The 25 Best Dishes in Raleigh

In Feature Stories, September 2019 by Raleigh MagazineLeave a Comment

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Seafood so fresh, you’d think you’re at the beach. Down-home dishes that’d make any Southern granny proud. Vegetarian delights and international influences…we’ve got it all in our comprehensive list of Raleigh’s 25 Best Dishes (plus 10 standout starters). For our annual Best Restaurants issue, let us assure you, the competition was fierce; a sheer abundance of local culinary talent, not to mention restaurants whose menus are subject to change daily, made it especially hard for us to choose from among our many, many, many standard menu faves. It was a tough job but you know we had to do it. Now it’s your turn—try them all this fall.

Farmer’s Veggie and Rice Bowl 

Capital Club 16
16 W Martin Street

An exceptional vegetarian dish at an otherwise meat-focused eatery, Capital Club 16’s flavorful Farmer’s Bowl is laden with seasonal roasted vegetables, basmati rice and a basted egg.

Raw Oysters 

The Cortez Seafood + Cocktail
413 Glenwood Avenue

James Beard Award semifinalist Oscar Diaz serves some mean raw oysters sourced from Locals Seafood and served with cocktail sauce and rosé mignonette.

Royale Burger 

200 E Martin Street

A classic burger with a sophisticated French twist, the ever popular Royale Burger is embellished with melty gruyere cheese and au poivre aioli in a toasted Michael’s English Muffin.


Coquette Brasserie
4351 The Circle At North Hills Street

Whether you choose the traditional quiche lorraine, cheesy spinach and chevre or the always tempting quiche du jour, Coquette’s sky high egg dish does not disappoint.


106 S Wilmington Street

Sweet plantains, a fried egg and tangy guac top a hearty plate of rice and beans. Calentado is only available on Centro’s Saturday brunch menu, making it extra special.

Macaroni Au Gratin 

Poole’s Diner
426 S McDowell Street

The Mac ‘n Cheese over at Poole’s Diner is iconic. Its rich, melted cheese and crispy caramelized crust is a hit among out-of-towners and dedicated regulars alike.

Pork Schnitzel

J. Betski’s
10 W Franklin Street, Suite 120

Crispy and fried to golden perfection, the pork schnitzel at J Betski’s could be served at a Viennese Gasthaus. Austrian potato and dill-cucumber salad round out the dish.

Whole Fish

1053 E Whitaker Mill Road, Suite 111

It takes skill to get the flesh from the bones of this perfectly flaky fish served with grilled lemon and seasonal vegetables. You’ll be glad you made the effort.

Sweet Soy Chicken 

Brewery Bhavana
218 S Blount Street

Decadent crispy chunks of chicken are served tableside with a mouthwatering caramelized ginger soy sauce—stir the two together for a tasty punch of flavors.

Chicken Parm Ramen 

Papa Shogun
111 Seaboard Avenue, Suite 118

Chef Tom Cuomo shook up the Raleigh food world when he released his Chicken Parm Ramen, a surprising combination of tomato tori paitan, arugula, chicken katsu and mozzarella.

Adobo Tomahawk Pork Chop 

2130 Clark Avenue

This Tomahawk (bone-in) pork chop is tender and packed with flavor. Served with corn and apple succotash, zucchini, butter beans and tomato vinaigrette, it’s the queso fresco that adds the perfect finishing touch.

Vegetable Curry 

14 W Martin Street

Garland’s Vegetable Curry, a superb balance of flavorful spices, cream, fresh herbs and cheese, perfectly showcases chef Cheetie Kumar’s Indian roots.

Chicken & Waffles

2519 Fairview Road

A decadent take on the traditional duo with juicy fried chicken breasts, buckwheat waffles, braised greens, sautéed mushrooms and an innovative bacon-mushroom emulsion.

Chicken Confit

Crawford and Son
618 N Person Street

Chef Scott Crawford’s take on traditional Southern fried chicken is made sophisticated—and delicious—with a flavorful herb crust, velvety creamed corn and charred pepper au jus.

Green Papaya Salad 

Bida Manda
222 South Blount Street

A colorful dish of shredded green papaya, tomatoes, nuts and spicy tamarind cradled in red cabbage and topped with your choice of meat, vegetables or fish.

“Two Chickens in Every Pot” Pie 

Hayes Barton Cafe & Dessertery
2000 Fairview Road

This show-stopping dish features a thick crust, heaps of creamy mashed potatoes, peas, chicken and an addictive pot pie filling, complete with star-shaped crust cutouts.

Charred Octopus

500 Glenwood Avenue, Suite 100

This tantalizing dish is made for bold foodies. A base of corona beans and arugula add color and texture to perfectly charred octopus tentacles, finished with a tangy chorizo vinaigrette.

Chicken Fried Chicken

Driftwood Southern Kitchen
8460 Honeycutt Road, Suite 112

Perhaps not the healthiest option, but definitely worth it! Driftwood’s Chicken Fried Chicken is made utterly delectable with creamy mashed potatoes and savory sausage gravy.

Boeuf Braisé Bourguignon 

Saint Jacques
6112 Falls of Neuse Road

This delicious French delicacy features tender, melt-in-your-mouth beef short ribs served with flavorful bacon mushrooms, creamy mashed potatoes and local vegetables.

Nigiri Omakase

319 Fayetteville Street, Suite 101

If you’re dining at Sono, it’s wise to entrust yourself to the chef. Keep it deliciously simple with thin slices of the freshest fish served over pressed rice.

Shrimp and Grits 

2014 Fairview Road

For comforting shrimp and grits that oozes Southern charm, look no further than NOFO; it’s a flavorful combo of bacon, mushrooms, garlic butter, green onions and pepperjack grits.

Mediterranean Grilled Salmon Salad 

Taverna Agora
326 Hillsborough Street

Transport your tastebuds to Greece with this mix of tomatoes, feta, Kalamata olives, eggplant, red onions, roasted peppers and a flaky salmon filet.


Angus Barn
9401 Glenwood Avenue

A large, thick tenderloin sliced into brilliantly juicy pieces, Angus Barn’s Chateaubriand is a dish worth celebrating. Served with seasonal vegetables and a selection of chef’s sauces.


938 N Blount Street

A juicy cut of beef, some say it’s the best ribeye in town. Served with bruschetta, Sophia cheese, salsa verde, tomatoes, basil shallots, sherry vinaigrette, it’s definitely among the most unique.

Mexican Flag

Gonza Tacos y Tequila
7713 Lead Mine Road, Suite 39; 
2100 Hillsborough Street

This festive dish consists of a trio of chicken, steak and pinto bean enchiladas, individually topped with green tomatillo salsa, chile de arbol sauce and Mexican cream.

10 Best Starters

These tasty small plates of hot cheese, crispy veggies and yes, even more seafood, had us hankering for more. 

Fried Brussels

Whiskey Kitchen
201 W Martin Street

Flambéed Saganaki 

Taverna Agora
326 Hillsborough Street

Blue Crab Hushpuppies 

Plates Neighborhood Kitchen
301 Glenwood Avenue, Suite 100

Seafood Dumplings 

Brewery Bhavana
218 S Blount Street

Cast Iron Goat Cheese 

Tazza Kitchen
432 Woodburn Road

Deviled Eggs 

417 W Hargett Street

Cauliflower 65

14 W Martin Street

Carolina Crab Dip

Winston’s Grille
6401 Falls of Neuse Road

Heat Seeker Shrimp

Five Star
511 W Hargett Street

Roasted Beet Salad 

J. Betski’s
10 W Franklin Street, Suite 120

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