Raleigh is a great place to be if you are a foodie! It’s a fast-growing city, so the foodie landscape changes frequently. There are always new restaurants to try, and Raleigh chefs work hard to create unique dishes that are sure to please. In addition to the many restaurants, there are also frequent wine dinners, tastings, and all types of fun celebrations centered around food.
So grab a glass of Bordeaux and peruse this short guide to the Raleigh foodie scene:
Best Raleigh Restaurants for Foodies
The city is home to over a thousand restaurants, but some are hit or miss. The local spots listed below are local favorites that never disappoint and are a must-try!
Relish Craft Kitchen + Bourbon Bar
Relish Craft Kitchen + Bourbon Bar is a hidden gem located in a small shopping center on Creedmoor Road, close to the Crabtree Valley Mall. It features a “Test Kitchen” menu which features original dishes that just might make it to the main menu, depending on feedback. Its regular menu features a variety of southern dishes, including several takes on mac & cheese, which would satisfy any foodie!
Relish is a favorite local Craft Kitchen and Bourbon Bar that celebrates a love of food, drink, cooking, and entertaining in an upscale atmosphere without the upscale attitude or upscale price tag. They get inspiration from both the traditional “tried and true” recipes and also from the latest food trends to encourage full exploration of the culinary world.
At Relish, they focus on comfort foods a lot – anything that is homey, rich, and hearty and conjures up images of nostalgic indulgences shared with family and friends. Relish also recognize that preferences are trending away from the fried and greasy and towards local farm to market offerings prepared in styles that coax more flavor out of healthier choices.
The Relish hits are of the “new Southern” style. Southern classics that have been modernized and refreshed with more current ingredients while still retaining the heart and comfort of the original dishes. Everything is made from the best ingredients available with the shortest distance from farm to market and served as overflowing portions, all while keeping the prices comfortable, too.
The folks at Relish believe bourbon makes the best partner for Southern comforts, so they have built an extensive collection of whiskeys to please every palate—from old favorites to new distillations. The classically crafted cocktails feature some of their favorite local spirits, and the bartenders are always looking for ways to mix things up.
In addition to food and drink, Relish also offers a retail market that contains a curated selection of goods from their favorite local vendors—including gourmet foods, greeting cards, accessories, candles, and more.
Taste is a cozy neighborhood wine bar that features unique small plates. The plates are meant to be shared, so grab a foodie friend and order some Beltline Sliders and Pan Fried Crab Cakes! Taste has a location in Five Points in addition to its original Medlin Drive spot, right off of Dixie Trail, in between Lake Boone Trail and Wade Ave.
Taste is owned and operated by JMR Kitchens, founded by Ryan and Justin Riek in 2013. JMR Kitchens is a family owned & operated restaurant group specializing in creating a unique neighborhood kitchen and bar experience that focuses on fresh product, and outstanding customer service.
The Raleigh based restaurants have become favorite local neighborhood establishments where every morsel achieves that elusive, cuisine-defining balance of sweet, salty, and sour — even dessert.
Their serving style is ‘morsels’ which are portions between appetizers and entrees. Taste rotates new seasonal selections to the menu but keeps favorites available all the time. The wines are carefully selected to pair appropriately with each morsel dish. At Taste, you’ll also have access to some of the owner’s private wine reserve.
If the foodie in you is looking for global street food, look no further than Buku! It offers a variety of street food from all over the world, including Malaysian Long Bean Salad, Afghan Mantu, and Chinese Steamed Buns. Take a foodie trip around the world right here in Raleigh!
The name “buku” comes from an international slang twist on the phrase, “Merci, beaucoup,” meaning, “Thank you, very much.”
Located in Downtown Raleigh at the corner of Wilmington and Davie Street, buku is a local restaurant telling a global story. Inspired by the pushcarts of street vendors in cities across the globe, they harvest an array of unique and distinct flavors and present them authentically in a virtual kaleidoscope of plates. The common link being, these are foods that people love.
Working within different regional traditions, the buku menu brings together complex and flavorful dishes that have been honed over generations. Foods like: Peruvian Hokkaido Diver Scallop Tiradito, Empanadas, and Indian Aloo Chana Chaat can be found on the street corners of Lima, Oaxaca, and Delhi. These are foods that have been shared and developed in their communities for hundreds of years. At buku, they strive to convey the immediate thrill a traveler feels as these foods first cross over the cart and exchange hands into the urban setting.
Buku’s Global Street Food dinner menu is a new type of dining, designed for the type of mix & match tasting and plate-sharing that sparks conversation. The locally owned and operated restaurant opened to fill a growing niche in the Triangle; a place where people with different backgrounds and nationalities can come to eat something familiar, while at the same time, locals can try something they’ve never had before.
Their casual fine-dining atmosphere and large private banquet room make Buku well-suited for romancing a significant other, meeting up with friends, or holding a special event. The buku menu represents a commitment to serve a high-quality product as they often source produce locally whenever possible. They also aim to serve as many types of diners as possible as their Gluten Free, Vegetarian and Vegan selections continue to grow.
Global Street Food naturally lends itself to a fresh, fast, affordable downtown lunch with healthy options. The buku bar offers a culinary-inspired approach to cocktails, hand-crafted beer, and wine. The popular Sunday World Tour Buffet Brunch is another can’t miss and one of Downtown Raleigh’s best!
Raleigh Wine Tastings for Foodies
Finding the perfect vino to pair with your meal can be a foodie adventure in itself! Give these few spots a try. We think you will be pleased with how everything goes by the end of the night.
Wine Authorities sells wine from small, family-owned wineries from all over the world. Here, you will find truly unique wines that can otherwise be difficult to find. Every Saturday, it hosts a free wine tasting starting at noon. There is typically a theme centered around a region or a type of wine.
Taylor’s Wine Shop
Located in North Raleigh, Taylor’s Wine Shop offers more than just wine. Here, you will also find craft beer and unique foodie gifts! Taylor’s Wine Shop hosts many wine and beer tastings throughout the year. Check out its event page for details!
The Raleigh Wine Shop
The Raleigh Wine Shop is a popular spot for local oenophiles. It offers a fantastic selection of wines and local food products. The Raleigh Wine Shop hosts free wine tastings every Saturday starting 1pm, but they also host several popular events, such as Corktoberfest, where you can sample other items as well
Food + Drink Events
Looking for other foodie events or adventures? Check out the Triangle Food Blog for weekly event listings. Also, be on the lookout for annual events such as Downtown Raleigh Restaurant Week during the summers, and Triangle Restaurant Week, which is when many local restaurants offer unique multi-course menus at a fixed price. The Triangle Restaurant Week kicks off January 22, 2018.
For an even more unique foodie experience, join The Blind Pig Supper Club, which hosts “underground” suppers for charity. Sounds intriguing, right? Become a member to learn more about the events and when they will be happening in the Raleigh area.
So what are some of your all-time favorite foodie destinations in Raleigh? Please be sure to hit us up on Twitter @919BlogNC or visit our Facebook page at FB.com/919Blog and let us know! We would love to hear from ya.
This post was created in collaboration with 919 Blog contributor Amy Howard for exclusive digital publication on 919Blog.com