Raleigh Guide

These are my favorite places to shop, eat, drink, and be merry around the Raleigh area! This list will continue to grow as I discover more spots I love. What are your favorites?

Raleigh Guide

fill your belly:

Centro (locally-sourced Mexican/Latin American food and the best salsa ever) 
Jose and Sons (great blend of Mexican + homey southern food—try the “chef’s picnic”)
Capital Club 16 (lots of hearty German and American dishes—get the fig crostini appetizer)
Poole’s Diner (show up before they open on a weeknight to get a table, best mac & cheese)
Gravy (yummy Italian-American)
Caffé Luna (more yummy Italian food with a fancier atmosphere)
Stanbury (small plates, very creative menu)
Sushi Thai (kitsch decor, huge variety of sushi + thai options) 
Udupi Cafe (southern India vegetarian cuisine—the best chana masala)
Irregardless Café (farm to table, healthy + delicious, get the warm goat cheese salad)
Neomonde (fresh, tasty Lebanese & Mediterranean Cuisine)
Garland (modern, eclectic Indian food with a twist)
Sitti (scrumptious Lebanese)
Saffron (Indian food—the Paneer Pasanda blows my mind)
ãn ($$$, fancy-pants sushi and asian cuisine, beautiful presentation)
Bosphorus (excellent Turkish/Mediterranean food)
Lilly’s Pizza (yummy pizza, I love “The Buddha”)
Angus Barn ($$$, a Raleigh institution, the filet mignon will make you die of bliss)
Chubby’s Tacos (cheap, dumpy, hole-in-the-wall place with excellent tacos)
The Pit (BBQ and southern favorites—the BBQ chicken is my go to)
Humble Pie (small plates for sharing, the ricotta gnocchi is dreamy)
Second Empire ($$$, super fancy and perfect for special occasions)
Chuck’s (quirky burgers and piles of pickle chips and fries)
Beasley’s Chicken + Honey (chicken and waffles)
Guasaca (fresh, made from scratch arepas)
Taverna Agora (the fried zucchini OMG)
J. Betskis (unique flavor combinations—amazing Central/Eastern European food)
Virgil’s Tacos (amaaaazing tacos, chips so freshly made they’ll burn your fingers)
Death & Taxes ($$$, but yum!)

for your sweet tooth:

Bittersweet (desserts + cocktails)
Escazu Artisian Chocolates (a huge array mind-blowing chocolates)
Lucettegrace (delicious pastries and such—love the macarons)
Duck Donuts (made-to-order, slightly gooey inside, and oh so good)
La Farm Bakery (great french bakery—almond croissants!)
Videri Chocolate Factory (tour the factory, sample and buy chocolate)
Yellow Dog Bread (the maple bacon scones are to die for)

wet your whistle:

Tin Roof Teas (tea lover’s paradise) 
Morning Times (good coffee, pretty latte art)
Joule (coffee, tea, and food too)
Café de los Muertos (coffee, tea, and treats)
Crank Arm Brewing Company (beer + a nice outdoor seating area)
Trophy Brewing & Pizza Co. (good pizza + beer—the “Milky Way” is great)
State of Beer (beer and sandwiches—the pimento cheese sandwich is the best)
Gallo Pelón Mezcaleria (a hidden spot—carefully crafted smoky-tasting Mezcal cocktails)

things to do:

First Friday (monthly downtown gallery walk)
North Carolina Museum of Art (outdoor films + concerts all summer)
CAM Raleigh (contemporary art museum)
Umstead State Park (hiking + biking trails, canoe rentals)
Eno River State Park (hiking + biking trails, swimming)
Gather (a variety of creative classes & workshops)
Brewgaloo (annual local beer festival)
Ornamentea (jewelry making classes)
Carolina Tiger Rescue (do the “twilight tour” when the tigers more active)
Duke Gardens (walking trails, gorgeous flowers, perfect picnic spot)
NC State Fair (annual—the garden, artisan and animal exhibits are my favorites)
North Carolina Zoo (this is a day trip, but our zoo is the best I’ve ever seen)
IMAX Theater (it gives me a headache, but 3D movies are neat in the IMAX)
Strawberry Picking (mid April–late May there are farms open all over for picking)
Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts (broadway, concerts, comedians, ballet, etc…)
Lincoln Theater (concerts and various shows and performances)

shop ’til you drop:

Gather (cozy, beautiful gift shop featuring local makers, also serves tea and coffee)
DECO Raleigh (perfect for browsing—overflowing with giftable goodies and doodads)
Ornamentea (jewelry supplies—run your fingers through rows of sparkling beads)
State Farmer’s Market (produce fresh from NC farms and plants from local nurseries)
Logan’s Garden Shop (huge selection of indoor/outdoor plants and garden supplies)
Edge of Urge (unique clothing, jewelry, and gifts)
Reader’s Corner (jam-packed used book store)
Flea Market (open almost every weekend, great for people watching)
Garden Supply Company (great selection of more unusual trees and plants)
Father & Son Antiques (mid-century galore and other quirky finds)
The Curatory (Raleigh Denim, clothing, and accessories)



  1. Carlee

    I love Duck Donuts, and I hear there is one in Raleigh now. Also Defy Gravity is really fun although for the younger spirited or children haha.

    Totally agree the Pit is GREAT! And the NC Zoo is really great well! Love the Duke Gardens!

    Little Sloth

    1. Amanda (wit & whistle) Post author

      YES! I just tried my first Duck Donut a few weeks ago and it was great. I forgot to add them, so I’ll do it now. :) I’ve never been to Defy Gravity, but it does look awesome!

  2. Danielle

    Boulted Bread (amazing baked goods) and Bida Manda (delicious Laotian cuisine — one of the very few on the East Coast!)

    1. Amanda (wit & whistle) Post author

      Ooo thanks, I’ll try Boulted Bread!

      Sadly Bida Manda didn’t live up to the hype for me. Do you have a favorite dish there?

  3. Holly

    My hubs is flying to Cary this weekend for work and I’m so jealous! – especially now that you just posted this! I wish I could go with him and try all of these things, and hopefully meet you! Maybe one of these days…

    1. Amanda (wit & whistle) Post author

      I’m afraid not—it was just a quick sketchbook doodle. I’m so glad you love it though—thanks! :)

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