Although not a super popular destination, Cary, North Carolina, was surprisingly relaxing and full of good restaurants and international food varieties. While touring Raleigh, my local guide suggested visiting Cary for their famous La Farm bakery.
As a foodie and a traveler, my instincts always get the best of me. I was touring this small cozy town for a couple of days without a guide, getting directed to multiple great restaurants by the locals.
You are bound to taste some of the most delicious seafood, Indian, and Chinese platters along with fundamental American cuisine. The city will also surprise you with eclectic southern-style fare at Lucky32 and some delicate Mexican varieties in Totopos.
Every restaurant has a traditional charm with an outside patio and aesthetic umbrella shades. I loved how the city was a cozy combination of renowned aesthetics, lakes, greenery, modern ambiance, and the wholesome, down-to-earth vibe.
While looking for restaurants, don’t forget to tour downtown Cary at night; its prominent historic buildings are great to look at while you relish some chilled beer.
After visiting La Farm bakery and collecting some of the most delicious bread I have had, I took off to Bond Brothers Beer Company and enjoyed Berlin Weiss in their beautiful open bar garden.
Here’s my list of favorite restaurants in Cary NC, offering southern, Asian, Mexican, American, and European food platters at their best.
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The 10 Best Restaurants in Cary NC
200 S. Academy St. // +19193770509
Forget the high-end chain restaurants and expensive bills; Academy Street Bistro will serve you delicious worldwide cuisine at an affordable price and in great outdoor settings.
Located in the heart of historic downtown, this local restaurant has a beautiful dining scene in a landmark building with an outdoor patio for sunset dinners.
Although famous for lunch breaks, I preferred visiting Academy Street Bistro on a cozy Thursday evening. The weather was perfect; golden bulbs and umbrella shades decorated the outdoor dining tables. ASB offers beautiful sceneries given its downtown surroundings. They have such a friendly staff and excellent service also!
I ordered their jumbo-lump crab cakes and roasted beet and arugula salad for starters. For the main course, they suggested Scallops and Ribeye steaks. Both the dishes were filling and tasty!
I also ordered their shrimp and grits on personal demand and wasn’t disappointed.
Their scallops were mildly sweet and adequately cooked. The ribeye steak was a marvelous delicacy, and the shrimp and grits were buttery. Don’t forget to try their grilled vegetable plate and taste North Carolina’s fresh vegetables (by local farmers)—it’s healthy and slightly crisp.
1388 Kildaire Farm Rd. // +19196783449
I adore Mexican food, and Totopos has a massive Mexican menu to offer! With enchiladas, tacos, fried beans, carne asada, plantains, and quesadillas, there was so much to eat! It had been a while since I last tasted Mexican food, so I ordered a lot! Everything was mouthwatering and perfectly made!
Presenting a calming theme of white and yellow, Totopos is a cozy restaurant with an open dinner garden. The restaurant serves tasty Mexican delicacies and has a beautiful interior with traditional lanterns, glowing paper stars, and decorations. The whole place lights up at night with different lamps and fairy bulbs.
If you are a photography or architecture enthusiast, this is the ideal restaurant for you because of its colorful interior with traditional paintings, lit hanging art, and many other wall decorations.
If you want to taste authentic Mexican cuisine, you should order dinner with multiple varieties, including queso fundido, carne asada tacos, shrimp tacos, carnitas enchiladas, chimichanga, and chilaquiles.
Of course, you cannot finish it alone; Totopos has considerable portion sizes for their main courses. So visit this great place with your friends and share different savory items.
Honestly, I did not expect to find a Mexican gem among the restaurants in Cary. However, this place mastered an ideal combination of rice, beans, tender and crisp chicken, and traditionally baked tacos/tortillas—hot, crispy, crunchy, and savory at the same time! Every flavor and ingredient stands out beautifully.
329 N. Harrison Ave. // +19194601300
For individuals who love trying and tasting international foods, Cary has the Bosphorus Restaurant, famous for its Turkish and Mediterranean cuisine. There’s something about this restaurant’s dishes; they’re so full of mouthwatering flavors and rich spiciness.
Also, be prepared to have your stomach filled because they have huge servings. For starters, I was recommended the cigar borek, a popular dish with crisp rolls and cheesy parsley filling.
I personally love warm appetizers and went for the dish straight out—the homemade marinara sauce was excellent and authentic. Bosphorus Restaurant bakes its own bread, and that’s what makes people choose this place over other restaurants in Cary.
Their bread is soft, delicate, and warm—something you rarely witness in non-traditional restaurants.
If you are into cold appetizers, the place offers multiple varieties, from stuffed grape leaves to hummus and baby ghanoush. For the main course, I’d recommend getting the spicy hot Mediterranean-style Adana Kebab and Turkish shrimp pide.
