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“Our favorite restaurant”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Poole's Diner

Poole's Diner
Ranked #16 of 1,444 Restaurants in Raleigh
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $6 - $30
Cuisines: American
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine, Bar scene, Special occasions
Dining options: Dinner, Late Night, Full Bar, Parking Available, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Takeout, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Our favorite restaurant”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 9, 2013

Poole's Diner has never let my wife or me down. Most of the menu is constantly changing, so I cannot suggest any particular entree, but I have NEVER been disappointed. Some meals have been better than others, and I had a sample of my friend's royale (one of their staples) that I found a bit salty, but I have had the best scallops I have ever had here and some fantastic steak tartare and very good everything else. The desserts are ALWAYS worth it along with an after-dinner coffee. I typically get the chicken liver pate for an appetizer (don't be afraid to ask for some more crostinis). Service is always knowledgeable and friendly and reasonably fast. The hostess sometimes recognizes me and there's this fellow--I don't know if he's the manager or what--he's always very friendly and makes me feel like an old friend when he asks how I am in passing.

Some notes: My wife is a vegetarian. There's not necessarily a whole lot of protein on the menu for her, but she is extremely satisfied getting sides and apps and getting her protein from cheeses. She drools over their brussel sprouts and beets.

Cons: Long wait times. They don't take reservations except for Valentine's Day and New Years. If you show up around 7:00 on a Friday or Saturday with a party of 2, expect to wait at least 40 minutes usually, unless there's an opening at the counter. With a party of 4, potentially 60-80. And larger than that, make sure you're in good company because it could be near 2 hours sometimes. But you can purchase beverages to pass the time and stand just outside the door to drink them if it's a nice evening. It can get a little loud indoors sometimes.

Beer menu is limited. They only keep two beers on tap and the rest are somewhat expensive bottles. So I typically resort to wine/cocktails which are all quite delicious and they definitely don't skimp on the liquor.

My wife and I go probably once a month. With at least 2 drinks each, an appetizer, two entrees, 1 or 2 desserts, and a coffee, we typically spend about $100 a visit.

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Alan N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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435 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Raleigh, North Carolina
Level Contributor
21 reviews
18 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“a bit overrated for the price”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 9, 2013 credit card Amex Card Member Review

The food was good, but it definitely didn't live up to the hype. A lot of our friends absolutely love it, so we were excited to get there for the first time. A bit expensive in my opinion. We did have leftovers, which I guess compensates for the cost a little bit, but neither my wife nor I were blown away by it. Worth a try, but not necessarily a repeat visit.

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Bill A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Knightdale, North Carolina
Level Contributor
192 reviews
141 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 68 helpful votes
“A. C.'s food never disappoints!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 29, 2013

Poole's Downtown Diner Ashley Christensen's first restaurant and it's very rare that you pass by the door and there's not a lot of people waiting. They don't accept reservations but you can put your name in and have a cocktail or beer while waiting. It's a small space but intimate and it's worth the wait. Your best bet is to get there when dinner first starts. If you can, sit at the bar, you can sometimes spot Ashley herself or her other talented chefs at work or at least watch how quick the bartenders make their specialty cocktails. It can get pretty loud in there so sometimes its hard to have conversation but the food makes it all worth it. The menus are written on chalkboards in several places in the restaurant and the staff is highly trained and very attentive as they will help you navigate the menu, which changes with the season. There are several things we heard that others had tried that never let them down - the short-rib and the macaroni au gratin.The macaroni can easily be shared by at least 3 people. We tried the pimento cheese appetizer and it was so good as well as a crab/pimento cheese appetizer that our friends ordered. Their cocktails are not lacking and they have several local beer choices on tap as well as multiple bottles and other taps. They have several choices for deserts but we were too stuffed to try them. Recently, they stopped serving their Sunday brunch there at Poole's and it is now served at her newest venture, Joule Coffee. We always heard great things about their brunch, though. The food is creative, fresh, ever-changing and fantastic.

  • Visited June 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank jermsshan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jacksonville, Florida, United States
Level Contributor
31 reviews
25 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Fantastic!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 6, 2013

Ashley Christensen is one of my role models, talented, creative and selfless. And her food is very approachable, which makes it even better. On a recent trip to Raleigh I had the pleasure of enjoying cocktails and appetizers at Poole's Diner. The menu is small, but packed with flavor. My niece and I shared the watermelon and avocado salad with local goat cheese and vidalia onion vinaigrette and the chicken liver pâté. I could eat the watermelon salad everyday.

If in Raleigh, take yourself to Poole's even if only for pimento cheese and cocktails.

  • Visited August 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank SaltedCarolyn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Raleigh, North Carolina
Level Contributor
24 reviews
15 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Casual but upscale”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 4, 2013

Interesting and creative menu prepared by Ashley Christensen. Elegantly presented soup, appetizers and entres.

  • Visited August 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank bbhardy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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