News & Observer restaurant critic, Greg Cox, has named his top 25 restaurants in the Triangle, with Herons named as his restaurant of the year. There are a few new additions to his list, including Herons’ going from a no-show to the top performer. Others new to the list include Poole’s Downtown Diner, the Fearrington House, Second Empire, and Watts Grocery. Interestingly, the online version of this article only has 24 restaurants, unlike the print version, which included Fins on this year’s list. This is because this list went to press before the announcement was made that Fins is closed as it transforms to bu•ku.
Last year Cox included a number of value-type restaurants in his list, such as Allen & Son and China Palace, but no such cheap eats place remains on this year’s list. Cox has a completely separate list of top “Bargains.” Other restaurants that are no longer on the Top 25 are Bin 54, Dos Taquitos Centros, Enoteca Vin (closed).
This is a solid list and serves as a guide to the best of the best in the Triangle. One can argue about a restaurant here or there, but in the end, Cox does a super job helping his readers find the best places to eat.
For a geographic breakdown, of the top 24 restaurants, 10 are in Raleigh, 4 are in Chapel Hill, 6 are in Durham, 2 in Cary, 1 in Pittsboro and 1 in Hillsborough. Raleigh only has one of the “Best Bargains,” interestingly enough.
Greg Cox’s Top 24 Restaurants of the Triangle — 2010 Edition
Herons (Restaurant of the Year)
Elaine’s on Franklin
Poole’s Downtown Diner
Zely & Ritz
Top Newcomers of the Year
Busy Bee Cafe
Chef & the Farmer
Cypress on the Hill
Queen of Sheba
Allen & Son
Rockwood Filling Station
Skipper’s Fish Fry & Market
Taqueria La Vaquita