Four North Carolina Restaurants I Highly Recommend

We don't usually think of North Carolina as a culinary hot spot. But I have just returned from a 5-day, four night golf trip and had four delicious dinners at four excellent restaurants. So here they are, in the order in which I patronized them:
  1. Hickory Tavern, 9735 US 15-501 Highway, Pinehurst
    Hickory Tavern is a sports bar chain, and bills itself as "the preferred game day location of the Carolina Panthers." The one I went to had great food, prompt friendly service, and a long list of high-quality (and inexpensive) beer. I'd go back in a heartbeat.
  2. Pinecrest Inn, 50 Dogwood Road, Pinehurst
    An elegant, yet very down-to-earth place located very near the world famous Pinehurst Golf Resort. Excellent food, local ingredients, and you can eat very well and still meet your nutritional goals (low-carb, etc.). There's also a bartender who knows every joke in the world and a fireplace you can chip golf balls into. Something for everyone!
  3. Fratello's, 9735 US 15-501 Highway, Pinehurst
    Located next door to the Pinehurst Hickory Tavern, Fratello's has exceptionally good Italian food. The Caprese salad I had was as good as any of the ones I had on my recent trip to Italy. The owner is a native of Naples (Italy, not Florida) who has been I the restaurant business for decades. He spent some time schmoozing with us at our table and recommended a Chianti that was very drinkable and not too high-priced. You can't maintain a low-carb diet there, so don't even try.
  4. Angus Barn, 9401 Glenwood Avenue, Raleigh
    This place is huge and obviously aimed at tourists. It has a gift shop where you can buy food, souvenirs, and even Angus Barn wine (from places like Livermore and Sonoma County). The restaurant itself has a wine list that would rival that of any five star restaurant in the world. The steaks are huge and perfectly prepared, and the starters and sides are delicious and plentiful. Bring an appetite!