Our Five Faves

Best Sides

Posted May 28, 2012

There are a huge range of sides out there and trying to narrow it down to just five is almost impossible. After going through tons of suggestions some clear categories began to emerge and a few side items simply stand out on their own. Here is our guide to side items in the Triangle.

Farmers Market Restaurant Sides

Southern cooking sides: We are lucky to live in an area with a wealth of delicious southern-food spots and the best part of southern cooking are the sides. Let’s compare southern cooking to Thanksgiving dinner, the turkey is obligatory, but what everyone really loves are the sides! When you want some southern cooking, you may want a little fried chicken, but what you really are craving are biscuits, fried green tomatoes, fried okra, and greens. North Carolina State Farmers Market restaurant is a “gimme” when it comes to southern cooking sides, you can even order a plate of just sides and skip the obligatory fried chicken.

Cheesy Poofs: Yes, that’s what they’re called! Cheesy poofs from Tribeca Tavern are little bites of brie cheese and bacon wrapped in puff pastry and served with raspberry dipping sauce.

Steak House sides: A baked potato, garlic mashed potatoes, sautéed mushrooms and Caesar salad are classic steak house sides. The Angus Barn, a triangle staple, has nearly 20 sides and salads that you can order in addition to your steak. The stuffed potato comes highly recommended and of course a lobster tail is the ultimate steak house side.

mac and cheese porters city tavern

Mac and Cheese: Always a popular choice, we just can’t get enough mac and cheese! A few of our favorites include the pimento mac and cheese from Beasley's Chicken and Honey and the mac and cheese from Porter’s made with blue cheese. 

Blue Cheese Potato Cakes: On the menu at the The Twisted Fork in Raleigh, these have been recommended many times by Kathy, our Out & About editor, who describes them as "deep-fried heaven." A little rich, so don't order them with a very heavy entree. 

Which sides are your favorite?


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  • scotlandlover May 29, 2012

    Collards at Big Ed's.Taste like my grandma's.

  • bgrmom May 29, 2012

    I vote for the sides served in my kitchen. Although we do not indulge in them as often as I would like to...homemade five cheese mac and cheese, blackeye peas with diced onions, succotash, steamed cabbage, and squash n onions... and the collards! What else can I say? Born and raised in NC!

  • devilblue May 29, 2012

    A lot of restaurants are offering the steamed soy beans-edamme I think it's called. I don't think I spelled it right. It is really tasty.

  • gingerlynn May 29, 2012

    I mention it because I have trouble finding healthy sides. If we go somewhere there are wings, I know I can ask for the carrots and celery that come with wings as my side instead of fries, etc. Otherwise I have to go with salad or NO SIDE. One exception. Ruby Tuesday has a great selection of sides that are healthy. These include snap peas, steamed broccoli, grilled zucchini and roasted spaghetti squash. For an small ($1) upcharge you can get asparagus. The point of my comment is that it is difficult to eat out at all and have healthy options. Due to personal health concerns, I have had to make radical changes in my diet to lose significant weight and would love suggestions on restaurants that have options.

  • 3forme May 29, 2012

    You guys want some real food come to Angies in Garner on Old Garner road..

  • Dr. Smooth May 29, 2012

    18 Seaboard: goat cheese smashed potatoes. Mmmmm...

  • tamjbritt3 May 29, 2012

    However, Gingerlynn, this is called "best sides", it is not the best veggie sides or best health food. People are always wanting to put down something and will find any and everything to put down. Why can't someone just "SUGGEST?" It makes for a much more interesting conversation. That is all that I ever see on wral comments...PUTDOWNS. People cannot respect other's opinions and let it just be opinions. There is no where in this article asking about overweight issues or high blood issues or diabetes. Why does EVERYTHING have to be so serious? Even if it is reported that someone has died. We are guaranteed to find negative comments. Most of the time I don't even read the comments. I more than likely just read the headlines and let it go at that because I know there will be negativity from someone. No, Gingerlynn, I am not putting you down in any way shape or form. I am just pointing out what this particular article is about. Kharahan, great idea, asking for suggestions! Kuddos!

  • Khanrahan May 29, 2012

    Gingerlynn, that is a great idea! We are looking at doing some gluten free and vegetarian Five Faves. I think a healthy menu Five Faves would great as well. Any suggestions for places with great healthy menus?

  • gingerlynn May 29, 2012

    NCTravelman - I agree and it is a side that is GOOD FOR YOU. And can we get an update with some healthy sides? Except for the collard greens (which probably have bacon) all of them are fried, high carb, high fat or some kind of combination of the above. No wonder this country is 30% overweight with high blood pressure, High Cholesterol and Diabetes. Come on WRAL, how about some reviews of healthy alternatives?

  • devilblue May 29, 2012

    Fresh summer squash casserole :)