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6 Must-Try Restaurants in Raleigh in 2020

6 Must-Try Restaurants in Raleigh

No matter what your palette craves, we bet there are restaurants in Raleigh that will delight your taste buds.

As the fastest growing city in North Carolina, the food scene is absolutely booming. In fact, Zagat named Raleigh as one of the hottest food cities in America. 

There is no shortage of culinary innovation in North Carolina’s capital! Our list of 6 must-try restaurants in Raleigh certainly proves that. 

Restaurants in Raleigh: Crawford & Son

Although this eatery is known as a casual neighborhood restaurant in Historic Oakwood, there is nothing ‘casual’ about the food.


618 N. Person St., Raleigh, NC 27604

The outside of Crawford and Son restaurant is a black building with a modern, warm wood door.
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Chef Scott Crawford has surely earned his keep in Raleigh. For instance, his restaurant was crowned “Triangle’s Restaurant of the Year” in 2018. 

Additionally, Crawford & Son landed on OpenTable’s coveted list of the “Top 100 Restaurants in America for 2019”. We see you, Crawford! 

The seasonal menu is sophisticated yet simple. For example, it features an addictive raw bar filled with delicacies like Beef Tartare and Shaved Kohlrabi.

Although you truly can’t go wrong here, the Beef Short Ribs and Chicken Confit are popular entrees.

Certainly, don’t even think about leaving without trying one of pastry chef Krystle Swenson’s delectable desserts. From the Banana Sundae to the Apple Crumb Cake, you’ll be dreaming of these desserts long after you finish your meal. 


Restaurants in Raleigh: Rosewater Kitchen + Bar

This North Hills hotspot is new to the scene but has already become a staple for locals and tourists alike.


110 Park at North Hills St., Raleigh, NC 27609

People dining under rose gold lighting amidst foliage and flowers inside Rosewater Kitchen + Bar in Raleigh, NC
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The decor is inspired by “European romance and the nursing garden.” Therefore, once you step into this establishment, you feel like you walked into someone’s dream interior design Pinterest board. From the white-tiled bar with rose gold lighting to the dark wood accents throughout, the ambiance is just right. 

Whether you’re looking for a craft cocktail, brunch, lunch, or dinner, Rosewater does it all! While the menu is infused with an international flavor, the focus is on locally sourced ingredients.

The robust menu caters to a plethora of occasions. In other words, whether you’re looking for a boozy brunch spot or romantic date night, Rosewater is your place. 


Restaurants in Raleigh: Trophy Brewing + Pizza

Do you love pizza? Do you love beer just as much? Are you nodding your head yes? Then out of all the restaurants in Raleigh, this is most definitely your place.


225 Wilmington St., Raleigh, NC 27601

"The Most Loyal" pizza from Trophy Brewing and Pizza with basil pesto, mozzarella, roasted chicken, Roma tomatoes, and honey drizzle.
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Nestled in the heart of downtown, Trophy Brewing + Pizza is a laid-back neighborhood watering-hole—the perfect spot to devour some pizza (no judgment) and sip some brews. Further, a selection of salads, small plates, and desserts also graces the menu. 

Their unique selection of pizzas and robust collection of beer gained national attention from the likes of Business Insider and Thrillist.

Can’t get enough? Check out their other two Raleigh locations: Trophy Brewery + Taproom and Trophy Tap + Table. Most importantly, keep in mind that Trophy Brewing + Pizza is the only place you can enjoy their pizza.

Now onto the good stuff⁠—the eats!

The “Most Loyal” is a fan favorite (pictured above) that includes basil pesto, mozzarella, roasted chicken and Roma tomatoes with a honey drizzle on top.

But if you love all things spicy, your tastebuds will rejoice as you enjoy a slice (or eight) of the aptly named “Daredevil” pizza. The combination of fire-roasted tomato sauce, mozzarella, ghost pepper, salami, fresh jalapeno, caramelized onions, and sriracha is definitely not for the faint of heart, so eat this one with caution.

Vegan? No problem. Their house-made dough is vegan! Also, dairy-free cheese is available upon request.

There is also a create-your-own pizza option for all those picky eaters out there. 


Restaurants in Raleigh: Death & Taxes

If you are at all familiar with restaurants in Raleigh, you know that Ashley Christensen has some major clout in this town. The multi James Beard award-winning chef opened Death & Taxes to showcase modern, wood-fired cooking with a southern twist.


105 W. Hargett St., Raleigh, NC 27601

Interior tables and bar seating at Death and Taxes, a modern restaurant in NC with a Southern twist.
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Named after the historic buildings former tenants—a funeral home and a bank—the space sets the mood with marble, leather, and dark wood. Most of the cuisine is straight off the custom 2,200-pound J&R grill, which gives the food here a great deal of flavor.

The flavorful menu is chock-full of seasonal options like charred octopus, grilled mushrooms, twice-cooked Picanha steak, coal-roasted sweet potatoes, and roasted beets⁠—just to name a few. 

Certainly, the drinks are as tasty as the food. Pair your meal with a fun cocktail like the “Hannibal Nectar ” (Lillet Blanc, Luxardo maraschino, orange, fig bitters, and soda water) or one of her other assorted cocktails.

To sum up, we highly recommend you get a sitter for this one!


Restaurants in Raleigh: Bida Manda

As one of the first Laotian restaurants to open in the United States, Bida Manda celebrates the diverse food traditions and cultures of Laos.


222 S. Blount St., Raleigh, NC 27601

Candlelit interior table seating in room with slab stone walls, chandelier, and artwork at Bida Manda, Laotian restaurant in Raleigh
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The Raleigh restaurant’s menu is a collection of the Laotion owner’s old recipes with influences from French, Chinese, Thai, and Vietnamese cuisines.

The bamboo-lined restaurant is an excellent spot for nearly any occasion. As a result, be sure to make a reservation in advance⁠—tables fill up quickly! 

We recommend starting out with the Crispy Rice Lettuce Wraps and the Luang Prabang Lemongrass Sausage. No matter the temperature outside, the Crispy Pork Belly Soup is always a great option for your main dish. In addition, the Sea Bass Mok, which is baked in a banana leaf with house-made Panang curry, is a tantalizing dish that will have you savoring each bite.

In addition, be sure to check out Bida Manda’s sister spot, Brewery Bhavana which is a brewery, bookstore, flower shop, and dim sum restaurant all rolled into one. Both restaurants are a must for any flavor-loving foodie. 


Restaurants in Raleigh: STIR Raleigh

Farm fresh ingredients? Check. Artisanal ice? Check. Oysters? Check. Grab your wallet and head straight to this North Hills restaurant if you know what’s good for you.


4242 Six Forks Rd., Raleigh, NC 27609

People sitting in front of arched windows at tables near interior bar at STIR Raleigh
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From the fare to the refreshments, STIR is all about “the inventive, the artisan, and the local,” which is music to our ears!

Don’t miss out on the craft cocktails, served over house-made artisanal ice hand-cut into shapes. 

However, if you have brunch on the brain, check out their extensive brunch menu. Served on Saturdays and Sundays, brunch features options like Waffle Crusted Chicken and a Breakfast Burger. Also, as an added bonus, a brunch bar is included with all entrees. $1 mimosas are available for those old enough to partake. 

STIR also serves lunch and dinner daily with items like Scallop & Shrimp White Cheddar Mac & Cheese and a Center Cut Filet. 


Looking for more to do in Raleigh, NC? If so, check out these articles:

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