DestinationFAY: Foodie Dream Town

Fayetteville is filled with food options to wow your taste buds. As one of the country’s most culturally diverse cities, it also qualifies as a foodie’s dream with international restaurants that reflect a melting pot of cultures.

We have included some of the tastiest recommendations in this article. Please note, we recognize that there are many more outstanding choices out there, but space only allows for so much. One of our favorite local sources to gauge where and what people are eating is the public group page on Facebook called Dine-In & Takeout – Fayetteville, NC. CityView also features restaurants every month as part of the magazine’s editorial coverage and commitment to highlighting the very best that our community has to offer.

So, let’s get started on some of your most frequent requests …


WHERE CAN I GET A GREAT BURGER?
It’s not a restaurant, but the R Burger food truck keeps bringing us back for more juicy-liciousness. We woof down the thick mushroom/Swiss burger on a toasted white bun with a side of crispy fries. The truck is often spotted at Select Bank & Trust on Raeford Road (near the “social” Harris Teeter) and in front of The Forum Building on Breezewood Avenue. To find out where they will be cooking next, go to the R Burger Facebook page. Archway Burgers, Dogs & Beer in downtown Fayetteville also is getting rave reviews from repeat lunchtime customers who appreciate the food and craft brews. Hot Diggidy Dog on Roxie Avenue serves, as the name implies, pretty swell hot dogs. But they also make melt-in-your-mouth, Carolina-style burgers – complete with mustard, chili, slaw and onions.


BEST PIZZA?
In an informal survey, Elizabeth’s Pizza on Hope Mills Road rises to the top. Delicious consistency and friendly service keep the crowds coming back not just for pizza but
authentic Italian pasta dishes and more. With a crust that is neither too thick nor too thin and impeccably fresh toppings, Little Italy near Cape
Fear Valley Medical Center and Pierro’s downtown and on Ramsey Street all get the green light.


WHERE CAN I GET THE MOST AUTHENTIC ASIAN FOOD?
So many choices, so little time. Let’s start with Saigon Bistro, the place for slow food, done right. Handsdown, the best pho (commonly pronounced fuh), the Vietnamese comfort soup. Actually, the menu is a combination of Vietnamese, Thai and Chinese dishes, and their avocado or mango smoothies are nirvana on hot days. Make sure to say hello to the friendly husband and- wife owners, Kim and Kha. Another great choice for strictly Thai is Prik Thai. Favorites are the Tom Kha, a coconut milk-based soup that’s spiked with lemongrass, and Pad Thai, rich with thick noodles and peanut sauce (add chicken, shrimp or tofu). For Chinese takeout, it’s hard to beat Hong Kong Restaurant in Westwood Shopping Center. Supremely fresh ingredients and generous portions turn one meal into two – or more. And the best steamed dumplings, too.


WHERE CAN WE GO FOR VEGETARIAN OR VEGAN DISHES?
Run – don’t walk – to perennial award winner Bombay Bistro. Chef Kelly makes magic of legumes and vegetables in aromatic sauces, herbs and spices. The saag tofu and curries are beyond splendid. Nonvegetarian standouts include the tender tandoori chicken, mild chicken korma and, for those who like it extra-hot, the vindaloo.

AUTHENTIC MEXICAN FOOD?
At El Cazador, owner/Chef Agustin Alvarez offers all your Mexican favorites, from overstuffed beef burritos to shrimp, chicken and steak fajitas, tacos, quesadillas and tamales … and great guac and ‘Ritas, too. We hope for the return of Mariachi bands soon!

BEST STEAK AND … SEAFOOD?
Both of our top choices for steak and seafood have earned a reputation for creating lovely memories for couples and families. They live “the dining experience.” Luigi’s Italian Chophouse & Bar prides itself on its beef program. A personal favorite entrée is the ribeye marsala. The Chilean sea bass is another winner. Chris’s Steak & Seafood House prides itself on exceptional meats, including the popular filet mignon. Shishkabobs, grilled salmon and salads also are rave worthy. Both restaurants possess stellar wine choices and happening bars.

Luigi’s Italian Chophouse and Bar- ribeye topped with a shrimp skewer and sauteed mushrooms
Antonella Scibilia owner/chef and her son, Giancarlo at her Antonella’s Italian Ristorante at 300 Hay Street

ANOTHER GREAT OPTION FOR ROMANTIC DINING? SAY, A PLACE TO “POP THE QUESTION”?
Antonella’s Italian Ristorante, an intimate corner bistro in downtown Fayetteville, just might be your spot to make fireworks happen – whether it’s a first date or a proposal. Cue up the Frank Sinatra. Break out the champagne and … GO! (The food is amazing, too.)


BREAKFAST JOINT?
We say, come to our happy place, a Fayetteville institution, Zorba’s. Not only is the Greek restaurant known for its gyros, Wednesday spaghetti specials and homemade baklava, but hearty breakfast choices at bargain prices. The mood is jovial and will start your day off with a smile. Another morning go-to is The Rainbow Restaurant on Ramsey Street, which has been serving customers for three generations.


BEST BAKERIES?
Superior Bakery is a mini wonderland of baked goods. What to explore first? The freshly made breads, European cookies, Southern inspired cakes or doughnuts? It all looks and smells so good. Grab a little bit of each to take home. Craving a cupcake? At The Sweet Palette, choose from dozens of varieties – from key lime to red velvet. If tempted to try the colorful macarons, just do. The talented owners also can take an inspiration piece from you – say, a cartoon character or vintage family photographs – to create theme cakes that will amaze and delight on birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions.