The Top 10 Restaurants In Fayetteville, North Carolina

Photo of Lani Seelinger
9 February 2017

As the home of one of the biggest army bases in the US, Fayetteville brings in a large variety of different people every year. With all these people coming through, this mid-size city in eastern North Carolina needs a more exciting restaurant scene than comparable cities might require. It’s full of surprises – African food, Cuban food, a microbrewery, Fayetteville’s got it all. We take a look at the 10 best places to dine in this North Carolina hotspot.

Downtown Fayetteville | © KMayner78/WikiCommons

Boonma Thai

Restaurant, Thai, American, Vegetarian, Chinese
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Pad thai
Pad thai | © Cattalin/pixabay
Boonma Thai takes the no frills approach and in doing so, concentrates all their attention on making very high quality food. The menu has everything you’d expect in a Thai restaurant, from the pad thai to the fresh spring rolls, and they put all of their experience into each and every dish to leave you feeling thoroughly satisfied. Try a steaming bowl of beef noodle soup on a chilly day, or one of their choices of curry if your taste buds are up to it. They also have plenty of shrimp dishes, which are always fresh and delicious. If you can make it in during the day, their extremely inexpensive lunch specials also include a variety of Chinese options.

Grilled Ginger

Bubble Tea Shop, Vietnamese, Vegetarian, Vegan, $$$
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Bubble tea
Bubble tea | © cyclonebill/flickr
Grilled Ginger has been a popular favorite in Fayetteville ever since it opened. They cater not only to fans of Asian food in general, but also to those specifically looking for Vietnamese cuisine. Their menu includes a number of special Vietnamese salads and they are always developing new dishes. They also take great advantage of their proximity to the ocean, with dishes like coconut mussels and whole steamed tilapia. Their extensive vegetarian menu makes everyone feel welcome and everything on their menu uses the freshest possible ingredients. If you’re just looking to cool off on a hot Fayetteville summer day, go straight for the bubble tea or one of their fresh squeezed juices or smoothies.

Habana Cuban Restaurant

Restaurant, Cuban, Fast Food, $$$
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Cuban sandwich
Cuban sandwich | © johnjoh/flickr
When you first step into Habana Cuban Restaurant, your dining experience begins immediately with the sounds and smells of Havana enveloping you in their warm embrace. While the menu may look short, on a closer read it reveals itself to be chock full of delicious Cuban options to please every palate. Topping the sandwich list, of course, are two versions of the rightfully famous Cuban, but if you go farther down into the main dishes section, you’ll find plenty of rich, spicy options like the lechon asado (roast suckling pig) or the award winning camarones enchilados (shrimp creole). Let the tasty meals and the Buena Vista Social Club convince you that just for a few hours, you’re really in sunny Cuba.

Hilltop House Restaurant

Restaurant, American, Contemporary, Vegetarian, European, $$$
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Fried green tomatoes
Fried green tomatoes | © eirikso/flickr
Going to Hilltop House Restaurant is like visiting Tara, the old Southern plantation in Gone with the Wind. Situated in a historic and beautifully renovated house, the warm atmosphere immediately welcomes you even before you’ve looked at the menu. The food choices include several southern touches, like seafood macaroni and cheese, a BLT with fried green tomatoes and an artfully presented shrimp and grits, which was invented only miles away in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Those looking for fancier dishes will also find many options, like a variety of steaks and lobster dishes and cheese platters full of European imports. There is no better place for a special night out in Fayetteville than Hilltop House.

Luigi’s Italian Restaurant and Bar

Bar, Restaurant, Italian, Fast Food, Vegetarian, $$$
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Italian food
Italian food | © sharonang/pixabay
The founder of Luigi’s Italian Restaurant and Bar immigrated to the US from Greece decades ago and he has spent most of his time in the States running and owning restaurants. He has focused all of his experience on Luigi’s for over 20 years now, and since its establishment in 1982, Luigi’s has become a true Fayetteville staple. The building is reminiscent of an Italian villa and the menu will make you think you’ve really walked into one. Although the original owner’s children now take care of running the business, he has still left some special touches on the menu – for example, you can get a rack of lamb Greek style, marinated for a particular flavor and roasted over an open flame.

