Earlier this month, one of my favorite Instagram follows, Lindsay from Welcome to Raleighwood, shared some of her favorite dishes that she had tried around the Triangle in 2022 and I absolutely loved it! So, I shared some of my favorite meals from across North Carolina in a two part series on my feed (part 1 | part 2) + a reel of annual Christmas Eve tradition. While I am thrilled to have it live on my feed, I thought it would be fun to incorporate this as an annual series moving forward. I am sharing more of my favorites in this article than I did on Instagram, as well! Here are 20 North Carolina dishes I enjoyed in 2022.
For more of my North Carolina favorites, be sure to follow along on my 100 county tour here.
20 North Carolina Dishes I Enjoyed in 2022
Where I Ate and What I Ordered in Eastern North Carolina
One of my favorite eastern North Carolina destination restaurants to recommend is in Halifax, NC, a small town about 15 minutes from where I grew up. I try to grab dinner here any time I am back in the area. Their menu changes with the seasons and one of my favorite features is their more casual Thursday night menu. I finally made it back to try it in the spring, where we started with the pimento cheese fritters. I ordered the wedge salad and added chicken, which is served with pimento cheese dressing.
Blue Jay Bistro – Littleton
This restaurant was a highly anticipated opening in Littleton, NC, which means my home county now has two more upscale restaurants to choose from! Blue Jay Bistro is located right on Main Street in Littleton, near Lake Gaston, and offers an approachable, yet creative menu. Order whatever the fish is on the menu!
When spending a weekend in Edenton, be sure to book a reservation at The Table, located at Inner Banks Inn. The menu includes fresh ingredients with seasonal favorites. I ordered the crab cakes with polenta and David had gumbo that we are still talking about how good it was!
There are just certain menu items that I will always order if I see it on a menu. A shrimp burger is one of those items and the one at SmacNally’s on Ocracoke Island is hands down one of my favorites. I really enjoy grabbing a seat at the bar, ordering a shrimp burger with their curly fries, and a Red Stripe and watch the boats come in Silver Lake.
Little Washington holds a special place in my heart and I was so excited to take a day trip down to dine at the Mulberry House. This restaurant is beautifully decorated on the inside and has a nice, covered porch on the back side. David ordered the BBQ Bacon Burger with a black bean patty and I had the fried chicken sandwich and we both got a side of their delicious smashed potatoes.
Our last trip of 2022 included a date night dinner at Caprice Bistro in Wilmington. While David ordered their steak frites, I ordered their house speciality Waterzooi, which is an assortment of fish and seafood in a herb and cream broth.
Where I Ate and What I Ordered in Central North Carolina
The escargot at Jolie in Raleigh is out of this world! The bread and the sauce that it is served in lives rent free in my head. Honorable mentions are the steak tartare with sour cream chips and I will always order the mussels.
Smokestacks Cafe – Raleigh
Okay, so, Smokestacks Cafe is my most favorite hidden gem in Raleigh. It is located in Oakwood and has a changing menu. David and I eat here quite a bit and learned about it from Offline (use code meghangrant for your first month free!) during the height of the pandemic when we’d get our food to go and sit out on the patio to enjoy. If their lobster gnocchi is on the menu, order it! David feels equally the same about their chili, by the way. And their tomato pie is made with pimento cheese and is out of this world good!
Crawford Cookshop – Clayton
Photo by GloryRoze Photography
It is hard to pick the best thing I had Crawford Cookshop, but ultimately the bone marrow is the ⭐️ of the show. Though, the oysters are delightful and you know I will *always* order pimento cheese when it is on the menu.
Photo by GloryRoze Photography
The cheese doughnuts Fearrington House Restaurant Bar do not disappoint. Their bar menu is such a great option if you are looking for a more casual, yet still inventive dining option in Pittsboro!
The Table in Asheboro had been on my bucket list of places to visit in NC and I finally got to check this off my list! It was absolutely lived up to the hype! Their avocado toast is served with radishes (!!) and we got bakery items to go, too.
Order Grandma’s Cornbread to start a’Verde Mexican and Tequila Library and then order *all* the sharable plates! Favorites include ceviche tostado, blistered fried okra, al pastor cauliflower, and chipotle Brussels sprouts.
Stanbury – Raleigh
The tuna crudo at Stanbury to start followed by fried oysters, the roasted bone marrow, and tagliatelle was one of my very favorite dining experiences this year!
Cafe Root Cellar – Pittsboro
Another crab cake, this time Root Cellar Cafe in Pittsboro! The seasonal salad it is topped on is delicious. They’ve got a great, warm patio, too!
Colletta – Cary
The fresh pasta at Colletta in Cary’s Fenton is a must-try! The Radiatori is served with whipped ricotta, which means once I saw that on the menu, I was done looking for my main course pick. Their vibe is immaculate as well, right down to the jazz playlists.
O-Ku – Raleigh
The otoro spoons at O-Ku top the list of my v favorite thing I tried in 2022. The entire meal was a divine one and I have a feed post dedicated to everything we tried.
Where I Ate and What I Ordered in Western North Carolina
Photo by GloryRoze Photography
When Glory and I were out and about exploring downtown Tryon, we popped into Harper Eatery and Pub for lunch. I ordered their Harper Spinach salad and added chicken, plus got a side of their macaroni and cheese, which was out of this world good!
You know that I am an eastern BBQ snob through. Through, and Buxton Hall does eastern NC BBQ really well. I will always order their BBQ sammie and when it is in season, a side of watermelon seasoned with their rib seasoning.
We went back to Over Yonder in November 2022 after our first visit the year before. I ordered the exact same thing I had the first time. Chicken fried chicken with a side of collards and mashed potatoes–order it and thank me later.
If you are looking for more North Carolina food recommendations, check out this article on North Carolina food staples to try and this one where I took my friend Courtney on a tour of North Carolina & Raleigh fast food spots.