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Need recommendation for RTP business dinner


Foodie in Vancouver
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Hello from Vancouver, BC. I will be in RTP on the first weekend of February for a business meeting and need to host a dinner on Friday, February 3rd for approximately 12 people, mostly physicians. My ideal restaurant will have wonderful food with an emphasis on fresh and/or local, a good wine list at reasonable prices and a not-too-noisy room allowing for conversation. With the exception of myself and 2 colleagues none of us will have met previously thus a quiet room will be helpful, as will good food and wine. The group will be staying at The Siena Hotel so the restaurant should be close enough to take a cab. Oh - the last requirement is not too pricey - I would love to get away with approximately $75 - $90 pp inclusive of food, wine and gratutity. (Is this a reasonable price point or am I hoping for the impossible?)

Three restaurants that have been recommended are: Elaines on Franklin, The Lantern Restaurant and 411 West.

What do you think? Do any of these fit my requirements? Are there other restaurants I should consider? And, last question - where should I go on Thursday evening - I will be on my own and have way fewer requirements, other than good food and good wine!

Any advice will be gratefully received. Don't hesitate to ask for Vancouver restaurant recommendations if you are ever in this area.

Cheers,

Karole

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If you're staying at the Siena, why not consider its restaurant, Il Palio? Top notch Italian, but it may be a bit beyond your price range.

I'd rule out 411 West -- loud, loud, loud, and the food isn't anything all that special. I'm not sure Lanternwould work, although I love the restaurant. It's a bit dark, can be cramped, and also can be loud.

Elaine's might be a good choice, but I don't think they have a private room -- I just can't remember, to be honest. The food is top notch.

Will the docs be steak eaters? You could give Bin 54 a try. It's a new, high end steakhouse in Chapel Hill that is very good. This may crash your budget, however. I'd also consider Jujube, a new Asian joint that is owned and operated by eGullet Society member detlefchef.

Acme in Carrboro has very good food, but again, I'm not sure about a private room.

La Residence isn't the restaurant it once was, but it's still very good French. They certainly have private rooms and could accomodate you.

I've focused almost exclusively on Chapel Hill, but if the docs are located in another town, you could consider Raleigh or Durham, too. Give us some more parameters, and we'll hook you up. And because I work with doctors every day, I've got a pretty decent idea of what they look for!

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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In Durham there's a bunch more options. Magnolia Grill is recommended by most everyone but could be a little crowded for your purposes. Also there's Four Square and Nana's. On the hotel dining side there's The Fairview at the Washington Duke Inn but that might be a little expensive for your budget with wines. Back in Chapel Hill there's the Carolina Crossroads, which is relatively similar to The Fairview in feel.

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The Siena's restaurant is quite good. Just down the road is Weathervane, the restaurant at A Southern Season. It's at University Mall - walkable, if it's not too cold. (Heck, what am I saying - y'all are from Vancouver!) I ate at Jujube for the first time Saturday and we enjoyed it, but I wonder if they'd have a hard time handling 12 people in a group. I would also veto 411 for the same reasons as Varmint. Carolina Crossroads is the restaurant at the Carolina Inn, and is good as well. It would be probably the most quiet environment of the restaurants mentioned so far. It borders the UNC campus, so if it's a nice evening, you could stroll through. Luckily for you, no basketball game that night, but there is one on Saturday Feb. 4 (UNC vs. Clemson).

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Thanks for all the ideas. Turns out with everyone's flight schedules, food preferences, issues and concerns that we are simply can't manage to get everyone out to a restaurant so we going to stay in the hotel for dinner. The hotel is the Siena and I have been assured that it will be good. Who knew organizing dinner for 17 people you haven't met could be so difficult?

The good news is that this project will bring me back to the RDU area several times over the next year so I, at least, will get a chance to try all your suggestions.

My sincere thanks to all who offered such great ideas. Please let me know if you are ever in the Vancouver area so I can return the favour.

Cheers,

Karole

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Well, don't go under the impression that you'll be 'settling for dinner at the hotel' - Il Palio is the only restaurant in a hotel that I'm looking forward to visiting. Should be excellent. I'm waiting for my wife to get a drug rep invite there so she can check it out.

~Ed

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Oh dear - I hope I didn't sound as if I was disappointed in the hotel as a dinner option. It is just that when one is at a hotel for several days of meetings, getting out, at least for a meal, is quite welcome and can often be the only real clue that you are somewhere. It seems when you have all 3 meals in the same place for several days that one starts to get just a tad weary of eating. God forbid I should feel ambivalent about my food.

Cheers,

Karole

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If I had an extra free evening in Chapel Hill, I'd definately go to Crook's Corner (easy cab ride up Franklin St from your hotel).

Here's a link to the restaurant's web site that includes their current menu and winelist: http://www.crookscorner.com/

If you enjoy Sazerac cocktails, they can make a fine one for you.

Edited by ludja (log)

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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The Siena's restaurant is quite good. Just down the road is Weathervane, the restaurant at A Southern Season. It's at University Mall - walkable, if it's not too cold. (Heck, what am I saying - y'all are from Vancouver!)

Since I'm working in Chapel Hill for a few weeks, I'm glad to see this thread--there are a couple of places I'd now like to try.

After a meal at the Weathervane last week, however, I have to say that while it's perfectly fine, don't go there expecting a meal that is in any way memorable--I'd put the food firmly in the "decent" category. And don't order beef there under any circumstances.

My restaurant blog: Mahlzeit!

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