A couple of years ago, I moved from small but mighty Chapel Hill to their even smaller neighbor, the town of Carrboro. Though often overlooked as a food destination in the Triangle, Carrboro has amazing contenders worth visiting regardless of where you’re located! I compiled a list of the best restaurants in Carrboro for you to add to your Triangle restaurant bucket-list!
This article was originally written in July 2019 and last updated October 2021.
Located in a repurposed old train station, Thai Station has such a fun dining area. They are currently also offering curbside during the pandemic. We are really into their crab and cream cheese spring roll. I alternate my noodle order from the Pad See Ew and the Pad Kee Mao!
201 E Main St Suite C, Carrboro, NC 27510
How lucky are Carrboro residents that Oakleaf relocated from Pittsboro to Carrboro? Very lucky! They actually get me excited to eat vegetables. Their grilled broccolini made me immediately want another order, and they introduced me to my first sunflower shoots. Their ricotta gnocchi and duck confit make me drool just thinking about it. Reservations recommended!
310 E Main St, Carrboro, NC 27510
And speaking of doing amazing things with seasonal vegetables, Pizzeria Mercato does the same thing with their vegetables. I’m still working on adulting and consuming enough vegetables, and Pizzeria Mercato has trained me to be excited about what they do to them. We always get their crostini which is topped by whatever produce is in season. Their pizzas are always impeccable, and their housemade gelatos are a must.
408 W Weaver St, Carrboro, NC 27510
And while we’re chatting pizza, I followed Chef Teddy from when he headed Il Palio’s culinary efforts in Chapel Hill to opening his own venture, Coronato Pizza. I’m obsessed with his potato pizza pictured above and he also can trick me into eating my veggies with his salads. Oh, and if you’re in the mood for a sandwich, the il Caprese is perfection.
101 Two Hills Rd, #140, Carrboro, NC 27510
Glasshalfull is such an underrated restaurant in Carrboro. They have an upscale menu with a romantic semi-casual vibe. Their fairy lights-lit patio has major date vibes. We order the mini lobster rolls every time to share for the table, but I could see myself eating an order of these if I ever took myself out on a solo-date here. I also admire them for giving back to the community. On Tuesdays, ten percent of your bill will be donated to Lineberger’s cancer research efforts.
106 S Greensboro St, Carrboro, NC 27510
Tandem also has major date night vibes. Grabbing dinner at this dimly lit restaurant always feels intimate. We’ve enjoyed every meal we’ve had here. Their deviled eggs (a weakness of mine) have a creative spin to them. I love their hearty short ribs for dinner. Their Sunday brunch (pictured above) is also quite good!
200 N Greensboro St #1a, Carrboro, NC 27510
I’ve already featured Acme in my donut post and my brunch guide, but I’ll always be championing this community-building restaurant, so this won’t be the last you’ll hear me talking about Acme. Chef Kevin and his staff do so much to bolster the community not only in the Carrboro/Chapel Hill communities but in the Triangle overall. I open every single one of their emails. Their emails (or long-form epistles more like) are soulful, just like their food. Their cornbread is a must-order, by the way.
110 E Main St, Carrboro, NC 27510
Sugarface and I can eat at this taco truck multiple times in a week, and we have! Garnachas Rivera is my favorite taco truck in all of the Triangle. The truck has no visible signage when you pull up into the unassuming lot. It’s a modest blue truck, and it’s our taco mecca. It’s not very vegetarian-friendly, but what they do with their meats is magic. I usually get two lenguas (beef tongue) and two choriqueso. Sugarface religiously gets their carnitas and choriqueso. They’ll ask if you want green or red salsa but if you want the highest level of spice like I do, ask them for their orange sauce. It hurts so good.
102 Barnes St, Carrboro, North Carolina 27510
Taqueria El Bajio
A total dive, Taqueria el Bajio is in the back of a Mexican convenience store adjacent to a gas station. There is zero ambiance or online presence, but like Garnacha Rivera, Sugarface and I can eat here multiple times a week. We normally take it to go, but if you go this route, please double-check your order. I’ve had to come back a few times. We only ever get the gorditas here! I order the Al Pastor and Chorizo gorditas. They do have other items like meat plates and quesadillas. We’ve just only had and now constantly crave their gorditas.
Taqueria el Bajio
508 Jones Ferry Rd, Carrboro, NC 27510
And to keep the conversation of unassuming eateries going, add Gourmet Kingdom to your list of diamonds in the rough. Gourmet Kingdom makes up for their lack of ambiance with an expansive and authentic Chinese menu. If you live in Carrboro and don’t feel like making the hike to Cary for stellar Chinese food, then lucky you, you have Gourmet Kingdom!
301 E Main St, Carrboro, NC 27510
How lucky am I to live within walking distance from this well-respected and quaint deli in Carrboro, North Carolina? Neal’s Deli makes their own pastrami and corned beef. Both Sugarface and I both get the Pastrami Reubens with Zapp’s chips when we grab lunch here. When Sugarface’s mom is in town, I pick up fresh biscuits from Neal’s in the morning so she can make her biscuits and gravy.
100 East Main Street, Carrboro, N.C. 27510
Venable Rotisserie Bistro
I cannot do a list of Carrboro restaurants and leave Venable off. I am sad I don’t have a quality photo of their delicious chipotle salmon over whipped potatoes. I’ve also quite enjoyed their burgers. I personally don’t love their Asian noodle dishes (ramen and Pad Thai), but everything else has been great!
Venable Rotisserie Bistro
200 N Greensboro St, Carrboro, NC 27510
For more about the Triangle, check out my Ultimate Guide to the Triangle!
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