Last Updated on January 15, 2021
Last Updated on January 15, 2021
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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 locally-owned 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. We will list romantic date night restaurants as well as casual yet delicious spots. Make sure to come hungry and dig in!
This guide covering where to eat in Winston-Salem is part of our series on NC Food, coverage of things to do in Winston-Salem (including outdoor activities), and travels through Central North Carolina.
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.
Date night Winston-Salem Restaurants
The Katharine Brasserie
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.
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.
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.
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.
Fratelli’s Italian Steakhouse
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!
680 W 4th Street
Run by the same marvelous chef as the Spring House, Quanto Basta – “qb” for short gives full license to indulgence. The phrase, quanta basta, means “as much as you like, as much as you need”, and you are sure to find that in the dishes here.
The wine list is not to be missed either- with more than 200 wines covering both local North Carolina wineries to more than 50 Italian wines, this is a restaurant to explore and expand your palate.
In true Chef Timothy Grandinetti style, everything is freshly prepared even down to the pasta. Like at Spring House, even his antipasti shines just as much as the meal dish. So come hungry, leave happy
Casual Restaurant in Winston-Salem
If you are looking for cheap eats with serious flavor, Campus Gas is the ticket! Gas Station turned bar and grill, this casual restaurant in Winston-Salem is perfect for hanging with your friends and enjoying a pint or cup of coffee.
Serving food Thursday-Sunday, order up a pimento cheese dog, a Carolina burger, and a pint of your favorite brew (either from Winston-Salem, throughout North Carolina, or elsewhere). Make sure to save room for a hands-on milkshake topped with vanilla wafers!
400 W. 4th Street |205-O S. Stratford Road
With all this Southern food, your body might be craving a different pace. Village Juice serves fresh pressed juices, smoothies, and healthy breakfast and lunch options that are to die for! Using local ingredients and never compromising freshness, we grabbed a couple of juices and their delicious bacon, egg, and avocado toast. The decor is bright and inviting and so is their staff. They have two locations in Winston-Salem as well as a location in Charlotte.
723 N Trade St
We were all sadden by the closing of Mary’s Diner in 2020, but luckily her legacy and love for great food still lives on. Mojitos is located in the Mary’s Diner location and the owner, Chef Michael Millan, was both chef and part owner of Mary’s since 2018.
Today, Chef Michael Millan and his wife Michelle have expanded their popular food truck, Mojito Mobile Kitchen into the former Mary’s location. The menu at Mojito reflects the authentic Latin flavors and uses only the best ingredients. A Cuban sandwich is a must and the maduros are some of the best I’ve ever had. Prepare for an incredible meal at this new Winston-Salem restaurant.
486 Patterson Ave
Located in the industrial Bailey Power Plant district next to Incendiary Brewing, Cugino Forno is a hidden gem! Serving wood-fired Napoletana-style pizza, the dough is made fresh daily and the ingredients come straight from Italy to match authenticity. Sit outside under the twinkling lights and have a beer from next door. And make sure to sign up for one of their pizza making classes for one of the best memories you’ll ever have!
The Porch Kitchen and Cantina
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.
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.
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
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!
121 W 9th St
Earl’s in Winston-Salem is totally a vibe- and we’re here for it! Serving up Nashville-style food with an impressive whiskey selection, Earl’s is where you go to hang out and kickback. Bringing some of the best country and bluegrass musical acts, Earl’s is always a party whether you’re dining for lunch or staying out late.
Get the salt and vinegar pork rinds and dip them in ranch. Seriously… I’m not a ranch person and my server recommended it and it blew.my.mind! The Mac’n cheese comes topped with a crushed cheez-it topping and the flavors are bold and delicious. This Winston-Salem restaurant is the life of the party!
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.
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
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
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?
Crafted and the Art of the Taco
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.
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? Contact us we’ll happily investigate further!