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.
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 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.
Sola stands apart for its absolute dedication to coffee and its stylish, friendly atmosphere reminiscent of European coffeehouses. The cafe offers a rotating list of espresso, French press, and pour over coffees. On mornings and weekends patrons line up for hot mini donuts. There is plenty of outdoor seating from where you can enjoy a nice menu of sandwiches, flat breads, and salads. If you’re short on time, all of the coffee and menu items are available through a call-ahead drive-through.
The Morning Times is a brick-walled coffeehouse that serves coffee, breakfast, and sandwiches for a hip and bohemian-leaning crowd. The coffee bar is downstairs, while a secluded upstairs gallery is perfect for catching up with friends over a group brunch. Outdoor seating spills onto the sidewalk on East Hargett Street. The Morning Times is quick, friendly, and right in the middle of downtown Raleigh. If you ask the baristas kindly, they might jazz your coffee with a shot of bourbon.
Celebrate traditional tapas style dining at Humble Pie. It consists of shareable bite sized servings of hummus, tostadas, BBQ shrimp, sea scallops and calamari that are spiced in authentic Spanish condiments. The house-made sangria is a pleasant accompaniment to the meal as one converses with friends. Jazz music fills the dining space adding to the fun mood and the helpful staff make the experience all the more special. Chef Andy Cordova has succeeded in creating a place for himself in the dining circles of Raleigh with this gem of a place.