Raleigh Food Guide: 10 Must-Eat Restaurants & Street Food Stalls in Raleigh

April 14, 2018 Trinity Boughner

If you're looking for a getaway that's fun for the whole family and easy on your pocket, look no further than Raleigh. With more than 20 free attractions, this stately and energetic capital city offers an affordable way to enjoy history, culture and the good old outdoors. Spend the day hopping between the three state museums of art, history and natural sciences: all offer free admission. Visitors are free to wander around the grounds of the State Capitol, where they can also observe the legislative process. Stroll past the graves of Civil War generals at a historic cemetery or meander along cobblestone streets of City Market. Shop for the greenest broccoli, reddest apples and tastiest homemade treats around at the State Farmers Market. With over 150 parks, lakes and green ways in Raleigh alone, there is ample opportunity to enjoy golf, biking, swimming, boating and other outdoor adventures.
Things to do in Raleigh

1. Bida Manda

222 S Blount St, Raleigh, NC 27601-1408 Takeout, Reservations, Seating, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar International, Asian, Thai, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options Lunch, Dinner, Late Night SGD 39 - SGD 39 +1 919-829-9999
Excellent
75%
Good
19%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 816 reviews

Bida Manda

Right in the heart of downtown Raleigh, Bida Manda is a thoughtful and sharp gathering place celebrating the diverse food and culture of Laos. Bida Manda is one of the very first Laotian restaurants in the US. Sanskrit for father and mother, we name the restaurant Bida Manda as our way of honoring our parents in Laos who taught us everything we know about food, hospitality, and the power it has in bringing people together. Our parents' recipes are the inspiration for our menu. Every dish on our menu is exactly what we grew up eating. They are the kind of dishes you might find on the street corners of Luang Prabang and at a Laotian home. Come in and go away with us on sensational culinary journey to Laos. ------ Whether it is a birthday dinner for 10 guests or a corporate event for 100+, we will work with you to craft your memorable dining experience. Please contact Vansana Nolintha at [email protected] for more information.

Reviewed By kurupt71 - Fayetteville, North Carolina

The ambiance is amazing, we walked by one day and said we have to try this place out. So we went, didn't have a reservation so we ate at the bar. We just admired how the inside was setup, very elegant and beautiful. My family ordered the Crispy Pork Belly Soup, which they said was an authentic Laotian dish but we also got the Thai Pad & Beef Basil Stir Fry, the latter two were both good and had good flavor but I've just had it better at a Thai restaurant for less cost. The crispy pork belly soup was unbelievable, I will get this every time I come from now on. It's so unique, flavorful and filling. For an appetizer we got the summer rolls which were really good. For dessert, we ordered the Trio Plate (apricot-tamarind cobbler, semi-sweet chocolate creme brulee, and coconut custard crisp), this was good also, we'll def come back but I know what I'll be ordering already.

2. Saint Jacques French Cuisine

6112 Falls of Neuse Rd, Raleigh, NC 27609-3528 Serves Alcohol, Full Bar, Wine and Beer, Accepts American Express, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Accepts Discover, Reservations, Private Dining, Seating, Waitstaff, Parking Available, Free Off-Street Parking, Wheelchair Accessible, Accepts Credit Cards French, European, Gluten Free Options, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options Lunch, Dinner SGD 38 - SGD 59 +1 919-862-2770
Excellent
83%
Good
11%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 344 reviews

Saint Jacques French Cuisine

Saint Jacques French Cuisine is a traditional French restaurant located in North Raleigh. We serve authentic food with a respect for century old recipes, recreated for the taste of today. French Native Serge Falcoz-Vigne is the Chef with 30+ years of experience in the hospitality business in both France and in North Carolina. Also as a General Manager of the restaurant, he can provide to the guest a total experience from the kitchen to the floor with renowned French food and service.

Reviewed By DiveDog13 - Raleigh, North Carolina

Two of us for dinner last night, a Thursday, two thirds full. I had pre-ordered sautéed foie gras, which I prefer over the more common pate They prepared it beautifully and it was delicious. A nice special touch to our dinner. This was followed by confit de canard for me and a scallop special for my wife. Both delicious. Desserts were good and the wine by the glass was first rate.

A word about the service. This was the most efficient and friendly service I have seen in a restaurant in years.

