Have you ever moved and then wonder which are all the great restaurants? Or maybe you have always lived here but just never really been a tourist in your own town. We moved to Raleigh, North Carolina about a year ago and have been trying new restaurants every so often. (That way, when our family comes to visit we have great local spots to take them and give them even more reasons to move here too!) We have found quite a few local spots but for our anniversary I wanted to eat somewhere new and fun. I was lucky enough to have a friend recommend Taste Carolina and our experience was so wonderful that I feel obligated to share!
The Taste Carolina website has many different walking tours in different cities throughout the state of North Carolina. Some of the cities have several different tour options. What I love about them is they support local business who also support local businesses by getting products that are locally grown. They also accommodate food allergies, which I have many, and will ensure that you have alternatives at the participating restaurants, if that’s the case. We selected the Downtown Raleigh tour that started at 3pm and includes food and wine tastings.
We started off at at Bolt Bistro & Bar and sampled a salad, mushroom flatbread (I had a lamb slider due to my mushroom allergy) and a pan seared chicken breast with mushroom cream and polenta (I had chicken and potatoes with a white wine sauce). We also got a sample of a delicious white wine to wash it all down. Then we took a stroll over to Oak City Meatball where we tasted a chicken meatball slider with marinara sauce, smashed potatoes, collard greens and a beer. (This was my least favorite place.) We then headed over to The Architect and had the bartender prepare us a Brooklynite at The Green Light, which is a hole-in-the-wall, speakeasy bar (literally, it’s hole behind a bookshelf!). Afterwards we walked over to Centro and had the Chilaquiles Verdes and a tasty Margarita. We ended the tour at Bittersweet with a dark chocolate mousse, wine (for me) and coffee (for my husband). My husband also ordered an espresso (he’s Cuban, it’s expected!) for an additional charge and enjoyed it.
We spent about 15 to 20 minutes at each spot and the places we went to were all within a one-mile radius. Although, I hear that’s not always the case as it is dependent on the participating restaurants that day. The tour ended up taking a little over three hours and it was the best money I’ve spent on a dining experience. We don’t eat out a lot but we like to celebrate special occasions eating at places that aren’t mainstream/chain restaurants. (I think those are overrated and sometimes lack in their customer service.) This tour allowed us to try out multiple dishes, that we might have not normally ordered, in different locations.
Overall the group dynamic was wonderful and every place we dined at served delicious dishes, offered great ambiances and the staff was knowledgable and friendly. Our tour guide, Neesey, was a bucket full of knowledge. She gave us historic facts about the city, state and some of the buildings we passed by. We are already looking forward to planning our next Taste Carolina tour. Hope to see you there!