6 Best Restaurants to Celebrate the Holidays in Durham, NC

Durham, North Carolina is a fantastic place to live for families, young professionals, and established career couples. With its abundance of jobs (Durham is home to more than 300 health and medical-related companies and practices), education institutions like Duke University and the nearby University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, and year-round good weather, Durham has been ranked the third best place to live in the nation.

Whether you’re lucky enough to currently live in Durham or you’re just planning to make a visit for the upcoming holidays, you likely already know that there are some wonderful places to dine in the city. Here are some of the best for the upcoming holidays so you can make plans to enjoy seasonal cheer throughout the holiday season.

1. Vin Rouge

The holidays are all about gathering with friends and family to enjoy warm, delicious food and catch up over drinks. There’s no better place to do this than Vin Rouge, a classic French bistro on Hillsborough Rd and 9th Street. Featuring a French New Wave Art Deco design and both indoor and outdoor seating, Vin Rouge is a quaint restaurant that will make you feel like you’re in France. If you’re visiting for dinner (Tuesday through Sunday starting at 5 p.m.), you can enjoy local cheeses, trout amandine, hanger steak frites, or duck confit along with a glass or bottle of wine from the restaurant’s extensive menu.

Rather meet the family for brunch? Vin Rouge is open on the weekends at 10:30 am and serves everything from mushrooms and gruyere omelets to Eggs Benedictine to crepes du jour. Enhance your late-morning meal with a mimosa, Bloody Mary, or French 75.

2. Queeny’s

Sometimes, it can be difficult to find a restaurant that’s open during the holiday times when your friends and family are available to get together. That’s where Queeny’s comes in! Open every day of the week in downtown Durham, Queeny’s welcomes diners and drinkers from 11:45 am to 2 am (keep in mind it’s 21+ after 10 pm). While you talk about life and extend good cheer to each other, you can sip on a Spiced Whiskey Collins or Scottish Ale while sharing some creamy tuna dip or fried pickles or munching on a birria dip or big kale salad with chicken.

3. Luna Rotisserie and Empanadas

Have family members who are coming into town and are A: vegetarian and vegan and B: always up for something different? Take them to Luna Rotisserie and Empanadas for a meal! Serving classic South American food, including hand-made empanadas, Peruvian-style rotisserie chicken, and grain bowls, Luna is the perfect place to linger over a long meal and conversation. Vegetarians and vegans will love the variety of options they have to choose from, including almond-crusted crispy fried avocado, chili-braised jackfruit, and vegetarian empanadas with fillings like quinoa, black beans, sweet corn, and pepperjack cheese or eggplant, tomato, caramelized onion, and chevre.

Luna has you covered for drinks as well with their extensive menu of local craft beers, hand-crafted cocktails and martinis, seasonal sangrias, and wines on tap and by the glass or bottle.

4. NanaSteak

There’s nothing like a hearty steak and a warming glass of red during the holidays! If this sounds like your perfect seasonal meal, head to NanaSteak located next door to the Durham Performing Arts Center. NanaSteak is the perfect combination of traditional steakhouse with contemporary elements. Those in your group who are strictly meat and potatoes can opt for the charcoal grilled filet mignon with herb-roasted fingerling potatoes while the more adventurous can enjoy risotto with shrimp or cavatelli with artichokes and olives in a lemon white wine sauce. NanaSteak also has a nice selection of delicious desserts, including creme brulee, blueberry crumble, and chocolate brownies. Of course, no steakhouse would be complete without a good wine list, and NanaSteak has a comprehensive one in addition to craft cocktails, craft and domestic beers, and a large selection of bourbon, rye, scotch, and other fine liquors.

5. Alley Twenty Six

Unique food and stellar cocktails are always on the menu at Alley Twenty Six, making this the perfect place to meet up with your friends for a holiday celebration. With rotating seasonal cocktails, you know you’ll be able to taste all the flavors of the holidays, whether that’s a bourbon apple mule for Halloween, a gingery Dark & Stormy for Christmas, or a festive Kir Royale for the new year. When it comes to food, Alley Twenty Six has you covered for both brunch and dinner. Brunch favorites include beignets, French toast, and shrimp & grits (don’t forget the mimosas or Green Bloody Marys made with tequila, tomatillo, and jalapenos) while the dinner menu features meat and cheese boards, caviar, burrata caprese, and lobster rolls served with house-cut fries.

6. M Sushi

While sushi may not seem like the go-to for a holiday get-together, it’s actually perfect for sharing with a large group. If your friends or family enjoy sushi bars, you need to take them to M Sushi, the flagship restaurant of Chef Mike Lee, who is also responsible for popular local favorites M Kokko, M Tempura, and M Pocha. Though you can easily order anything a la carte, why not make it a true celebration by taking part in the omakase menu? You can get a mini version with six courses or a grand selection with eight courses.

Planning to make a move?

If you’re planning to visit Durham over the holidays or if you’re already a resident and just want to plan your entertainment for the upcoming months, you need to put these restaurants on your list.

Ready to up or downsize in the area or want to start looking at houses for sale in Durham, NC so you can relocate? Reach out to the experienced team at Spotlight Realty. They can tell you all about the local market and show you what houses for sale in Durham, NC, might be the perfect place for you to call home.

*Header photo courtesy of Shutterstock

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