Downtown Raleigh Restaurants

Downtown Raleigh offers a wide range of foodie favorites. From establishments owned by James Beard-recognized chefs to casual, local institutions, there’s a bevy of options for eats in the heart of Raleigh. Check out just a few delicious downtown dishes below, plus food halls where you can get even more, and see a full list of downtown restaurants further down!

Poole’s Diner
Macaroni au gratin
One of the most requested dishes at James Beard Award-winning chef Ashley Christensen’s Poole’s Diner is the “Macaroni au gratin.” This dish includes a mound of macaroni noodles covered with three different types of cheeses, then broiled to become caramelized on top.

Royale
The Royale Burger
This French-American bistro serves up a delicious, fun menu. The “Royale Burger,” a juicy burger adorned with Gruyère cheese and your choice of sauce au poivre or béarnaise, is a hit with foodies.

Vic's Italian Restaurant
The New Yorker Specialty Pizza
Head to Raleigh’s historic City Market for a dining experience at Vic’s. This Italian restaurant was established in 1933 and serves fantastic specialty pizzas like “The New Yorker,” topped with heaps of cheese, Italian sausage, mushrooms, onions, green peppers and pepperoni.

The Pit and Clyde Cooper’s BBQ
N.C. barbecue
N.C. is synonymous with pork barbecue. Visit two favorites, The Pit and Clyde Cooper’s, for delicious BBQ sandwiches and Southern sides.

Garland
Pakoras
Nominated for Best Chef: Southeast by the James Beard Foundation, Garland restaurant co-owner Cheetie Kumar is delighting foodies with her interesting spin on Pan-Asian cuisine. Try the pakoras: "bird's nest" fritters of farmers' market vegetables, spicy chickpea and rice batter.

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Beasley's chicken and waffles

Ashley Christensen

AC Restaurants

Rockstar Chef. James Beard Award-winner. Empire Builder. Chef of the Year. Chef and proprietor of AC Restaurants, Ashley Christensen is leading a culinary movement in Raleigh, N.C., with a host of dining, drinking and event spaces.

“I find a great deal of joy and inspiration working right here in Raleigh, N.C. There is something about being in a certain place at a certain time.”