What's on Tap

What's on Tap

Restaurant review: ORO

Posted June 26, 2012

We have been telling you about ORO since March, when it was still under construction. The global cuisine restaurant finally opened its doors last month, but we only recently got a chance to check it out. 

The Location: ORO is located at 18 E Martin St. in Raleigh, a stone's throw away from Beasley's Chicken and Honey. The large windows make this a great place to dine and enjoy the view. The crisp white walls and elegant minimalistic design inside make the place look like it will cost you a lot more than it does to eat there. Parking is available along nearby streets. 

The Company: The Out & About lunch crew. 

The Meal: We started with the vegetable spring rolls served with a sweet chili sauce. They didn't last long! A great small plate item to share and start the dining experience. 

Here's a rundown of what we thought of the meal: 


Kathy and Sarah: We each had the grilled vegetable sandwich ($9), which was covered in parsley pesto and served on a flatbread. The vegetables were delectable, but the pesto made them a little slippery. It was a challenge to keep them on the flatbread, but the quality of the ingredients made this a very tasty sandwich. It was served with fries, which came in cute cartons. Cut into tiny, onion-straw sized bites, the fries were outstanding! 


Lisa: I loved the dramatic amount of day lighting and was actually surprised at how little color there is to the restaurant – the amount of white used in the décor really makes it feel like a larger space than it may actually be. The menu was creative and didn’t break the bank either, which is a nice touch given the upscale look of the venue. The vegetable spring rolls were tasty and the service (complete with table-side iPad use to ensure accuracy and face time spent with customers) was a fun interaction. The gem of this visit was the EBLT I had, sans the bacon, which the kitchen kindly added eggplant to, upon request. The way it was plated, with the fries in a separate standing dish, made the sandwich look on the smaller side, but the meal was anything but unfulfilling. I wish I had ventured upstairs for a look, but that’s just a great excuse to go back for another visit! A great lunch under $12.

Jodi: At first glance, Oro's décor belied the affordable lunch to be had. I really expected to pay more, given the spare lines and high-end finishes in the dining room. I was pleasantly surprised! Another pleasure was the service. By mistake, I read the EBLT as eggplant, bacon, lettuce, tomato. Our server overheard by conversation and offered to make the substitution before I could even ask. I second Lisa's comment about the size of that sandwich. It looked spare on the white plate, but was plenty filling. Appetizer and desserts were also beautiful on the plate, and the "cone" of fries was a fun touch.

We finished our meal with the "Coffee and Donuts" ($8) dessert - orange sugar donuts served with mocha and sweet cream dipping sauce. Judging by how quickly we ate this, I would say it was a hit! 


The Service: Service was prompt and efficient. Servers use iPads to place your order and can even run your credit card at the table at the end of the meal. The place is also very accomodating if you want to add something to your sandwich or remove it. Lisa and Jodi easily added eggplant to their EBLTs. 

The Final Bill: With our entrees ranging from $9 to $12, it was a fulfilling lunch without breaking our budgets. Restaurant owners Chris and Cara Hylton said in March that their goal was to combine global cuisine at a price less than $15 an entree and they succeeded. The menu items are moderately priced, with most dinner entrees around $15 or less. The lobster skewers are an exception at $18. Lunch items ranged from $7 to $16. There is even a three-course executive lunch for $17.

The Verdict: We can't wait to head back for dinner and check out their wines on tap and the cocktail samplers.


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  • Khanrahan Jul 2, 2012

    abrcromben, no bias here. We aren't friends with the owners, nor do we receive anything free when we do reviews. We show up randomly, eat and then write. To avoid any bias, reviewers aren't allowed to write about any locations where they have personal ties. We honestly just enjoyed ORO's food and can't wait to try out a few more items on the menu.

  • abrcromben Jun 28, 2012

    I guess it helps when your friend writes the reviews. Not impressed with a lot at this place for multiple reasons.

  • bkb Jun 27, 2012

    I think $9-$12 is too much to pay for lunch. There are a lot of other places downtown where you can eat for less and the food is as good or better than Oro. Also, our group had a less than favorable opinion of the service.

  • dwntwnboy Jun 27, 2012

    I just saw this place for the first time the other day as we were leaving Chucks from lunch. Hadn't heard of it but now that I know a bit more about it, can't wait til we head out again to try something new. Downtown never seems to get old- new stuff happening all the time. New bars, restaurants, festivals etc- our little town is growing up!

  • Mon Account Jun 27, 2012

    "By mistake, I read the EBLT as eggplant, bacon, lettuce, tomato. Our server overheard by conversation and offered to make the substitution before I could even ask."

    To clarify for everyone- the 'E' is a fried egg.

    And I do agree that the reviewers missed an opportunity to order more dishes between them. Vegetable spring rolls and veggie sandwiches do not reflect the diversity of the menu. Regardless, thank you for dipping your toe in the water of ORO for us - I'll definitely give it a try!

  • ncsulilwolf Jun 27, 2012

    Raleighied - the fries are the standard side for all sandwich lunch items, but next time I return I can't wait to try the Three Bean Cake or Tomato Flatbread!

  • Raleighied Jun 27, 2012

    It's disappointing that this review featured the same side item for all reviewers and only 2 different entrees between those 4 reviewers.

  • ghahnrn Jun 27, 2012

    I have had the pleasure of having dinner at ORO 3 times. Food is excellent, service is fantastic and atmosphere is relaxing and upscale. One of my new favorite places to have a wonderful meal.

  • SaltlifeLady Jun 27, 2012

    my daughter and I ate there a couple weeks ago for dinner. We sat in the upstairs area, which was nice. The white decor keeps the area bright and open.The service was great. The food was superb. We tried a number of small plates so we could sample a good variety of food. It was all delicious. I would not recommend going if you are really hungry as the portions are not that big, but if you would like a lighter meal with drinks I would recommend this place. It has a great atmosphere.