Nestled in the heart of North Carolina, Fayetteville is an all-around charming place to visit. Though, impressive and exotic fares may not be the first thing that comes to mind for this humble haven. At first glance, it’s easy to think you’ll be relegated to curing cravings at chain restaurants or indulging in strip mall meals.
However, this charming city has more creative cuisine to offer than meets the eye and there are plenty of great restaurants in Fayetteville. We were delighted to discover an abundant array of dining destinations full of delicious dishes to try.
There are classic Southern eats, modern farm-to-table feasts, and a variety of Asian eateries. Find out all about the secret foodie scene in Fayetteville with all of these culinary hotspots below.
The Best Restaurants in Fayetteville
Set in the heart of downtown Fayetteville is the elevated eatery Circa 1800. Everything here is local. North Carolina growers, producers, and artisans provide all the ingredients for these beautiful bites. The atmosphere is modern and trendy.
The Southern Egg Rolls, made with bacon braised collards, house-made pimento cheese, and pepper jelly, is now famous in Fayetteville. Pair your plate with one of their inventive cocktails like the Jalapeno Bourbon Julep. Brunch has become a beloved weekend tradition for many in the North Carolina city, especially with fabulous features like the make-your-own bloody mary bar.
Fowler’s Southern Gourmet
What started as a food truck many moons ago, has since blossomed into a beloved brick and mortar. Everything is made from scratch on-site right down to the ketchup.
There’s an extensive beer and wine listing to pick from here. As the name implies, they focus on refined takes of Southern culinary classics in the form of North Carolina barbecue.
Much more than the typical down-home joint, each piece of meat is carefully smoked over oak for some seriously finely crafted fares. You can order pulled pork or chicken with all the fixings, or sandwiches like the Commander in Cheese made with brisket, or the BLT with pork belly. Even the burnt ends end up as a divine meat candy that feels like a special delicacy.
- Cuisine: Sandwiches, Fried chicken
- Address: 128 Grove St, Fayetteville (GPS)
- Price: $
It’s not called Vicky’s Famous Chicken and Biscuit for nothing! If you’re in Fayetteville for breakfast, this place is a must. Pick your ideal filling between the soft buttery biscuit, such as country ham or smoked sausage. Treat yourself to a side or two, we highly recommend the grits and homemade cinnamon rolls.
They also offer fried chicken and breakfast platters. It’s a laid-back little joint with no frills and the food to make it worth your while. Basically, we’ve decided it’s a crime to come to North Carolina and not eat the best biscuits in town, so we always add Vicky’s to our morning itinerary.
Grilled Ginger brings the fantastic flavors of Southeast Asia to Fayetteville with the best Vietnamese cuisine around. It’s a great place to chow down outside your comfort zone and try a new exotic dish you may not have heard of before.
The menu takes you on a journey all the way across the country, from Hanoi to Ho Chi Mihn. We love the bun bo hue, a traditional spicy noodle soup with pork and beef. They have a delicious range of more common cuisines, like pho and stir fry dishes, as well as plenty of vegetarian options. Try their tasty bubble tea creations or go for something a bit boozier off the cocktail list.
Huske Hardware House
Huske is the oldest brewpub in Fayetteville serving up British-style bar food. It’s set in a refurbished hardware store building that’s been a fixture in the city for over a century. It’s a brewery and amazing Fayetteville restaurant focused on making great craft beer and craveable comfort foods to match. The atmosphere is rustic and warm.
The menu is quite extensive with many options, and of course, fish and chips made the cut here. They also offer thick-cut ribeye steaks and half-pound beef burgers.
For us, getting a few pints and a couple of the shareable plates here is always a fun day in Fayetteville. The poutine and fried green tomatoes are our ideal go-to’s.
Nothing’s quite as nourishing as a big bowl of ramen, and you might be surprised to find this amazing option right here in Fayetteville. You can choose chicken, pork, or beef in any of the perfectly made broths, including bases like miso and shio.
They also offer their namesake buns, gyoza dumplings, and rice bowls. The space looks unassuming from the outside and feels super modern and cozy inside with an open kitchen and lots of exposed brick. The enchanting smells will hit you before you even sit down, and you’ll know that you came to the right place.
Antonella’s Italian Ristorante
- Cuisine: Italian
- Address: 300 Hay St, Fayetteville (GPS)
- Price: $$
Antonella’s cooks up authentic Italian eats and is one of the best restaurants in Fayetteville. The decor reads Tuscan and the outdoor patio is perfect for dining in some Carolina sunshine. It’s set right in the charming and trendy downtown area of Fayetteville.
The menu is packed with all the traditional classics. Some super popular picks are the Fried Meatball Ravioli and the Frutti del Mare, but you really can’t go wrong with any of the handmade pastas here.
There’s even an entire section of vegan choices as well. As we expected, the wine list is wonderful and carefully curated, but the cocktail selections, many made with fresh herbs, are out of this world. Give the Rose Thyme Martini, the Tequila Basil Lemonade, or the Lavender Paradise beverages a try. It feels fancy for an intimate date night or a special occasion out on the town.
Country Fish Fry
The Country Fish Fry is a hidden gem to hit while in Fayetteville. Any seafood fans have got to make the trip. It’s been an institution in town for over 30 years for a reason. Fish and shrimp are made to order every day.
