20 Best Restaurants in Cary, NC

This article was written by local contributor Brenda Bennett & edited by the Travel Lens team.

Best Restaurants in Cary, NC
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Cary, North Carolina, is known for its beautiful parks, great schools, and thriving community.

But as someone who's lived here for years, I can't help but rave about the fantastic dining scene this town has to offer.

From cozy cafes and food trucks to fine dining and international cuisine, there's something to satisfy any palate in this charming Southern town.

Let me take you on a culinary journey through the 20 best restaurants in Cary, North Carolina – a list that I've personally curated through countless meals and delightful dining experiences.

La Grassa Pastificio

Seafood pasta at La Grassa Pastificio

Last night, I had one of the best Italian dining experiences at La Grassa Pastificio.

As soon as I walked in, I was welcomed by the cozy and romantic ambiance that instantly set the mood for a delightful evening.

I started off with their heavenly rosemary focaccia, which was so delicious that I could have easily devoured the entire loaf.

For my main course, I decided on their seasonal ravioli – a butternut squash dish with crushed almond cookies – and it was nothing short of brilliant and unique.

My friend opted for the eggplant parmigiana, and even though I'm not usually a fan of eggplant, I would happily order it as my own entree next time.

It was incredibly flavorful and had the perfect balance of sauce and cheese.

We couldn't resist trying one of their desserts, so we shared the tiramisu.

I'm usually not a huge tiramisu person, but this one was exceptional.

It had just the right balance of coffee flavor while still allowing us to appreciate the creamy mascarpone and delicate ladyfingers.

To top it all off, we enjoyed some of the best cappuccinos I've ever had – they were spot on!

Saffron Indian Cuisine

Hot chicken served at Saffron Indian Cuisine

My family and I decided to try out Saffron Indian Cuisine the other day and let me tell you, it was an amazing experience.

The moment we walked in, we were greeted by the rich aroma of exotic spices and a beautifully decorated setting that made us feel welcome and excited to embark on a culinary adventure.

The menu had a vast array of choices, from classic dishes to unique creations, making it difficult to choose what to order!

We eventually settled on Vegetable Samosa, Sweet Corn Soup, Stuffed Chicken Roll, Chicken Korma, Lamb Saag, Tikka Masala, Vindaloo, and Garlic Naan.

Each dish was carefully crafted and bursting with authentic Indian flavors.

The Naan was steamy, fluffy, and crispy all at the same time - absolutely incredible!

One of the highlights of our visit was the Scallop appetizer with its mesmerizing sauce, steeped carrots, and broccoli.

It was unlike anything we'd ever tasted before.

We also enjoyed Kheer for dessert, which was a sweet and satisfying way to end our meal.

Koi Ramen

Black Garlic Paitan Ramen at Koi Ramen

I recently discovered Koi Ramen just off of N. Harrison and NW Maynard in Cary.

This small, unassuming eatery has quickly become one of my go-to spots for delicious, authentic ramen.

The cozy interior offers single bar seating along the window and kitchen, a few 4-seat and 2-seat tables, and even metal picnic tables outside for those wanting to enjoy their meal al fresco.

The variety of ramen choices is impressive, but I finally settled on the Tan Tan Paitan Ramen, which lived up to my expectations.

The broth was rich and flavorful, thanks to their skillful and long cooking process that takes a whole 8 hours.

I also appreciate that they use a chicken bone base instead of the traditional pork bone soup base, catering to American taste buds.

I couldn't resist trying a few appetizers as well, and the gyoza and takoyaki were both delectable.

The gyoza had the perfect balance of meat and vegetables wrapped in delicate, crispy skin.

The takoyaki was tender and flavorful, making it the perfect starter to share.

I've tried the chicken curry ramen with added tofu and the black garlic paitan ramen, and both were exceptional.

The portion sizes are generous, leaving me satisfied and eager to return for more.

M Sushi Cary

Sushi at M Sushi Cary

Last week, I decided to treat myself to a night out and visit M Sushi Cary for the first time.

As soon as I entered the restaurant, I was impressed by the ambiance and the welcoming atmosphere.

The real star of the show was, of course, the sushi.

Each piece was expertly crafted with a perfect balance of rice and fish, and the flavors were fresh and flavorful.

I ordered a variety of tuna, shrimp, and yellowtail options, and I was blown away by the quality and taste of each piece.

