I'm Lisa Kirk, a wife, mama, writer, and founder. Since 2010, Something Pretty has been home to my favorite memories, reflections, and inspirations. Thanks so much for reading!

A Few Favorite Spots in Raleigh


I mentioned in my last Love List that we have been really good about exploring our own city lately. Honestly, I wasn’t thrilled about the Triangle (Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill, all within half an hour of each other) when I first moved here–I was coming from Austin, a city I was completely head over heels for, and I missed it a lot, so I’m sure few places would have impressed me right off the bat. I’ve been here for four years now, and in that time, Raleigh has become such a special place to Dave and me…so much so that we sometimes entertain the thought of never leaving! Time will tell, but for now, I’m just grateful every day that we’ve found such a wonderful community, become part of a diocese that is growing tremendously (the new 2000-seat cathedral of the Diocese of Raleigh was dedicated yesterday!), and get to enjoy the many fantastic restaurants and creative businesses in town that seem to pop up weekly. I wanted to share a few random Raleigh spots we’ve been loving, especially for my local gals and anyone with plans to visit this area soon!

Whiskey Kitchen: I haven’t asked him, but I’m willing to bet this is Dave’s #1 favorite spot in Raleigh right now. Whiskey is beautifully designed, not too expensive, and in a perfect downtown location. We went here on a date night a few months ago and had the best time sitting outside with charcuterie, whiskey (for Dave), and rosé (for me).

Wylde Flowers: I was so excited when Nikelle of Wylde opened her gorgeous little boutique downtown. Along with a space for workshops, she carries a small, curated selection of products, plus an always-lovely display of flowers available for purchase by the stem. I can’t resist popping in anytime I’m nearby!

Treat: This ice cream shop has been on my list FOREVER and we finally made it there a few weeks ago. All of the flavors sound delicious, and the $1 mini cones mean you can try lots of them :) (P.S. Glitter Guide regrammed this photo!)

Vidrio: Easily one of the coolest restaurants I’ve been to! The design is incredibly interesting–there are so many details to admire throughout the space. We ordered a few small plates and dessert, and all were fantastic. Perfect spot for a date night or special celebration!

Driftwood Southern Kitchen: The entrées here are fine, but what I really love Driftwood for (besides the fact that it’s less than ten minutes from our house :)) is the appetizers. I’ve lost count of how many visitors we’ve brought here for the Southern cheese board, featuring house made pimento cheese, pepper jelly, bacon jam, and pickled veggies!

Taverna Agora: We have walked past this Greek restaurant literally hundreds of times (it’s on the same block as our church), but finally went in to eat a few months ago. It was such a fun, casual spot with tasty food and a fun rooftop dining area. We can’t wait to go back!

Brewery Bhavana: Let’s go ahead and file this one under “most Instagrammable place in Raleigh.” While we haven’t eaten at this brewery/dim sum restaurant/flower shop/bookstore yet, we poked around inside a few weeks ago and found both the space and the concept so inspiring.

The Cardinal: This bar/hot dog joint boasts a great view of downtown and a simple but tasty menu. A great place for a quick, inexpensive dinner.

Bonus! A Durham favorite: the rooftop bar at The Durham Hotel. If I’m out on a Saturday night, there are few places I’d rather be than a good rooftop bar, and the one at The Durham is everything I hoped it would be. Great views, delicious cocktails, and a fun, low-key atmosphere. I can’t wait to go back with Dave! (SW readers should recognize those lovely faces below :))

Raleigh friends, did I mention any of your favorites? And no matter where you’re from, I want to hear your number one favorite spot in your city in the comments so I can put them on my travel list!






  1. I love ALL of these so much (not including The Cardinal, which I haven’t been to!). I am working on a post with all my favorite spots around Raleigh, too, and most of these will be making an appearance! I never thought I’d move back to the area (after college at UNC), but having been here for two years now, I love it more and more every day. After church on Sunday, we’re going to either Brewery Bhavana or Whiskey Kitchen, but we haven’t decided yet!

    • Lisa says:

      I can’t wait to read your post! And I’m sure either will be so much fun tomorrow–though the weather’s supposed to be gorgeous, so maybe a point for Whiskey! :)

  2. Abby says:

    So many places to check out! I haven’t visited so many of your favorites- and haven’t even heard about some of them!! Thanks for tips! I went ahead and wrote them down in my growing list of places to try in Raleigh! Austin and I will meet you and Dave out there sometime!

    • Lisa says:

      Yes please! :) On the other hand, we are sorely lacking in exposure to all the good stuff in Durham, so we may need to meet y’all out there one of these days too!

  3. Sara Freeman says:

    Absolutely love all these places! The charcuterie boards look amazing, and I definitely will have to try next time I go to those places. If you love roof top bars, I highly recommend Gallo Pelon right above Centro. It is tucked upstairs, and has the cutest string lights and great cocktails!

  4. Dana says:

    You’ll have to take me to the places I haven’t been yet on my next visit!
    I think my favorite place in Austin is Jacoby’s. They change their cocktails pretty frequently and I’ve never been disappointed. The frozen Arnold Palmer cocktail is my current fave!

    • Lisa says:

      Frozen Arnold Palmer? YUM! I can’t wait to visit you next year and go on an updated ATX restaurant tour!

  5. Alana says:

    Love the pimento cheese at Driftwood! Definitely need to try Brewery Bhavana! We also go to Zest a lot in north raleigh ; ) The cutest finds in the store and dining is pretty casual and kid friendly and the food is delicious!!!

    • Lisa says:

      I’ve never heard of Zest, but just looked it up, and I’m in that area all the time! Thanks for the recommendation!

  6. Kelly says:

    I love these kinds of posts! I always save them in case I visit some day. I live in Knoxville, Tn and have SO many favorites! Litton’s or Stock and Barrel for the best burger, while Littons is more down home family feel and Stock & Barrel has a million whiskeys to choose from and downtown. Petes for the best “Luke” feeling diner breakfast spot. And tonight I’m very excited to try JC Holdway which just got voted top 12 restaurants to eat in America, I’ll have to report back! ;)

  7. Em says:

    So many of these I’ve yet to try! One of the best parts about the Triangle is that there are SO many good options! :)

    • Lisa says:

      Yes!! Now we need to get our act together and go visit all of the Thomas fam Durham favorites :)

  8. Mary says:

    I know it’s a no stranger to y’all…but we went to torchy’s like three times this past month. ???? So that’s our current family favorite!


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