My Top 8 Places to Eat in RDU
I have lived in Raleigh for almost 7 years now, so you can bet that I have eaten out a lot- For every friend’s birthday or celebration, every awkward first date, every early morning study session at a coffee shop. Raleigh is definitely a great place to live if you’re a “foodie” with many restaurants in the area constantly appearing in national magazines. After 7 years, here are my favorite places to eat-
Best Ramen- M Kokko (Durham)
This place is such a find! It’s a total whole in the wall type of place that I stumbled upon once. The inside is kind of hectic with only about 10 tables and a wait list where you add your own name, but it’s worth it! The ramen here is my favorite compared to any other place ever!
Best Sushi- M Sushi (Durham)
Is it any coincidence that these two restaurants share the same owner and the same kitchen?? I'm not a sushi fanatic and I shamefully like mine Americanized with tons of cream cheese and avocado add-ons. When my boyfriend wanted to try this place for his birthday I thought “ugh great another overpriced sushi place.” But when I ate that first bite of fish I was absolutely blown away. I can’t even really describe the taste other than just super fresh. There is no weird after taste and the simplicity of the flavors is so good. We go back for every major celebration and always order the Lite Omakase- the chef chooses 5 different rounds of sushi.
Best Bar Food- Raleigh Times (Raleigh)
You know when you want to go out to eat but don’t want anything super fancy but also still want to be around other fun people? This is the place for me! I pretty much always order the same thing (chopped salad and fried pickles) so I actually don’t know if the rest of their menu is good, but I know lots of people have their favorite items from the menu. The crowd is always fun too, and when it’s warm enough I like hanging out at the top where the roof it open! This is definitely my go-to place for a “chill” place to eat with good company.
Best Saturday Night Dinner- Brewery Bhavana (Raleigh)
Can any Raleigh restaurant list be complete without Bhavana?? EVERY TIME any new person comes to Raleigh, I take them here. They serve Chinese Dim Sum, but also offer larger dishes. My favorites are the green beans, seafood dumplings, scallion pancakes, and pork buns. Normally I find one item at a restaurant and stick to it, but not this place! I change it up every time and always love whatever I order. The wait is normally very long, but they have a book store and a flower shop to peruse while you wait! Plus their sister restaurnt (Bida Monda) is also one of my favs and is located right next door!
Best Brunch- Irregardless Cafe (Raleigh)
I actually didn’t like this place when I first lived here. I had an awful customer service experience and vowed to never come back. Eventually I was forced to come back because other friends wanted to eat here, and I actually grew to love it. Their brunch menu has a lot to chose from and I really like all the healthy options they offer. They always have someone playing acoustic guitar on the weekends which really helps set the mood. I always try something different here and really enjoy it. Try Irregardless for your next brunch event!
Best Healthy Food- Raleigh Raw (Raleigh)
This is my go-to healthy spot. They have so many healthy choices that actually taste good and super instagram-able! I love how this place has made it cool to be healthy. Every time I go here it’s packed and I feel like they’ve really impacted Raleigh’s food environment. They offer poke bowls, refreshing smoothies, tons of juices and tonics, and so much more.
Best Coffee Shop- Cup a Joe (Raleigh)
I spent sooooooo much time here during undergrad and grad school. I had to eventually limit myself to only coming once a week because I realized how much money I was spending here. I eventually came here so much that they knew my name, my order, and I was even featured in an art exhibit about locals that come here! I felt very accomplished. This coffee shop isn’t very trendy and you’ll find all sort of people here from students to grandparents. And the interior kind of looks like a bunch of stuff that was left over at a yard sale- but I love it. There’s always enough parking, wifi, and seating which can be rare at coffee shops. My go-to order here is always green eggs and ham and a medium coconut latte.