Tag Archives: Restaurant Reviews Raleigh NC

Restaurant Review: Neomonde Bakery and Deli, Raleigh, N.C.

I was introduced to Neomonde Bakery and Deli (3817 Beryl Road, Raleigh, N.C. 27607), a great place that specializes in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dishes, in the early 1990s by John, my then fiancé. John is of Lebanese descent and tried to teach me how to make tabouli and stuffed grape leaves. I have the tabouli down pat, but I have to admit his grape leaves were the best I’ve ever tasted. However, he rarely bothered to make his own hummus because he loved Neomonde’s so much (as well as its pita bread) and almost always had both on hand. John and I parted ways many years ago; luckily I cannot say the same of my relationship with Neomonde – it’s still going strong!

According to its website, the Saleh family emigrated to the U.S. from northern Lebanon in the 1970s, along with a passion for bread and their mother’s recipes. In 1977, the Salehs opened Neomonde Baking Company in a strip mall in Raleigh, and then later moved to its Beryl Road location in the 1980s. At first it offered just a few types of bread, but in 1989 decided to open a deli which featured the family’s recipes.

At first, food only was available for take out. However, over the years, the Saleh brothers created a dining area and patio seating. They also added a small Mediterranean grocery that sells the exotic staples and spices to prepare Middle Eastern cuisine at home.

In 2000, Neomonde opened a new café/market and relocated its wholesale baking facility and corporate offices to Morrisville Square in Morrisville. And just recently they opened their North Raleigh Café (9650-149 Strickland Road, Raleigh, N.C. 27615), much to the delight of many of my friends who live on that side of town.

Neomonde has a number of sandwiches, sampler platters, specialty pies, salads and sides and desserts that will satisfy anyone who loves Middle Eastern Cuisine. It has a wide variety of choices for vegetarians. While I have not tried everything, here are some of my favorites:

Sesame Pita Bread ($2.49 a package) – Neomonde bakes more than 10,000 pieces of bread every day. The sesame pita bread is absolutely my favorite – it’s so fresh and tasty. Pita bread is also available in white and wheat. Love, love, love this stuff!

Stuffed Grape Leaves– Neomonde chefs roll rice, ripe bits of tomato and Mediterranean spices in grape leaves and bake them to perfection. I like these either hot or cold.

Baba Ghanouj ($6.99 per pound) – This delicious and creamy dip consists of roasted eggplant, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, salt and spices that are blended together. It is great on toasted pita points or in a pita sandwich with chick peas salad or tabouli.

Tabouli ($6.99 per pound) – This traditional Lebanese salad has a ton of finely minced parsley, chopped tomato, cracked wheat, diced cucumber and chopped scallions, which are tossed in extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and other spices. This tabouli is great on its own, or in a pita with hummus, chick pea salad, and/or baba ghanouj.

Chick Pea Salad ($5.49 per pound) – Whole chick peas are mixed with scallions, premium olives, parsley, red wine vinegar, spices and extra virgin olive oil to make a salad that is tasty and filling. I like to fill pita bread with a mixture of it and some tabouli or hummus, or just eat it on its own.

Kafta Kabobs Platter ($7.99 and it comes with two sides) – The kabob is made of spicy lamb and comes with Tatziki, a yummy yogurt and cucumber sauce. I usually get the fatoush and potato salad (both described below) as sides.

Fatoush ($6.99 per pound) – This salad has tomato, cucumber, green pepper, parsley, onions, extra virgin olive oil, spices and crunchy croutons. It is perfect on a hot summer day (or anytime, for that matter.)

Potato Salad ($4.99 per pound) – Neomonde takes baked potatoes and mixes in freshly chopped mint, scallions, green pepper, parsley, lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil and spices. It’s a wonderful alternative to mayo-based potato salads!

Chicken Salad ($6.99 per pound) – This is one of my favorite chunky chicken salads in Raleigh (I will be blogging about those soon). It has nice chunks of chicken with celery, golden raisins, walnuts, low-fat mayonnaise, parsley and spices. Great on its own, or on some pita bread.

Hummus ($4.99 per pound) – Neomonde’s award-winning hummus is made from chick peas, tahini, lemon juice, garlic and spices. It’s a true classic! If you like something a little spicier, check out my roasted red pepper hummus recipe.

