6 Best Restaurants in Raleigh, NC

6 Best Restaurants in Raleigh, NC

  • Hodge & Kittrell
  • 05/7/24

Welcome to Raleigh, NC, where Southern charm meets vibrant modern living. Here, newcomers can explore some of the most beautiful properties in North Carolina, from stately Georgian Colonials to large manors with gated grounds. Raleigh's real estate scene dazzles with new, luxurious farmhouse-style homes boasting beautiful, expansive yards. This aesthetic appeal, paired with the city's many parks and greenways, makes Raleigh a place to thrive.

Ranked as the #1 Best Place to Live by US News & World Report for 2022-2023 and named one of the Top 3 Hottest Job Markets in America by the Wall Street Journal in 2022, Raleigh offers more than just visual beauty and a robust job market. Its burgeoning cultural and culinary scenes are magnetic, drawing food lovers and culture enthusiasts to this dynamic urban center.

Your adventure in Raleigh begins here, and what better way to start than by diving into the local dining scene? Whether you're a foodie seeking the latest gastronomic delight or a cozy spot to enjoy a meal, Raleigh's array of restaurants promises to delight your palate. Let's explore the culinary treasures this city has to offer.


2519 Fairview Rd, Raleigh

At Mandolin, diners enjoy a sophisticated blend of modern American cuisine with a Southern twist. The chef behind this culinary gem, Chef Fowler, emphasizes a farm-to-table dining experience by sourcing the highest-quality local ingredients. The dedication to freshness is evident, as many of the ingredients come directly from Mandolin Farm, located in North Raleigh—a project personally overseen and developed by Chef Fowler and his team.

This commitment extends to the eggs used in the kitchen, sourced from Fowler's hens, and the tomatoes grown in their greenhouse, which feature prominently in their panzanella salads and roasted tomato tarts. The menu at Mandolin is a dynamic celebration of the seasons, crafted to showcase a fresh interpretation of Southern favorites while incorporating global culinary influences.

The dining space at Mandolin mirrors the elegance of its menu. Designed as a refined bistro, it provides an ideal backdrop for casual and formal dining occasions. Recognition of their wine selection's quality came with the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence in 2023, cementing Mandolin's status as a premiere Raleigh dining destination. Mandolin offers a unique gastronomic experience that highlights the best of North Carolina's abundant agricultural resources.


620 N Person St, Raleigh

Jolie is a French bistro that masterfully balances classic and contemporary. The menu features time-honored French dishes alongside innovative adaptations, all crafted under the guidance of an award-winning chef. This chef's prowess has not gone unnoticed, having earned multiple Forbes Five-Star awards and five James Beard Foundation semifinalist nominations for "Best Chef: Southeast."

The cuisine at Jolie is refined and artfully presented, reflecting the bistro's commitment to quality and aesthetics. Patrons can expect a dining experience that combines the precision of French culinary techniques with the boldness of modern flavors, making each dish a unique exploration of France's gastronomic traditions.

Complementing the sophisticated menu is Jolie's lively atmosphere, which invites diners to enjoy their meals in a vibrant and engaging setting. This blend of excellent cuisine and dynamic ambiance makes Jolie a favored destination for those who appreciate fine dining with a spirited twist. Whether gathering for a special occasion or a casual meal, visitors and locals find Jolie a captivating addition to the Raleigh dining landscape, reflecting the city's growing reputation as a hub for distinguished culinary experiences.

Second Empire Restaurant and Tavern

330 Hillsborough St, Raleigh

Second Empire Restaurant and Tavern, located in a restored Second Empire-style house dating back to 1879, marries history with culinary excellence. This establishment offers two distinct dining experiences: the American restaurant's elegance and the casual tavern's relaxed ambiance. Both settings promise an unforgettable dining experience in the heart of Raleigh.

The restaurant is renowned for its refined setting, featuring an exposed brick cellar and a light-filled atrium. It is ideal for a romantic dinner or a formal gathering. For a more laid-back vibe, guests can enjoy a cocktail on the front porch, which provides a serene view and a pleasant atmosphere to unwind.

A particularly exclusive offer at Second Empire is the Chef's Table experience. This intimate setting accommodates two to four guests in the kitchen, allowing diners to engage directly with Chef Daniel Schurr and his team. This behind-the-scenes adventure showcases the culinary skills of the staff.


500 Glenwood Ave #100, Raleigh

Vidrio offers an upmarket Mediterranean dining experience that captures the essence of the region's rich culture. This restaurant is a creative showcase of the Mediterranean passion for life, with a menu that combines imported specialties with locally sourced ingredients to ensure freshness and quality. The ambiance of Vidrio is as compelling as its menu, featuring stylish surroundings characterized by dramatic decor and a colorfully lively vibe.

Vidrio's excellence has not gone unnoticed in the culinary community, as evidenced by its collection of accolades. It has been recognized with Opentable's Diners Choice Award, signaling widespread patron satisfaction. Additionally, the restaurant's wine program was awarded the Wine Spectator Best of Excellence Award in 2018 and continued its streak with the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence annually from 2020 to 2023.

Death and Taxes

105 W Hargett St, Raleigh

Death and Taxes is a prominent venue in Raleigh known for its inventive New American cuisine and crafted cocktails. The restaurant in a former bank enhances its unique dining experience by incorporating an onsite wine cellar within the original bank vault, blending historical elements with modern culinary practices.

The interior of Death and Taxes has an intimate, swanky ambiance. High ceilings, marble tables, and leather banquettes provide a luxurious setting, while the open kitchen design invites diners to observe the culinary action. Particularly noteworthy is the seating at the kitchen counter, offering front-row views into the preparations on the custom-built, 2,000-pound grill that uses wood fire to enhance the flavors of dry-aged meats and other specialties.

The menu features a variety of standout dishes, including roasted oysters and handmade pasta adorned with smoked sauces. Grilled vegetable vinaigrettes add a fresh, vibrant touch to the offerings, showcasing the kitchen's ability to elevate simple ingredients into sophisticated dishes. This approach demonstrates the restaurant's commitment to innovation.


938 N Blount St, Raleigh

Stanbury is in a hip, rustic venue that offers a creative take on New American cuisine. This restaurant is well-known for its focus on small plates and entrees that are deeply influenced by the seasonal availability of ingredients, ensuring that each dish reflects the freshness and flavor of the moment.

The menu at Stanbury reflects the available local produce and the culinary team's inspiration daily, making each visit a unique dining experience. Diners can expect to find dishes that tantalize the taste buds and engage the senses, crafted to highlight each day's distinct qualities and mood. Complementing its food offerings, Stanbury boasts a robust selection of craft cocktails, each designed to pair seamlessly with the menu's dynamic flavors.

A culinary haven and your next home

Raleigh's dynamic dining scene is one of the many reasons it's considered a top destination for those seeking a blend of urban convenience and Southern charm. When you're ready to make this vibrant city your home, Hodge & Kittrell Sotheby’s International Realty is ready to assist. With a 99% client recommendation rate, their expert real estate brokers specialize in uniting extraordinary homes with extraordinary lives, catering to a wide range of needs and price ranges.

Whether searching for a stately Georgian Colonial or a modern farmhouse-style home, Hodge & Kittrell Sotheby’s International Realty can expertly navigate the Raleigh, NC, real estate landscape to find your perfect match.

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