3. Neomonde Mediterranean

3817 Beryl Rd, Raleigh, NC 27607-5244 Serves Alcohol, Takeout, Outdoor Seating, Seating, Parking Available, Highchairs Available, Wheelchair Accessible, Wine and Beer, Accepts American Express, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Free Wifi, Accepts Discover Lebanese, Mediterranean, Greek, Middle Eastern, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Halal, Gluten Free Options Lunch, Dinner, Brunch SGD 26 +1 919-828-1628
Excellent
69%
Good
25%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 877 reviews

Neomonde Mediterranean

Since 1977, Neomonde which translates to "New World", has proudly offered Lebanese and Mediterranean Cuisine inspired by traditional Lebanese cooking the Saleh Brothers grew up with in their mountain village. Every dish on Neomonde's menu is prepared using simple, natural ingredients - just as Cecilia, the family matriarch, prepared them long ago. An award winning fast-casual restaurant, with dedication to excellence, Neomonde continues to mix traditional and contemporary fare filled with fresh heart-healthy choices, and is proud to include a wide variety of vegan, vegetarian and gluten free options.

Reviewed By travelover1959 - St. Petersburg, Florida

Really. If you’re in the Raleigh area and like Middle Eastern food, you MUST eat here! This is an easy-going cafe/bakery.
Not fancy, but WOW!!! Authentic, delicious, and well-priced. And the jalapeño cilantro hummus will knock your socks off. Though it’s a casual deli setting, you can get a beer or wine with your meal. The staff is friendly and helpful. Can’t wait to go back!

4. Barry's Cafe

2851 Jones Franklin Rd, Raleigh, NC 27606-4007 Takeout, Outdoor Seating, Seating, Waitstaff, Parking Available, Free Off-Street Parking, Television, Highchairs Available, Wheelchair Accessible, Wine and Beer, Accepts American Express, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Free Wifi, Accepts Discover, Accepts Credit Cards American, Cafe, Diner, Gluten Free Options, Vegetarian Friendly Lunch, Breakfast, Brunch SGD 7 - SGD 13 +1 919-859-3555
Excellent
75%
Good
17%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 174 reviews

Barry's Cafe

Barry's Cafe serves great comfort food both breakfast and lunch. It is decorated with Firefighter memorabilia from 23 countries and all 50 states. We have provided emergency foodservice to over 100 local fire stations since 1994, at no charge. We have a separate Foundation that supports us with the food cost. It has a 501-3c if you would like to help.

Reviewed By Liz D - The Villages, Florida

A paralyzing ice storm and an emergency request to provide food and hot drinks to firefighters, first responders and victims, prompted the store owner, Barry, to establish an endowment fund to assist care givers involv.ed in future emergent situations. Barry's' is a relaxing, clean, and comfortable place that provides good meals, and large portions at moderate prices. Dining is casual and kid friendly. From helmets to hatches, fire hydrants to patches, the walls tell a story of the many firefighters and first responders who have donated memorabilia . Barry's offers an Allergy Menu that has gluten free, lactose free , soy, egg and peanut free options. Just let the server know. This is a fun place to stop when in th Raleigh area. Open Monday-Saturday 6:30-3p. Sunday 8-2:30 pm. Breakfast all day. Lunch starts at 11:am

5. Second Empire Restaurant

330 Hillsborough St, Raleigh, NC 27603-1726 Reservations, Private Dining, Seating, Waitstaff, Parking Available, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar American, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options Dinner SGD 41 - SGD 105 +1 919-829-3663
Excellent
70%
Good
20%
Satisfactory
7%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 444 reviews

Second Empire Restaurant

Located in downtown Raleigh’s historic Victorian Dodd-Hinsdale House (circa 1879), Second Empire combines history, atmosphere, exceptional service and gourmet cuisine for an unforgettable dining experience. Second Empire Restaurant and Tavern features our award winning Contemporary American Cuisine in two dining atmospheres. Upstairs enjoy the ultimate dining experience in an elegant yet relaxed atmosphere of charm and grace. Downstairs in the Tavern and beautiful Atrium room enjoy a lighter fare menu and more casual environment. The Capitol Room, Raleigh Room, Pine Room and Atrium Room are available for private parties seating up to 55 people or various combinations of rooms for parties up to 300 people. Second Empire is very proud to be the recipient of the DiRoNA Award (Distinguished Restaurants of North America), the AAA Four Diamond Award (Raleigh’s only restaurant with this award) and the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence since 1998.

Reviewed By gatortunor - Clemmons, North Carolina

Second Empire deserves its ratings and reputation as a Mecca for fine dining. We’ve been as a couple and to treat friends always having a positive food and service experience. Everything we’ve had was great with exceptional plating and presentation.