Sadly, I have not tried any of Neomonde’s desserts, but they all look great, especially the baklava. Note to self: Get this next time. Seriously.

Ratings

  • Price: Good. Super fresh food at decent prices!
  • Service: 4.50.  You order at the counter, and the food is brought to you if you are dining in. The counter staff is usually quite efficient, so don’t balk at the long line – it moves fast.
  • Food: 4.75. Everything I’ve had has been great.
  • Recommend: Absolutely! Whether you decide to dine in or take out, you will leave happy!
  • Kid friendly: Sure, if your kids like this type of food.

1= hater, 2=poor, 3=adequate, 4=above average, 5=superb

Eat, drink and be merry!

Raleigh’s Best Meatball Subs

In January I asked my readers where to find the best meatball subs in the Raleigh area (and congratulations again to Lee for winning a $25 gift card to Harris Teeter for responding!) Since then, I’ve been working my way through most of the suggestions (my mouth and tummy have been quite happy – my waistline – not so much.) Anyway, when I’m not in the mood to make my own (click here for the recipe for Kel’s spicy, saucy meatballs), I’m happy to visit any of these places for a great, tasty meatball sub. Just remember not to wear white.

Antonio’s Gourmet Market  (8460 Honeycutt Road #112 Raleigh, N.C. 27615)

(Note: Since my original, the meatball sub is no longer available as the market has restructured and the deli has changed. However, you can still buy the meatballs for $7.99 lb. – worth it if you want to make y0ur own sub or serve them on pasta. Special shout out to reader mghicks for the update!)

This was my favorite meatball sub, hands down! Messy and delicious doesn’t even begin to describe this sub, which is called the Goomba. The Italian meatballs are a house specialty, and I can see why. The hoagie roll is a New Orleans French bread that nice and soft on the inside. Lots of tasty mozzarella cheese on top! Well worth $9.99, and it comes with a pickle and a choice of potato salad, slaw or pasta salad. I saw another person eating this and he was using a knife and fork, which I wound up using as well, after my third napkin.

Assaggio’s Italian Bistro and Market (3501 W. Millbrook Road Raleigh, N.C.27613) This meatball sub was excellent. You order at the counter, and then someone brings it to your table. I got the 5” Meatball Parmigiana ($5.95), which came with chips. There were two huge and spicy meatballs on a toasted sub roll. Nice and hot – the marinara sauce is good and just the right amount. Lots of gooey cheese! The service was fast and good. One small drawback for me is that Assaggio’s only serves Pepsi products, but it does have iced tea as well as beer and wine. I can also recommend the Chicken Parmigiana, but that’s another post. I’ll be back!

Milton’s Pizza and Pasta (8853 Six Fork Road Raleigh, N.C. 27615) I’ve been going to Milton’s for years. Before I met Brad and was living alone, I would occasionally stop by on my way home from working at Duke and get the lasagna as takeout – good stuff at a reasonable price, and enough leftover for lunch the next day. I can vouch for Milton’s pizzas as well – great crust and fresh ingredients. So I knew I had to try the meatball sub (known as the ACC) and I was not disappointed. The meatballs were nice and spicy, and the sauce was good, too – you could tell both were homemade. Lots of provolone cheese as it should be. I could have used a little bit more sauce and it did need some salt. It came with fries and a pickle for $8.49. Milton’s recently added a new bar at the Six Forks location, which looked pretty nice.

Mellow Mushroom (601 West Peace St., Raleigh, N.C.  27605) I love Mellow Mushroom’s pizzas as well as a number of its sandwiches, so I knew I had to try the meatball sub. Very good and messy! I got the 5-inch sub ($5.25) on French bread with melted mozzarella. Chips were $1.10 extra – kind of pricy if you ask me. The meatballs were spicy and there was a lot of gooey cheese. The sauce was a little on the sweet side, but still quite good and there was plenty of it. I thought it needed some salt, but that was all. Groovy.

