If you long for a trip to Italy, Il Palio is the next best thing. The rich upholstery, hand-carved credenzas and fresh flowers sets off the mural of Siena and Venetian prints on the walls. Italian sconces and soft candlelight create the perfect atmosphere for a romantic dinner or intimate lunch. The aged prosciutto from Parma tucked into an arugula salad is exceptional. Homemade potato gnochetti with almond basil pesto is comfort food gone sophisticated. The tiramisu is the chef's own family recipe. It is located in the renowned Siena Hotel.
Subtle lighting accents set off the warm wall colors and paintings depicting southern scenes and still-life art at this restaurant, located on the site of the historic Carolina Inn. Fresh flowers and potted plants abound, adding natural beauty to an already sumptuous setting. The plush, airy, apricot-toned Piedmont Room is the perfect place for a private business lunch. The food is progressive American with a distinctive southern flair. Oven Roasted Snapper, served with Shrimp Jambalaya and Carolina Gold Rice, is a masterpiece for the eyes as well as the stomach. Save room for the Cappuccino Brownie Cake.
Vinos Finos is a departure from run-of-the-mill drinking and dining experiences. Located inside European-themed Lafayette Village, the wine bar is designed to sample tapas-style dishes and world-class wines. The staff here is more than happy to help with wine selection and pairings. Dark woods, leather furniture, and warm colors make the interiors feel like an old-world wine shop. Vinos Finos encourages patrons to converse, and the intimate, colorful setting is doubly suited for first dates or casual business meetings.
This fine-dining restaurant and tavern serves new American cuisine in a restored 19th Century Second Empire Victorian. The restaurant is more than worth a visit for its refined atmosphere and gourmet food. Casual dishes are served in the cellar tavern, while a creative seasonal menu is offered in the formal dining room. Visitors can enjoy a beer in the tavern or a pre-dinner cocktail while seated in the covered front-porch. Second Empire is a first-rate destination for an elegant dinner.
This vibrant cafe, bakery, and German restaurant can safely be called a local favorite. Seasonal menus feature eclectic German specialties made with only locally-sourced ingredients. The bakery offers a generous menu of breads, cakes, pastries, and cookies. Guglhupf’s interiors are stunning, and feature an interior terrace and courtyard, a beautiful patio for outdoor dining, and an atrium. The cafe also often hosts wine and local food-related events, and exhibits the work of local artists.
Hidden in a small strip near the Sutton Square Shopping Mall, this gem of a French restaurant brings a taste of Provence to North Raleigh. The menu focuses on locally-sourced meats, with classic dishes such as foie gras, escargots, and filet mignon. Vegetarian options lean towards pasta dishes, while the dessert and wine list is typically, and extravagantly French. Enjoy horseradish-braised beef short ribs with a French Merlot, or seafood étouffée with dessert cheeses. The management at Saint Jacques also organizes wine dinners, cooking classes, and annual sojourns to Provence and Burgundy.
Top of the Hill opens daily as a restaurant that has been voted "Best Place to Impress a Date," "Best Place to See and Be Seen," and "Best Outdoor Deck," among other awards. The locals frequent the Top for great food and brews, and visitors will find it highly recommended as a true taste of Chapel Hill. Patrons indulge in an eclectic selection of Baked Crab Dip, Tenderloin Bruscetta, or French Quarter Jambalya. When the sun goes down, the Top transforms into a chic UNC hangout, featuring Drain the Tank Mondays and live music on Thirsty Thursdays. The restaurant has a full bar, but with microbrews that have netted eighteen World Championship Beer medals, it seems that an ice cold pint is the way to go. - Caitlin Fahey
This popular Mexican takeaway restaurant located on Franklin Street and close enough to stop at between classes at the nearby University of North Carolina. Typical Mexican cuisine including burritos, quesadillas, tacos, salads and more for either the carnivores or vegetarians. Plenty of Mexican and microbrews bottles available, and pitchers of margaritas and sangria too. Expect there to be a line if arriving late on the weekends.
Established in 1922 and situated next to the University of North Carolina, Carolina Coffee Shop at Chapel Hill is one of the oldest and best hang out spot for students, professors as well as visitors. Delectable breakfast, brunch and espresso based drinks are offered here. Conceptualized as a student post office and used as a soda shop later, this restaurant has a unique style and rich heritage to it. It is complemented with modern facilities and improvisations to the menu. Dining and bar timings differ.
Shanghai Dumpling is a small dumpling outlet that mostly offers a variety of meat and vegetable dumplings along with spicy tangy sauces. The dumplings served here are piping hot; naming a few are pork buns, pork buns with oatmeal and vegetable dumpling. The other items on the menu include salad jellyfish, spicy beef and tripe, salad cucumber and seaweed with garlic sauce.
Never a disappointing visit at La Residence. A great place for an informal dinner with French food. Mind you the food is pretty pricey here, but well-worth it. The service staff is professional and will make sure you are well looked after. Ask the staff for suggestions on what to order, you will be surprised with some very good choices. The wine list features a good selection.