Top 10 Restaurants in Raleigh, North Carolina

When it comes to food, Raleigh doesn’t disappoint. Contrary to popular belief, this city is not just about world-class barbecues. Tucked away in downtown Raleigh are tons of restaurants that offer a wide assortment of cuisines and delicacies, appealing enough to woo your taste buds like never before.

Take a look at the top restaurants in Raleigh to shortlist one for your next trip to this fascinating city!

  1. Drive to Poole’s Diner for a Tasteful Reminiscence
  2. Poole’s Downtown Diner

    426 McDowell Street

    (919) 832-4477

    Poole’s Diner has been serving customers from far and wide since World War II. This restaurant is long known for its delicious sweet pies that are so soft and gooey that they instantly melt in the mouth. In 1950, Poole’s Diner underwent a radical change from featuring “pies only” to a lavish lunch menu. This included signature main food items that were just as delicious as their pies. At present, Poole’s macaroni and cheese dish is regarded as the best in the world. No wonder then that Chef Ashley Christensen, the woman behind Poole’s delicious fare, is the recipient of the prestigious James Beard Award for Best Chef (Southeast).

  3. Dig in the Delicious Dumplings of Chirba
  4. Chirba Chirba Dumpling

    (Multiple Locations)

    (919) 885-4328

    Most of the top restaurants in Raleigh follow the same conventions of architecture and interior decor that’s typical of the city but Chirba, begs to differ. Set on wheels, this restaurant is actually a spacious yellow food truck. Their specialty is authentic Chinese dumplings made from a secret recipe by trained cooks. The dumplings with their juicy filling are a delightful rendition of Chinese dumplings and will satisfy your hunger in every way.

  5. Fiction Kitchen is Too Good to be True!
  6. Fiction Kitchen

    428 S. Dawson Street

    (918) 831-4177

    Fiction Kitchen’s fare is essentially a wake-up call for your taste buds, and the cozy and trendy atmosphere inside is like the icing on the cake. This restaurant is famous for its vegetarian gourmet dishes that are pretty hard to find in Raleigh elsewhere. However, you certainly don’t need to be a vegan to enjoy its food. There are plenty of dishes to choose from for the meat-lovers too. Prize-winners on the menu include crispy fried chicken with waffles, as well as a wide assortment of desserts. The chef marinates the chicken in a special combination of seasoning and herbs before frying and finally serving with scrumptious Belgian waffles.

  7. The Barbecue at Clyde Cooper is Bound to Blow your Mind Away
  8. Clyde Cooper’s BBQ

    327 South Wilmington St.

    (919) 832-7614

    Clyde Cooper is known for producing food quickly, yet it’s no fast food restaurant. It is, in fact, an out-and-out barbecue restaurant that sees a huge rush of patrons every hour. Every item on the menu gets equal attention for being savory, rich and gastronomically delightful. Clyde Cooper is one of those few restaurants in Raleigh that has pork rinds on its menu! To top it all, that comes complete with hush puppies too! Other dishes worth mentioning are the delicious barbecue ribs as well as the refreshing sweet tea. As a bonus, Cooper’s even sells its secret barbecue sauce to all those who wish to replicate the experience of barbecuing at home.

  9. Take a Tour of Venezuela at Guasaca
  10. Guasaca Arepa & Salsa

    4525 Lake Boon Trail

    Suite 107

    (919) 322-4928

    Thanks to Guasaca, Venezuelan dishes have become immensely popular in Raleigh. This restaurant is wholly dedicated to offering pure Venezuelan delicacies morning, afternoon and night. Among the major highlights of the menu is arepa that is a kind of tortilla, made of maize flour or corn and stuffed with tasty ingredients, to the likes of chicken, beef and cheese, tilapia, avocado, guacamole and much more. The arepas at Guasaca are quite overstuffed actually, and you can even choose from a wide array of delicious ingredients to suit your sensitive taste buds.

  11. Sample Mouthwatering Delicacies at Mandolin
  12. Mandolin

    2519 Fairview Rd.


    Agreeing to the idea of a meal at Mandolin is probably the best decision you can ever take on your trip to Raleigh. This is a modest Southern-inspired restaurant that’s owned and run by a local guy who, true to his roots, infused the traditional elements of Raleigh to this place. Scrumptious food, locally-sourced, fresh ingredients, commendable service, and a pleasant ambiance are central to Mandolin. Award-winning items on the menu include the hangar steak with smoked potatoes, shiitake mushrooms as well as the mouthwatering open-face BLT.

  13. Let the Appetizers at 18 Seaboard Woo Your Taste Buds
  14. 18 Seaboard

    18 Seaboard Ave #100

    (919) 861-4318

    As the name suggests, 18 Seaboard features a wide spectrum of seafood, all fresh and nicely cooked for you to gorge on. However, the major attraction is the chocolate ganache cheesecake that is gooey, tasty and unique in its own right. Other than that, the salmon and cheese grits deserve a thumbs up for being delicately cooked and easy on the taste buds. Additionally, the fried green tomatoes that feature on the appetizer menu is a favorite among the locals and tourists alike. 18 Seaboard is one of those few restaurants that makes sure to avail a sizable portion of its supplies from the local markets. Therefore, you can count on them to provide you with fresh food only.

  15. Humble Pie is the Place to be for Brunch
  16. Humble Pie Restaurant

    317 South Harrington St.

    (919) 829-9222

    Humble Pie is hands-down the best among the top restaurants in Raleigh for brunch. And, the fun part is that they offer considerable variety in the menu and keep introducing new savory entrees from time to time. If you’re a meat-lover, you’re bound to fall in love with this restaurant. This is because they prepare meat in many different ways and recipes, like the short rib tostadas. The interior of the place is cozy, private and very tastefully done. While the surroundings are humble, there’s nothing really humble about their Huevos Rancheros. You can think of it like a tiny slice of Spain!

  17. The Seafood at 42nd St. Oyster Bar is to Die for
  18. 42nd St. Oyster Bar and Seafood Grill

    508 West Jones St.

    (919) 831-2811

    42nd Street Oyster Bar & Seafood is a poignant little restaurant that specializes in lip-smacking seafood and drinks. It is undoubtedly the best place in Raleigh to enjoy fresh, authentic seafood. You’ll be spoilt for choice here as the menu features a wide plethora of dishes, right from crunchy, raw oysters and shrimps to soft crab cakes and grits. Another prize-winner is the Manhattan clam chowder that’s simply out of the world, and on par with the original ones at Manhattan. This restaurant has been serving Raleigh since 1931, so you can expect top-notch food quality and exceptional service here.

  19. Treat Your Palette at Bella Monica
  20. Bella Monica Italian Restaurant

    3121 Edwards Mill Road

    (919) 881-9778

    A single visit to Bella Monica will show you why this Italian eating joint is the recipient of the 2014 Diner’s Choice Award Winner. Everything about this restaurant is just perfect, right from the healthy yet tasty dishes to a grand interior, done up articulately with modern decor. While the flatbread is enough to draw in the masses, their pasta is incredibly fresh and delightful. They offer gluten-free food too, for all the health-conscious people.

    Delectable food, cozy ambiance, exceptional service and intriguing decor are some of the major hallmarks of a top restaurant in Raleigh. While they all differ in terms of the menu and the overall look, there’s still a factor that binds them all, and that’s- quality. Whether you dive into Poole’s Diner or saunter in 18 Seafood, you’re sure to experience a unique revelry of tasty delights like never before!

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