Amedeo’s Italian Restaurant (3905 Western Boulevard Raleigh, N.C.) Located across from N.C. State’s campus, Amedeo’s has been a Western Blvd. fixture since 1963. This sub came with big spicy meatballs and good crusty bread. The sauce was tasty and there was lots of it. My server brought extra napkins without asking because he knew I would need them (and I did!) While the sub had a fair amount of cheese, a little more would have been perfect. $8.95 included a choice of fries or chips. Very nice and messy!

Lynwood Grill (4821 Grove Barton Road Raleigh, NC 27613) This meatball sub was excellent – great bread, right amount of sauce, meatballs were spicy and it had lots of provolone cheese. I needed more than two napkins for this one! $6.99 included a pickle and choice of fries, chips, roasted potatoes, pasta salad or pickle chips. A great deal!

Honorable Mentions

Sub Conscious on Hillsborough Street, Anvil’s Cheesesteaks and Piccolo Italia all had decent meatball subs, but were just not messy enough. I’m sure I could order extra cheese or sauce on the side, though, and they would be fine.

Bon appétit!

Eat, drink and be merry!

Close to Home: NOFO @ the Pig

NOFO @ the Pig opened in December 2001 in the former Piggly Wiggly grocery store in Raleigh’s Five Points neighborhood (2014 Fairview Rd. Raleigh, N.C. 27608.) Upstairs is a great little gift store/food market that has unique items such as kitchen wares and specialty groceries, baby things, linens, bed and bath products, jewelry, pet accessories, gardening items – the list goes on and on.

Downstairs is the Nofo Café, which serves lunch, dinner and Saturday/Sunday brunch. Menu items include soups, salads, sandwiches, entrees, and daily specials. The café has a whimsical and cheerful décor, especially the awesome hand blown glass chandelier encircled with pigs, which hangs from the upstairs market. There is also a small bar area in case you need to wait for a table, which is not unusual in this popular place.

Brad and I have been going to NOFO since it opened. I’ve tried a number of things on the menu and never have been disappointed. We went the other night for dinner, and once again left happy and full.

We each started with a glass of wine. Brad had the McManis Syrah ($6.95) and I had the Picpoul de Pinet ($6.50), a crisp French white that went well with my shrimp and grits entrée. With the wine, our server brought us homemade bread with soft honey butter that was sweet and delicious.

Brad had the prime rib special ($19.95), which came with green beans and roasted potatoes. He has ordered this before, and was wondering if he’d get a huge portion like he did last time. Score! Look at this slab of meat! It was cooked perfectly and did not stay on his plate long!

I decided to try something new, and opted for Bill Neal’s shrimp and grits ($16.95). Another score! Seven nice-sized shrimp sat on some creamy, tasty grits. Lots of crispy bacon, sliced mushrooms and scallions helped finish off the dish. It is now one of my favorite things on the menu, and come to think of it, one of my favorite renditions of shrimp and grits anywhere.

Another favorite menu item of mine is the black bean quesadillas that come with an avocado salad that is out of this world (click here for my previous post on guacamole).

Other recommendations include the meatloaf special offered on Thursday nights, grilled Thai chicken wrap and grilled pimento cheese. NOFO also serves brunch on the weekends – I have not been (yet) but have heard good things about it.

If you go for lunch, try and get there early – NOFO fills up quickly.

Ratings

  • Price: Medium. The nightly specials are a good deal.
  • Service: 4.25.  Servers have always been pleasant. Have had slow service a couple of times, which appeared to be a staffing issue.
  • Food: 4.50. On the whole, quite good.
  • Recommend: Absolutely. A nice, locally-owned, eclectic café and gift shop.
  • Kid friendly: Yes – there were a number of kids the last time we were there, and the boy sitting next to us was raving about his burger.

1= hater, 2=poor, 3=adequate, 4=above average, 5=superb

Eat, drink and be merry!

Restaurant Review: Porter’s City Tavern, Raleigh, N.C.

When I saw the Living Social coupon ($30.00 worth of food for $15.00) to Porter’s City Tavern I jumped all over it. Porter’s (2412 Hillsborough Street Raleigh, N.C. 27607) is one of my favorite standby restaurants, especially when the kids are with a sitter and N.C. State is on break or in summer session to make parking less of a challenge.

