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“Overrated” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Lantern Restaurant

Lantern Restaurant
423 West Franklin Street, Chapel Hill, NC 27516
(919) 969-8846
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Ranked #3 of 249 restaurants in Chapel Hill
Price range: $21 - $30
Cuisines: Asian, Pacific Rim
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Restaurant details
Good for: Doing business
Dining options: Dinner, Reservations, Late Night
Raleigh, North Carolina
Top Contributor
51 reviews 51 reviews
39 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
“Overrated”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 20, 2012 via mobile

My family ate here based on reviews. I travel a lot and this was nothing special. My wife and I both had XO chicken. Neither of us liked the favor and I have had XO in a number of places. They said it was homemade and that was believable. My daughters the vegetarians had the vegetarian special. It was too spicy for both of hem to eat. Zero warning on the spicy. Plenty of better places in chapel hill including an Indian joint next door. Twice as good at alf the price. Had to try - but for sure a one and done spot.

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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185 reviews from our community

79% Recommend
    117
    30
    25
    9
    4
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Charlotte, North Carolina
Top Contributor
57 reviews 57 reviews
37 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
168 helpful votes 168 helpful votes
“Awesome!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 15, 2012

We've been lucky to enjoy great meals all over the world, and Lantern is up there with the best of them. We've dined there several times and have yet to experience anything but the very best food. The greatest so far: Vietnames-style summer rolls as an appetizer, pork chop as a main and hot chocolate cake for dessert. For such incredible meals, the atmosphere is relatively casual. The wait staff are well-versed in what they're serving. Everything you taste has its own remarkable flavor. There's a smile on my face even as I'm writing this!

  • Visited August 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Houston, TX
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
11 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
“Great restaurant”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 8, 2012

This reastaurant has won the highest awards in the US for food. Wonderful place, farm-to-table Asian-inspired cuisine. Makes great use of the available local bounty, including seafood. Great service, great desserts. Can't recommend this highly enough.

  • Visited August 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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Durham, North Carolina
Top Contributor
83 reviews 83 reviews
30 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 33 cities Reviews in 33 cities
300 helpful votes 300 helpful votes
“Great Bar, Great Food”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 7, 2012

Whether you go to the wonderful little tucked-away bar for snacks and drinks or do the full dinner in the main restaurant, this place earns full marks. The bar is a little Moroccan jewel box with a nice cocktail, beer, wine, and sake list plus a full complement of liquors. The menu certainly does the chef's James Beard award full justice. A longtime standout is the steamed halibut with seared ginger, soy, fermented black beans, and baby bok choy ($29). It's incredibly tasty and probably healthy to boot. There are also usually other seafood choices, plus chicken and beef options. The appetizers are also an interesting mix. There are usually about three appetizer specials and an entree special as well. When we went the other night, one of the appetizer specials was tempura soft-shell crab, and it was a creamy, delicious winner. Every time I've been, service has been prompt and efficient without being all over you. Though it's a younger staff (i.e., probably a high percentage of college/grad students), it's polished enough to live up to the food. The decor in the main restaurant isn't as lush as the bar (with its hanging lanterns and glowing red back wall), but it's pleasant and usually busy but not overly loud. They take reservations (by phone only--no OpenTable) and you should probably make them or risk a long wait. Definitely worth the price; this is the best restaurant in Chapel Hill and one of the top three or four in the Triangle.

  • Visited August 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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Cary, NC
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
“Over-Rated”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 29, 2012

Table of 6 in the main dining room on Saturday evening. Waiter was excellent with detailed knowledge of wine, food and ingredients. Service was excellent. Our party of six enjoys sharing appetizers and entrees - We enjoyed the spring rolls, Chaat, and crab cakes (special) as appetizers. The Chaat stood out from all others while the special crab cakes had a spongy complexity that didn't work.

Chosen entrees included whole red snapper, vegetarian stew, filet of beef, and Rouge Chicken. My review is based on tasting each dish as well as feedback from each person.

Red Snapper - Fairly bland dish and not a very meaty fish, dish with skin on with sauce surrounding the fish. Once you pull back the skin it quickly disappears into the dipping sauce creating an awkward dipping for the fish. Side dishes included plain rice and a strange arrangement of a carrot plume dressed in a rice vinegar (?), boring and odd.

Vegetarian Stew - Most outstanding dish of the evening and would recommend to anyone, vegetarian or not.

Filet of Beef - Nice cut of beef and very tender but missing complimentary onions/mushrooms, sauces and accompanying side dishes. Side dish included potato chips...another odd choice for a $32 entree.

Rouge Chicken - Very bland and dry for two in our party and very disappointing. While the skin was crisp, the meat was underwhelming. Served with green beans coated in an XO sauce that had very little flavor.

Desert - Two Yuzu pudding and hot chocolate cake...both excellent.

Overall, based on the hype of the reviews over the past year, this reviewer and party were very disappointed and will not return!

  • Visited July 2012
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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