What really sets M Sushi Cary apart is their proprietary soy sauce, which had a wasabi punch that was just right.

It complemented the sushi beautifully and made my dining experience even more special.

I also tried the wagyu beef appetizer, which was delicious and cooked to perfection.

For dessert, I indulged in their unique coconut sorbet served in a coconut shell, topped with crunchy cacao nibs.

It was not too sweet and provided a refreshing end to my meal.

So Hot

Hot pot at So Hot

I decided to give So Hot a try after hearing so much about their delicious hot pot and Asian cuisine.

Upon entering the restaurant, I was greeted by a friendly host robot, which added a high-tech and trendy touch to the ambiance.

The place was spacious, clean, and nicely decorated, making it an ideal spot for large groups and family gatherings.

The hot pot options were simply amazing, with a wide array of broth bases and mix-ins to choose from.

I particularly loved the spicy Szechuan broth, which had just the right amount of heat and flavor.

The ingredients were all of high quality, and it was evident that they were sourced responsibly.

One unique feature of So Hot is their all-you-can-eat policy, which allows you to indulge in various meats, veggies, and noodles without worrying about the cost.

Don't miss out on their sauce and toppings bar – I made a special peanut sauce dip with soybean paste and black vinegar that complemented the hot pot perfectly.

As a woman-owned and operated business, So Hot also promotes healthy dining and is very kid-friendly.

Himalayan Nepali Cuisine

Crispy fried snack at Himalayan Nepali Cuisine

I recently decided to treat myself to a meal at Himalayan Nepali Cuisine after hearing rave reviews from friends and family.

This simple venue serving Nepalese and Indian fare features a modest, colorful dining room with an informal vibe that I found to be quite welcoming.

The menu offers a wide variety of dishes, and the Lamb Tikka caught my eye – and it did not disappoint.

The food was cooked to perfection, and the portions were generous.

I was particularly impressed with their spice scale, which I found to be quite accurate.

As someone who tends to be sensitive to spice, I appreciated that I could trust their recommendations.

They also offer event catering, takeout, and delivery options for those who prefer to enjoy their meal from the comfort of their own home.

Hank's Downtown Dive

Fies and fried chicken at Hank's Downtown Dive

From the moment I walked into Hank's Downtown Dive, I was impressed by the warm and inviting atmosphere of the restaurant.

I started my evening with a cocktail from their excellent selection.

I decided to go with one of their signature cocktails, and it was a great choice – the flavors were amazing, and the alcohol content was just right.

For dinner, I couldn't resist trying their fried chicken, which is gluten-free – a big plus for me as a person with celiac disease.

It was a unique and delicious take on the classic dish, and I'll definitely be coming back for more.

I also had a chance to taste the Crispy Cauliflower and Mushroom Toast, and both were fantastic appetizers.

The menu changes weekly, which ensures that there is always something new and fresh to try.

One of the highlights of my night was indulging in their Ribeye steak, which was served sliced and topped with blue cheese and a creamy horseradish sauce.

The presentation was impressive, and the steak was tender, flavorful, and cooked to perfection.

Next time, I'll make sure to come hungry, as the portions at Hank's Downtown Dive are generous, to say the least.

I'm also looking forward to sitting on their outdoor patio, which I think has a lot of untapped potential – it's secluded and private, making it the perfect spot for a more intimate dining experience.

El Amigo Mexican Restaurant

Gordita De Al Pastor at El Amigo Mexican Restaurant

One of my favorite spots to eat in town is El Amigo Mexican Restaurant.

I've been eating here often, and I must say, it's a hidden gem in Cary.

The employees are always very nice, and the food is fantastic.

I usually go for their popular chicken tacos - the chicken is grilled to perfection and comes with a corn tortilla, cilantro, lime, radishes, grilled onions, a side of sauce, a slice of grilled pepper, and raw onions (though I always ask for no raw onions).

The flavors are incredibly fresh and satisfying.

My husband loves to order the tamales along with his chicken tacos, and they're just as delicious.

We've tried various items from their menu, like the sopes, tortas, and even a chicken sope, which was amazing with beans, avocado, and sour cream.

It's hard to say which one is my favorite because they're all so good!

To wash it all down, their juices and horchata are always tasty.

We tried the tamarind juice, and it was a delightful surprise.

The ambiance is also great, with the outdoor dining area and the typical Mexican decor inside, plus the Mexican music playing in the background.

