Take Out


Laughing Seed Cafe
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Named after an Indonesian legend extolling the seeds of a plant that supposedly promotes divine conversation and physical satiation, this cafe has been a city mainstay for decades. Dedicated to local, organic ingredients and a global food sensibility, it puts folks at ease as it caters to their myriad tastes. At brunch, that means an assortment of traditional breakfast foods, including omelets and waffles, coupled with lunchtime offerings like salads and sandwiches. Also offers a juice bar and seasonal outdoor dining.

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Located in Biltmore Village, Chelsea's is a quaint little dessert place tucked away in a gift shop. Here you can find a unique gift for a lady, French and European antiques, wonderful desserts, fancy foods and even a proper English tea.

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This tiny, local success story is just the sort of place you want to frequent when the weather's chilly and spring seems far away. It turns out amazing Latin-Caribbean fare, lavishing freshness and flavor on its menu with abandon and attracting a strong, loyal clientele in the process. While the interior is subdued, the food absolutely sings. Lush soups, lively, savory fish burritos, exemplary margaritas, a wonderful pork plate, shrimp empanadas and fresh, zesty salsas are among the delicious options. The menu changes to feature seasonal ingredients, and the place even sells its own hot sauce.

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At first glance, this restaurant/brew pub/movie theater never fails to attract attention. It boasts a metallic, oddly curved exterior and an enormous, purple gorilla, and first-time patrons often wonder just what to expect. Inside, the sparse, gently used decor is a perfect backdrop for the restaurant's extensive selection of locally crafted microbrews and its eclectic menu. Diners can choose from a variety of salads, quesadillas, sandwiches, pastas, and pizzas, each named after movie and television icons. The local favorite is Popeye's Spinach burger, a savory spinach patty with grilled onions, mushrooms, and cheese. There are also gourmet pizza selections as well as a create-your-own pizza option and a wide variety of crusts and sauces from which to choose. Two movies play nightly on the big screen, and selections change weekly.

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When there's a line out the door, you know the place has got to be good. And such is the case here. Crowds assemble each day to order soups, salads, and sandwiches that are uniformly fresh and tasty. Be prepared to take your lunch back to desk (or the park), though – Loretta's has very little room inside to sit.

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Cozy lighting and atmosphere make this enticing cafe a good bet when you want a meal with flavors beyond the status quo. The kitchen at the funky New American restaurant uses fresh, locally-grown, organic ingredients to create outstanding "urban world" dishes. What this means is a menu that sifts through global cuisines and then presents their best dishes. It includes a Middle Eastern platter, habanero pulled pork quesadillas, chimichangas, and lots of seasonal offerings. Colorful desserts are also worth sampling.

Read more about Ophelia's World Cafe & Bar →

Rich colors adorn the dining room of this Middle Eastern restaurant, and a back room, known as "the tent," features low tables with pillow seating and exotic chandeliers. On Saturday nights, belly dancers entertain guests and a special menu is served in the tent Thursday-Saturday nights. Reasonable, tasty fare and inexpensive drinks add to the café's popularity.

Read more about Jerusalem Garden Cafe →

Mosaic Cafe & Coffeehouse

Mosaic's name is obvious when you see its patterned tabletops, but it's also more subtly indicated by the menu's varied offerings. Deli sandwiches are assembled with your choice of bread, fresh panini options such as roasted chicken with marinara or choose a classic reuben using Boars Head deli meats and cheeses. Salads, soups, and desserts also come into play, and daily specials further expand the possibilities. Look, too, for hot and cold teas and coffees, along with frosty fruit smoothies.

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Within an intimate downtown space, diners thrill to a delicious selection of Japanese dishes prepared with an unwavering eye toward freshness. Noodle bowls, salmon katsu, and beautifully prepared sushi are among the temptations, and the flavors are always spot-on. A certain creativity adds occasional flair to some options, but the chef's inventiveness is always to your benefit. Ideal for when you want the exotic bite of miso, garlic, soy, tobiko, and peppers.

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Owned and operated by two sisters, Carmel's boasts multi-pronged appeal, offering weekly live music, terrific outdoor seating, and fantastic cuisine that capitalizes on local ingredients and a judicious hand in the kitchen. Take, for instance, grilled lamb loin with a dijon demi-glace, or look to pan-seared sea scallops with mushroom ravioli to sate your hunger pangs. Other possibilities include an 10-oz. hand cut strip steak with grilled romaine and grape tomatoes, herb-marinated pork tenderloin or hoisin-glazed St. Louis ribs.

Read more about Carmel's Restaurant and Bar →