Raleigh, N.C., Food Scene

Raleigh’s food scene? It’s booming. Thriving. Better than ever, thanks to tasty endeavors from a community that’s passionate about good eats and drinks.

The recent accolades: One of America’s hottest food cities (Zagat); one of the most underrated food cities on the East Coast (USA TODAY); one of five surprising Southern food towns (Garden & Gun); one of the world's top 10 beer destinations for 2019 (VinePair); and one of 12 global destinations to travel to thanks to our culinary prowess (Forbes).

It helps, of course, to have America’s best chef.

To say chef Ashley Christensen has earned her own acclaim would be an understatement. Since opening her flagship restaurant Poole's Diner in 2007, Christensen—a fierce philanthropist—has helped transform downtown Raleigh. She opened a burger joint, a chicken and waffle spot, an underground liquor bar and a wood-fired contemporary restaurant, all the while earning praise for her work both inside and out of the kitchen. Things culminated in 2019 when the James Beard Foundation awarded Christensen the title of Outstanding Chef—the highest individual honor for a chef—making her the only North Carolinian to ever win the award. Christensen's newest venture, Poole'side Pies—a Neapolitan-style pizza shop—is open as of summer 2019.

Christensen's success has paved the path for others to build upon a burgeoning food scene. Scott Crawford, a five-time James Beard Foundation semifinalist himself, opened his second restaurant in 2019 (Jolie, an intimate French bistro). Crawford and Son, his original downtown Raleigh eatery, opened in the fall of 2016—it's since been named "restaurant of the year" by both Raleigh's The News & Observer and Indy Week publications.


At Herons at the Umstead Hotel and Spa (named one of America's 30 best restaurants) in Cary, chef Steven Devereaux Greene—one of the country’s youngest executive chefs to helm the kitchen of a AAA Five Diamond establishment—has created The Art Tour, an eight-course special chef's tasting menu inspired by The Umstead Hotel's art collection. It's been described as "the meal of a lifetime."

For big venues with big options, America's food hall trend is alive and well in Raleigh. Both Morgan Street Food Hall and Transfer Co. Food Hall—offering bagels, burritos, burgers, beer and more—sit just a few blocks from the North Carolina State Capitol on opposite sides of downtown.

The restaurant scene is constantly evolving, too, redefining and re-imagining both Southern cooking and global flavors. From food trucks to sushi spots, craft breweries and chocolate shops, there is so much waiting to be discovered on your next visit!

Recent Articles

Dining & Drinks

It's a great time to be a foodie in Raleigh. Three highly anticipated dining spots—with incredible food, views and décor—have opened their doors in recent months (and the accolades have already started to roll in). For date nights, celebrations or just a treat-yourself occasion, these new

Dining & Drinks

Weekends are meant to be brunched on! Time spent with family and friends over stacks of blueberry pancakes or the perfect eggs Benedict should be cherished—in the Raleigh area, it is. We get...


Passionate local chefs, brewers and creative types have teamed up to guide the Raleigh area through a foodie resurgence in recent years, bringing you delicious, unique and approachable culinary...

Things to Do

Roll call! Who's up for beer festivals, outdoor concerts, food truck rodeos, special arts exhibits and more? We've got big plans this spring—join us for good weather and good times in...

Dining & Drinks

Raleigh’s food scene? It’s thriving. Evolving. More diverse than ever, thanks to tasty endeavors from a community that’s passionate about good eats and drinks. Just some of the...

Dining & Drinks

High-flying rides and deep-fried pies—the 155th annual N.C. State Fair returns to Raleigh, Oct. 12-22! The N.C. State Fair announced more than 50 new sweets, treats and over-the-top concoctions for foodies to look forward to in 2023. Hot foods, messy foods,...

Lionel Vatinet
La Farm Bakery

Lionel Vatinet

La Farm Bakery

Lionel Vatinet has traveled the world learning to bake fantastic breads. When he decided to plant roots, he chose Cary, and opened La Farm. In the past two decades, La Farm has grown to three locations—all bringing European-style baked goods to a hungry community.

“There’s a warmth in Raleigh that will make you want to come back to solve the mystery of such a beautiful place.”