TrySeafood Grill in Cary

Grilled lemon shrimps at TrySeafood Grill

Recently, I decided to give TrySeafood Grill in Cary a try.

The family setting and environment are perfect for an enjoyable dining experience.

Upon entering the restaurant, I immediately noticed its casual yet nice ambiance, offering both indoor and outdoor seating options.

The place is located in a shopping mall with Harris Teeter and Walgreens nearby, so it's easy to grab a bite after running some errands.

During my visit, I opted for their Rasta pasta and found it to be quite flavorful with a well-balanced mix of spices.

The dish was not overwhelmingly spicy, making it an enjoyable experience for my taste buds.

I also tried their crab hush puppies, which were unique and absolutely delicious.

My friend who accompanied me loved the blackened catfish, and we both agreed that the honey butter cornbread was the best we'd ever had.

Sophie's Grill and Bar

Burger at Sophie's Grill and Bar

I've always loved the friendly atmosphere at Sophie's Grill and Bar, and I finally decided to stop by for dinner with my friends.

Since we were a big group, we decided to try several dishes, including the popular Chicken Schnitzel with Creamy Mushroom Sauce, Stuffed Cabbage Rolls, Slavonian Paprikash, Mozzarella in Carrozza, and Baked Armenian Figs.

Everything was absolutely delicious, and I was particularly impressed with their Hungarian Goulash - the rich flavors were so intense that I could eat it every week forever.

I wanted to try something new for drinks, so I asked the staff for cocktail recommendations.

They suggested a Boulevardier and a Brazilian Classic Caipirinha, which were both amazing.

The ladies' room also caught our attention with its unique and fun decorations.

I loved the fact that they have multiple TVs showing various sports, but they're on mute, so you can still enjoy a good conversation.

The ambiance is perfect for a night out with friends or family.

Istanbul Restaurant

Meat platter with rice, salad and dips at Istanbul Restaurant

From the moment I walked into Istanbul Restaurant, I was impressed by the elegant surroundings, warm hospitality, and relaxing ambiance.

After years of driving by, I finally decided to give it a try, and I'm so glad I did!

As soon as I was seated, I was greeted with a warm welcome and a smile from the staff.

They brought me a nice glass of water, oil with spices, and warm bread, which I found to be a fantastic start to my dining experience.

The menu offers a wide variety of Middle Eastern foods, including chicken, beef, lamb, and seafood.

I decided to order the kofta kabob, which came with a small salad and rice.

The meat was cooked to perfection, retaining its juicy texture and not dried out as it can be in some other places.

The portion sizes were generous, and I was pleased with the overall presentation.

During my visit, I also had the chance to taste their delicious lamb chops, which were cooked over wood coals, giving them a unique smoky flavor.

Accompanied by rice and a small salad, this dish was truly a delight.

For dessert, I couldn't resist trying the Turkish Trilece, a delightful cake that melts in your mouth with its light texture and sweet caramel topping.

Another dish that caught my attention was the Turkish Borek with Spinach and Feta.

This savory treat is similar to spanikopita and is absolutely mouthwatering.

To complete my authentic Turkish dining experience, I enjoyed a cup of Sultan tea, sweetened with sugar cubes as per tradition.

Istanbul Restaurant is a hidden gem in Cary that shouldn't be missed.

Chef's Palette

Appetizing meal with steak at Chef's Palette

One of my favorite spots to enjoy a great dining experience in Cary is Chef's Palette, located at the corner of Kildaire Farm Road and Ten Ten Road.

This warm and welcoming restaurant offers an amazing combination of creative flair, originality, and mouthwatering dishes made from the freshest ingredients.

The bright interior, exceptional live music on Saturday nights, and walls decorated with original artwork by local artists make the experience even more delightful.

During my recent visit, I had the opportunity to enjoy their Thanksgiving spread, and oh, what a treat it was!

Every dish was a delight to the senses, from the perfectly roasted turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and gravy to the delicious salmon, mac & cheese, and sweet potatoes.

The dessert selection was truly mind-blowing, with the creme brulee being my personal favorite.

Aroma Korea Sushi & Grill

Sushi platter at Aroma Korea Sushi & Grill

One of my favorite spots to satisfy my cravings for Korean food is Aroma Korea Sushi & Grill in Cary.

It's open late, which is perfect for when I want to enjoy a delicious meal after work or catch up with friends in a friendly atmosphere.