It’s fast food that feels fresh, local, and fun with that classic North Carolina spirit. The menu is simple with some added bonuses like hush puppies and coleslaw made with secret family recipes that go perfectly with the baskets of piping hot seafood. Don’t forget to order a sweet tea for the full Southern experience.
The Fried Turkey Shop
The Fried Turkey Shop is one of the best lunch restaurants in Fayetteville. For a quick and easy bite that’s sure to tantalize your taste buds, it’s the best bet. Whole turkey breasts are fried fresh every day to make up most of the meals here. The signature sandwich is called Turkey Day and is basically an entire Thanksgiving feast between bread.
It’s carved turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and gravy on Texas Toast. There’s a wide range of options that are all affordable. For sides, we love the fried okra and sweet potato squares. This adorably named joint is a fast and casual gem in Fayetteville.
Nothing is better in North Carolina than some good old-fashioned Southern barbecue. Southern Coals smokes up some of the most moist and tender meats in the city. Half the fun here is trying all the different sauces. Are you a Redneck Yum Yum fan or a Big Daddy Hump type of person?
The food is hearty and the portions are hefty so you’re sure to always leave feeling stuffed. Don’t skimp on the sides, with classic choices like corn on the cob and mac and cheese. Smoked brisket, pulled chicken, pork chop, ribs, and sausage all grace the state-of-the-art grills at Southern Coals.
MaryBill’s Cafe and Elbow Room
- Cuisine: American, Cafe ,Vegetarian Friendly
- Address: 801 Elm St, Fayetteville (GPS)
- Price: $
For the most important meal of the day, we love to pop into the quaint and classic diner MaryBill’s Cafe and Elbow Room. From the name, we know it will be a bit quirky, and it certainly has that friendly neighborhood feel that makes American diners so fun. It’s a favorite of locals and visitors alike, so you may need to be prepared for a small wait on the weekends.
You’ll find all the heavy hitters on the menu, omelets, waffles, and breakfast burritos. Their desserts are baked fresh each day and often sell out, so if you see a slice of cake left, definitely don’t hesitate to order it. It’s a haven for Southern hospitality in Fayetteville.
- Cuisine: Japanese ramen, sushi, and poke.
- Address: 524 S Reilly Rd #102, Fayetteville (GPS)
- Price: $$
- Website: Link
Gohan Bistro is the perfect place for Japanese food in Fayetteville. The sushi here is super scrumptious. Each roll is carefully handcrafted and offers fun and inventive twists on the usual ingredients combinations.
They also serve poke bowls and authentic ramen as well, because who can ever get enough noodles really? The Fresh Salmon Mango Salsa Hand Roll and the Kashu and Fried Kimchi Handroll are just some of the special selections on the menu at Gohan. Try one of their flavored milk teas as well for the full experience.
Rookies is responsible for making the most delicious and authentic Mexican street eats in the city. It started as a food truck and has grown into its own Fayetteville restaurant based on taco reputation alone. The grilled jalapenos do sell out, so if that’s the spice you’re after it’s best to go earlier in the day.
Aside from the angry looking bull mascot (is he mad because the food is so good?), it’s a fairly unassuming space that lets the cuisine take the spotlight. The Birria Tacos with the dip are insanely good, and on-trend for any insta food photos.
The Dorilocos are a fun snack to try as well. They also offer elote, tamales, burritos, and tortas. Everything is fresh and flavorful.
- Cuisine: Burgers, Hotdogs and Craft beer.
- Address: 113 Person St, Fayetteville (GPS)
- Price: $$
- Website: Link
Archway is a fast food fixture in Fayetteville. Each burger or dog is made to order with whatever topping you so desire for a full custom experience. Every sauce and add-on is made from scratch in-house using North Carolina products, including the beloved beer onions, coleslaw, pasta salad, pimento cheese, and chipotle mayo.
We recommend ordering the classics, but if you must switch it up, the fried green tomato BLT with chili cheese fries is also a delicious option. There are plenty of craft beers on deck here and some specialty sodas for the tea totalers.
The seating is limited, with only a few tables inside and a couple more outside with lovely views of downtown.
Blue Moon Cafe
- Cuisine: Fresh vegetarian & vegan food
- Address: 310 Hay St, Fayetteville (GPS)
- Price: $$
- Website: Link
Blue Moon Cafe is a hip setting that’s been around the downtown Fayetteville scene for over a decade. The menu began by offering small tapas and has since expanded to a variety of healthy and tasty fares. Art and music are a big part of the space here, creating a community space for creativity and appreciation.
We love to stop by for a shareable brunch board on the weekends, as well as for a light lunch when running around town. The vegan lobster roll is so good, even as a carnivore, and we also love to get the lemon dill hummus or the pimento bites for snacking.
The atmosphere is hip and rustic, and the patio outside is a beautiful way to spend some time and have a bite. There’s a wide selection of beverages as well, from local craft beers to sparkling roses to specialty coffees.
Luigi’s Italian Chophouse and Bar
Luigi’s has been a long-standing institution in the cuisine scene of this city. It’s always been busy since the day the doors opened when it started as a simple spaghetti house in the 1950s. Each sauce is still made from family recipes that have been passed down over generations. It’s a great choice for an upscale evening in Fayetteville.
They’re mainly known for their dry-aged steaks, as if their wine list of over 300 varieties wasn’t enough to tempt us. Authentic Italian dishes and every cut of meat imaginable are available here, and each plate is truly mouthwatering.