12 Restaurants in Downtown Raleigh That You Will Want to Stop and Try Immediately

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Have you ever been to downtown Raleigh before? Raleigh is known for its many colleges and it is also most known for its Research Triangle. It also has a fabulous nightlife setting, bustling restaurant scene, and so much more that you just have to see it to believe it. If you are visiting Raleigh and all of the incredible things that they have to feature, make sure to try out one of these seven amazing restaurants whenever you are craving some good food!

Main image courtesy of Visit Raleigh. 

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1. Whiskey Kitchen

Enjoy some Southern-fare food, craft cocktails, signature whiskey, and more!

201 W Martin Street | Downtown | whiskey.kitchen.com

Since you’re getting close to the south of the United States, aren’t you wanting to try out some of the best Southern food out there?  If so, then you need to check out Whiskey Kitchen right now! Whiskey Kitchen is the perfect place to go to whenever you’re looking for the best comfort food in Raleigh, along with some spectacular mixed drinks with whiskey in them!

Make sure you come to the Whiskey Kitchen to try out the lamb burger, fried chicken sandwiches, shoo fly pie, crispy broccoli, fried brussel sprouts, and their many whiskey cocktails. Come to the Whiskey Kitchen right now for some incredible food you’ll never forget about!

“Came here for my birthday and the overall experience was great with no complaints. I would highly recommend it!” - Yelp Review 

2. Sitti

Have you ever wanted to try out some amazing Lebanese dishes? If so, make sure to check out this restaurant in downtown Raleigh!

Have you ever tried Lebanese food before? If not and you want to try out something new, make sure to try out Sitti today! Image courtesy of TripAdvisor. 

137 S Wilmington Street | Downtown | sitti-raleigh.com

Have you ever tried out Lebanese food before? If you haven’t, you’re for sure missing out on something special. What better place to try out Lebanese food than by going to a well known Lebanese restaurant such as Sitti! Sitti is an amazing restaurant where you can try out lots of unique tastes and flavors you may have never explored before.

Don’t miss out on what Sitti has to offer when it comes to some incredible Lebanese food! You absolutely need to try out the chicken kabob, chicken shawarma, chicken artichoke, mixed grilled kabob, vegan samkeh harra, kibbee mikli, kafta kabobs, and so much more. Make sure you don’t miss out on Sitti and some delicious Lebanese delicacies that are truly incredible!

“I would give this place 6 stars if I could!! Everything we ordered was so incredibly delicious!!” - Yelp Review

3. Bida Manda

Laotian food is something that everyone needs to try out, so why not come here!

222 S Blount Street | Downtown | bidamanda.com

If you are in downtown Raleigh looking to sit down and have a good meal after exploring the city, why not come to Bida Manda! If you are looking for something new and unique to your taste buds, make sure to check out this restaurant because they serve some of the best Laotian food around.

Come to Bida Manda right now so you can try out the pork belly soup, lettuce wraps, spring rolls, green papaya salad, pad thai, crispy rice, chicken curry, summer rolls, Manda’s herb salad, and lots of other tasty dishes. Check out Bida Manda in downtown Raleigh for some good food today!

“My new favorite spot. Portion sizes are way bigger than you think. We got an extra fried rice entree and all split ends ended up with a ton of leftovers.” - Yelp Review 

4. Oak Steakhouse

Sometimes a classic American steakhouse is really all you need to satisfy your hunger!

Buy a gift card for Oak Steakhouse

Oak Steakhouse has a lot of incredibly juicy and delicious steaks and more that you are sure to love right in Raleigh! Image courtesy of Oak Steakhouse.

417 W Hargett Street | Downtown | oaksteakhouserestaurant.com

If you are looking for an amazing steakhouse to go to in Raleigh, make sure to check out Oak Steakhouse, because trust us when we say that you won’t want to miss out! The Oak Steakhouse has everything you’re looking for when it comes to a nicely cooked, juicy steak with many other options on the menu, and wine to complement your meal.

Come to Oak Steakhouse right now where you can try out the signature Oak Steakhouse burger, deviled eggs, oysters rockefeller, prime cowboy steaks, steak frites, caesar salad, New York-strip steaks, and much, much more. Don’t pass up the opportunity to go to Oak Steakhouse right now for some of the best steaks in downtown Raleigh!