6. Big Ed's City Market Restaurant

220 Wolfe St, Raleigh, NC 27601-1824 Takeout, Seating, Waitstaff, Parking Available, Highchairs Available, Wheelchair Accessible American, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options Breakfast, Lunch, Brunch SGD 9 - SGD 39 +1 919-836-9909
Excellent
61%
Good
31%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 601 reviews

Big Ed's City Market Restaurant

Reviewed By joycek522 - Durham, North Carolina

I had been asking my husband to has to take me to Big Ed's City Market for some time now. A friend had posted from there last week and I had decided enough was enough and set a date. We had a great time, wonderful food, certainly worth the reputation. I had the best rib-eye steak, farm fresh eggs, a fluffy tender biscuit and homemade banana pudding. My husband had pork tenderloin, eggs, grits and of course banana pudding, too. Our waitress was prompt, friendly and attentive.
The manager there is Sam Hobgood and is definitely in his element here. He had a look of pure joy as he greeted guests. For those who do not know, Big Ed's is an institution... anybody that's anybody who've come to Raleigh has eaten here.

7. Bad Daddy's Burger Bar

111 Seaboard Ave, Raleigh, NC 27604-1151 Takeout, Seating, Waitstaff, Parking Available, Television, Highchairs Available, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar, Wine and Beer, Accepts American Express, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Accepts Discover, Outdoor Seating, Free Wifi, Accepts Credit Cards American, Bar, Vegetarian Friendly, Gluten Free Options Lunch, Dinner, Brunch +1 919-747-9163
Excellent
61%
Good
33%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 554 reviews

Bad Daddy's Burger Bar

BAD is GOOD. Like when something is so outrageous you can't help but love it. That's the inspiration at Bad Daddy's. Here, the humble burger is given super star status. With premium beef, sizzled up hot on our grill, and surrounded with artisan ingredients, toppings, & condiments. If you aren't in the mood for beef, we have so many other options: from chicken to Turkey burgers, black bean burgers to tuna burgers, not to mention the chopped salads and the full Create Your Own menu. Even if you have special dietary requests, like gluten free, we can accommodate. Looking for a cool place to hang out and grab a drink? With our award winning line-up of North Carolina craft beers and fresh squeezed cocktails, you are going to love this place!

Reviewed By Matt D - Winston Salem, North Carolina

Work nearby and come here too much admittedly. Have yet to have a bad experience and today was no different. My chicken sandwich came out incorrect (which honestly was no big deal) but they insisted on taking care of it- offered a correct chicken sandwich Togo (on top of taking care of the cost) which I declined. Didn't get the bartenders name but she was on top of her business. It's a well-oiled machine over there...Kudos!

8. Glenwood Grill

2603 Glenwood Ave Ste 151, Raleigh, NC 27608-1044 Reservations, Seating, Waitstaff, Parking Available, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar American, International, Vegetarian Friendly, Gluten Free Options Lunch, Dinner SGD 41 - SGD 52 +1 919-782-3102
Excellent
67%
Good
24%
Satisfactory
7%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 245 reviews

Glenwood Grill

Reviewed By CMNCEMT - Raleigh, North Carolina

9 co-workers enjoyed a wonderful evening at the Glenwood Grill, The crab cakes where some of the best I ever had full of crab meat, another said the shrimp and grits were delicious, another had the rack of lamb. Everything was fresh and wonderful, Can't wait to go back and try something else.

9. Gonza Tacos y Tequila

7713 Lead Mine Rd Ste 39, Raleigh, NC 27615-4805 Takeout, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Accepts American Express, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Free Wifi, Reservations, Outdoor Seating, Seating, Parking Available, Television, Highchairs Available, Full Bar, Accepts Credit Cards Mexican, Latin, South American, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options Lunch, Dinner, Late Night SGD 10 - SGD 20 +1 919-846-5478
Excellent
67%
Good
25%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 594 reviews

Gonza Tacos y Tequila

Come experience the best Mexican restaurant in Raleigh.

Reviewed By RVMillman - Raleigh, North Carolina

We have been frequenting Gonza’s , North Raleigh for over a year after a friend recommended it. With a slew of Mexican restaurants in the area, Gonza’s tops the list. And even after living in Texas, the only place that doesn’t deep fry there Chile relleno. Good eats.

10. J Betski's

10 W Franklin St, Raleigh, NC 27604-8011 Takeout, Reservations, Seating, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar German, Polish, European, Central European, Gluten Free Options Lunch, Dinner, Late Night +1 919-833-7999
Excellent
61%
Good
28%
Satisfactory
9%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 264 reviews

J Betski's

Reviewed By jimcash - Wilson, North Carolina

We enjoyed a extended family night out at this restaurant. Started out with a charcuterie plate of meats and cheeses. Kielbasa with kraut and mustards, and pierogi. All of these were wonderful.

Our main courses included pork schnitzel, sea scallops, venison dumplings, and eggplant. Again all were tasty with wonderful side dishes.

As might be expected there was a great selection of beers as well as wine. Service was very attentive and efficient.

First time here but won't be the last.

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