A Year-Round Guide to Franklin and Nantahala

For a printable checklist of these restaurants, click here. The Gamekeeper — Boone Pheasant, bison, and ostrich — oh my! Enjoy game meat from the High Country and beyond in

Madison County Championship Rodeo

For a printable checklist of these restaurants, click here. The Gamekeeper — Boone Pheasant, bison, and ostrich — oh my! Enjoy game meat from the High Country and beyond in

Rosemary and Goat Cheese Strata

For a printable checklist of these restaurants, click here. The Gamekeeper — Boone Pheasant, bison, and ostrich — oh my! Enjoy game meat from the High Country and beyond in

14 Must-Visit Restaurants for a Memorable Meal

For a printable checklist of these restaurants, click here.


The Gamekeeper — Boone

Pheasant, bison, and ostrich — oh my! Enjoy game meat from the High Country and beyond in a 1950s stone cottage, once the residence of the founders of Camp Yonahlossee, the oldest camp for girls in North Carolina.

3005 Shulls Mill Road, Boone, NC 28607
(828) 963-7400, gamekeeper-nc.com

Beef ’n’ Bottle — Charlotte

It takes a reservation made well in advance to score a booth in the low-lit dining room of this storied steakhouse on a Saturday night.

4538 South Boulevard, Charlotte, NC 28209
(704) 523-9977, beefandbottle.net

McNinch House Restaurant — Charlotte

This pink-and-purple Queen Anne-style mansion once belonged to Victorian-era Charlotte mayor Sam McNinch who, in 1909, even hosted President William Howard Taft there. Inside, discover perfectly plated dishes that are as exquisite as the exterior.

511 North Church Street, Charlotte, NC 28202
(704) 332-6159, mcninchhouserestaurant.com

Kindred — Davidson

The artful entrées at Kindred turned Davidson into a destination, but the milk bread appetizer alone is worth a trip: Baked in a graniteware bowl and sprinkled with flecks of hand-harvested sea salt, it’s more than a mere loaf. Warm and pillowy, sweet and salty — it’s pure magic.

131 North Main Street, Davidson, NC 28036
(980) 231-5000, kindreddavidson.com

The Blue Point — Duck

Watch the sun set over the water — and dig into jumbo lump crab, oyster stew, and seared sea scallops — at this seafood restaurant perched on the edge of Currituck Sound.

1240 Duck Road, Duck, NC 27949
(252) 261-8090, thebluepoint.com

Washington Duke Inn — Durham

This prestigious hotel offers weekend brunch and an upscale dinner menu — as well as an afternoon cuppa. Order a pot of tea and an array of sweets, scones, and dainty tea sandwiches, and put your pinkie up.

3001 Cameron Boulevard, Durham, NC 27705
(919) 490-0999, washingtondukeinn.com

River House Inn & Restaurant — Grassy Creek

At this 1870 farmhouse turned inn and restaurant surrounded by Ashe County countryside, sip a pre-dinner cocktail on the front porch, which overlooks the North Fork New River.

1896 Old Field Creek Road, Grassy Creek, NC 28631
(336) 982-2109, riverhousenc.com

Vintage House — Hickory

A glass of wine and an elegant meal at this 1915 home feels like having dinner at your fanciest friend’s house — if your friend hand-cut and aged their own filet mignon.

271 Third Avenue Northwest, Hickory, NC 28601
(828) 324-1210, vintagehouserestaurant.com

Chef & the Farmer — Kinston

In 2006, Chef Vivian Howard and her husband, Ben Knight, opened their hugely successful fine-dining restaurant in Howard’s native Kinston. Fifteen years later, it remains a foodie mecca.

120 West Gordon Street, Kinston, NC 28501
(252) 208-2433, vivianhoward.com/chef-the-farmer

Fearrington House Restaurant — Pittsboro

At this award-winning restaurant in a 1927 Colonial Revival farmhouse, you’ll know you’ve arrived when you spot the black-and-whites — the famed Belted Galloway cows lounging in the shade of a silo.

2000 Fearrington Village Center, Pittsboro, NC 27312
(919) 542-2121, fearrington.com

Second Empire — Raleigh

Make sure to look up from your meal to notice the original heart-pine floors and red-brick masonry walls in this ornate 1879 Victorian-era home downtown.

330 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh, NC 27603
(919) 829-3663, second-empire.com

Newman’s — Saluda

The former summer lodgings for railroad employees now house The Orchard Inn and its on-site restaurant, where a glassed-in dining porch offers a breathtaking view of the mountains — and an unforgettable Sunday brunch.

100 Orchard Inn Lane, No. 9706, Saluda, NC 28773
(828) 749-5471, orchardinn.com

Canyon Kitchen — Sapphire

A majestic box canyon — the largest one east of the Mississippi — serves as the soaring backdrop of this restaurant, which is open seasonally from May through November and serves farm-to-fork fare inspired by the landscape.

150 Lonesome Valley Road, Sapphire, NC 28774
(828) 743-7967, lonesomevalley.com

Ashten’s Restaurant & Pub — Southern Pines

For more than 20 years, since before “eating local” gained a name, much less a movement, this proper pub has been sourcing its menu ingredients from area farms.

140 East New Hampshire Avenue, Southern Pines, NC 28387
(910) 246-3510, ashtens.com

This story was published on Mar 10, 2021

Our State Staff

Our State Staff

Since 1933, Our State has shared stories about North Carolina with readers both in state and around the world. We celebrate the people and places that make this state great. From the mountains to the coast, we feature North Carolina travel, history, food, and beautiful scenic photography.