“This was a top 10 lifetime dining experience based upon the quality and execution of the food and craft cocktails for my wife and I. I regret that I don't live in Raleigh.” - Yelp Review

Buy a gift card for Oak Steakhouse

5. Gravy

Sometimes Italian-American food is just all you need, so make sure to stop by here!

135 S Wilmington Street | Downtown | gravyraleigh.com

There is something about Italian food that just puts a smile on your face. If you are searching for the best Italian-American food in downtown Raleigh, then you need to stop what you’re doing and check out Gravy! Gravy is an amazing restaurant that serves some of the freshest pastas and more made from local ingredients that you are bound to enjoy.

Check out Gravy right now to try out the gnocchi, lasagna, eggplant pie, bruschetta, spaghetti and meatballs, kale salad, chicken parm, meatball subs, and lots of other delicious traditional and inventive Italian dishes. Come to Gravy, a place that you won’t want to miss out on in downtown Raleigh!

“Everyone in the group ordered something different and everyone was pleased and commented that they'd order the same dish again so that is saying how much it was enjoyed.” - Yelp Review

6. The Fiction Kitchen

Enjoy all vegetarian-fare food here right now where you will fall in love with some delicious flavors!

The Fiction Kitchen is the best place to go whenever you’re looking for an amazing vegetarian lunch or dinner in downtown Raleigh! Image courtesy of Visit Raleigh. 

428 S Dawson Street | Downtown | thefictionkitchen.com

Are you a vegetarian wishing there were more delicious vegetarian restaurants in downtown Raleigh? We get the struggle, so make sure to come and check out The Fiction Kitchen right now! This amazing all-vegetarian restaurant has everything you need when it comes to good food and flavor, so it’s essential to make your way over here right now.

Check out The Fiction Kitchen right now to try out the tinga tacos, pulled pork, a farmer’s market plate, a mock chicken sandwich, a curry bowl, fried chicken, peanut noodle bowl, and lots of other delicious food. Check out The Fiction Kitchen if you’re looking for vegetarian-fare restaurants in downtown Raleigh today! 

“As a visitor from out of state, this place and the staff made me feel welcomed.  Smiles and hellos abound.  The interior is bright and inviting.” - Yelp Review 

7. Parkside Restaurant

American comfort food and over forty draft beers sounds exactly like what you need right now!

Buy a gift card for Parkside Restaurant

Are you looking for something truly unique when it comes to food in downtown Raleigh? Make sure to visit Parkside Restaurant now! Image courtesy of TripAdvisor. 

301 W Martin Street | Downtown | parksideraleigh.com

Interested in some classic American comfort food after exploring downtown Raleigh? Make sure to check out Parkside Restaurant right now where you can enjoy lots of the best comfort food in America, along with over forty craft beers that will perfectly complement your food and make for the perfect combination. 

Try out everything from the chicken and waffle sandwich, bacon wrapped dates, fried chicken, prime rib, banana foster, short rib stroganoff, brie burger, jalapeno deviled eggs, the signature Parkside burger, and lots more. Don’t miss out on the Parkside Restaurant and pay a visit for yourself!

“Delicious food, decent service, great location. Great for tipsy brunch on the weekend!!” - Yelp Review 

Buy a gift card for Parkside Restaurant

8. Second Empire Restaurant and Tavern

Award-winning venue in a historic location. 

330 Hillsborough St | Downtown Raleigh | second-empire.com

The Second Empire Restaurant and Tavern is an upscale restaurant that sits in a historic location. They give guests a dining experience that combines classical history and elegance with uniquely delicious cuisine. They offer a world class wine selection alongside the great food and atmosphere. 

This award-winning restaurant offers several delicious menu items. Their list of appetizers includes options like crispy duck leg confit, striploin tartare, and French onion soup. On the entree list you’ll find pear and fennel braised short ribs, seafood paella, and grilled lamb rack. Second Empire provides an experience unlike any other restaurant!

“We cannot stop raving about this restaurant and our dining experience here. We were blown away with a phenomenal experience. The well created dinner options to the dessert and drink features; everything was perfectly pieced together. The kitchen was spotless and the staff was friendly, knowledgeable and accommodating. Hands down one of the best dinner experiences we have ever had.”–Yelp Review 

9. Mulino Italian Kitchen and Bar

Simple Italian food with bold flavor. 