Brad and I have been going to Porter’s since it first opened in the summer of 2003. It replaced another favorite standby of mine, the Rathskellar, which I was very sad to see go. But even though I miss the Rat’s sweet potato ravioli and sliced mushroom sandwiches, both of which I crave to this day, I have to admit I was impressed with the transformation this place underwent.

We had to wait approximately 30 minutes for a table on a Saturday night earlier this month, but luckily there were two bar stools that had just opened up. I had a nice glass of Santa Rita Sauvignon Blanc ($7.00). If you prefer beer and want to support our state’s economy, Porter’s has a nice selection of North Carolina microbrews ($6.00 for a 20 oz. pour).

We decided not to order any appetizers, but did split a caesar salad ($6.50) which was nice and fresh with shavings of pecorino cheese and a yummy lemon parmesan dressing.

Brad had the filet mignon au poivre ($26.00 and chose sautéed spinach as his side, and thought it was nicely prepared with just thre right amount of pepper on the filet.

I ordered the crispy potato and duck lasagna (15.95), which consisted of duck confit, roasted mushrooms, arugula, goat cheese, celeriac-apple puree and truffle oil. This was quite good, and unlike any “lasagna” I’ve tried. I love duck confit, and it went well with the goat cheese, potatoes and roasted mushrooms. I will definitely order this again.

Other menu items I recommend from previous visits include Porter’s classic hamburger (with cheese of course), shrimp and grits, crispy shrimp tacos, bleu cheese macaroni and cheese, and the grilled marinated portobello sandwich.

Even though Porter’s is right across the street from N.C. State University, it is not your typical college hangout, especially at night. If it is a nice day weatherwise, you can try and get a seat outside. Reservations are recommended, at least on weekend nights, which you can book on its website at: http://www.opentable.com/porters-city-tavern-reservations-raleigh?rid=73396&restref=73396

Ratings

  • Price: Pretty good, especially when you consider the size of the portions.
  • Service: 4.00:  Good to very good on numerous occasions.
  • Food: 4.50: Tasty! I’m always willing to try something new based on previous meals.
  • Recommend: Absolutely. Food and atmosphere both are quite good – sit outside during the day if you like to people-watch.
  • Kid friendly: On the fence about this – I would leave younger children at home.

1= hater, 2=poor, 3=adequate, 4=above average, 5=superb

Bon appétit!

Eat, drink and be merry!

Close to Home: Hereghty Heavenly Delicious

Tucked away in the corner of Glenwood Village Shopping Center (2603 Glenwood Avenue, Raleigh, N.C. 27608) is a small but wonderful French-inspired bakery, Hereghty Heavenly Delicious. Opened in 2005 by the Hereghty (pronounced “har-a-tee”) brothers Chris (a Swiss-trained pastry chef) and Brian (a former architect), this little gem offers an assortment of exquisite specialty pastries, chocolates and baked treats, which go well with its excellent coffee. Or check out the Café lunch menu, which offers homemade soups, quiches, salads, flatbread pizzas and sandwiches that are served from 11:00am until one hour before closing (9:00 pm Mon.-Thur., 11:00 pm Fri.-Sat., and 6:00 pm on Sunday.) Hereghty also offers wine by the bottle and glass and a handful of decent beers.

I’ve been doing much of my grocery shopping for the past couple of years at the HarrisTeeter that is next door to Hereghty, but for some reason did not stop in until early this year and have been kicking myself that I didn’t visit sooner. What a treat, and so close to my home! I have tried some of the baked goodies and a few things from the lunch menu and I have loved it all so far. I am quickly becoming a regular customer!

Quiche Lorraine 

I recently ordered the quiche Lorraine to go one evening when I had the house to myself and didn’t want to spend my precious “alone time” in the kitchen. It came with a salad of mixed greens and house balsamic vinaigrette, both quite fresh and tasty. I baked the quiche for 7-8 minutes at 452 degrees when I got home and it was so good – nice and fluffy with a wonderful crust and plenty of cheese. I would like a tad more bacon (of course I would – I always do!) There was a great looking broccoli and cheddar version that I plan to try next time.

