The Final Countdown: The Three Top Restaurants in Raleigh


The Three Top Restaurants in Raleigh

3.) Bida Manda, 222 South Blount Street, Raleigh

Throughout our ten Top Restaurants in Raleigh, a theme has been the great variety along with the obvious fantastic service and amazing food. I’d suppose there is no reason for that to stop now, as at number three is our first international restaurant to feature Thai food. Bida Manda is self-described as a “thoughtful and sharp gathering place celebrating the diverse food and culture of Laos.” It actually was one of the first Laotian restaurants in the United States.

One customer sums up their Bida Manda experience as a little piece of heaven. “This was truly a fantastic dining experience.” She goes on, “The spring rolls were the best I’ve had…I have had some very good Pho in my life, but this was hands he best that I have had in a very long time.” She concludes, “overall, this was a wonderful experience, and we will be going back.”

Distance from South Lakes: 16.7 miles miles

2.) Saint Jacques French Cuisine, 6112 Falls of Neuse Road, Raleigh

Just as the number three entry for the Top Restaurants in Raleigh, Saint Jacques is a first to the list. Their mission statement states they use local Carolina product in homage to French cuisine. Likewise, it adds that they strive to refine the dining experience from our food to our service. It ends by saying, “every detail matters to us.”

Proving their “mission” to be accurate shows ten different local farms and businesses that they do business with on their website. As for the “every detail matters” credo, let’s refer to a customer review titled “Outstanding in every respect.” The satisfied customer says, “First of all, there is no question that this restaurant epitomizes fine dining in Raleigh.” He adds, “Every course was perfect…Raleigh is indeed fortunate to have such a gem to enjoy.”

Distance from South Lakes: 24.9 miles

1.)Second Empire Restaurant and Tavern, 330 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh

Number one! The Second Empire is not only a “treasure” among the Top Restaurants in Raleigh. It was recently honored by the Raleigh Historic District for “Celebrating America’s Treasures” as well. The number one choice of customers at Trip Advisor for all restaurants in Raleigh is located at the historic Dodd-Hinsdale House. The beautiful piece of Raleigh history has been restored. Thus, its original exterior look from when it was built in 1879.  So, we have stressed tradition here in the top ten. For tradition, look no further than a 140-plus year piece of history in the top spot.

One look at the menu can tell that this restaurant is set apart from the others. Entrees range from Empire Seafood Paella, Roasted Five-Spice Duck, and Grilled Australian Lamb Rack. All come with an exquisite first course, the choices are genuinely unique at Second Empire.

Number One is the “Perfect First Date”

One reviewer summarizes the experience at the number one choice among Top Restaurants in Raleigh. “I thought this would be a nice place to experience a first date. It was absolutely the right choice.” She adds, “the first course, main entrée, and dessert were outstanding. My date and I felt very comfortable, well cared for, and spoiled from the moment we walked in until the moment we walked out.” She concludes, “We both can’t say enough good things about and highly recommend.”

Distance from South Lakes: 16.8 miles

South Lakes: Close to the Top Three and So Much More

As we note in all these posts, your decision to move to the South Lakes neighborhood had many benefits. Just one of these is its great location. This is not only because it is close to the Top Restaurants in Raleigh. Nor is it because of just the other great “big city” perks you can enjoy. Your centralized location at South Lakes puts you on an easy path to the NC beaches and mountains. Its also close to all major cities, as well. Sure, a trip to any of our top ten restaurants will be a delicious one. But the choice to live at South Lakes is the tastiest decision you have ever made.

For more details on the new homes in Fuquay Varina at South Lakes, visit

Photo Credit: Visit Raleigh