This post pairs with my August 30 column in The News and Record (go to greensboro.com and search on John Batchelor). That list was a function of two factors- personal favorites and location- in other words, places fairly near my home that my wife and I like. We go to those places more often than anywhere else.
This list expands on the favorites theme and crosses the location boundary. We like these restaurants very much, but they are not as conveniently located for us, and in some cases, they are more expensive than we are likely to frequent often. But we still like them and we go when we can.
Marisol (themarisol.com) has been regarded as one of the Triad’s best since inception over 20 years ago. I continue to rank it among the top four (along with The Undercurrent, Mark’s, and 1618 Seafood Grille), with the caveat that on any given night, either could outrank the other. My favorite way to eat here is to sit at the bar and order several appetizers. No matter where you sit, this is one of the Triad's most elegant dining experiences. If I lived near Sedgefield and had more money, I would dine here often.
1618 Seafood Grille (1618seafoodgrille.com/) is another top-ranked establishment, not just for seafoods, although the ocean forms the core of the menu, but for complex creations that challenge for the best available. Consider these starters: Duck Breast Tacos with cherry chipotle salsa and goat cheese, Crab Cake Sliders, Pan Seared Scallops with chipotle remoulad; or these main courses: Seafood Trio- striped bass, coconut crusted chili glazed shrimp, and seared scallops with a fried green tomato Napoleon, or Flounder stuffed with crab mousse, as well as the Grilled Pork Chop. This is an especially good choice if you are a wine enthusiast. Their list is extensive, adventurous, and available in many small portions that allow tasting across a wide range.
Green Valley Grill (greenvalleygrill.com) and Printworks Bistro (printworksbistro.com) are the restaurants in two of the Triad's luxury hotels. For a gorgeous setting as well as sophisticated cuisine, these can't be beat.
Santa Fe (423 Pisgah Church Rd, Greensboro, 336-288-3663) is Mexican, noteworthy for fresh seafoods (order anything with shrimp).
Rody’s Tavern (rodystavern.com) is a sports bar, but unlike so many in the genre, they actually prepare everything from scratch. Outstanding onion rings, French fries, good burgers, fried shrimp and fish.
Crafted (eatatcrafted.com) represents the most original restaurant concept in the area. Two locations prepare tacos and other extremely casual finger food in highly creative ways.
I wrote a full review of Liberty Oak (libertyoakrestaurant.com/) recently. Access it and other reviews on the News and Record website, greensboro.com and search John Batchelor.
Southern Lights Bistro (southernlightsbistro.com) was one of the restaurants that started Greensboro's transition from weak dining at any price to fine dining at moderate prices. Designating its theme as "Modern American Cuisine," it's one of the few places I would go for a salad, in addition to sandwiches, burgers, as well as soups, apps, and entrees. Consider Buttermilk Fried Chicken, Bistro Steak, or Tuscan Meat Loaf, among other good choices.
I was really taken with Natty Green’s Kitchen and Market when I reviewed this new establishment in the renovated Revolution Mill complex. Calling itself a "New Age Chophouse," the concept elevates the brew pub concept that has been popular in the original Natty Greene's downtown. I liked the Fried Cauliflower, "Soulshi"- fried chicken wrapped in collards, and especially the Sausage Plate, with various sausages made in house. Burgers and sandwiches join steaks, chops, and other full entrees, such as Cast Iron Salmon, Mushroom Risotto, and Shrimp Mac and Cheese. Note: the name has been changed to Kau (kaugreensboro.com). I have not been back since the name change, but the menu posted online does not seem to have changed much, if at all.
Giovanni’s (https://giovannisnc.com/) endures long after founder Giovanni Carandola has passed, with his protoge, Robert Holden, at the helm. Holden was cooking in the original Giovanni's while still in his teens. More upscale than the popular "family Italian" places.