Chicken Salad Sandwich

The chicken salad is made with tender chicken, celery, red onions and very little mayonnaise, and comes with lettuce on toasted bread. I opted for a croissant instead, and was pleased with my choice – it was nice and buttery and flaky, and went well with the chicken salad. This also came with a salad of mixed greens and house balsamic vinaigrette, fresh as usual. I’m fairly picky about chicken salad and this one rocked!

Soup & Sandwich Combo

Hereghty’s offers a soup and sandwich combo special from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm. I recently tried this with a cup of tomato basil soup and ½ of the turkey focaccia. The soup was creamy with nice tomato flavors. I thought it needed a bit more salt and would have liked more basil in it, but still thought it was good. The sandwich had sliced turkey on yummy focaccia bread and came with lettuce, tomato, asiago cheese and a creamy garlic-herb spread (which was really good!) The soup and sandwich together made a great combination.

Paste di Mandorla

These flourless Italian almond cookies rock! You can choose from chocolate-orange, lemon, chocolate or plain. I’m not sure which one was my favorite – maybe the chocolate orange. You can’t go wrong with any of these, though.

Chocolate Chewies

Wow! These are addictive and probably my most favorite thing I’ve had at Hereghty’s. Yum, yum, yum, yum yum! These bits of heaven are flourless and have gooey, gooey chocolate inside – a chocolate lover’s delight. A little pricey at $2.25 per chewie, but well worth every penny!

Hereghty is quite small and fills up quickly at lunch. Whenever I go, I get there early or wait until later to ensure I have a place to sit.

Ratings

  • Price: Not bad. Not cheap, but you do get what you pay for, and in this cas that is great! Check out the daily specials. Unfortuantely, I cannot find my receipts and the online menu does not list prices, so I can’t give an exact breakdown of what I paid for most things.
  • Service: 3.75. The majority of the staff is pleasant. You order at the counter and your food is brought to you.
  • Food:  4.75. Fresh ingredients. Exquisite pastries. Scrumptious baked goods. Awesome quiche. Excellent!
  • Recommend: Yes – expect a wait during busy lunch time hours. Sit outside when it’s not too hot or cold.
  • Kid friendly:  Maybe not to dine in, but certainly for the desserts!

1= hater, 2=poor, 3=adequate, 4=above average, 5=superb

Eat, drink and be merry!

Close to Home: Rudino’s Sports Corner

Rudino’s Sports Corner recently opened at 3101 Edwards Mill Rd., Raleigh, N.C.  27612, and I couldn’t be happier. Having enjoyed the North Raleigh Rooftop location off of Strickland Rd. for many years, this new location is approximately 2 ½ miles from home, which makes it a breeze to get takeouts or catch part of a game when the kids have a play date. Rudino’s Sports Corner has numerous flat screen televisions, ample seating and a great outside patio to enjoy when the weather is warm.

Rudino’s opened its first location in 1995 in Cary, and now boasts a number of restaurants throughout the Triangle as well as in a few other states. One of the reasons for its popularity is because of its food (click here for the menu.) Rudino’s pizza was featured in the trade publication “Pizza Today” and features a homemade dough crust made on site daily. There are quite a few pies to choose from, or create your own from a nice selection of fresh toppings (the 12” plain cheese is $10.79, add $1.20 per topping; the 16” pizza starts at $14.55, add $1.50 per topping.)

The calzones are also quite good and are fresh and huge – usually I only can finish half of one in a sitting. That’s okay – it is so easy to reheat and enjoy later. Each calzone starts with pizza sauce and ricotta cheese for $7.50.  Additional toppings are $.60 each. I order mine with just spinach when I’m in vegetarian world, and spinach and bacon when I’m eating meat. Marinara sauce is served on the side for dipping. I love the crust of these calzones – golden brown, soft and a little bit chewy. Yum!

As much as I like the pizza and calzones, I usually fine myself craving one of Rudino’s grinders, which come on wonderful homemade bread and are oven baked. You can order a half grinder (9” for $6.99) or a whole one (18” for $12.99) from a number of choices. The Spinach Sofia grinder is a standby when I’m not eating meat and it comes with spinach, pizza sauce, feta cheese, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella and provolone.

