The 10 Best Restaurants in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Autumn in downtown Winston-Salem | ©Brian Leon/Flickr
Autumn in downtown Winston-Salem | ©Brian Leon/Flickr
Photo of Helen Armitage
9 February 2017

Historic Winston-Salem has s a dining scene that both nods to North Carolina’s cultural roots yet is also forward-thinking and contemporary. Here are 10 places not to miss in Winston-Salem.

© ZGDA/deviantart

The Tavern in Old Salem

For upscale cuisine in an authentic historic setting, The Tavern in Old Salem is a must-visit destination when in Winston-Salem. It is located within a beautiful, traditional wooden house constructed in 1816. The Tavern in Old Salem offers a menu inspired by the type of dishes that Moravian settlers living in 19th century Salem ate. The place features waiting staff dressed in traditional Moravian attire. Guests can try dishes that include tomato and smoked blue cheese bisque and cornmeal dusted chicken livers served with a bean ragout, spinach and lemon butter. Craft beers and other beverages are also available to enjoy in the Tavern’s intimate, candle-lit dining rooms.

The Tavern in Old Salem, 736 South Main Street, Winston-Salem, NC, USA, +1 336 722 1227


Diner, Restaurant, American, Vegetarian
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Established in 1996 by its namesake and chef Fabian Botta, Fabian’s aims to provide its guests with an upscale and memorable evening of fine food in an intimate setting. Typified by organic and locally produce sourced fresh daily, Fabian’s menu features dishes that will delight the palate of any discerning diner. These include dishes such as pan-seared giant sea scallops served with a cognac cream sauce and baked crispy duck topped with a sour orange glaze. All these are complemented by an extensive wine list. Though Botta has since left the restaurant, Fabian’s is now in the capable hands of Chef Bill Smith, Botta’s long-time assistant.

Ryan’s Restaurant

Restaurant, Seafood, American, Vegetarian, Vegan, $$$
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Salem, Winston-Salem, N.C.
Salem, Winston-Salem, N.C. | © Nicolas Henderson/Flickr
Steaks, chops and seafood is the name of the game at Ryan’s Restaurant. It’s a popular local joint which first opened its doors back in 1977 and has won the title of Winston-Salem’s Best Steak Restaurant from local website Smitty’s Notes.It has also held Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence since 1998. With a gorgeous woodland setting Ryan’s offers its guests and escape from downtown living with panoramic views of towering oaks and a babbling stream. Or if you’re there on a colder evening, take a seat by the beautiful stone fireplace. Try a juicy rib eye steak of aged Angus beef or perhaps a locally raised pork chop served with dried fruit and apple chutney, potatoes, green haricot beans and an espresso coffee reduction.

Noble’s Grille

Restaurant, South American, American, Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-free, $$$
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Noble’s Grille is a classy and elegant restaurant inspired by the chic, upscale venues of California’s Napa Valley. Napa Valley is where the restaurant’s namesake, chef Jim Noble also runs The King’s Kitchen and Rooster’s Kitchen venues, and first started out in his career. Featuring a spacious, open dining area and an open kitchen that adds to guests’ dining experience, Noble’s Grille serves Southern fare with distinct French and Mediterranean influences. There are appetizers like fried oyster salad with house bacon, local Harmony Ridge Farms eggs, roasted red peppers and a balsamic vinaigrette. Entrees include smoked BBQ pork shoulder with sweet potato puree, black eye peas and coleslaw.

The Honey Pot

Restaurant, American, Contemporary, Greek
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Serving contemporary Southern cuisine based around hyper-seasonal produce and heart-warming comfort food, The Honey Pot in downtown Winston-Salem has already gained a popular profile. Established by co-owners Matt Pleasants, Beau Tate and Matt Ceneviva – who are also responsible for popular local hangout Tate’s Craft Cocktails – The Honey Pot is a cozy, intimate brasserie. This place entices guests in with its welcoming, warm ambience and friendly, knowledgeable staff. Dine on delicious dishes like North Carolina clams in a green garlic broth with fingerling potatoes, avocado, spicy sausage and corn. Then follow it up with braised lamb belly on a bed of couscous with spring onion, cucumber, Greek yoghurt and feta.