MaryBill’s Café & Elbow Room

Cafe, Diner, American, Vegetarian, Vegan, Coffee
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Biscuits and gravy
Biscuits and gravy | © mcartyv/pixabay
MaryBill’s Café & Elbow Room is a brilliant example of a true American treasure – the diner. The staff want to make their guests feel like they’re at home as soon as they walk in the door, so they’ve worked hard to build an intimate atmosphere and a welcoming environment. The menu, of course, includes a section dedicated to everyone’s favorite part of the diner – the all day breakfast. They also have burgers, salads and sandwiches that are lovingly created in their own particular style, but the breakfast still outshines it all. Their egg specials or biscuits and gravy will leave you full all day, and their breakfast combos with all sorts of choices of breakfast breads, sides and meat are the perfect start to the day.

The Mash House Brewery & Chophouse

While the food is delicious and won’t leave you hungry or at all unsatisfied, at The Mash House Brewery & Chophouse, it’s forced to play second fiddle to the beer selection. The brewers at the Mash House take their inspiration from the European breweries and as such, they play to their strengths – you won’t find a tasteless American lager anywhere near this place. If you want a sweeter beer, try the natural blonde, the hefeweizen, or one of their fruit beers, the flavor of which they switch weekly. If you want to really taste the hops, go for the Irish Red or the IPA. They also have a porter and a stout, in addition to specialty beers that change seasonally.

The Mash House Brewery & Chophouse, Sycamore Dairy Rd, Fayetteville, NC, USA, +1 910 867 9223

Taste of West Africa

Diner, African, Beer, Wine, Vegan, Vegetarian
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Peanut soup
Peanut soup | © londonsista/WikiCommons
Inexpensive, high quality and exciting – Taste of West Africa (TOWA) is a true gem. This should be the first stop for anyone looking for a real culinary adventure, as the spice combinations and food preparation will surely be completely unusual to any diner. TOWA has some very bold meat choices, like ox-tail, goat and guinea fowl, but they also include vegetarian and vegan options on their extensive menu. Some options, like meat pies, might at least look mildly familiar, whilst others, like Banku ke Keena – steamed fermented cornmeal – are only for the brave. TOWA gives you the very rare opportunity to try something completely new and its popularity suggests that people don’t often regret that choice.

Shogun Japanese

Make sure you bring your appetite to Shogun Japanese, because you’ll want to try a little bit of everything. Sushi lovers will be pleased to find not only a full selection of the rolls and hand rolls that they’ve already come to know and love, but also a menu of special rolls that Shogun’s chef has created specially. Try the lobster tempura roll or the Green Devil roll, which includes spicy salmon and wasabi ketchup. For a colder day, they have hot pots and udon choices and of course, that great Japanese favorite, teriyaki. For those who really can’t decide, they’ve got bento boxes at extremely reasonable prices. If you’ve managed to save room at the end, they offer a reward in the form of tempura and green tea ice cream.

Shogun Japanese, Ramsey St, Fayetteville, NC, USA, +1 910 482 3688


Sherefe, which is the Turkish word for ‘cheers’, offers guests all the tastes of the Mediterranean while not letting them forget they are in the heart of the United States. The restaurant is in a historic building in downtown Fayetteville and some of their menu items even combine real North Carolina specialties with a Mediterranean flair. Take the NC greens, for example, which are sautéed collard greens – an ever-present Southern side – topped with tzatziki sauce. Their dishes have origins across the whole Mediterranean region, but they are all crafted with a very high level of expertise by the chef, Mustafa Somar, who opened the doors in 2003. Sherefé is an ideal choice for a special occasion, so you can say ‘sherefé’ yourself in whatever language suits you best.

Seared scallops | © Sherefe

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