Our Five Faves

Best international restaurants in Raleigh

Posted March 24, 2014

Shrimp Pad Thai at Bida Manda.

— Raleigh is a great place to eat food with global influences, and I had the difficult task of picking out five of the best.

To narrow down my choices from the start, I decided to only include international cuisines that aren't as common in the area.

There were still so many places to choose from, as cuisines from around the world are represented on the Triangle restaurant scene. I had to pick just five, so here they are, in no particular order. 

Bida Manda (Moore Square in downtown) – This Laotian restaurant has received so much praise (most recently, Billy Joel ate there are loved the pork belly soup!) and it really lives up to the hype. This cuisine combines southeastern Asian and French influences to create something truly unique in the Triangle.

J. Betski's (Seaboard Station) – The cozy interior is perfect for their hearty Central and Eastern European cuisine. They have hearty fare, like pierogies and schnitzel, along with fresh salads and sandwiches. After work, check out their selection of European beers.

Mami Nora's (Wake Forest Road) – This no-frills restaurant serves succulent roasted chicken Peruvian style. With simple but yummy sides like fried plantains, it makes an inexpensive but delicious meal. Finish dinner with alfajores (sugar cookies filled with dulce de leche) or caramel flan.

Buku (Wilmington Street in downtown) – This upscale restaurant kicks global street food up a notch. Menu options include influences from Asia, South America, Africa and more. It's a good place to gather with friends because they have so many choices to suit different tastes. I like the Aloo Chana Chaat (a spicy potato cake) and the Filipino Lumpia (chili-mango ground pork in a spring roll).

Pho Far East (Capital Boulevard) – This is one of the best places in the Triangle to get pho – Vietnamese noodle soup. The broth is flavorful and even though I'm terrible at using chopsticks, I happily slurp away at my bowl every time I come here.

Need some more international cuisine? We've done some more specific Five Faves in the past, like Best Mediterranean cuisine, Best Mexican restaurants and Best sushi.

What are your Five Fave places to eat international food in Raleigh? Let us know in the comments section on the right!


Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • Frizz Mar 25, 2014

    How you could ignore Tasca Brava (Spanish) and St Jacques (French) is way beyond me. And Mami Nora's? Please!

  • rduwxboy Mar 25, 2014

    I would have put International House of Pancakes on the list. It's very exotic.

  • Russell Townshend Mar 24, 2014
    user avatar

    Very hard to choose; it is amazing how Raleigh's food scene has moved from a choice of chain restaurant, Southern fare or Southern fare to a fresher, more vibrant independently owned international scene in just a few years. There are some truly world class restaurants here and the service is mostly better than in larger cities. It helps that downtown is mostly welcoming and un-threatening after dark.

  • Arthur Raleigh Mar 24, 2014
    user avatar

    Ooo, you are playing with fire by only picking five! I would have to say that for those of us who live downtown. I love Dalat!