The menu boasts a wide variety of dishes, but their Bulgogi Fries truly stand out.

The crispy fries mixed with beautifully marinated Bulgogi meat and a sweet mayo sauce never fail to hit the spot.

In addition to their scrumptious appetizers, I'm always impressed by their lunch bento box, which comes with so much food, including a Bulgogi dish, California roll, assorted fried food, and a side salad, all of which taste fresh and flavorful.

The Korean Fried Chicken Wings at Aroma Korea is also a must-try.

The double-fried wings are just the right level of crunchy, and both sauce options are delicious.

While the sushi is not the main attraction, their Seared Tuna roll is well-prepared and tasty, with a touch of fresh ginger.

The Bulgogi Bibimbap is not prepared in a traditional way, but it's still really good.

The vibe inside is typical of a mom-and-pop Asian restaurant, which adds a comforting and homey feeling to the dining experience.

Tazza Kitchen Stone Creek Village

Pizza, Taco, Salad and French Toast served at Tazza Kitchen Stone Creek Village

As a frequent visitor to Tazza Kitchen Stone Creek Village, I can't help but keep coming back for more.

From their wood-fired pies to their selection of regional wines and local brews, I have never been disappointed by the variety and quality of their offerings.

The warm setting and friendly bar make it an ideal spot for casual dates, fun girls' nights, or even a work lunch.

On my recent visit, I was once again blown away by the exceptional service.

We started with some Brussels sprouts and smoked pimento cheese with sourdough bread, both full of flavor and perfect for sharing.

I opted for a white pizza and burger with fries for my entree, and my taste buds were more than satisfied.

As someone who appreciates a good drink, I was pleased with both their alcoholic and non-alcoholic options.

The pomelo I ordered was not only delicious but also quite large, giving me a great bang for my buck.

As a bonus, most of their items are gluten-free, making Tazza Kitchen Stone Creek Village a fantastic option for those with dietary restrictions.

Academy Street Bistro

Grilled Brie at Academy Street Bistro

Last Friday, I decided to have dinner at Academy Street Bistro with my friend who lives in the area.

We made a reservation for a high top in the bar area, but upon arrival, the friendly hostesses offered us the option to have a table in the dining area since one had just opened up.

We decided to stick with our original choice and keep our bar seats, which felt more comfortable for us.

For drinks, I ordered a Bourbon Rose, and my friend had an Old Fashioned.

I thoroughly enjoyed my drink, while my friend said his Old Fashioned was not his favorite, but still drinkable.

They have a wide variety of wine options, as well as a full bar.

Before our entrees, we shared a charcuterie board which had a good variety of items, and we enjoyed everything on it.

For our main entrees, I had the scallops served with cheddar grits and shaved Brussels sprouts, while my friend opted for the rib eye served with sautéed spinach with garlic and fingerling potatoes.

My dish was simply amazing – the scallops were tender, and the grits were delicious.

My friend's steak was cooked perfectly medium-rare, and he even enjoyed the spinach.

The entrees at Academy Street Bistro vary around the $25-40 range, with appetizers priced at $15-20.

We skipped dessert as we were quite full, but we did see some beautiful cake slices at the tables around us.

The service was excellent, and the atmosphere in the bar area was easy-going.

The whole experience felt like a nice, leisurely dining experience without being rushed.

I noticed that this bistro seems to be a go-to for local families, with several tables of parents and adult children meeting up for dinner.

Enrigo Italian Bistro

Ravioli Pasta at Enrigo Italian Bistro

As a fan of Italian cuisine, I was excited to try Enrigo Italian Bistro.

I had heard great things about their housemade pastas and pizza dough, so I decided to check out their website and found that they also had beautiful open-air patio seating, perfect for the summer evening.

Upon arriving, I was greeted by a friendly staff and was impressed by the airy, modern atmosphere.

I started off with their popular calamari dish, which didn't disappoint.

The tartar sauce was absolutely delicious, and the marinara added just the right amount of flavor.

For my main course, I decided to try the Alfredo pasta, and my friend ordered the ravioli.

Both dishes were incredibly tasty, and we could definitely taste the freshness and quality of the hand-made pasta.

The portion sizes were generous, and we definitely left feeling satisfied.

Kashin Japanese Restaurant

Agedashi at Kashin Japanese Restaurant

I decided to visit Kashin Japanese Restaurant for a nice dinner with my family.