My favorite is the Buffalo Chicken grinder, which comes with bite-sized pieces of chicken, buffalo sauce, chunky bleu cheese dressing, celery, mozzarella and provolone. The combination of the buffalo sauce, bleu cheese and celery is awesome! Celery on a sandwich – it works! Each grinder comes with your choice of chips.

Rudino’s is kid-friendly for the most part, especially foodwise. As with any place that has an active sports bar, sometimes you will hear objectional language, but we’ve never had a problem bringing the kids. Lexi loves the boneless wings and Gabe thinks the pizza is great and likes how it’s cut into small squares.

Rudino’s offers a number of daily beer and drink specials (such as mimosas and Bloody Mary’s for $4.00 on Sundays.) Or, bring some friends and save by ordering a tower of beer! What has turned into a chain still maintains a local feeling, and the Triangle locations I’ve visited each has its own unique atmosphere, yet same great food.

Ratings

  • Price: Nice! Quite reasonable for both drinks and  food. Check the daily specials.
  • Service: 4.0. Usually quite good, depending on how busy it is. Servers are friendly!
  • Food:  4.5. Homemade dough and fresh ingredients are wonderful. I would like to see some Coke products, please!
  • Recommend: Yes – it’s a great place to watch a game and still have decent “bar” food.
  • Kid friendly:  Yes – they love the wings and pizza.

1= hater, 2=poor, 3=adequate, 4=above average, 5=superb

Eat, drink and be merry!

Close to Home: Chubby’s Tacos

“Close to Home” is a new category on my blog and will feature reviews of restaurants within a 3-mile radius of my home. Luckily, there’s a wide variety of them (such as McCormick and Schmick’s, which I reviewed earlier this year), so this is going to take a while. But I don’t mind, especially with my upcoming kitchen remodel that equates to eating out more. And it is making me try some neighborhood places that I’ve unfortunately neglected, such as Chubby’s Tacos, which is the focus of this review.

I finally got around to going to Chubby’s Tacos a couple of weeks ago and my only regret is that I haven’t gone sooner. This place rocks, so much so that I went back for lunch two more times that same week (Shout out to Lee at FMI for his ringing endorsement!) Everything I’ve had so far has been fresh and seasoned perfectly. Chubby’s has a good selection for vegetarians, plus you get a lot of food for the money!

According to its website, Chubby’s Tacos opened in Durham on Cinco de Mayo 2008, with its “award winning salsas and fresh ingredients quickly rocketing it to success, virtually overnight.” In less than a year, Chubby’s Tacos opened a second location in Raleigh in the Lake Boone Shopping Center (2444 Wycliff Road.)  It now has five locations in the Triangle area. Lucky for me, Lake Boone Shopping Center is less than 2 miles from my home!

Chubby’s menu includes tacos, burritos, quesadillas, gorditas, taco salads, tortas and nachos. It has a great little salsa bar with a nice variety of homemade salsas. It also has full ABC permits and carries a number of Mexican beers. I’ve heard the margaritas are quite good, but will have to wait for a non-work day to try them. The prices are great – tacos range from $2.00 – $3.00, and there is nothing more than $8.00 on the menu. For $2.00 extra, you can add rice, chips (which are light and warm) and your choice of refried or black beans to whatever you are ordering.

So far I’ve tried a couple of different $2.00 tacos and the house burrito ($5.00). I’ll start with the burrito – this thing weighed a ton. It is made with a fresh flour tortilla and comes with rice, refried beans, lettuce, cheese and a choice of one additional filling. I chose Barbacoa, with is Mexican BBQ beef with cilantro and onions. The beef was so tender and perfectly seasoned. I had just started eating when a friend of mine walked by my table and was in disbelief that I had ordered the burrito. “You will never finish that!” he said. He was right – I barely could eat half of it (the leftovers were so good the next day.) If you order this, bring your appetite, or be prepared to take some of it home.

One of the tacos I tried was the Spicy Tinga Chicken, which includes onions, chipotle peppers and cilantro. The chicken is shredded, tender and quite tasty. The tortillas are fresh. I “made it a meal” for the extra $2.00 and was pleasantly stuffed when lunch was over.

