Raleigh, NC - December 20, 2016 - More than a dozen new restaurants have opened (or will soon) in Raleigh, enhancing an already impressive culinary scene and helping to earn the destination a spot on Zagat's top 20 list of hottest food cities.

Tempting reasons to visit Raleigh:
City Market Sushi, opening this week!
Set to open this week, City Market Sushi in downtown Raleigh will offer a casual alternative to the area's trendy high-end sushi restaurants, serving quality seafood at reasonable prices in an easygoing atmosphere.

Bhavana, opening early January 2017
The owners of Raleigh's immensely successful Bida Manda, one of the country's few true Laotian restaurants, have teamed up with brewer Patrick Woodson to open Bhavana, a brewery, taproom, dim sum and flower shop downtown, just off Moore Square.

Vidrio, opening January 2017
The long-awaited opening of Lou Moshakos' Mediterranean restaurant Vidrio, is slated for mid-January. The space is stunning (i.e., an enormous, brilliant mosaic of 397 hand-blown glass pieces adorns one wall) and the menu will no doubt impress: fresh seafood, artisanal breads, and slow roasted meats from a rustic wood-fired grill and custom brick oven.

Trophy Chicken & Taproom, opening January 2017
Beginning mid-January, the two-story Trophy Chicken & Taproom will serve (of course!) chicken and beer -- and will offer takeout of both, something owners have said downtown Raleigh lacks. The restaurant concept comes from the powerhouse trio behind Trophy Brewing Company and if history is an indicator, the new spot is destined for success.

St. Roch Oyster + Bar, opening spring 2017
Sunny Gerhart, executive chef at Joule, will take over James Beard Award winner Ashley Christensen's lease and convert the coffee bar to a restaurant representing his hometown neighborhood: St. Roch in New Orleans.

Morgan Street Food Hall and Market, opening spring 2017
A 22,000 sq/ft shared space between favorite local eateries, food retailers and artisans, the Morgan Street Food Hall will bring consumers, diners, retailers and chefs together in one great gathering place. The food hall and market concept comes from the owner of Hibernian and the Raleigh Beer Garden.

Crawford & Son, opened November 2016
Multi James Beard Foundation nominee Scott Crawford now prepares and serves his signature fresh, clean cuisine in a cozy neighborhood setting on recently-revitalized Person Street. Menu highlight? Rabbit Pot Pie served with Mirepoix, Vermouth Cream and a Rosemary Biscuit.

Royale, opened November 2016
The creative team behind Raleigh hot spot Stanbury and the newly opened Café Lucarne have another success on their hands: a French bistro in historic City Market, offering "uncomplicated, classic good food." The Peanut Butter Chocolate Tart is a work of pure art.

Whiskey Kitchen, opened August 2016
A "Chef's Barroom" featuring over 200 whiskeys, assorted small plates and an experience that owners say is "one part neighborhood bar, one part southern kitchen and a dash of wood smoke." Try the Cracklin' Biscuits and a shot of Trey Herring's Carolina Bourbon, the first Bourbon produced in the Carolina's since prohibition.

Living Kitchen, opened August 2016
An all-organic and mostly raw restaurant promising a menu of "100 percent plant-based, real living food as nature intended." The Fire & Brimstone veggie burger is good enough to convert carnivores.

H Street Kitchen, opened August 2016
Housed in the revamped, historic Varsity Theatre (c. 1941) and created by two proud NC State graduates (who are also restaurant industry veterans), this new eatery on resurging Hillsborough Street offers comfort food with global influences. A menu nod to neighboring university residents, Missing Mama is a dinner plate brimming with roasted turkey and all the trimmings.

Parkside, opened August 2016
Located across the street from Nash Square Park, one of Raleigh's original four parks, this new eatery & bar at the entrance to the popular warehouse district serves 40-plus beers on tap and locally sourced cuisine. Think outside your typical lunch box and try the Jackfruit Vegan BBQ Sandwich (order it to go and picnic in the park).

Café Lucarne, opened July 2016
This casual, modern counter-service café occupies a bright space in historic City Market, where big picture windows allow sunlight to fill the room -- a literal translation of the restaurant's name (Lucarne means skylight in French). For a breakfast to inspire all others, order the Baked Egg Shakshuka.

El Taco Cartel, launched July 2016
North Carolina's first (and only) bike/cart hybrid serves authentic street tacos ("tacos made with love. On three wheels") from a menu that changes regularly but always includes at least one vegetarian option. A current favorite? Vegan Chorizo + Potato.

For a comprehensive list of Greater Raleigh restaurants, go to www.visitraleigh.com/restaurants/