309 N Dawson St | Downtown Raleigh | mulinoraleigh.com

Mulino Italian Kitchen and Bar provides the type of dining experience that takes diners on a rewarding food journey through Italian culinary tradition. They offer cuisine that is simple and still delectable alongside some great wine in a cozy environment. Their food is local, seasonal, and healthy. They often serve different variations of the same meals, like making Amatriciana with either bucatini or spaghetti. 

The dinner menu is long and varied, with options from pasta to risotto and tea. If you’d like a pizza, your options will include margherita, four cheese, and pepperoni. If you’re there for pasta, you get to have tagliatelle bolognese, lasagna, and risotto del giorno. They also offer plenty of drink options you are likely to love. Try the sambuca, the grand marnier, or the limoncello!

“Went here solo during a work trip, but it was a really cool building with a nice atmosphere. If I lived in Raleigh, this would definitely make for a great spot. I got the arugula salad and the pasta bolognese. Both were fantastic with large portions! Service was fast and friendly. Highly recommend.”–Yelp Review 

10. Poole’s

Creative comfort food in a modern atmosphere. 

426 S McDowell St | Downtown Raleigh | ac-restaurants.com/pooles

Poole’s is a modern day diner that serves reimagined comfort food. This restaurant has created so many recipes, they give many of them away in an awesome cookbook. Their menu even changes weekly and often even daily, so they always make sure to keep things new and exciting for their guests! 

At Poole’s, you get to enjoy a great selection of appetizers like pimento cheese and crab donuts, and vinaigrettes like roasted beets, and heirloom tomatoes. The main menu offers seared nc tuna, hanger steak, and braised pork cheeks. You can enjoy those with brown butter carrots, macaroni au gratin, or braising greens on the side. They even have a great selection of desserts like chocolate crunch cake!

“Delicious dinner with great cocktails! Service was top notch! It really was everything we had hoped for. After Covid kept us from traveling, we thought we were great home cooks. Poole reminded us that we have work to do. Thank you!”–Yelp Review 

11. Big Ed’s Restaurant

Country cooking at its best! 

220 Wolfe St | Downtown Raleigh | bigedsnc.com

Big Ed’s Restaurant is a breakfast and soul food place that serves breakfast all day. It has been a staple in downtown Raleigh since the 1950s. It’s a place full of southern hospitality and joy that you will likely enjoy spending time in. All of the food is also made fresh with local foods. Big Ed’s will make you feel like you’re in a comfy southern home!

Try their country ham with gravy, their fried catfish, or their hotcakes. You can also choose from sandwiches like house made tuna salad, pork loin biscuits, or the deluxe burger. This restaurant truly serves country cooking at its best!

“Great place for breakfast. All of our meals were made to request, quick to come out and very reasonable on the pricing. The service was attentive with never having to ask for additional coffee or water. Most certainly would go back.”–Yelp Review 

12. Oak Steakhouse

The classic steakhouse modernized. 

417 W Hargett St | Downtown Raleigh | oaksteakhouserestaurant.com

Right in Downtown Raleigh’s warehouse district, Oak Steakhouse is serving up a modern take on the classic steakhouse. Their chef driven menu uses fresh North Carolina ingredients as well as certified angus beef. 

You get to start off with some housemade bread along with a choice of deviled eggs, oysters rockefeller, or Maine mussels. You’ll have a choice of steaks and chops, soups and salads, and entrees. Their coq au vin, oat steakhouse burger, and pan roasted mushrooms are all worth a try. Now go out and check out the rest of the menu for yourself!

“This was our first time at Oak Steakhouse and it did not disappoint! David, our server, was incredible and the food was amazing. Such a friendly and luxurious atmosphere. Definitely one of the best meals and experiences we've ever had. We will absolutely be back!”–Yelp Review 

Downtown Raleigh has everything you need when it comes to some delicious food in the south. If you are exploring downtown Raleigh and are getting hungry, but not sure where to go to get food, make sure to check out our seven favorite restaurants right now!

Is there a restaurant in downtown Raleigh that you love, but we didn’t mention? Make sure to let us know in the comments below!


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Trae Bodge

Trae Bodge is the shopping expert here at GiftYa. Trae helps people find the best deals and ideas on popular new items to purchase.

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