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  • Writer's pictureSara

My Top 10 Restaurants in the Triangle and Triad

It's no secret that, like most people, eating is one of my favorite activities. Good food, conversation, and company are simply a combination that can't be beat. A meal fosters closeness and enjoyment in a way few other things can and is one of life's greatest indulgences.

Here in the Triangle and Triad, we are fortunate to have many great restaurants offering a variety of cuisines. Whether traditional southern staples or internationally inspired, our region has something for every taste and palate. And, while I'm sorely pressed to choose only 10 favorites, the following are some standouts you'll find me visiting again and again. Maybe you'd like to try one with me?


The Capital Grille - Steakhouse

Few things compare to a perfectly cooked steak, and if you're feeling carnivorous, The Capital Grille is the spot for you. Whatever cut you prefer, it's sure to be on the menu. Try one of their signature dry-aged steaks with your favorite sides, and you'll definitely leave stuffed. With an atmosphere as refined as the ears, you'll be visually satiated as well.

Death & Taxes - New American

If only a few things in life are certain, visiting this spot should be on your bucket list! With a seriously stylish atmosphere, their rotating menus are sure to have something for everyone. And, if you enjoy a bit of entertainment with your meal, you'll especially like the open kitchen that allows you to watch as your food is prepared.


Mother and Son's Trattoria - Italian

If you're in the mood for pasta, this is the spot for you! Portions may be slightly smaller than some other places, but they more than make up for it in flavor. Of course, the pasta is always a great choice, but the specials won't disappoint either.

P.S. If Italian isn't your thing, step next door for some Spanish tapas from Mateo. Under the same ownership, you'll enjoy a similar experience despite the very different cuisine.

Plum - New Southern

Although it has a small menu, everything on it is fantastic! With a rustic and industrial atmosphere, this restaurant does an excellent job of capturing the spirit of downtown Durham. If you manage to save room for dessert, try their signature "Emma's cake."

Chapel Hill

Hawthorne & Wood - New American

With a rotating menu, this is another eatery that never gets old. With a dining room featuring wood surfaces accented by plush seating and lots of greenery, you'll want to linger over every bite. If you have a sweet tooth like me, take advantage of their dessert special featuring several of their most popular offerings. If the frozen crème brulee is on the list, it's not to be missed!

Merritt's Grill - Sandwiches

In contrast to some of the finer dining establishments on this list, Merritt's is the perfect southern experience without frills or fanfare. Located just off the UNC Campus, this spot has a wonderful selection of sandwiches, wraps, and other deli staples that typically draws a sizeable lunch crowd, especially on weekends. Situated next to the UNC Botanical Gardens, this restaurant is best enjoyed for fair-weather dining as most seating is outdoors. Often featuring live entertainment, Merritt's provides good food served with a side of southern hospitality.


Michelle's Kitchen & Table - New Southern

With dishes inspired by classic southern cooking, this restaurant has a relatively large menu with something for every taste. It features an upscale atmosphere and is often not too busy, thanks to its unassuming location.

Prego's Trattoria - Italian

This is authentic Italian that won't disappoint. Having eaten here many times, I have never tasted anything bad. They always have an extensive offering of specials featuring their homemade pasta. Don't make the mistake I always do and fill up on the bread and polenta!


Print Works Bistro - New American

If you're looking for an atmosphere that makes you say, "Wow!" this is the perfect spot. Located in the Proximity Hotel, this upscale eatery serves various dishes ranging from comfort foods to escargots in a posh setting that features flowing drapes, lush greenery, and rich gold accents. Enjoy a steak or seafood, and you'll be sure to leave stuffed!

1618 West Seafood Grille - Seafood

If you're a pescatarian or seafood lover, you will love this restaurant! It features an extensive menu and a modern, sleek atmosphere. I personally love their Chilean sea bass and monkfish, but every dish I've seen looks amazing. Don't sleep on their desserts, either - they're delicious!

Honorable Mentions:

Ruth's Chris Steakhouses - Raleigh, Durham, Cary, and Greensboro

Trali Irish Pub - Raleigh-Durham (Brier Creek)

CholaNad Indian Restaurant - Chapel Hill

Kau Steakhouse - Greensboro

Pizzeria Toro - Durham

Guglhupf Bakery & German Cafe - Durham and Chapel Hill

Caffe Luna Italian Restaurant - Raleigh

Il Palio Italian Restaurant - Chapel Hill

Hibernian Irish Pub - Raleigh

It’s A Southern Thing Kitchen & Bar - Durham

Tandem New American Restaurant - Carrboro

Local 22 New American Kitchen and Bar - Durham

M Asian Restaurants - Durham

Tell me about your favorites below. Or, better yet, show me! Where will we visit together next?

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