As soon as we arrived, we were impressed by the authenticity and dedication the family-owned restaurant has been providing since 1991.

The chefs were focused on preparing fresh and true-to-tradition Japanese dishes.

We arrived at dinner time and the place filled up quickly, so making a reservation is highly recommended if you have a larger party.

The menu at Kashin was extensive, offering a wide variety of Japanese-cooked fare, including donburi, udon, ramen, and sushi.

We started our meal with Maguro Yamakake and Beef Tataki as appetizers, and both were absolutely delightful.

The Beef Tataki was a bit tougher to chew compared to other places, but still delicious.

The sushi options were fantastic, and the fresh fish was evident in every bite.

We enjoyed the Assorted Deluxe Sushi Dinner, Alaskan Roll, and Spider Roll.

Each dish was beautifully presented and tasted even better.

The Sunumono mix was another great choice, which came with fresh and crispy cucumber, seaweed, and an assortment of seafood.

We also indulged in Hana Lychee sake, which offers a good selection of cold sake, both unfiltered and filtered, catering to all tastes and price ranges.

MC Restaurant

Fried calamari at MC Restaurant

I finally decided to visit MC Restaurant after hearing so many great things about it from my friends.

The moment I stepped into the restaurant, I was captivated by the urbane ambiance, complete with outdoor seating and a trendy vibe.

I was lucky enough to grab a table in their beautiful garden area, which was just across from the new park being built in Downtown Cary.

The menu comprised a variety of Pan-Asian seafood and innovative cocktails, and I was spoilt for choice.

For my main course, I went for the chef's special, which was an exquisite dish prepared by the owner-chef who used to be the chef-owner at An.

Although the restaurant seemed a bit short-staffed on the day I visited, the service was still commendable.

I even noticed that they have an online booking system through Open Table, which is quite convenient for a busy restaurant like MC.

Savoring my meal in the picturesque garden with a lovely view of the park under construction was undoubtedly an experience to remember.

Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen

Sweet potato cheesecake at Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen

During my visit to Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen, I was reminded why it's one of my favorite spots in town.

The farm-to-table Southern fare, plentiful wine, and craft beer selection make it an ideal place for gatherings with friends or coworkers.

As soon as I entered, I noticed the elegant yet casual atmosphere of the restaurant, and I couldn't wait to taste their dishes again.

We started with Fried Green Tomatoes, a true Southern classic that melted in my mouth, and my friend, a first-timer, absolutely loved her grits.

For my main course, I chose fried catfish with grits and string beans - a dish I still think about to this day.

The fish was perfectly seasoned and fried, and the grits were simply divine.

My husband, on the other hand, went for the Short Ribs and couldn't stop raving about how tender and flavorful they were.

We decided to sit outside, enjoying the lovely ambiance and weather.

One thing to note is that Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen can get quite busy, especially during peak hours.

Scratch Kitchen and Taproom

Chicken at Scratch Kitchen and Taproom

I decided to head out to Scratch Kitchen and Taproom for dinner with my partner.

We were looking forward to trying out some new dishes and experiencing the excellent service we had heard so much about.

Upon entering, we were greeted warmly by the hostess and quickly seated at our table.

The menu had an array of mouthwatering options, making it difficult to decide what to order.

For appetizers, we went with the pimento cheese wontons and firecracker shrimp.

The wontons were crispy, while the firecracker shrimp was a hit, leaving us wanting even more.

Our entrees consisted of the truffle mac n cheese burger for me and the duck special for my husband.

The burger was absolutely sensational – the perfect combination of rich flavors and well-seasoned, perfectly cooked meat.

The duck special featured a generous portion of duck breast on spicy bok choy with mashed sweet potatoes and blue cheese mixed in.

My husband couldn't stop raving about how much he enjoyed it!

Throughout our meal, we were impressed by the attentive and efficient service.

To top it all off, we enjoyed a delicious cocktail and an excellent bottle of wine, which our server helped us select based on our preferences.

Final Thoughts

Cary offers a diverse and mouthwatering array of dining options that I've had the pleasure of enjoying throughout the years.

From irresistible Italian pasta dishes at La Grassa Pastificio to steaming bowls of ramen at Koi Ramen, there is something for everyone in this charming town.

The ever-evolving culinary scene here has made me proud to call Cary my home, and I can't wait to see what new and delicious eateries will pop up in the future.

Bon appétit, fellow food lovers!

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