Newcomer Magazine

Fine Dining

Posted June 6, 2007 2:44 p.m. EDT

Whether it’s a special occasion or you’re just in the mood for an exceptional culinary experience, there’s definitely a seat at the table for you in the Triangle’s finer dining establishments.

Most Triangle newcomers might brush off the big red barn on Highway 70 near RDU International Airport as a quaint relic from days gone by. What they don’t know is that the Angus Barn is one of the most popular restaurants in the Triangle, and has been for decades. In addition to juicy steaks with all the extras, Angus Barn boasts the largest collection of Wild Turkey decanters in the world. Check them out in the Wild Turkey lounge as you enjoy a refreshing cocktail, snack on a sumptuous appetizer, and wait to be seated.

Second Empire Restaurant and Tavern in Raleigh has spent the better part of the last decade becoming one of the premiere dining establishments in the area. The ambiance is stunning and the food is out of this world. Second Empire is the recipient of the AAA Four Diamond Award, the DiRoNA Award (Distinguished Restaurants of North America), and the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence for the past seven years. For a truly mouthwatering experience try the Chef’s Table, where 2-8 people can dine exclusively in the kitchen with Chef Daniel Schurr. Melt to the tastes of a menu along with wine pairings designed especially for you.

Magnolia Grill’s award-winning chefs Ben and Karen Barker wrote the book on New Southern cuisine— literally, they have a cookbook. This wildly popular Triangle favorite spot has earned many accolades, being named in Bon Appetit, Food and Wine and Southern Living magazines and in The New York Times. Salty peanut pie, pepper relish and interesting grits dishes are among many offerings that make Magnolia a longtime favorite in the Triangle.

Chef Scott Howell cut his teeth at a four-star restaurant in New York, and then generously decided to share his expertise with us beginning in the early 1990s. Nana’s in Durham is now a landmark for fine dining. After starting with Howell’s “must-taste” Risotto, venture out and try the Squab or Guinea Hen.

If you’re in the mood for exotic fare, Tallula’s Restaurant in Chapel Hill may be just what you’re looking for. Middle Eastern and Mediterranean offerings such as Turkish pizza and a number of tapas dishes can be enjoyed behind a privacy curtain, if you call in advance.

Make it a point to tickle your taste buds with one of the many opportunities for a memorable dining experience in the Triangle.