J. Bestki’s serves Polish and German food in the heart of downtown Raleigh. Pierogies and schnitzel are star players of the generous menu, but there are also some surprises, like soy-sesame-spicy paprika marinade and bison flank steak. The management prides itself on using superior local ingredients, and the bread rolls are baked next door, the owner shops daily at the farmers market for greens, and the sausages are mixed and made on site. An excellent selection of beers and wines from Italy, Austria, and Germany complements the cuisine.
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.
This restaurant is a dynamic tribute to grandmothers, the caretakers of Lebanese culture and food. Modern and airy, Sitti (or, “grandmother”) serves classic Lebanese dishes with a few twists, including falafels, zaatar roasts, and kabobs served alongside grilled ribeye steaks and salmon. Enjoy any one of a number of authentic Mediterranean dishes, grab a Lebanese beer, and take a seat at the restored art deco bar. Zitti offers spacious and elegant outdoor seating in one of the best patios in Raleigh.
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.
Bida Manda is all about bringing people together while celebrating the cuisine and culture of Laos. The restaurant serves traditional dishes one might find inside a Laotian home, alongside Asian fusion cuisine. The inviting dining room here features long tables, perfect for large gatherings. Some of the most popular dishes here are the green papaya salad and ginger pork ribs. Pair your meal with a glass of wine or one of the restaurant bar’s original cocktails—the Thai Basil Sour is particularly tasty—for an unforgettable dinner.
Oysters have been integral to this establishment since 1931 when it first began serving oysters alongside draft beer. The 42nd Street Oyster Bar and Seafood Grill has expanded its menu to include a wide-range of tasty treats. Try their Lightly Blackened Tuna Tacos or the Salt and Pepper Fried Grouper Fingers. It's worth going back again to try both. Now serving cocktails and wines, their draft beers still remain a favorite among patrons, especially the locally made North Carolina Craft Beers.
Carmen's Cuban Bar & Cafe have imbibed the Cuban spirit and transformed it into this charming bar. With authentic Cuban delicacies and Latin Music dance nights every weekend, Carmen's is a great place to let your hair down and swing to the music.
Straddling the Duke East Campus' eastern fringes, the Duke Coffeehouse is an alternative cultural domain operated and managed by the students of the university itself. The place screams contemporary, featuring vibrant and evocative caricatures on its walls, eccentric furnishings and a decent-sized stage where some of America's most talented young artists are invited to perform. Along with hosting live gigs, this place is also a mainstay for open mic acts, stand up comedians and other student-formulated performances.