Out of all the restaurants in a city, 10Best narrows the options to those places with the most appeal and the best reputations. We offer carefully vetted selections to let you explore Durham dining on your own. If time is really tight, though, and you don't have the leisure to look through all our offerings, we present our Durham Best Restaurants list. Here, we distill the best businesses down to a special selection of ten. These places promise a stellar experience and a taste of the city that you just can't miss.
9 Watts Grocery
Come to Watts for the breakfast/brunch and stay for the fantastic wine list. Watts Grocery serves Low Country comfort food, fine dining style. The churros are amazing, as are the fried green tomatoes. (9194165040)
Billed as upscale comfort food, Guglhupf cooks up a menu of German-influenced dishes featuring locally sourced ingredients paired with estate grown wines. The bakery is excellent, and it's one of the best spots in Durham for Sunday brunch.
7 Tonali Restaurant
When you're in the mood for good times and great cuisine, be sure to checkout Tonali Restaurant. The restaurant is located in one of the area's mostpleasant settings and is known for its delightful staff and superb cuisine.The menu at Tonali Restaurant features a wide array of great selections, madefrom only the freshest and highest quality ingredients, with something sureto please every member of your group. Tonali Restaurant has establisheditself as one of the area's favorite culinary destinations and is sure tooffer you a pleasant and unique dining experience every time you visit.Please stop in soon! (9194898000)
Since 1992, chef-owner Scott Howell's restaurant has earned a loyal following. The warm, cosmopolitan d�cor features hues of mustard and cayenne, with colorful artwork dotting the walls. Cuisine is New American, with Italian and Southern regional accents. Regulars swear by the changing risotto special, which artfully incorporates fresh local produce; you'll also find a good selection of fish dishes, steaks, and poultry. With its truly inspired wine list, Nana's has received Wine Spectator's Award of Excellence every year since 1994. Dessert is a must � try the classic Cr�me Br�l�e. (919-493-8545)
A colorful fantasy-like painting adorns the ceiling of this unusual dining room, and thick red pillars, strands of Christmas tree lights and a metallic lantern overhead add to the vibrant design. Diners fill closely pack tables and feast on interesting Med-inspired bites from wild mushroom risotto with porcini cream to pork loin with fennel rosemary crust, apricot honey sauce and olive oil mashed potatoes. While a variety of sweet bites and after dinner drinks are available, the chocolate Tia Maria caramel torte, prepared with Belgian chocolate, macadamia nuts pecans and coconut, is not to be missed. (919-286-9712)
4 Vin Rouge
The glow of candlelight at each table illuminates the interior of this charming bistro. Framed photography collections and a fireplace line the deep red walls of one of the dining rooms, and a dark wood bar flanks the adjoining space. Authentic French fare, such as sole meunière with brown butter caper sauce, haricot verts and potato purée, satiates discriminating diners, who tend to linger afterwards to enjoy a crème brûlée, dessert wine or liqueur. (919-416-0466)
3 Fairview Dining Room
Located on the grounds of the Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club, this luxurious dining room features windows and a terrace facing the greens. Guests marvel at intriguing creations such as sea scallops with lobster orzo, lemon asparagus and champagne sweet corn cream. If that's not enough, an impressive white peach mousse parfait with sour cream pound cake, Bing cherry compote and Chantilly cream appears on the dessert list. Come on the weekend to indulge in a leisurely brunch, complete with live jazz. (919-490-0999)
For consistently good nouvelle Italian cuisine in a fun and inviting atmosphere, head over to Pop's. Situated in a converted historic tobacco warehouse, the ambience here is warmly industrial, with exposed brick, hardwood floors, and high ceilings. Menu selections include chicken cooked under a brick, ricotta and spinach stuffed mushrooms with Alfredo sauce, and Pop's salty egg and prosciutto pizza. (919-956-7677)
1 Four Square Restaurant
A restored 1908 Victorian house is the setting for this pleasantly sophisticated restaurant, with elegant polished wood floors, semi-private dining rooms, and stained glass windows. Though the atmosphere is worth mention, the real star here is the contemporary menu boasting a variety of innovative American dishes. The menu changes on a monthly basis, taking advantage of the freshest seasonal ingredients, but you may find include macadamia nut-crusted mahi-mahi in coconut lemon grass broth, and beef tenderloin with crab oscar-stuffed baby portabello mushrooms. (919-401-9877)