Fine Dining in The Triangle is some of the best in the south. North Carolina chefs have access to incredible variety seasonal fruit and vegetables, proximity to the low country and shellfish, and incredible farms providing fresh poultry, beef and pork of every variety nearby, offering the advantage of locally sourced ingredients, regardless of the cuisine. This sets the stage for a truly vibrant, exciting, nationally recognized and awarded dining scene. Whether you are looking for local American or Southern cuisines or local ingredients fashioned into international cuisine, there is something for all distinguished tastes. Since 2020, most of these restaurants also offer take-out menus, which is a great option for those who wish to sample the foods at home. These restaurants represent some of the top picks throughout The Triangle. If you are new to the area and looking for a realtor to represent you, please do not hesitate to reach out, we have represented buyers and sellers for over 50 years, and understand all "tastes" when it comes to real estate in The Triangle.

The Capital Grille  

The Capital Grille is a new American Fine Dining Restaurant in Raleigh, offering an extensive wine list, aged steaks and fresh flown in seafood. They maintain high standards, despite being a small chain, and are a popular choice for business meetings and celebrations. Dress code is business casual and signature dishes include their house dried aged steaks.


Second Empire Restaurant and Tavern

 This is one of our favorite recommendations and is located in Downtown Raleigh in the restored Dodd-Hinsdale House, circa 1879. besides the restaurant, there's an exposed brick Tavern, and a private chef's dining experience available. The menu is a carefully curated mix of local proteins and vegetables with the freshest imports and global flavors. Its menu changes often and reservations are strongly suggested for each dining experience. This is also a great space for taking clients or booking events.

Saint Jaques French Cuisine 

Saint Jacques offers classic French preparations of local Carolina produce, seafood, poultry, and meats, in a modern fine dining setting. Located in Raleigh, this is a favorite for intimate dinners, business dining, and celebrations. Reservations are recommended and menu changes seasonally and with availability.



Ko an

One of Cary's best Southeast Asian restaurants is Ko an. This is a fine dining fusion experience that is eastern-inspired and fair trade sourced. It is worth noting that in the Triangle, there are many dining options for those global and sustainability-minded diners, and Ko an, is one of them. From sushi to Thai, its menu is Southeast Asian-inspired and a hot spot in Cary. For a truly memorable dining experience we definitely recommend trying the Omakasewhere the chefs will create a multi course meal specifically for you. Reservations are recommended. Since 2020, takeout is available. Downtown Cary is also one of the most charming areas of The Triangle to visit if you are new to the area.

Fearrington House

The Fearrington House Restaurant is attached to The Fearrington House Inn, one of the premier small hotels that is distinctly North Carolina and a gem in The Triangle. It has been a fine-dining mainstay outside Chapel Hill for over 40 years and has consistently received both Forbes 5 star and AAA's 5 Diamond awards The restaurant's menu is seasonal and it is well known that the Fearrington House Chefs have relationships with all the local farmers and purveyors as well as their own gardens, offering some of the finest farm to table cuisine in The Triangle. This is the ideal place to splurge on a special occasion. You'll want to be certain to save room for the famous hot chocolate souffle.


Herons has the distinction of being one of sixty-four, five-star restaurants from Forbes with the US. Located in the Umstead Hotel and Spa. It is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and also offers a weekend brunch. Herons is truly an experience for celebrations, impressing a date or business associate, and its; decor is as impressive as the cuisine. It has floor-to-ceiling windows, an open kitchen concept, and an expertly curated art collection. Its menu is new American, seasonal, and locally sourced. Reservations are recommended.

Cafe Tiramisu

For those craving Italian, Cafe Tiramisu is an unassuming fine dining experience in Raleigh offering northern Italian Cuisine and impeccable service. Cafe Tiramisu is family-owned and operated, and a fixture among locals. It is one of the highest-rated restaurants on Trip Advisor and Yelp and Chef Paolo Del Martino brings to the food, 40 years of experience. An extensive wine list is featured Reservations recommended.


M Sushi 

M Sushi is a local Triangle food group that offers excellent sushi throughout The Triangle. M Restaurants source ingredients locally and from Japan and their dedication to fresh ingredients, and emphasis on maintaining traditional Japanese cuisine with Peruvian and Spanish influence have made it a sustained success amongst discerning Triangle diners. M specializes in traditional sushi and sashimi courses in addition to tiradito and ceviche.  the Reservations recommended

Mateo Bar de Tapas 

If you are looking for a family dining or celebratory experience in Downtown Durham, Mateo Bar de Tapas is a great option. With large pans of paella, traditional pintxos from the North of Spain, and a variety of other regional Spanish Tapas all made with Southern local ingredients, this venture from critically acclaimed chef Matthew Kelly of Vin Rouge is a great option. While more casual than the rest of the dining options on the list, it has one of the most extensive Sherry lists in the country and receives high marks from foodies and tapas enthusiasts. You can even order a pan of paella to be picked up curbside. Ole!


Nana's Durham is one of the longest standing fine dining in The Triangle and Chef Scott Howell has been nominated 4 times for a James Beard Award. It is in the Rockwood Neighborhood of Durham and is a destination dining establishment that really put Carolina Cuisine and American Farm to Table on the map. Whatever the occasion, you cannot go wrong making a reservation at Nana's. By the way, in the south, Nana is another name for Grandmother, and you will definitely feel the familiarity when you visit Howell's restaurant. This has long been my personal favorite and at the top of my recommended list.

Il Palio 

Il Palio is the award-winning Italian restaurant inside the luxury Siena Hotel in downtown Chapel Hill. From fresh pasta to grilled meats and seafood, and imported cheeses, Il Palio offers authentic Italian for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and now offers curbside pickup. Reservations are required and if you are visiting or looking for a staycation, consider staying at the Siena Hotel as well. Mangia Bene, Viva Bene!


Lantern is a high concept Carolina community-focused dining option in Chapel Hill. It is committed to providing staff a living wage and serves foods and drinks that are locally sourced where possible. Like many other restaurants on this list, the commitment to local farmers and purveyors is not only sustainable, but it is the most delicious because your food is sourced so close to home. The chefs behind the dishes at Lantern are ultra-creative in their preparation of classic American dishes and Carolina sourced dim sum.This is a must-dine restaurant in The Triangle. 

We hope you enjoyed a brief list of some of our favorite fine dining, from exotic to refined. In the best neighborhoods of The Triangle. Do you have a submission? Please send it to us and we would love to include it in our lists. Looking to buy or sell your Triangle Area home? Give us a call 919-451-7868

Bon Appetit! Dig In! Salud!

Posted by Larry Tollen on


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