coffee. If you like pasties/baked good especially, I would definitely recommend going here. They also serve dinner I believe, but Stephen and I have only been for breakfast!
-Duck Donuts. Donuts, need I say more? They originated in the Outer Banks, NC and their donuts are made to order. Kind of like Krispy Kreme except they literally make it right as you order it and they are like 100x better hehe. They have several locations in NC and have expanded to a bunch of other states. Apparently they are the fastest growing donut shop in the US?!
-Elmo’s: So not a lot to say about Elmo’s except if you want a local diner with good food at a good price…this is the place! It’s great if you want a more classic breakfast. Good for the guys too because you get a lot of food! Haha.
-Tupelo Honey: If you want a decadent southern breakfast, I’d recommend here. Everything is made from scratch and changes with each season. They also have some great cocktails here too. I’ve only been here for breakfast but hear they have a great lunch, dinner, and even happy hour!
-Scratch Bakery: Super cute little café with handmade pastries, cakes, and pies. They also have great coffee, and serve breakfast and lunch too. I love their tartine here!
Okay, so moving onto Lunch/Dinner spots. I feel like there are so many amazing spots to choose from. So I’m going to try to avoid giving too much detail and just give you the highlights of each place!
-Parker & Otis: Super cute placed to grab a coffee, pastry, and lunch. Lots of healthy options as well. Plus the space also doubles as store where they sell a huge variety of cute things/knick knacks. Think everything from soaps, lotions, cookbooks, cocktail making kits, homemade sauces, etc.
-Lucky’s: Only been here once but it’s a great place to grab a quick bite. It’s a New York style deli that serves breakfast and lunch. They have beer and wine too!
-Vin Rouge: If you’re looking for French cuisine I would definitely recommend here! Last time I was here I got several different appetizers with some girl friends and they were all yummy. A little bit on the pricy side but they have $1 oysters on Tuesday and a 3 course prix fix menu for $25 on Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 5:30-6:30pm.
-Pizzeria Toro: One of my favorite brick oven pizza places! They also have some great cocktails and appetizers. Their arancini balls are so good–one of my favorite apps here.
-Pompieri: My other favorite pizza place. This is more of a casual vibe compared to Pizzeria Toro (it’s a renovated fire station). They also have beer & wine on tap.
-Mateo’s: If you’re looking for a great tapas place, look no further! I’ve only been here twice because Stephen says that the plates are too expensive and too small (insert eye rolling emoji here)– well, yeah that’s tapas for you! Great food and a really good ambiance as well. Is a great spot to grab a drink(s) at the bar and order some small plates. They have a huge wine list as well!
-Gonza Tacos & Tequila: Looking for a cute, casual Mexican restaurant? I love this place, and my parents approved of it too 😉 Really good Mexican food that is reasonably priced. They have a little outdoor patio area as well if you want to sit outside. I know there are several locations in the RDU area, but I’ve only been to the one in downtown Durham.
-Mother and Sons Trattoria: Ahhh, one of my favorite Italian restaurants! All their pastas are handmade, and the ambiance is great. It is the same owner of Mateo’s, Lucky’s and Vin Rouge. Sensing a pattern here?
-Dashi: In general I was never 100% sold on ramen until this place. I always get their Mazmen bowl (local pork meatballs, rapini, crispy garlic, scallions and chili oil–YUM)! The restaurant is two stories; downstairs is more of the traditional restaurant with a smaller bar area and then upstairs has a few small tables and a larger bar area. They also have vegan and gluten free options.
-Bida Manda: This is a Loation restaurant and bar in downtown Raleigh. Don’t know if you like Loation food? GO HERE, YOU WILL. Lol. But really this restaurant is hands down one of our favorites (Stephen and I are going here for my birthday dinner next week)! The ambiance is great (their bathrooms are beautiful hah), and their food is so unique and delicious. We are obsessed with their Crispy Pork Belly Soup–perfect during those cooler months. Also they have great lunch specials too! Ps. If you’re going for dinner you will need a reservation if you don’t want to wait! This place is always packed.
-Brewery Bhavana: Haven’t been to this spot in downtown Raleigh but it is supposed to be AMAZING! Bon Appetite voted it one of America’s Best New Restaurants of 2017. And guess who the owners are? The same brother & sister that own Bida Manda, so I know it must be good! Bon Appetite describes this spot as Flowers + Beer + Books + Dim Sum. You can see that it’s a pretty unique spot…a 4 in 1 concept. I’ll let their article give you more insight here. Just know that if you’re in the Raleigh that you must go! (Clearly I need to take my own advice haha).
-Death & Taxes: So this restaurant was voted one of America’s Best New Restaurants by Bon Appetite but in 2016! See guys, the RDU area has a lot to offer in terms of food! All their dishes are wood fired and it’s described as a “marble, leather, dark-wood–clad Southern Brassiere. Again, I’ll link the article here, but definitely give it a try if you’re in the area (let me know how it is 😉 )
Last but not least, some of my favorite spots to grab a cocktail!
-The Rooftop at The Durham Hotel: So this boutique hotel has a restaurant on it’s main floor which is really good, but I love going up to their rooftop for drinks and apps! They have an indoor bar area, and then an outdoor seating area with separate spots for dining and then “lounging.” The view is also really pretty. Just a great spot to relax and get a drink.
-Alley Twenty-Six: This is a cocktail bar, actually right across from the Durham hotel, with super yummy cocktails and small plates. They also have dinner options here which are very good. I’ll sometimes go here for a cocktail and split an entrée with a girlfriend.
-Pour Taproom: So this taproom has a few locations but they just opened one up in Durham! They have a ton of craft beers AND wines on tap. It’s super fun because you can just get an 1 oz of each beer/wine and try a bunch of them. They also have small bites if you want some food while you’re there. But it’s a cool concept–they basically give you a wrist band and you go around to each tap and just scan your band to get a sample. It’s fun! Hehe.
-Unscripted: This is a boutique hotel that just opened up in Durham and I have yet to go here for cocktails but it’s on my list! I just went in one day to grab a coffee and thought, this might be a good place to grab a drink in the future. So again, if you go, you’ll have to tell me how it is!
Alright guys, I think that about wraps it up!! Not the most exciting post but hopefully helpful for those that live in the area or are planning a visit! xx Claire