The Raleigh food scene is constantly evolving, making it easy for visitors to enjoy a unique experience whenever they come to town. These are five of the most creative restaurants in Raleigh that are pushing the boundaries and reinventing what people expect when they dine out in this North Carolina city.
Flask & Beaker
If you’re interested in trendy, contemporary Carolina fare, go to Flask & Beaker. This spot offers a locally curated menu and creative drink concoctions with a unique student-inspired theme. This restaurant also stands out for its communal tables and lab-inspired bar — hence the name, Flask & Beaker.
This creative eatery has an amazing wine, beer, and cocktail list, so plan on indulging a bit while you’re here. The good news is that this part of town (South Raleigh) is full of accommodations. Book a Raleigh hotel through Hotel Planner in this area so you can sample some of the drinks on offer and easily get back to your room.
Fiction Kitchen is in downtown Raleigh a couple blocks south of Nash Square. The building’s green exterior makes it easy to spot, and inside, you’ll find culinary options to match this color choice. Fiction Kitchen specializes in ethically sourced vegetarian foods. You can look forward to dozens of food options made with local ingredients, from the Farmers Market Plate, which is made with fresh seasonal ingredients, to the Tinga tacos made with local corn tortillas.
Irregardless Café is a restaurant that has lots in common with Fiction Kitchen. This spot also specializes in vegetarian dishes made with North Carolina ingredients, and you’ll find plenty of green options at this vegan eatery. What makes this spot unique, however, is that Irregardless Café hosts live music and cooking classes. If you’re just coming by for the food, you can pick from brunch, lunch, and dinner specials such as vegetable empanadas, cauliflower curry, and leek and mushroom croquettes.
N.C. Seafood Restaurant
If you’re craving seafood, you’ll have a hard time finding a better spot than N.C. Seafood Restaurant. The food here is served fresh, and the establishment offers a special way to connect with the community. This restaurant is part of the local farmers market and specializes in Calabash-style dishes, which is a frying method unique to Carolina coastal towns. You can get crab, fish, oysters, shrimp, crawfish, and more prepared using this local technique. You’ll also find several broiled plates if you want to avoid fried food.
42nd Street Oyster Bar
42nd Street Oyster Bar is another contender for the best seafood restaurant in Raleigh. You can find it downtown a few blocks northwest of the capitol building. You can indulge at the generous raw bar, which features fresh half-shell oysters caught off the North Carolina and Virginia coasts. Try some of these out with fried green tomatoes or cornmeal-crusted trout for a genuine Southeastern seafood experience.
If you’re a foodie, Raleigh is an exciting place to be. Try these spots out if you want to see what’s unique and happening in the North Carolina culinary scene.