We now attest that Taste Carolina puts on the best Raleigh food tour after recently joining them for one. We’ve toured with them through Greensboro, Carborro, in Durham, and now Raleigh, and can honestly say there’s something unique and special about each one. Our Saturday tour took us through Downtown Raleigh, where we visited some of the city’s best restaurants. We talked with chefs, learned about them, and enjoyed their fantastic food, and I don’t think anyone could’ve put this together any better than Taste Carolina Gourmet Food Tours.
This article is part of our series on Taste Carolina Gourmet Food Tours. It also features in our sections covering NC Food & Drink, Raleigh, and other spots in Central North Carolina. We originally created this on August 27, 2019.
Taste Carolina: The Best Raleigh Food Tour
Special thanks to Taste Carolina Gourmet Food Tours for providing us with complimentary admission. All opinions within this article are our own.
What’s in a Taste Carolina Tour?
With Taste Carolina, you meet up with your tour guide and a group of people who will become your foodie friends for the next several hours. You walk from location to location sharing conversation, a table, and a meal with them. Honestly, I think this adds so much value to each tour. At each stop, your tour guide will give you some information on the restaurant and you will get some grub. Oftentimes, the owner or head chef of the location will come out and talk to you. And if you ask really nicely, they’ll even let you inside the kitchen to see what makes them a unique restaurant.
Why Join a Taste Carolina Raleigh Food Tour?
It will take you years to eat your way through Raleigh’s eclectic and diverse food world. I mean, just in Downtown Raleigh there is a restaurant every 20 feet which obviously leads to overwhelm. Taking a tour with Taste Carolina gives you a chance to try five restaurants in three hours instead of making reservations every night for a week. And because many of Raleigh’s restaurants are critically acclaimed (Looking at you AC Restaurants!), you’ll often find long wait lines. I like to think of it as a chance to dip my toe in the pool before diving all the way in. And after this tour through Raleigh, I know that I want to come back to all five restaurants for a full meal.
A few of the places we visited also feature in our guide to must-eat restaurants in Raleigh!
Taste’s Raleigh Options & Benefits
Taste Carolina has three options for public tours in Raleigh.
- Friday, Saturday, and Sunday Downtown Dinner & Drinks
- Saturday Downtown Tasting Tour (which we attended)
- Saturday Lunch and Downtown Speakeasies Tour
Through our photos, you can see which restaurants we attended on our tour. However, the restaurants change from week to week based on availability and to highlight a variety of partners. This is another reason why we think Taste Carolina is the best Raleigh food tour. You can keep touring with them over and over and get all new restaurants! In addition to the food, at each stop, you get a little bit of Raleigh history or restaurant background. This is something you most definitely do not get when booking a reservation.
Five Tips to Help You Enjoy Taste in Raleigh
- Come hungry, leave stuffed: I overheard on our Raleigh food tour someone say, “We’re coming back here tonight for dinner!” No, girl. I promise you. Your bellies are going to be so stuffed! In a good way though, because during the three hours you’re walking and eating with Taste Carolina, you don’t feel like you’re stuffed until the very end. Have a light breakfast, come hungry, and make some notes on where you’re going to make a reservation for tomorrow!
- Wear comfortable shoes: It is a walking food tour, so it’s important that you keep yourself comfortable and able to keep up with your fellow foodies. During our Taste Raleigh tour, I glanced down at my FitBit and realized we had already made it 4k steps!
- Allergies: Make sure to let your tour guide know about any allergies or dietary restrictions. The restaurants will work around them!
- Rain or Shine, we get our foodie on: If you happen to attend a tour during a not-so-sunshiney day, dress accordingly and you will still have a great experience.
- Tip Your Tour Guide: The gratuity at each of the restaurants has been included in your ticket price, so there is no need to worry about tipping at each of your stops. But, it’s a nice idea to bring some cash or Venmo (@tastecarolina) a tip for your tour guide. It isn’t required, but they always do a fantastic job and provide personalized attention to a tour.
Join a Taste Tour in Raleigh AND Elsewhere!
Taste Carolina is waiting to take you on their next Raleigh food tour, but if you’re not visiting Oak City anytime soon, it’s okay! You can also walk through Durham, Wilmington, Asheville, Charlotte, Greensboro, Winston-Salem, Chapel Hill/Carborro, and Hillsborough with them. In addition to these public tours, private and corporate tours are available. A gift certificate to a Taste Carolina food tour makes the perfect birthday, Christmas, or anniversary present for any foodie in your life! See what all the fuss is about and book the best food tour in our state with Taste Carolina!