With so many awesome options, overwhelm is inevitable when one is searching for the best Winston-Salem restaurants. Luckily, we’ve spent quite a bit of time ordering from menus downtown and elsewhere and are more than happy to share our favorite spots to grab a bite.
We’ve eaten spent time talking with more than a few chefs and restauranteurs that were proud to show us that many source as local as possible and employ sustainable practices.
And we’ve brought a diverse bunch to you, with everything from grandmother’s pan-fried chicken recipe, French-inspired cuisine that honors a Winston-Salem icon, to authentic Tex-Mex that’s sweeping through the Triad.
These are not just our favorite places to eat in Winston-Salem. They’re where you should go too, regardless of what you’re craving or the occasion.
This guide covering where to eat in Winston-Salem is part of our series on NC Food, coverage of Winston-Salem, and travels through Central North Carolina. We originally created it on November 4, 2019.
Must-eat Winston-Salem Restaurants
Note: Our food guides are always expanding. So if we left something off, it’s because our stomachs are only so big! Let us know if there is a place we missed and we will try it out for our next visit to Winston-Salem.
Mary’s Gourmet Diner
Website | 723 N Trade St
Mary’s Gourmet Diner isn’t just a great breakfast joint. This is an institution in Winston-Salem. Located in the Downtown Arts District, Mary’s is filled with works by local artists. And upon entering, you’ll find that it fosters an inclusive vibe.
Mix-and-match dinnerware and quirky salt shakers are just part of the story of Mary’s. While eating either a hyper-local breakfast or brunch, you’ll find creative American classics and the Chef’s whim on the board.
We think Mary’s is a place of resiliency, innovation, and loving where you live. It’s also a place you’ll love to frequent when eating in Winston-Salem.
Website | 878 W. Fourth St
Mozelle’s sits in a cozy spot in Winston-Salem’s historic west end. It’s an intimate Southern bistro that will make you wish every meal in your life happened here.
Mozelle’s sources from local farmers and supports their neighbors of Winston-Salem, which is an added touch to familiar favorites like tomato pie and creamy succotash.
The gourmet meatloaf with Havarti and tomato marmalade isn’t what your Granny served for Sunday Supper. If you’re lucky enough to snag one of their highly requested sidewalk tables, you will likely stay a while longer over a bottle of wine.
In addition to a carefully curated seasonal menu and weekend brunch, Mozelle’s pulls out all the stops for a monthly wine dinner experience. If you want in, contact them in advance because it often sells out.
The Katharine Brasserie
Website | 401 N Main St
The Katharine Brasserie sits inside the iconic RJ Reynolds building which is now home to the Kimpton Cardinal Hotel. This Winston-Salem restaurant is an homage to the feminine strength and delicacy it took to build an empire.
Conceptualized around Katharine Reynolds, the matriarch of the Reynolds family, The Katharine serves French-inspired food as a nod to the fond memories she and RJ created during their honeymoon in France in 1905.
Firing behind the art deco dining room is Executive Chef Adam Barnett. Wonderful dishes coming out of his kitchen include French classics like French Onion Soup Gratinée and a grand seafood feast in the Le Gran Plat Katharine. Taste anything from this menu and we’re sure it will make your meal a special one.
And don’t just come for dinner, though you should spend at least an evening sitting in the dining room. Swing by for a casual yet elevated lunch. Their menu is filled with delicious small plates and eats to break up your day.
Or you can grab a seat at one of the best bars in Winston-Salem for an expertly made cocktail.
Website | 450 N Spring St
Spring House Restaurant, Kitchen, and Bar serves up expertly conceptualized dishes from the award-winning Chef Timothy Grandinetti. The place sits in the former Bahnson House, a 1920 residence that is the last remaining home in Winston-Salem’s famed Millionaire’s Row.
The menu at Spring House features elevated New American dishes guided by seasonal ingredients. Chef Grandinetti is known for his creative farm-to-table dishes and inventive approach to them. One of the best ways to experience this restaurant is through the Chef’s Tasting Menu—a three-course sampling of each day’s featured dishes.
Canteen Market and Bistro
Website | 411 W 4th St
Whether you’re shopping the market that is stocked with unique ingredients or picking up a bottle of wine, Canteen is more than just a delicious restaurant.
