Posted in: Dining Posted on: May 22nd, 2015

Dining and Nightlife in Raleigh

Living in Raleigh, NC provides you with all the energy of a big city and all the charm of a small town. Local dining and nightlife reflect that little-big-city feel, and the culinary landscape is gaining national recognition, putting Raleigh on the map.

Bida Manda

This Laotian restaurant combines Thai and Vietnamese flavors, kicked up a notch with French cooking techniques. Dishes are inspired by the owners’ parents’ recipes and fresh, seasonal ingredients. These Asian Fusion dishes are sure to excite your tastebuds. Bida Manda’s menu is small, yet comprehensive, and includes appetizers like spring rolls, lettuce wraps and crab cakes, and entrees like caramelized ginger pork ribs, curry chicken, and green papaya salad. Try a handcrafted cocktail, a pint of local, craft beer, or a glass of wine from their full bar.

Second Empire Restaurant and Tavern

If you’re celebrating a special occasion or just want to treat yourself to a nice meal, look no further than Second Empire. This New American restaurant, located in the 121-year-old Dodd-Hinsdale House, provides a dining experience unlike any other. The dinner menu changes seasonally and incorporates the freshest ingredients, and their knowledgeable servers can recommend a glass of wine from their award-winning wine list to accompany your meal. Second Empire’s Tavern provides a more relaxed atmosphere that’s perfect for post-work drinks or a casual meal. Enjoy lighter bites, sample the newest beers on tap, or sip on a handmade martini.

The Fiction Kitchen

You don’t have to be a vegetarian to enjoy every bite of your meal from The Fiction Kitchen. This 100% vegetarian restaurant serves dinner during the week and brunch on Sundays. Vegetarian food tends to be a bit predictable, but the menu here is full of exciting international flavors, like the mushroom farro risotto, the tinga tacos, and the curry bowl, as well as a variety of soups, salads, sides, and a well-rounded drink menu. The brunch menu doesn’t disappoint either. Pancakes, French toast, huevos rancheros, and quiche are all freshly made and vegan or gluten free-friendly.

C. Grace Cocktail Bar

This jazz club and cocktail lounge will make you feel like you’ve been transported to a different time. C. Grace hosts live jazz music Tuesdays through Saturdays, and the low-key setting makes it a great spot for date night. Choose a drink from their long list of cocktails or ask the bartender for a recommendation.

Architect Bar & Social House

Originally built in 1922, the Architect Bar & Social House building is full of character, with brick walls, a huge skylight, and a speakeasy feel. The cocktail and craft beer menu changes seasonally, and the craft cocktails highlight fresh, local ingredients. Find the bookcase door and you’ll enter The Green Light, a swanky, secret room (and bar, of course) that was once an architect’s office. The Architect Bar & Social House is a solid choice any night of the week, especially on weekends when the place transforms into a dance club.

The diversity of Raleigh dining and nightlife means you can experience something different every time you go out. With downtown just minutes away from Clarion Crossing, it’s easy to take advantage of everything this city has to offer.