Technically, Poole’s is a diner. Really though, it’s more like a cross between the cleanest diner you’ve ever seen and a dark Manhattan bar from the Mad Men era. The red leather banquettes and barstools make it feel more appropriate for a nice dinner with someone you like, and dishes like watermelon salad and risotto make it clear that it’s not the place to come in your classic diner uniform of pajamas for a hungover breakfast. Get the macaroni au gratin, but other than that, the chalkboard menu changes daily and is always full of things we want to eat. Just make sure you don’t overlook the vegetables - they never taste overly healthy and are usually some of the most creative dishes here.
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Equal parts brewery, restaurant, and plant shop, Brewery Bhavana is one of our favorite places in Raleigh.
Garland in Raleigh mixes Southern influences with Indian dishes - you could spend a whole night between the club and music venue above and below.
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Dame’s Chicken & Waffles
You know you’re getting chicken and waffles at Dame’s in Durham and you know you’re going to need a nap after.
Crawford and Son
Crawford and Sons in Raleigh is the right balance of fancy and cool, with high-end Southern food and a funky interior.
The Roast Grill
You’ll find as many opinions on the best hot dogs in Raleigh as you will people - but our favorites are the perfectly crispy ones from Roast Grill.
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Gocciolina is a cozy pasta place in Durham where you should bring a date and share a few reasonably-priced plates.
Clyde Cooper’s Barbecue
Clyde Cooper’s Barbecue is the best place for Carolina-style, vinegar-based pork barbecue - it’s a Raleigh must-visit.
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