Top 10 Restaurants In North Carolina: Exploring The State’s Vibrant Food Scene

The state of North Carolina, also known as the “Tar Heel State,” is located in the southwestern part of the United States.

The food is influenced by southern cooking and features unique variations of traditional ingredients in each dish.

Restaurants in this state serve a wide variety of cuisines, including Spanish, Turkish, and even Asian, in addition to the state’s world-famous southern cooking.

We strongly suggest that you visit this state with an open mind and palate! Here are some of the top choices for the state’s best eateries.

Top 10 restaurants in North Carolina

  1. The Fearrington House Restaurant
  2. Chef’s Pallete
  3. Bosphorus Restaurant
  4. Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen
  5. Curate
  6. It’s a Southern thing
  7. Vivace
  8. The Fig Tree Restaurant
  9. The Capital Grille
  10. Lantern

The Fearrington House Restaurant, Pittsboro

This is a high-end restaurant that serves freshly prepared meals at your table and boasts an elegant and sophisticated atmosphere.

Every ingredient is sourced locally and served as fresh as possible! This upscale restaurant does offer seasonal menus, so before you make a reservation there, it is in your best interest to review the menu online.

We strongly suggest that you go with the course meal option so that you can savor the high-quality food at your own pace and get a feel for the variety of options available.

In addition to that, there is a bar right there on the premises where you can get a drink with your family or friends.

Cuisine: American

Best for: Upscale dining experience

Must try: foie gras, chocolate souffle, and seared scallops

The Fearrington House Restaurant Location

Chef’s Pallete, Cary

You’ll feel truly at home in this American restaurant’s inviting and warm surroundings. The food is of exceptional quality, both in terms of its flavor and the quality of the ingredients used to prepare it.

The plating of the food in this establishment is also of the highest caliber.

The restaurant’s mission is to serve classic dishes from the United States in a way that is fresh and original, and they accomplish this goal not only with their flavor palettes but also with the excellent way in which they present the food.

It would be a mistake to leave without sampling some of their desserts.

The environment is very welcoming to canine companions. Excellent outdoor seating is available here as well.

Cuisine: American

Best for: American food with a modern twist

Must try: Chicken Francese, short rib, and steak Frites

Chef’s Pallete Location

Bosphorus Restaurant, Cary

This warm and inviting restaurant has seating available both inside and out on the patio. You can indulge in traditional dishes from Turkey and the Mediterranean region like never before.

This cozy restaurant has an exceptionally welcoming staff who will make you feel at home. In addition to that, they offer prompt service.

The authentic and incredibly flavorful Mediterranean cuisine that is served here is true to its roots in every way.

You can truly indulge to your heart’s content in the authentic Turkish food you get here because the portions are large.

You absolutely must try the kebabs and humus while you’re here. You’ll love the authentic flavor that bursts forth from each bite.

Cuisine: Middle Eastern

Best for: Authentic Mediterranean cuisine

Must try: Baklava and Lahmacun

Bosphorus Restaurant Location

Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen, Cary

If you’re looking for a fine dining experience in N.C., look no further than this farm-to-table establishment.

Outdoor seating is highly recommended. In addition, gluten-free options are offered for the convenience of our patrons whenever possible.

This is a fantastic restaurant, not only because of the delicious food but also because of the excellent service that is offered.

The restaurant provides piping-hot service, and each cut of meat is prepared to a high standard.

It is recommended to make reservations well in advance to ensure a smooth dining experience.

Cuisine: American

Best for: Outdoor setting

Must try: johnny cakes, grilled salmon, and buttermilk pie.

Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen Location

It’s a Southern thing, Durham

This eatery and bar have a terrific atmosphere resembling an industrial setting. These spaces are ideal for enjoying a meal because of the high ceilings, wide-open windows, and open kitchen design.

You will certainly enjoy this restaurant’s contemporary ambiance. Additionally, the seating at the bar is excellent.

You should definitely try one of the local craft beers they offer at this bar and restaurant. This restaurant, serving modern American cuisine, is also known for its quick service.

In addition to being juicy, the chicken that is served here is perfectly fried. A must-have item.

Cuisine: American

Best for: southern cuisine

Must try: Southern Thing Benedict, fried chicken sandwich and smoked wings

It’s a Southern thing Location

Curate, Asheville

This Spanish restaurant, which is housed in a former bus depot from 1927, is definitely something you should cross off your list when visiting North Carolina.

The restaurant focuses on providing you with the best, most authentic Spanish cuisine possible. The authentic food that is served here is going to go wonderfully with the Spanish wines that are featured on the restaurant’s menu.

The romantic atmosphere brought about by the decor, which is inspired by Spanish culture, will further elevate your dining experience while you are here.

This place has everything Spanish, from the food to the atmosphere to the drinks, so it’s almost like you could teleport to Spain for a few hours while you’re here.

