This week’s Local’s Take is brought to us by Molly Bouchon. Molly spent her childhood uncovering every nook and cranny of Raleigh before moving to Columbia, SC to attend The University of South Carolina. After graduating this coming December, Molly plans to explore new terrain out in California, possibly continue blogging. We hope you enjoy this foodie’s take on her hometown of Raleigh!
You’ve heard Aunt Josie’s take on Raleigh, NC – but now I’m going to take it a step further: A local’s guide to the lively, delectable and exquisite restaurants of Raleigh, North Carolina.
Raleigh is not the capital of North Carolina for just any reason. Between the historic neighborhoods, vibrant culture and dynamic cosmopolitan nature, Raleigh is also one-of-a-kind in it’s food. Now I wouldn’t exactly call myself a food ‘connoisseur,’ but throughout my 21 years in Raleigh I’ve certainly learned a thing or two. Below I have provided 5 restaurant recommendations – a combination of classic cuisine to match my feisty, new finds in the capital city. Enjoy!
The Mecca is a family-run business, first opening its doors in 1930. Now in the heart of Downtown Raleigh, this restaurant still holds the same cherry booths and neon signs as it did on opening day. This truly is an authentic piece of history paired with original, southern cooking. The Mecca has one of the best homemade meat lasagnas I have ever had. Don’t believe me? Try it for yourself!
A delicious find in the Fayetteville Street area of Raleigh is the authentic Lebanese restaurant called Sitti, meaning ‘grandmother.’ Just the other week, my family and I took a detour to try it out – we all left thoroughly impressed and with full bellies to match. For starters, I’d recommend getting 1 or 2 servings of the Goat Cheese Stuffed Peppers. There are only 3-4 peppers per serving, so I suggest ordering more than one. Plus, there are just that good! For my main dish, I ordered the Shrimp Kabobs and topped them with a spicy garlic whip. It was unbelievable. All of the food was flavorful and fresh, and the layout was incredibly inviting. A must-try if you are looking for a surprising twist.
The Raleigh Times Bar
Located in the historic building for the former Raleigh Times Newspaper of 1906, the new and improved Raleigh Times Bar now provides locals with a desirable bar selection and even better nighttime atmosphere. The Raleigh Times gives off the vintage feel complete with a phenomenal rooftop view of Downtown Raleigh. If you visit, be sure to try the famous BBQ Pork Nachos. This is easily one of the most beloved dishes in Raleigh.
The Angus Barn
For a splurge – consider this the epitome of fine dining in Raleigh. If y’all like great steak, you will love the Big Red Barn. I have been eating at The Angus Barn for as long as I can remember, and not once can I remember having anything short of fabulous. Everything you order will be cooked to perfection and taste even better. Aside from the heavenly food, you can also enjoy various lounges around the building for relaxation or cigars, or choose to take a stroll around the pavilion and lake behind the barn. Angus Barn is the perfect blend of country and luxury – a definite must-go!
Now, what would Raleigh be without some BBQ? The Pit, located in the Warehouse District, serves authentic pit-cooked barbecue every day to live up to their legendary tradition. Not only is The Pit packed with loyal customers, but also newcomers from all around who have heard the media buzzing from The Food Network to Good Morning America. With the new media craze, it’s easy to see why The Pit has some of the best pulled pork in the state. You can’t go wrong with any one of the flavors or styles of BBQ served at The Pit. Be sure to check out the “Happenings” on their site for upcoming events!