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Inspector Picks: 9 Favorite Places to Dine in the Carolinas

AAA/Inspector 24
September 27, 2019
From chicken and waffles, and biscuits and gravy—to fresh seafood, hand-cut steaks and delectable desserts, the Carolinas have more to offer than just barbecue!
AAA/Inspector 24

Biscuit Head

Greenville, South Carolina
: How can I resist a restaurant that offers daily gravy and bacon flavors?
"Put Some South in Your Mouth" is the catch phrase of this eclectic restaurant. The owner/chef uses locally sourced produce, cured meats, poultry and eggs. To me, everything on the menu looked appetizing, but I chose the fried green tomato biscuit, which is a huge, light and fluffy biscuit served with Brie, tomatoes, poached eggs and smoked tomato hollandaise. I also couldn't resist the chocolate bread with a side of raspberry jam. This spot also features a self-serve jam and butter bar with bins of yummy goodness like mango and bananas Foster jam and an assortment of gravies from mushroom to sweet potato coconut to top your biscuit. If you can't decide what to get, a gravy "flight" is available.
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Curried vegetable puff pastry at Brewery Bhavana in Raleigh, NC.
AAA/Inspector 33

Brewery Bhavana

Raleigh, North Carolina
AAA Inspector 33: How often do you find a bookshop, flower market, craft brewery and dim sum palace in one spot? Try a chicken curry bao and a fig-infused dubbel. Yum!
To grasp the charm of this much-acclaimed brew bistro, you need to experience it for yourself. While you wait for a table, sip on a pint from the list of 40 creative crafts or peruse the bookshelves or the flower market The menu is an intersection of Asian flavors offered in a variety of dim sum (steamer baskets of snack-size noshes) and large plates. An array of egg rolls, bao and dumplings is featured, along with the restaurant's signature scallion pancakes with bone marrow and oxtail jam. On the entrée side, Peking duck and steamed whole fish are specialties. The restaurant's version of General Tso’s chicken or beef with exotic peppers will cast a long shadow over your local take-out joint. Bring friends and select several dishes to create a shareable feast, or pop in for a small plate to pair with one of the delightful drafts or a hand-crafted cocktail.
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Entree, fried chicken cutlet, sweet potato waffle, macaroni and cheese
AAA/Inspector 33

Dame's Chicken & Waffles

Greensboro, North Carolina
AAA Inspector 33: Waffles, waffles and more waffles, and tasty chicken too! The sweet potato is my fave, but the vegan, made with oatmeal and applesauce, is yummy too!
This culinary tradition that traces its origins to Harlem's supper clubs: crispy fried chicken coupled with savory waffles. Can waffles be savory? They can when they come in flavors like sweet potato, gingerbread or blueberry, then are topped with a schmear, which is sweet cream butter whipped with toppings such as maple pecan, chocolate hazelnut or vanilla almond. If that's not decadent enough, add a side of rich macaroni and cheese. Other entreé options include a few salads, shrimp and grits, and blackened salmon.
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Sticky rice and mango, headdress, tweet, inspector pick
AAA/Inspector 24

Kannika's Thai Kitchen

Greenville, South Carolina
AAA Inspector 24: I love the green curry and mango sticky rice! By far, this is my favorite cuisine.
Don't be dissuaded by the strip mall location; the interior of this eatery is cozy and has comfortable Thai décor. The menu features some of the better known dishes: tom yum soup, cashew chicken and pad thai to name a few. The restaurant is closed between lunch and dinner.
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Comfort food, Southern, fried chicken, black-eyed peas, mashed sweet potato, lima beans, corn muffin
AAA/Inspector 33

The King's Kitchen

Charlotte, North Carolina
AAA Inspector 33: Talk about value—100% of the restaurant's profits go to help those in need in the Charlotte region. Nice way to have your dining dollar go farther!
Do good while you eat well. This not-for-profit café donates its proceeds to community programs that fight hunger and offer job training. First-class fare is made from fresh ingredients, with meat-and-three-veggie meals as the centerpiece. Entrées include delectable fried chicken, pot roast and meatloaf. Dinner features 'big plates,' including scallops, pork chops and shrimp and grits. Desserts, including treats like pecan pie, banana pudding and caramel cake, are homemade and vary daily. The on-site bakery turns out sweets and breakfast treats, like chocolate croissants, muffins, danish and cookies. It's open throughout the day and is the perfect thing for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up.
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Chefs at work at McCrady's restaurant in Charleston South Carolina
McCrady's/Andrew Cebulka

McCrady's Restaurant

Charleston, South Carolina
AAA Inspector 621: This is my kind of interactive experience - exciting, top-quality cuisine paired with excellent wines. All prepared right in front of you.
Dining at this small, pre-fixe menu only eatery, guarantees an experience for the palate and the senses. Guests are treated to a 10-to-14-course menu of intricate and artistic small dishes rooted in local flavors with global influences. Service is sharp but the ambience is relaxed. Diners sit at a beautiful black walnut counter in front of a gleaming open kitchen, while rock tunes play over the speakers. The set menu may include local oysters, fresh cobia, aged beef, Ossabaw Island pork and foie gras. Expert wine and nonalcoholic pairings are available as well as a full bar of specialty cocktails.
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Salad, cherry tomatoes, bleu cheese, croutons, mixed greens
AAA/Inspector 33

Saint Jacques at the Burke Manor

Gibsonville, North Carolina
AAA Inspector 33: Classic French fare served with style in the elegant environs of a historic home?the scene is set for romance!
Enjoy exquisitely prepared classical French fare in the elegant dining room of this 1906 inn. Service is accomplished and unobtrusive, ensuring a relaxing evening punctuated with a delightful amuse-bouche and intermezzo, compliments of the chef. The menu changes seasonally and features dishes like braised lamb, salmon en croûte, and filet mignon topped with a bleu cheese sauce. Let the classic tastes of escargots, French onion soup, and foie gras transport you to the French countryside. The crème brûlée is a heavenly conclusion to your meal, but you can't go wrong with any of the delectable desserts.
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Sole Italian Restaurant
antonioscarpi/iStockphoto.com

Sole Italian Restaurant

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
AAA Inspector 621: NOT FOUND
The humble exterior in a dated strip mall belies the incredible food and service inside. The laser-focused manager/server is a bolt of lightning darting around the dining room, serving one table while making personal recommendations to another. The food is another story, with delicate, flavorful sauces typically found in French cuisine, unusual offerings like the incredible fiocchi, a pasta pocket stuffed with cheese and pear, and the veal osso buco.
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chef's tasting menu
AAA/Inspector 87

Vue 1913 An American Brasserie

Asheville, North Carolina
AAA Inspector 24: I come for the excellent meal, but am always blown away by the view of the mountains. There is not a bad seat in the house.
The name is derived from the year the historic hotel was built and the exceptional view you have from its wall of windows. The spacious, attractive dining area is nicely decorated with upscale, craftsman-style furnishings and affords the best view of the city and mountains. Cordial, competent servers provide detailed descriptions of the chef's innovative take on updated American and French fare. Servers may offer suggestions from the restaurant's award-winning wine list. The menu changes seasonally to utilize the best ingredients from local markets. Lamb, duck, Kobe beef and fresh seafood are tempting options.
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