Hakka Chow

Restaurant, Asian, Fusion, Indian, Chinese, $$$
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Though steaks and Southern cuisine abound in Winston-Salem Hakka Chow, a stylish restaurant serving authentic and varied Asian cuisine, has found its rightful place in the city’s dining scene. The menu includes more than 100 different dishes and spans the cuisines of China, India and Thailand – to name but a few. Guests looking for exotic and mouthwatering fare will not be disappointed by a visit to Hakka Chow. Choose from dishes like wok-seared Mongolian beef served with scallions, onions and ginger on a bed of crispy rice noodles. For vegetarians, a good choice is the aloo and gobi – an Indian potato and cauliflower-based dish with chili and cilantro in a curry sauce.

Mozelle’s Fresh Southern Bistro

Bistro, Restaurant, South American, Vegan, Vegetarian, Contemporary, Gluten-free, $$$
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Downtown Art district in Downtown Winston-Salem
Downtown Art district in Downtown Winston-Salem | © -ted/Flickr
Located on Winston-Salem’s vibrant 4th Street, Mozelle’s Fresh Southern Bistro serves, as its name would suggest, Southern fare. These dishes are based around the freshest and finest ingredients available. The restaurant has a lively downtown ambience and is perfect for stopping by for lunch or dinner whether with family, friends or colleagues. Meals can be enjoyed in its welcoming and contemporary interior. Or, on warmer evenings, outside on its sidewalk patio area. Mozelle’s serves brunch each weekend with dishes like biscuits and gravy and a variety of omelets. Meanwhile, its dinner menu features fare such as fried chicken with peach chutney, mac and cheese and green haricot beans.

District Roof Top Bar and Grille

Restaurant, American, Vegetarian, Vegan
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District Roof Top Bar and Grille opened its doors in late summer 2011 and serves contemporary American cuisine in a classy yet comfortable and casual space and boasts being Winston-Salem’s first rooftop bar with sweeping views of the city’s downtown area. Its interior features beautiful exposed red brick, dark wood floor and sumptuous leather seats giving it the feel of a loft apartment, while details like exposed ductwork lend the restaurant an urban and industrial edge. Try an appetiser of flash-fried calamari with house-made marinara sauce followed by a signature entrée of Applewood bacon wrapped meatloaf on mac and cheese with roasted tomato sauce and honey glazed carrots, before retiring to the rooftop for a post-dinner drink.

Bernadin’s Fine Dining

Restaurant, American, Vegetarian, Vegan, $$$
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Established in 1992, during its history Benardin’s Fine Dining has gained a firm reputation as being Winston-Salem natives’ go-to restaurant for impeccable cuisine. It is also renowned for its classy and elegant ambience and sophisticated, delicious fare. Bernadin’s Fine Dining is regarded as a five-star restaurant due to menu items. These include its lump crab cakes with black beans, corn, chorizo and cilantro appetizer. Entrees are also impressive with dishes such as pan-seared North Carolina ostrich with a cumin-fennel crust, braised cabbage, wild rice corn cake and a cranberry Madeira sauce.

Jeffrey Adams on Fourth

Restaurant, American, Vegetarian, Vegan, Cocktails, Wine, Beer, $$$
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Winston-Salem from afar
Winston-Salem from afar | ©Ron Miguel/Flickr
Contemporary and urban, Jeffrey Adams on Fourth was established in 2013 by local restaurateurs Jeff Bassett and Adam Andrews who share a passion for fine dining based around bold and innovative dishes. The restaurant is proud to use the finest regionally sourced beef, poultry and seasonal ingredients. Andrews, who is also the restaurant’s head chef, even has plans in the works to set up his own two-acre farm which will supply Jeffrey Adams on Fourth with around 80 percent of its fresh produce. Dine on dishes like maple bourbon flavored salmon with a side of mashed potatoes and asparagus. Finish your meal with a decadent dessert such as a hot fudge brownie with salted caramel ice cream.

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