(Updated 7/15/2015) When it's time to do some shopping and get your credit card revved up, Cameron Village is one of the most popular spots in the Raleigh area! But of course as you do your power shopping, who doesn't work up an appetite? And as an older, classic shopping plaza, Cameron Village has got tons of choices for great gifts but not quite as many great ones for dining. While there are old stand-by's such as Carolina Cafe and the Flying Biscuit, I'd probably lean towards some newer choices. And since I live right in the hood, I tend to be picky when it comes to a good meal when visiting Cameron Village!
My new favorite at Cameron Village is Tazza Kitchen which replaced my OLD favorite, Cafe Caturra. Located on the backside near Rite-Aid, look for the wood-paneled patio area. Tazza Kitchen has a great feel inside: dark and hip, it reminds me of a spot you might find on the West coast. Tazza specializes in items from their imported from Italy, wood stove. So we're talking pizzas and other dishes served in cast-iron platters. And it's all pretty darn delicious!
For openers, try out their brussel sprouts with bacon and egg. Or how about some luscious pork, veal and beef meatballs? But my favorite is still their thin-crust, Neapolitan style pizzas. I've done a sausage with black-pepper honey along with a white bechamel-onion-bacon pie, both were excellent. Add in some great wine choices by the glass along with local NC beers and you've got a wonderfully versatile restaurant for small groups. A great stop if you're in Cameron Village, here's the full review on Tazza Kitchen.
Next on my Cameron Village list is the new Ajisai Japanese restaurant! A super modern and slick take on sushi and more, Ajisai has a cool bar lit up with blue LED lighting and a smallish dining room. While sushi is never cheap (and you don't want it to be), Ajisai does a great lunch for $10 - $12 for bento boxes, sushi and more. Given the great décor and food, it's a great and unconventional choice for lunch in Cam Village.
The recently opened Tupelo Honey Cafe is causing a big buzz in Raleigh and for good reason! Large portions of inventive Southern fare means you get the best of both worlds: a satisfying meal with plenty of flavor! I've tried their Appalachian egg rolls (pulled pork-collards), Cajun mac n cheese with blackened shrimp, ham wontons and shrimp and grits.
Everything is really satisfying at Tupelo Honey Café and delivered with Southern hospitality. Located in the new development off of Oberlin Road (on the edge of Cameron Village), parking may be tricky but there are spaces behind the restaurant in the work-live structure.
Cameron Bar and Grill is another solid dining choice. Old-school woods and pictures of Raleigh from days gone by, Cameron B&G does some interesting sandwiches like short rib with collards along with a nice meatloaf-cheddar with spicy ketchup. Paired with their house-made chips, you've got yourself a solid meal. The Cameron Bar and Grill usually has some good daily specials including a half rack of ribs on Thursday for $8! And don't miss their sidewalk patio on the summer, it's gotta be fantastic.
Village Draft House has been a Cameron Village favorite for years. With great bar food and burgers, what really draws people to Village Draft House is their large selection of excellent beers! Take note that Village Draft House is not as big as it used to be, they've cut back on their dining space a while ago.
My last visit to Village Draft House was for an excellent French dip sandwich paired with great onion rings! Wednesday is typically draft night special with all pints at $3.50 minus the higher ABV offerings. Village Draft House is a great spot to grab a quick bite or catch the game in Cameron Village...
And don't forget Cantina 18 which delivers a nice spin on Southwestern eats from the folks that run Seaboard 18. Quesadillas, tacos and more in a comfortable casual setting. Cantina 18 has a nice brunch menu and sidewalk seating options for fresh air!
For more casual fare, grab a sandwich at the only two story Chick-fil-A in the country! This spot can get crazy busy with a long line at the drive-thru but they are fast and polite. Who can resist a solid chicken sandwich and their famous waffle fries? This Chick-fil-A is big and great for children with a small patio and play area. Super popular with mom's and kids, don't miss their double drive-thru in back.
You've also got a new Which Wich in Cameron Village which puts out some great sandwiches customized just the way you want it. Step inside, grab a bag and check off your sandwich type and customized ingredients. While Which Wich doesn't put out an over-sized sammich, they're solid, tasty and made on some great bread. Certainly worth the effort and a step up from Subway.
Once you're done with lunch or dinner, I'd suggest wandering over to Sugarland which puts out wonderful cupcakes, gelatos and coffee. While it's a bit pricey, the cupcakes are moist and loaded with deliciousness along with some cream. They've got a great assortment of fresh gelatos along with a full bar, imagine that? Or if you're not in the mood for alkyhol, go for one of their coffee drinks. On Tuesday's they typically run cupcakes for 1/2 off, dine-in only. A great spot for a happy ending or hanging out with your laptop, Sugarland in Raleigh will deliver some smiles.
So once you're doing shop, shop shopping, consider any of the above choices to fuel up yourself. You definitely have got some good dining choices if not great. Right in Cameron Village or just outside, choose from fresh sandwiches, sushi, burgers, Asian and more to refill your tank after you're done shopping.
Best Dining, Restaurants at Cameron Village in Raleigh
Cameron Village Restaurants Ron Wen Rating: 7 out of 10