But of course, it’s an awesome Winston-Salem restaurant, thanks to hyper-local ingredients with a global take. Canteen highlights South American, Asian, Mediterranean, and Southern.
And with dishes like tempura-fried salmon skewers to Portuguese Stew, no other restaurants in Winston-Salem serve dishes similar to Canteen.
The Porch Kitchen and Cantina
Website | 840 Mill Works St
Some people think fresh ingredients and a pitcher of margaritas from The Porch are all you need to make it a winning meal out! And after trying some Tex-Mex ala Carolina (yes, that’s right!) at The Porch, we tend to agree.
This place is where you go to get your nacho fix and a Mexican burger, but even further outside your comfort zone. The Porch serves your Tex-Mex favorites like burritos stuffed with fries or chicken-stuffed poblanos.
We also think the Dr. Pepper Trailer Pot Pie and their Sweet Pete Puffy Tacos are exactly what you need to soothe your soul.
Facebook | 492 Patterson Ave
From the same owners of Canteen and The Porch, Alma Mexicana is a fun casual Mexican joint that is known for its fresh salads and crave-worthy tacos. Located in Bailey Park, Alma is a hit during lunch but also serves amazing cocktails for when you’re off the clock!
The vibe from lunch and dinner are much different. Lunch keeps things fast and casual whereas dinner focuses on small tapas-style plates for a communal meal.
Website | 607 N Trade St
Sweet Potatoes sits in the heart of the Downtown Arts District and is more than just a restaurant named after our state vegetable. Owners Vivián Joiner and Stephanie Tyson have taken the sweet potato and are honoring it!
Their signature dishes and true homestyle Southern cooking have made this a must-eat restaurant in Winston-Salem.
Start your meal with an order of freshly fried pork rinds and maybe some Slap Yo’ Mamma Ribs! Lunch is best started with Mambo Chicken or Fried Bologna Sandwich.
No matter what, you should end your experience with a slice of Sweet Potato pie.
You can try to recreate the Sweet Potatoes magic at home with Stephanie Tyson’s Well, Shut My Mouth! We included it in this guide to essential cookbooks by North Carolina chefs and food writers.
Miss Ora’s Kitchen
Website | 605 N Trade St
Inspired by Sweet Potatoes Chef Stephanie Tyson’s grandmother, Miss Ora’s Kitchen is a tribute restaurant. With quick service and take-out style dishes, Miss Ora’s pan-fried chicken is about maintaining food traditions so they don’t get lost.
The menu is short and simple, but what comes out of that kitchen is full of love and crispy goodness. Choose between pan- or deep-fried, one side, and don’t forget your sweet potato biscuit!
Website | 211 E 3rd St
Krankies Coffee began with a vision and not a dollar to the owners’ names. Friends, Dave and John, wanted to bring Winston-Salem “a space to experience original and thought-provoking art.”
Krankies started as a destination for artists and musicians to perform, work and play known as “The Wherehouse.”
And through a fascinating turn of events, that Wherehouse turned into an iconic coffee roaster with the most delectable biscuits in Central North Carolina. Yes, you MUST order the Texas Pete and honey chicken biscuit!
The original vibe of the event space still lives and breathes in Krankies and just walking in you can feel it acts as a cultural hub.
Website | 301B W 4th St & 300 S Marshall St
Camino Bakery began under Krankies Coffee and continues to knead fabulous baked goods and sandwiches, all while giving back to the community.
Any leftover pastries and bread go to Sunnyside Ministry, an organization that supports those in crisis. In addition to this generosity, each month Camino highlights a local organization and donates a portion of coffee sales to them.
Camino also keeps their partnerships local, but sourcing from nearby farms and vendors. And their focus on sustainability through compostable materials makes everything at Camino that much sweeter!
Mission Pizza Napoletana
Website | 707 Trade St NW
You’ll recognize Mission Pizza’s space-themed mural as you ride around the Downtown Arts District and immediately know it’s a place you want to visit. Only the best ingredients find their way inside Mission’s 900-degree oven.
Slicing more than just soft, crisp, and traditional Napoletana pies, Mission Pizza is a complete osteria. They serve pastas, salads, and pour small-scale Italian wines to nicely pair with the dishes that come out.