3460 Ten-Ten Rd. Suite #118 // +19192676011
We all crave classic American fast food every now and then, and that’s why I visited Chef’s Palette. Surprisingly, the menu had many more dishes to offer other than the regular burgers and sandwiches.
The head chef Ryan is the winner of a state-level NC competition. His specialty foods, like baby back ribs and vegetarian pasta, were my favorite in the city.
The restaurant offers a wide variety of delicious food, from seafood to meat-heavy dishes, sandwiches, and fried delicacies. Along with the main course, I also ordered their Black Angus burger and the Asian-style pot stickers. The dessert list was short but delicious, nonetheless.
For dessert, I’ll recommend having New York-style turtle cheesecake. It was soft and melted in my mouth right away. The chocolate and caramel sauces enhanced its overall flavor! Their pot stickers were steamed and then fried to perfection—the crisp golden layer added a great taste to the dish.
Chef’s Palette is moderately lit and offers a simple, homey appeal to its interior. The restaurant also proudly displays beautiful art paintings created by locals on their walls.
4248 NW Cary Pkwy. // +19196570657
Inspired and baked by Lionel Vatinet, La Farm is probably one of the city’s biggest attractions, given its ambiance, beauty that surrounds it, wooden aesthetics, baked goodness, the mouthwatering smell, and their traditional baking style and equipment.
Located in three different places in the city, you are bound to eat these delicacies everywhere you go in Cary, whether it’s downtown, Preston Corner, or West Cary.
Upon entering the boulangerie, don’t be surprised by its European architecture and interior. With over fifteen famous and twenty seasonal baked goods, the bakery also has French-style pastries. At the café, taste some delicious French breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner.
La Farm Bakery is the perfect breakfast spot to drop by at early in the morning after a quick stroll downtown. I am a fan of sweet, soft bread with crisp outer layers and exotic French cuisine, which is exactly what they offer.
“When you are sleeping, we are baking.”—Lionel Vatinet
Yup, they start baking around midnight to present you freshly baked goods early in the morning at around 7 AM. Every ingredient and starter used while baking is freshly prepared and contains zero artificial additives.
Also, La Farm uses traditional, old-fashioned techniques and equipment to bake, which adds and enhances their overall flavor profile. They use unbleached wheat and rye flours to create organic and unique recipes.
La Farm Bakery has an extensive French menu offering multiple sandwiches, seafood varieties, toasts, quiche, etc. I especially enjoyed their egg benedict, egg florentine, and quiche Lorraine with mocha coffee for breakfast.
7307 Tryon R.d. // +19192331632
Craving Southern-style food in Cary? Well, North Carolina has some great cities offering Southern foods. Lucky 32 is a fine restaurant in the town serving delicious southern food.
The restaurant offers a warm, classy dining experience for individuals looking for fine dining with the whole family, an evening date, or a cozy dinner alone. The dark ambiance, low-lit dining room, and soft music add to the perfect night.
The menu is often seasonal, but every season brings out the best of their restaurant. Every food presented on the menu has a unique twist of local ingredients. If you are a fan of salmon delicacies, try their honey pecan-crusted salmon and grilled salmon.
I tried their roasted chicken salad, pimento cheese dip, and autumn squash soup for starters. I also had my favorite skillet-fried chicken and Suffolk grilled chicken; it was perfect. Both the dishes were crispy and tasted exquisite with their heirloom sauce, cornbread, and mashed potatoes.
I will give their outdoor garden dining scene 10/10; it’s an excellent location for early lunch under the shade with plants all around you.
For dessert, among other items on the menu, Lucky 32 offers a delicious sweet potato pecan pie. Although too sweet for me, this would be perfect for people who love intensely sweet desserts. However, I loved the nutty flavors and softness of the cake!
1979 High House Rd. // +19193889930
Open until 11 PM, Doherty’s Irish Pub will serve you great food late at night in a cozy locality and ambiance. The restaurant focuses on providing quality Irish meals, and their Irish egg rolls are to die for!
With a pub, outside patio, and soothing live music, you will enjoy your tasty dinner peacefully. From what I know, the Irish cuisine is famous for its stew, cabbage, and choice of bacon; and that’s what I ordered—beef and Guinness stew, corned beef and cabbage.
On recommendation, I also tried egg rolls, and they were the best I have had in a long time. For dessert, they highly suggest trying Doherty’s special bread pudding with whiskey caramel sauce.
If you are a coffee enthusiast, don’t miss the opportunity to taste their intoxicating Irish coffee—a cocktail of coffee, Irish whiskey, sugar, and cream.