My favorite thing at Chubby’s so far has been the Carnitas tacos, which come with shredded pork, cilantro and onion. I have dreamed about these things since my first taste. The pork is awesome and they are so addictive. Make sure you try these if you go!

If you go for lunch, try to get there early or late – the place is small and the crowds are big. The inside is festive, with bright colors and cool tabletops. There is some outside seating available, but that usually fills up quickly when it’s nice outside.

Ratings

  • Price: Excellent. Lots of fresh food at great prices!
  • Service: 3.75.  You order at the counter, and the food is brought to you. Counter folks are quite friendly, but there are no servers per se. But you should still tip!
  • Food: 4.75. Everything I’ve had has been great.
  • Recommend: Absolutely!
  • Kid friendly: I think so. I’ve only been for lunch during the week, and it’s mainly a business crowd then.

1= hater, 2=poor, 3=adequate, 4=above average, 5=superb

Eat, drink and be merry!

Restaurant Review: Café Tiramisu – Raleigh, N.C.

One of my favorite Italian restaurants in Raleigh is Café Tiramisu. Located in the North Ridge shopping center off of Falls of the Neuse Rd., this small and cozy café has some of the best Northern Italian cuisine around. Chef Paul DeMartino opened Café Tiramisu in 1996, a few years after his first restaurant, Piccolo Mondo closed its doors. Those who loved Piccolo (myself included) were thrilled to see his new place.

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Restaurant Review: Mura – Raleigh, N.C.

We recently had an unexpected night away from the kids and decided to go to Mura at the last minute. This is becoming one of my favorite restaurants in Raleigh. Located in the once again trendy North Hills shopping center off of Six Forks Road, Mura is a beautiful Japanese fusion restaurant, serving Kobe beef, a variety of steaks, seafood, mixed cuisine and the finest grade sushi. It has won a handful of “best-of” awards since opening in 2008.

This was my third (or fourth) visit to Mura, and it keeps getting better each time!

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Restaurant Review: Azitra, Raleigh, N.C.

The kids were invited to sleepovers the other night, so Brad and I took
advantage and went to one of our favorite Indian restaurants in Raleigh. Located in Raleigh’s Brier Creek shopping center, Azitra’s décor is upscale and sleek. The service has always been good whenever we have dined there, and the food is tasty, fresh and spiced to one’s preference – hot, medium or mild. Azitra offers a number of vegetarian/vegan selections and prices for all dinner entrees range from $11.00 to $22.00.

We ordered the Subz Samosas ($5.00) for our appetizer. These
turnovers (you get two per order) are filled with potatoes and pureed green peas – very nice. We also ordered the garlic naan ($4.00), which is topped with fresh garlic and herbs. This stuff rocks – it’s so addicting!

Brad had a Flying Horse Royal Lager ($8.00). I had a glass  of the 2009 Jean Pierre Bailly Sauvignon Blanc ($13.00), which was dry and  citrusy with a medium body. I got a good pour on the wine, and felt it paired well with my salmon entree.

For dinner, Brad had the Lamb Vindaloo (17.00). The lamb is marinated in garlic and vinegar and cooked in a tangy sauce. He always orders it hot – I usually get it medium. This is one of my favorite entrees at Azitra, and Brad enjoyed it.

I had the Salmon Makhni ($17.00). This dish consisted of chunks of salmon roasted in the tandoor and simmered in a creamy tomato sauce. It was good – the salmon was flaky and the sauce had a great mixture of coconut and tomato flavors. However, when I am eating meat, I do prefer the dish that Brad ordered, mainly for the spice factor and the tenderness of the lamb.

I have read a number of mixed reviews about Azitra, some people love it, and others do not. Overall, we enjoy this restaurant for its ambience,  service and food. Maybe we are lucky and just keep hitting it at the right time, but as long as we do we’ll keep going back.

Ratings

  • Price: Medium. Good food, great atmosphere!
  • Service: 4.00. Consistently good on numerous visits.
  • Food: 4.00. Everything I’ve had has been good – no missteps.
  • Recommend: Yes.
  • Kid friendly: Not sure. I don’t think my 9-year old twins would appreciate Indian cuisine at this point.

1= hater, 2=poor, 3=adequate, 4=above average, 5=superb

Eat, drink and be merry!