The menu changes often and includes weekly specials. One thing to note at Mission Pizza is the pride they take in their product, which means that they discourage take out. From the time the pizza hits the cardboard of a pizza box, it changes the way it’s supposed to taste.
That attention to detail and quality is another reason to appreciate this Winston-Salem restaurant.
Hops Burger Bar
Website | 901 Reynolda Rd
Hops Burger Bar is one of the best Winston-Salem restaurants for more than just the delicious Angus Beef patties they serve. With locations in Greensboro and Winston-Salem, Hops takes the All-American classic burger and kicks it up way beyond a notch!
You can choose from 6-, 8-, or 12-ounce burgers, but don’t forget to leave room for one of this place’s specialty sides.
We’ve enjoyed a few of their burgers but think you can’t go wrong with either a Spicy Goat (goat cheese, applewood bacon, sweet & spicy pepper jelly) or Cuban Cow (grilled ham, burger, pulled pork, spicy pickles, Swiss cheese, and lime-Dijon aioli).
If you’ve been to Hops, what’s your favorite burger?
Fratelli’s Italian Steakhouse
Website | 2000 Reynolda Rd
Located in Buena Vista near Wake Forest University, Fratelli’s brings out certified Angus Beef steaks with a touch of elegance and sophistication. Each steak is seasoned and seared at 1200-degrees, giving it a nice, crisp exterior while keeping things flavorful and juicy inside.
And Fratelli’s is more than just incredible steaks, with Italian classics like Chicken Mushroom Marsala and house-made Lasagna on the menu.
Add in a cozy and intimate vibe and you’ve got the perfect restaurant in Winston-Salem for a special occasion, especially for date night!
Crafted and the Art of the Taco
Website | 527 Liberty St
Crafted the Art of the Taco is proudly a taco joint, but you won’t find the boring basics here. Chef Kris Fuller’s tacos go for a ride around the world while keeping the ingredients fresh and local.
Their good-ole-‘Merica-inspired Big Truck Taco comes packed with pulled pork, gooey mac n’ cheese, and bacon BBQ sauce. We’re also fans of their Island Gangnam-style that hash blackened tuna, kimchi, and garlic and pineapple aioli.
No matter what you order, prepare for warm tortillas bursting with flavor.
Crafted also has a location in Greensboro, which we featured here.
Hill’s Lexington BBQ
Facebook | 4005 N Patterson Ave
We know that Lexington is in the name and that’s been a bone of contention in the NC Barbecue world. However, Hill’s is truly a Winston-Salem restaurant.
While there were roadside Lexington-style barbecue joints set up by legends Stamey, Beck, and Swicegood in 1951, Hill’s was the first to claim to be the “original Lexington Barbecue.”
But controversy aside, you should stop by Hill’s and enjoy the woody smoke flavor in every bite. We can’t decide which way is best (chopped, pulled, sliced, or blocked) but we know it’s pretty good!
Note: Hill’s is open Sunday but closed on Monday, which is fine in our books.
Tavern in Old Salem
Website | 736 S Main St
The Tavern is family-owned and serves locally farmed, traditional Moravian dishes in a small intimate setting by candlelight. Their waitstaff wears historic Moravian attire, which will take you back to the days when you might’ve stopped for a meal after a long ride.
A meal of traditional chicken pie, chicken livers, or braised wild boar shank is a tough choice when eating here. That’s why you’ll have to come back at least a couple of times.
Trade Street Diner
Website | 529 Trade St NW
Trade Street Diner isn’t your typical casual restaurant. Chef John Tharp takes familiar diner favorites and elevates them with creative twists and modern plating.
With daily entrée specials and an out-of-this-world burger, Trade Street Diner offers a little something for everyone.
Whether you’re hopping over on your lunch break or enjoying a memorable evening over Moroccan Braised Lamb Shank, Trade Street Diner is truly a must-eat restaurant in Winston-Salem!
Our Thoughts and Yours, Too!
We think you should come hungry to Camel City because these Winston-Salem restaurants are just the beginning of your eating adventure! With an always-evolving food scene, there’s a healthy balance of mainstay restaurants and new kids on the block.
So no matter what brings you to Winston-Salem, we know these places to eat will never leave you hungry after your meal.
Which of these restaurants would you visit first when in Winston-Salem? Got any to add? Let us know and we’ll happily investigate further!