Irish coffee gives a light intoxication with an adrenaline punch. Also, Doherty’s has a long beer and wine list that you can choose from.
2428 SW Cary Pkwy. // +19194674600
Salvio’s Pizzeria in Cary delivers food to your home for your fun friend’s night, game nights, or special events. Located downtown, Salvio’s pizzeria is a catchy spot to enjoy beer and Italian food.
I usually prefer a movie night with pizza, but Salvio’s outside patio was appealing enough; a cozy place with umbrella shade where you can sit and enjoy the food and the city. Their pizza is famous all over Cary and for all the good reasons.
Salvio’s menu is massive with starters, subs, salads, calzones, giant pizzas, appetizers, pasta, wings, desserts, and whatnot. It wasn’t easy to choose.
Also, Salvio’s has a gluten-free menu with multiple choices if you are on a diet. The restaurant’s supreme pizza has the most incredible taste you will come across—the combination of meat, veggies, cheese, and mushroom is wild. Every ingredient stands out with cheese that makes your taste buds very satisfied.
Trust me, Salvio’s Pizzeria serves the cheesiest and best pizza bites ever! For sides, order loaded fries covered in bacon and ranch. If you are visiting with your friends, Penne A La Vodka is worth a try.
Being a cheesecake fan, I ordered their cheesecake for dessert, but Cannoli and Tiramisu are also filling Italian desserts after a mouthwatering dinner.
201 W. Chatham St. #103 // +19193778794
Kababish is one of the most popular Indian and Pakistani cuisine restaurants in the Triangle area. There’s no food like spicy and meaty South Asian cuisine. India and Pakistan create some of the most flavored foods with authentic spices, richness, and a unique traditional take on nutrition.
I love all of the tandoori delights that the countries offer, and let’s not forget the famous Chicken Biryani!
While at the restaurant, you have to try their chicken tikka masala with naan. A wild combination of spicy chicken gravy with hot, buttered tandoori corn tortillas—mouthwatering and delicious!
It’s tasty, flavorful, rich, exotic, and beautiful! I’ll never forget the classic combination of chicken, gravy, and naans—it was perfect!
With fantastic food, you will also be surprised by their take on traditional and modern entanglement. Knowing international tolerance over spice, the restaurant produces food that doesn’t scald your insides.
Talk about their ambiance, and you will be transported to a cultural restaurant with traditional lamps, lighting, and interior. It gives away a rich exterior with its Pakistani-style walls and decoration.
Some of the best dishes to try in Kabasish are Kababish biryani (chicken and rice with country chutneys and sauces), tandoori shrimps, kebabs, and the whole main course platter.
The main course platter will serve you dal fry (lentil gravy), naan (butter tortillas), chicken gravy, salad, Shahi Paneer (Paneer is an Indian cheese served with stew), boneless lamb stew, keema, Paya, etc. Also, instead of trying wine or beer at this place, taste lassi (a thick foamed curd beverage) and chai.
2060 Renaissance Park Pl. // +19196771347
Finally, I have the famous Bonefish Grill restaurant for seafood lovers. Although it’s a chain restaurant, the quality and ambiance were unmatched. Every food on the menu looked tempting and tasted delicious. The food and presentation were 10/10.
Seafood restaurants rarely impress me, but the Bonefish Grill in Cary indeed did! So if you are looking for a classy seafood evening date with a pretty neighborhood, Bonefish Grill is the correct spot!
I’ll highly suggest Tempura crunch sashimi tuna with wasabi and soy sauce, and fish and fries. I was there for a quick dinner and ordered Bang Bang Shrimp Tacos.
It’s a delicious dish with perfectly cooked, saucy shrimps wrapped in tortillas. They also have mussels, lobsters, and crab cakes.
I love grilled foods, and Atlantic salmon was just the right choice. You should also try their Mahi Mahi and rainbow trout grill—equally savage dishes. I gotta say I really
Apart from seafood, the menu also offers beef potstickers, filet mignon, chicken marsala, etc. Although a small menu, they have a wide range of cocktails, craft beers, wines, and beverages. I liked their warm cookies for dessert, but go ahead and try their seasonal chef’s special dessert at the restaurant.
Wrapping Up The 10 Best Restaurants In Cary NC
I must say the city offered various continental foods and famous country cuisine in the small space. The Mexican, Indian, and Irish were some of my favorites.
I mean, we can have burgers in our hometown. When traveling to a different town, you should always try different main courses. The restaurants in Cary offer a great atmosphere and food for everyone who happens to be hungry in the city. Whether it was a sunny brunch or late-night dinner, the town was always pleasant and you will be having a great time for sure.
Don’t forget to pick some delicious scones for your loved ones as souvenirs from La Farm Bakery!