Dining review: La Santa’s freshness, scratch cooking updates classic Tex-Mex and Mexican dishes

La Santa opened on Raleigh’s Glenwood Avenue in May. It serves an eclectic mix of Mexican and Tex-Mex fare with an emphasis on scratch cooking and updated presentations. By Greg Cox Originally published 10/19/2017 RALEIGH La Santa, open since late May in the former Tobacco Road Sports Cafe, is owned by a group of partners…

Dining review: so.ca offers a surprise at every turn in journey of Latin American, Caribbean cuisine

  so.ca, from the owners of bu.ku, is in Raleigh’s Cameron Village and explores cuisine charting a course from Mexico to Jamaica to Chile, with nearly three dozen ports of call in between. By Greg Cox Originally published 9/21/2017 RALEIGH Way back in 2010, a restaurant with the peculiar name of bu.ku brought a new…

The 10 best cocktails at Triangle restaurants

Here are some of the best cocktails found at restaurants in Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and Cary. By Greg Cox Originally published 9/7/2017 Let’s all raise a glass to the cocktail, which has been making a remarkable comeback. After decades of languishing in the purgatory of fluorescent green appletinis and frozen margaritas, the mixed drink…

Dining review: Brewery Bhavana pushes the envelope, yet completely makes sense upon arrival

Brewery Bhavana, from the owners of Bida Manda, brings to Raleigh a dim sum restaurant, brewery, flower shop and bookstore. It is one of Bon Appetit’s 10 best new restaurants in the country. By Greg Cox Originally published 8/17/2017 RALEIGH When Vansana and Vanvisa Nolintha opened Bida Manda five years ago, they didn’t just give…

Dining review: Szechuan Heat brings fiery Asian cuisine, if you want to dial up heat

Szechuan Heat is in Cary’s Parkside Town Commons and offers authentic Szechuan cuisines along with other classic Chinese and Asian dishes. By Greg Cox Originally published 8/3/2017 CARY As you enter Szechuan Heat, the first thing that catches your eye – trust me, you won’t miss it – is the column in the middle of…

Dining review: The District’s eclectic comfort food will have diners feeling like regulars

The District, in the former spot of The Borough in downtown Raleigh, has a menu that’s Asian-inspired with a Southern influence. By Greg Cox Originally published 7/27/2017 RALEIGH If you haven’t been living under a rock for the past few years, you can’t have helped but notice that tater tots have become something of a…

Food Truck Review: With gourmet chef credentials, Fetch Hot Dog Co. serves up a playful twist on traditional dog

Fetch Hot Dog Co. food truck offers eclectic hot dogs made from quality ingredients. By Greg Cox Originally published 7/13/2017 Joel Bohlin grew up in Chicago, where the definitive hot dog comes topped with a dill pickle spear, tomato wedges, a shockingly bright-green sweet pickle relish, chopped onions, sport peppers, yellow mustard and a sprinkle…

Dining review: Vidrio’s dramatic setting leads to high expectations. The kitchen rises to meet them.

Vidrio on Glenwood Avenue in Raleigh draws on cuisines from one end of the Mediterranean to the other for its inspiration. By Greg Cox Originally published 7/13/2017 RALEIGH Just outside the entrance to Vidrio, a curtain of water spills into a blue and white ceramic tile fountain. Reminiscent of a Mediterranean market square, the fountain…

Dining review: Alley Twenty Six’s restaurant addition creates balanced blend of food, cocktails

Alley Twenty Six in Durham expanded into the neighboring space to add a restaurant to his bar. Owner Shannon Healy and chef Carrie Schleiffer have created the perfect balance By Greg Cox Originally published 6/29/2017 DURHAM There’s no telling how many cocktails Shannon Healy has made over the past two decades. Healy, the longtime head…

Dining review: At City Market Sushi, quality ingredients are stars of the show

City Market Sushi in downtown Raleigh features a menu that enthusiastically explores the potential of an evolving contemporary Japanese cuisine while remaining respectful of its traditional roots By Greg Cox Originally published 6/22/2017 The presentation that sits on the table before you might well be a display in an art gallery – a mixed-media composition,…

Standard Foods

Standard Foods reopened in October 2016 in downtown Raleigh with new executive chef Eric Montagne. He has lost no time in establishing himself as a rising culinary star in his own right. Originally published 5/25/2017 If Raleigh’s No. 1 restaurant news story in 2015 was the highly anticipated, much-delayed opening of Standard Foods, then last…

Academy Street Bistro

Academy Street Bistro’s new owner and chef, Tom Havrish, is making big changes to the menu, which he sees as an opportunity to spread his culinary wings. By Greg Cox Published by 5/4/2017. CARY When Academy Street Bistro reopened last November after a two-week closure, even regular customers might reasonably have assumed that the owner…