Eating out in Chapel Hill is easy. The tough part is choosing which restaurant to try or revisit. Many amazing chefs have opened up their doors in Orange County, offering residents an array of delicious options. Narrowing down the list to the “top” 10 is not easy, but we gave it a try. After moving in, be sure to check these off your dining to-do list:
Lantern – 423 W. Franklin St., Chapel Hill
The Lantern makes a lot of “best” lists and for good reason. This Asian restaurant is one of the most popular in Chapel Hill, and even in the Triangle. The authentic Asian menu uses fresh ingredients and the restaurant’s has nice ambiance. Be prepared to wait for a table, or try going on a weeknight.
Elaine’s on Franklin – 454 W. Franklin St., Chapel Hill
This isn’t just any old American restaurant. The Chef/owner focuses on bold flavors and local ingredients, earning them a Silver Medal for Best Restaurants of 2012 in the News & Observer.
Il Palio – 1505 E. Franklin St., in the Siena Hotel, Chapel Hill
This upscale Italian eatery is an excellent choice for a special occasion. It has been recognized as North Carolina’s only AAA Four Diamond Italian restaurant.
Kitchen – 764 Martin Luther King Blvd., Chapel Hill
Kitchen offers French bistro cuisine served in a cozy environment. The owners fell in love with Chapel Hill (just as you will!) and opened Kitchen to be the type of restaurant they enjoy.
Queen of Sheba – 1129-O Weaver Dairy Road, Chapel Hill
In the mood for something different? Try the Ethiopian food at Queen of Sheba. If you aren’t interested in the traditional serving on a large platter, you can have yours served individually. They also offer Ethiopian coffee ceremonies.
Allen & Son – 6203 Millhouse Road, Chapel Hill
Southerners can spend a lot of time arguing about who has the best barbecue, but Allen & Son makes it on the top of most lists. Casual and delicious.
Gourmet Kingdom – 301 E. Main St., Carrboro
If you’re seeking Szechwan, head to the Gourmet Kingdom, which was named one of the beset 50 Chinese restaurants in the U.S. by CNN and the best Chinese in the Triangle by the Independent Weekly in 2015.
Kipos – 431 W. Franklin St., Chapel Hill
Kipos is authentic Greek food made by Greeks and offers a wide variety of traditional foods beyond what you find at a gyro stand. Kipos means “garden” in Greek, and the chef-owner strives to serve fresh and fantastic fare.
CholaNad – 308 W. Franklin St., Chapel Hill
CholaNad features South Indian fare that stands out from what you find elsewhere. The restaurant also has lovely ambiance and has been praised for its service.
Crook’s Corner – 610 W. Franklin St., Chapel Hill
Crooks has the reputation as one of the best Southern restaurants in the U.S. The menu is full of the south’s goodness: shrimp ‘n grits, soft shell crab, Hoppin’ John, and of course the necessary collards and hushpuppies. After eating there, you’ll know why Chef Bill Smith was a final-five finalist for Best Chef in the Southeast — twice.