Middle Eastern Restaurant in Raleigh, NC, United States
Sitti translated means “grandmother” and the traditional food at this restaurant would make any Lebanese grandmother proud. It’s served at communal tables perfect for sharing. You just don’t know what pita bread really is until you sample the warm fluffy pita at Sitti’s. Trust me. The same goes for hummus, but the dinner platters are so much more. Try the lamb chops, and don’t ever skip the baklava.
The flatbread is enough to bring in the masses. The pasta is fresh and delicious, especially in the deep and divine lasagna. Gluten-free? No problem. They’ve got you covered there too. And always save room for dessert, which has to be tiramisu.
It’s the best place to eat seafood in Raleigh, period. The raw oysters are choice—and speaking of choices; there are so many at this restaurant. Everything’s good, but the Manhattan clam chowder rivals Manhattan’s. This spot has been serving the city since 1931—which also explains the excellent shrimp and grits.
Southern / Soul Food Restaurant in Raleigh, NC, United States
The Southern inspired restaurant is owned and operated by a hometown boy that returned to his roots and brought everything good about Raleigh to the restaurant. Good food, good ingredients grown locally and a good atmosphere are central to Mandolin. Try the Hangar Steak with smoked potato and shiitake mushrooms, or the mouthwatering open face BLT. To die for.
18 Seaboard serves a serious salmon and even better cheese grits. Fried green tomatoes star on the appetizer menu and you can’t beat the ambiance. The restaurant makes an effort to buy a significant amount of its supplies from locals, so you know everything is fresh. Ask to be seated on the outdoor deck for the perfect evening.
If you visit Raleigh and have only enough time to visit one barbecue restaurant, make it Clyde Cooper’s. It’s that good. When was the last time you went to a restaurant that had pork rinds on the menu? That come complete with hush puppies, of course. You’ll also be blown away by their fall-off-the bone, savory barbecue ribs, and good old-fashioned sweet tea. And bonus: If you want to make barbecue at home (as if you could ever get tired of coming here) Cooper’s sells its secret sauce.
If you’ve never sampled an Arepa, it is similar to a tortilla (kind of) made of corn or maize flour and stuffed with good ingredients. Arepas at Guasaca are actually pretty overstuffed full of fresh, delicious ingredients like chicken, beef, cheese, avocado, guacamole, tilapia and much more.
Vegetarian / Vegan Restaurant in Raleigh, NC, United States
The vegetarian restaurant offers great food, but you don’t have to be a vegetarian to enjoy it. Meat-lovers indulge, too. “Crispy fried chicken with waffles” is on the menu. Chicken, you say? The chef actually dredges “mock” chicken in their special combination of herbs and seasoning before frying and serving with fluffy Belgian waffles. Dessert is equally creative and scrumptious.
Chef Ashley Christensen is responsible for Poole’s delicious fare and received the James Beard Award for Best Chef- Southeast. Which is no surprise considering Poole’s serves perhaps the best macaroni and cheese dish in the world.