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: Queen of Pho’s broth will satisfy you while banh mi is the star of pho’s supporting cast

Queen of Pho opened in Chapel Hill’s Timberlyne Shopping Center in spring 2017, serving pho, banh mi and other Vietnamese dishes. By Greg Cox Originally published 10/5/2017 CHAPEL HILL “That’s Ancient Town,” our server says, in answer to my question about a poster-size black-and-white photo — a bird’s-eye view of what appears to be a…

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…

Dining review: Ricci’s Trattoria turns out its favorite pizza, but adds Italian classics

Ricci’s Pizzeria in Holly Springs is now Ricci’s Trattoria in Cary. It still has the pizza it’s known for but has an expanded space with an expanded menu. By Greg Cox Originally published 9/14/2017 CARY Hanging on one wall at Ricci’s Trattoria, just to the right of a large chalkboard menu, is a collection of…

Mediterranean and Middle Eastern delis abound. Here are some of the best.

Some of the best Middle Eastern and Mediterranean fast-casual eateries in the Triangle. By Greg Cox Originally published 8/31/2017 A monthly roundup of ethnic eats, counter service chow and other tasty bargains. This month, we set out in search of Middle Eastern delis and kebab shops. We find so many, we only make it halfway…

Dining review: Durham’s Bua Thai Cuisine serves a treasure trove of culinary surprises

Bua Thai Cuisine is in Durham’s Sutton Square. The pad thai is the best in town. By Greg Cox Originally published 8/24/2017 DURHAM The tom yum dumplings at Bua Thai Cuisine are a work of modern art, each one a plump, puckered pillow of pristine white, nestling in a sleek black ceramic spoon. Painstakingly placed…

Food Truck Review: Spanglish is true to truck’s motto: Puerto Rican food with Southern charm

Spanglish food truck serves Puerto Rican food, empanadas and Cubano sandwiches among a broad menu. By Greg Cox Originally published 8/17/2017 On the side of the Spanglish food truck, printed against a background of whimsical drawings of fruits, vegetables and barnyard animals, is the truck’s motto: “Puerto Rican food with Southern Charm.” A few weeks…

Review: CrossTies Barbecue, housed in railroad cars, takes diners on a hickory-smoked trip

CrossTies Barbecue in Carrboro, NC, is housed in vintage railroad cars and serves pulled pork, brisket, ribs, chicken and other barbecue favorites. By Greg Cox Originally 8/10/2017 CARRBORO “All aboard!” As you’re being seated in one of the two refurbished vintage railroad cars – decorated in a suitably nostalgic style with brass chandeliers, art deco…

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…

We try 10 of the best salad shops in the Triangle

Fast-casual salad shops abound in Raleigh, Durham and beyond. We seek out some of our favorites. By Greg Cox Originally published 7/27/2017 A monthly roundup of ethnic eats, counter service chow and other tasty bargains. This month, we find relief from the summer heat in the cool green crunch of entree salads. b. good Multiple…

Dining review: Poké bowls abound. See what the fuss is about.

One Fish Two Fish in Carrboro and ZenFish in Durham offer their takes on poké, the popular Hawaiian trend. By Greg Cox Originally published 7/20/2017 Remember when people used to joke about sushi, calling it bait? Because, you know, raw fish isn’t fit for human consumption? Well, who’s laughing now? In just the past couple…