This is an absolute must-see location, particularly if you are a fan of Spanish food.

Cuisine: Spanish

Best for: Spanish cuisine with a great drinks menu

Must try: Pan Con tomate, gambas al ajillo and pincho moruno

Curate Location

Vivace, Raleigh

At this restaurant, which has a sophisticated atmosphere, you can indulge in mouthwatering dishes that are inspired by Italian cuisine.

The restaurant also has wonderful seating available outside on the patio, which is perfect for warm days.

They serve mouthwatering Italian cuisine that is popular not only with the locals but also with visitors to the area.

This restaurant’s menu is varied and diet-friendly, which is a major plus for the entire establishment.

At this fantastic Italian restaurant, the wine selection is primarily Italian but also incredibly varied.

Cuisine: Italian

Best for: Great Patio seating

Must try: Four cheese ravioli, risotto and bruschetta 

Vivace Location

The Fig Tree Restaurant, Charlotte

A trip to this restaurant, which is housed in a craftsman bungalow built in 1913, is certain to be an enjoyable and memorable experience.

In this upscale restaurant, you can enjoy your meal in a setting that is both contemporary and cozy at the same time.

One of the most charming and traditional restaurants in Charlotte, this fine dining establishment is consistently ranked among the city’s very best.

Because the restaurant serves excellent appetizers and desserts, we do not advise skipping either of those two courses if you decide to dine there.

The pasta is also a definite must. If you’re into that sort of atmosphere, they typically have jazz music playing in the background as well.

Cuisine: American/Italian

Best for: Fine Dining

Must try: Elk chop, lobster, and escargots

The Fig Tree Restaurant Location

The Capital Grille, Charlotte

Another one of Charlotte’s historic restaurants that you must go to if you want to have a good time.

The upscale eatery features a great rustic yet contemporary atmosphere, and it serves contemporary American cuisine with an emphasis on seafood and steaks.

This restaurant is great for celebrations and happy moments, in part because of the exceptional service that they provide.

When visiting this fine dining restaurant, be sure to try the place’s famous coconut crema pie as well.

In addition, there is a very extensive selection of bread and wines, catering to each and every conceivable flavor profile.

If you’re ever in the Charlotte area and looking for a great steakhouse to eat at, you absolutely cannot miss out on this one. 

Cuisine: Seafood/Steakhouse

Best for: Steaks and meats

Must try: seared tenderloin with lobster tails and the Maine lobster salad with citrus vinaigrette.

The Capital Grille Location

Lantern, Chapel Hill

One of the best farm-to-table restaurants in the area, this restaurant has no room to disappoint.

The restaurant is an amalgamation of Asian flavors and those found in North Carolina, where the food is sourced.

The ambiance is laid back, and the menu is extensive, offering a wide range of flavor profiles and options for customers to select from.

In addition to that, there is a fantastic outdoor seating option, as well as a fully stocked bar. This fantastic Asian restaurant also offers excellent vegetarian options.

Cuisine: Asian/Fusion

Best for: vegetarians and people loving a relaxing, quaint environment.

Must try: salt and pepper shrimp, coconut braised pork shank, black mushroom, and cabbage dumplings.

Lantern Location

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Which restaurant in North Carolina offers the best fine dining experience?

As was mentioned earlier, the top three must-visit top-rated fine dining restaurants in the state are The Fearrington House restaurant, The fig tree restaurant, and Lantern in Chapel hill.

All three of these restaurants are located in the same city. You will have the most sophisticated and upscale dining experience possible thanks to their extensive menus and wonderful atmospheres, which they offer.

2. Which restaurant in North Carolina should top everyone’s list of places to eat there?

In addition to the restaurants that have already been mentioned, Vivace and Centro are two restaurants in Raleigh, North Carolina, that you absolutely must go to. Both of them offer a one-of-a-kind flavor profile and an exceptional dining experience to each and every customer.

3. Where can one find the state’s most outstanding seafood restaurant?

The Capital Grille in Charlotte, N.C., has to be one of the most outstanding restaurants in the state when it comes to serving seafood. This restaurant is an absolute must-visit if you are a fan of seafood and find yourself in the neighborhood at any point.

4. What is the state’s most famous food?

The people who live in North Carolina are unquestionably passionate about their barbecue. The most well-liked and frequently consumed dish here is pulled pork.

You can find excellent barbeque restaurants all over the state, and there is no way that you will be let down by any of them. Additionally, popular dishes include smoked shrimp and ribs.

5. What is the best city in North Carolina for foodies?

Without question, Raleigh. This point is further supported by the fact that this city is included on Zagat’s list of the “30 most exciting food cities in the United States.” That most certainly counts for something!

The best restaurants and cuisine in the state can be found in Raleigh, so if you consider yourself a foodie and are ever in the area, we highly suggest going there. The next-best cities for having some of the state’s best restaurants are Asheville, Durham, and Charlotte.

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