As one of the country’s most culturally diverse cities, Fayetteville offers a melting pot of cultures from its variety of restaurants, cafés and food trucks. Southern cooking and all-American fare also get high marks.
Here are some favorites, for whatever you’re craving.
BURGERS & ’DOGS
A longtime popular food truck, R Burger recently added a brick-and-mortar location called R Kitchen, on the edge of downtown Fayetteville. The mushroom and Swiss burger on a toasted white bun with a side of crispy fries is pure deliciousness.
Archway Burgers, Dogs & Beer in downtown Fayetteville offers a build-your-own concept. Look for the little white order pads and pencils upfront and mark your condiments and additions, including even fried green tomatoes and beer onions. Grab a craft beer and table on the sidewalk or under the brick arch for primo people-watching possibilities.
Hot Diggidy Dog on Roxie Avenue serves, as the name implies, pretty swell hotdogs. But it also makes melt-in-your-mouth Carolina-style burgers complete with mustard, chili, slaw and onions. The strawberry shakes are the real deal.
In an informal survey, Elizabeth’s Pizza on Hope Mills Road rises to the top. Consistency and friendly service keep the crowds coming back not just for pizza but also the authentic Italian pasta dishes and salads.
With a crust that is neither too thick nor too thin and impeccably fresh toppings, Little Italy near Cape Fear Valley Medical Center and Brooklyn Pizzeria on Ramsey Street also get the green light.
GREAT ASIAN FOOD?
Depends on what you want. For soul-soothing pho, a must is Vietnam Kitchen in Westwood Shopping Center. Pile on fresh cilantro, basil, sprouts and jalapenos. Kind, thoughtful service.
For Chinese takeout, it’s hard to beat Hong Kong Restaurant, also in Westwood Shopping Center. Super-fresh ingredients and generous portions turn one meal into two — or more. And you’ll find the best steamed dumplings, too.
If sushi is your jam, visit Nona on Ramsey Street. The lobster and dragon rolls are the stuff of dreams. Hibachi dishes are also on the menu. The modern dining room is beautifully lit, setting the scene for romantic memories.
For Indian food, a perennial favorite is Bombay Bistro. Chef Kelly makes magic of legumes and vegetables in aromatic sauces, herbs and spices. The vegetarian saag tofu and curries are splendid, as are the tender tandoori chicken, mild korma and, for those who like it extra hot, vindaloo.
SPEAKING OF VEGAN …
Vibe Gastropub downtown is your destination for creative vegan fare served in sophisticated boho surroundings. From beautifully composed salads to sandwiches and baked goods, the focus is on healthy freshness. Ambery Edge, the owner and chef, also operates a popular food truck, Authentique Café.
Fowler’s Southern Gourmet and Southern Coals are unrelated establishments that both serve up some of the most authentic pork barbecue, beef brisket and burnt ends (aka “meat candy”) in the state. You will also dig the Q at the stalwart Barbeque Hut. Crispy fried chicken wings, slaw and hushpuppies, too, since 1965. Wherever you go, do yourself a favor and wash it all down the proper way: with sweet tea.
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, along with great guac and ’Ritas, too. Three locations in different areas of town include Skibo Road, near the airport, and in western Cumberland County.
BEST STEAK & SEAFOOD
Both top choices for steak and seafood have earned a reputation for creating lovely memories for couples and families. Luigi’s Italian Chophouse & Bar prides itself on its beef entrees. A favorite is the ribeye marsala. Chilean sea bass is another winner. And, of course, the pasta.
Chris’s Steak & Seafood House boasts exceptional meats, including the popular filet mignon. Kebabs, grilled salmon and salads also are rave-worthy. Both restaurants possess stellar wine choices and happening bars.
See above for steak and seafood — both are date hot-spots for amazing meals. Add to the list Antonella’s Italian Ristorante, an intimate corner bistro in downtown Fayetteville. Whether it’s a first date or a proposal, Antonella’s doesn’t disappoint. Cue up Frank Sinatra, break out the champagne and enjoy!
Come to your happy place, the Fayetteville institution Zorba’s. Not only is the Greek restaurant known for its gyros, Wednesday spaghetti specials and homemade baklava, but its hearty breakfast choices come at bargain prices. The mood is jovial and will start your day off with a smile.
A stone’s throw from Zorba’s on Raeford Road is a Greek-owned diner, Lindy’s (and yes, the two eateries are like family). Lindy’s is open for a hearty breakfast and lunch, with daily specials. The omelets and hamburger steak are standouts.
Superior Bakery on Hope Mills Road is a mini-wonderland of baked goods. What to explore first? The freshly made breads, Greek baked goods, Southern-inspired cakes or doughnuts? It all looks and smells so good. Grab a little bit of each to take home.
German sweets such as apple strudel, Black Forest cake and linzer cookies are specialties of Max & Moritz in Cliffdale Square. It’s also a café that serves authentic schnitzels, rouladen, red cabbage, spaetzle and more — along with German beers and wines.
Craving a cupcake? At downtown’s The Sweet Palette, choose from dozens of varieties — from key lime to red velvet. If tempted to try the colorful macarons, just do. Make sure to check out the Facebook page for the latest art and poetry events, too.
Here are more dining-out choices:
Circa 1800: Billed as the place for “locally focused New Southern cuisine,” this restaurant serves a brunch menu that features Duckin’ Waffle Poutine, fried green tomatoes, and shrimp and grits, and a dinner menu with Seafood Purloo. 108 Person St. 910-568-4725
J.K.’s Family Restaurant & Deli: Biscuits, eggs, Belgian waffles, hotcakes, omelets and breakfast sandwiches satisfy your morning hunger. The restaurant has been family-owned and -operated since 1984. 125 Owen Drive. 910-485-3711
Latitude 35 Bar & Grill: The breakfast menu boasts classic Benedicts, a western omelet, huevos rancheros breakfast wraps and pancake griddle. A Cubano sandwich and shrimp and grits are favorites. 1217 Hay St. 910-485-4777
Peaden’s Seafood & Catering: A longtime favorite for Calabash-style seafood, Southern fried chicken and Eastern North Carolina barbecue.1600 McArthur Road. 910-488-1972
The Friend’s Table: Featuring “handcrafted” cuisine and drinks including chicken and waffles, shrimp and grits, and Southern Caesar salad, as well as mojitos, mimosas and espresso. 253 Westwood Shopping Center. 910-849-3122
Uptown’s Chicken & Waffles: Chef Judy McLean, who competed on the Food Network show “Chopped,” serves classic Southern pairings. Ramada Plaza, 1707 Owen Drive. 910-676-8039
Vicky’s Biscuits & Chicken: Featuring biscuits stuffed with country ham, a pork chop, sausage, chicken or steak. Breakfast and lunch only. 128 Grove St. 910-491-2681
From Antonella’s to Zorba's
Where to find them
Antonella’s Italian Ristorante: 300 Hay St. 910-486-0046
Archway Burgers, Dogs & Beer: 113 Person St. 910-758-9449
Bombay Bistro: 5945 Cliffdale Road. 910-487-0020
Brooklyn Pizzeria: 4411 Ramsey St. 910-491-4585
Chris’s Steak & Seafood House: 2620 Raeford Road. 910-485-4242
El Cazador: 1904 Skibo Road, 910-864-0700; 2800 Gillespie St. (Airport Plaza), 910-480-0084; 7835 Good Middling Drive, 910-758-8026
Elizabeth’s Pizza & Italian Restaurant: 2468 Hope Mills Road. 910-424-2848
Fowler’s Southern Gourmet: 723 W. Rowan St. 910-491-5721
Hong Kong Restaurant: 169 Westwood Shopping Center. 910-867-6464
Hot Diggidy Dog: 106 Roxie Ave. 910-426-1300
Lindy’s: 3001 Raeford Road. 910-500-8032
Little Italy Pizzeria and Restaurant: 1400 Walter Reed Road. 910-867-8700
Luigi’s Italian Chophouse & Bar: 528 N. McPherson Church Road. 910-864-1810
Max & Moritz: 5945 Cliffdale Road.910-826-8400
Nona Sushi Asia: 4411 Ramsey St. 910-920-2400
R Kitchen: 1006 Person St. 910-527-1467.
Also, R Burger food truck: Rotating locations in the region; see the Facebook page on where to find the truck.
Southern Coals: 3319-C Raeford Road. 910-745-7675
Superior Bakery: 2433 Hope Mills Road. 910-424-4242
The Barbeque Hut: 2802 Fort Bragg Road, 910-485-5390 and 2965 Owen Drive, 910-484-1975
The Sweet Palette: 101 Person St. 910-489-7342
Vibe Gastropub: 131 Hay St. 910-491-8259
Vietnam Kitchen: 248 Westwood Shopping Center. 910-500-9011
Zorba’s Gyro on a Spit: 2919 Raeford Road. 910-484-1010