Magnolia Grill

★★★★☆
  • 1002 Ninth St

    Durham, NC 27705

    Cross street: Around Town

    Map & Directions
  • 919-286-3609

About Magnolia Grill

Hours
Restaurant Tues-Thurs 6-9:30pm; Fri-Sat 5:30-10pm. Bar 5-9:30pm

Food

Food
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We just came home from our first visit to this place....how disappointing! They have a rule of no substitutions, which I have no problem with, but when I requested the lamb dish and asked the waitress to hold the couscous, she came back

3
★★★★★

We just came home from our first visit to this place....how disappointing! They have a rule of no substitutions, which I have no problem with, but when I requested the lamb dish and asked the waitress to hold the couscous, she came back

.

We mostly loved the food. But, one dish was very salty so we sent it back. We went on to dessert. After we got the bill, the dish we sent back was still on the check. So we mentioned that we were surprised to see the item on the bill and

3
★★★★★

We mostly loved the food. But, one dish was very salty so we sent it back. We went on to dessert. After we got the bill, the dish we sent back was still on the check. So we mentioned that we were surprised to see the item on the bill and

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My girlfriend had heard a lot of buzz about this place, so we decided to give it a try. To begin with, the staff was unfriendly to the point of hostility, especially when learning that we'd just turned up without a reservation. We

3
★★★★★

My girlfriend had heard a lot of buzz about this place, so we decided to give it a try. To begin with, the staff was unfriendly to the point of hostility, especially when learning that we'd just turned up without a reservation. We

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Maybe it was worse because I'd heard the hype ahead of time, but I would definitely not classify this as one of the top restaurants in the area. First, the pros: 1) the bread was delicious 2) the service was fairly good 3) my husband had

3
★★★★★

Maybe it was worse because I'd heard the hype ahead of time, but I would definitely not classify this as one of the top restaurants in the area. First, the pros: 1) the bread was delicious 2) the service was fairly good 3) my husband had

.

We arrived early for our reservation and they were kind enough to seat us. Although the table was near the door, we were still happy. -We were a 1/2 hour early, what can you expect? But it took 10 minutes before a server greeted our table. I saw our server at the host stand and the hostess said, "they've been here a while now" and then the server realized our existence and scrambled over. She greeted us with no apology.
We started with a Salmon appetizer that was out of control good. -Just a fantastic combination of textures and flavors.
I had the hanger steak and it was big and bold with hearty flavors. With the steak I had a glass of the Montelpuciano Di Abruzzo and it's tannins worked perfectly with my meal.
My wife had the trout and it too was amazing.
For dessert we had a cheesecake that had a meringue top to it that was one of the most unique textures I have ever had when dining. It was so delicious that I could have eaten 3 more.

Long story short, the food was WELL-WELL worth the visit and I highly suggest experiencing it. The service was so-so and seemed to take itself far too seriously. The ambiance is a little tired. But... all-in-all a great experience. We went in with big culinary expectations and they were exceeded.

2
★★★★☆

We arrived early for our reservation and they were kind enough to seat us. Although the table was near the door, we were still happy. -We were a 1/2 hour early, what can you expect? But it took 10 minutes before a server greeted our table. I saw our server at the host stand and the hostess said, "they've been here a while now" and then the server realized our existence and scrambled over. She greeted us with no apology.
We started with a Salmon appetizer that was out of control good. -Just a fantastic combination of textures and flavors.
I had the hanger steak and it was big and bold with hearty flavors. With the steak I had a glass of the Montelpuciano Di Abruzzo and it's tannins worked perfectly with my meal.
My wife had the trout and it too was amazing.
For dessert we had a cheesecake that had a meringue top to it that was one of the most unique textures I have ever had when dining. It was so delicious that I could have eaten 3 more.

Long story short, the food was WELL-WELL worth the visit and I highly suggest experiencing it. The service was so-so and seemed to take itself far too seriously. The ambiance is a little tired. But... all-in-all a great experience. We went in with big culinary expectations and they were exceeded.

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Excellent food but really uncomfortable service.
The waitstaff we had was not friendly, rather cold. We had to split entree & appetizer since my partner was not hungry. After the order, we saw the waitress was talking behind with waitstaffs about sharing. It ruins whole dining experience. I'll be back for food but not for the service.

1
★★☆☆☆

Excellent food but really uncomfortable service.
The waitstaff we had was not friendly, rather cold. We had to split entree & appetizer since my partner was not hungry. After the order, we saw the waitress was talking behind with waitstaffs about sharing. It ruins whole dining experience. I'll be back for food but not for the service.

Pros: good food

Cons: bad service

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So many people brag about this restaurant so I finally went for a try. Forgive my ignorance: reservation on the day is too late. Later I was told I should reserve 3 weeks in advance. Okay, my bad, but I was looking forward to the food even more!

We waited 45 minutes for our appetizer. Lots of dishes ran out by the time we ordered but magically became available when we left. Appetizers and entrees were decent; I've had much better ones with much lower cost. The only plus I'd give for Magnolia Grill is its desserts: the chocolate tart was absolutely superb.

Waiting staff were friendly and professional, but An's is better. VERY slow service and honestly the food was not worth the wait.

1
★★☆☆☆

So many people brag about this restaurant so I finally went for a try. Forgive my ignorance: reservation on the day is too late. Later I was told I should reserve 3 weeks in advance. Okay, my bad, but I was looking forward to the food even more!

We waited 45 minutes for our appetizer. Lots of dishes ran out by the time we ordered but magically became available when we left. Appetizers and entrees were decent; I've had much better ones with much lower cost. The only plus I'd give for Magnolia Grill is its desserts: the chocolate tart was absolutely superb.

Waiting staff were friendly and professional, but An's is better. VERY slow service and honestly the food was not worth the wait.

Pros: Dessert

Cons: Price and service

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We went to the Magnolia grill for our wedding anniversary, I have been there in the past and found the food to be delicious, and therefore we picked the place. We ordered the fresh tomato salad which was wonderful, but it all went downhill from there. The crusted grouper I ordered was overcooked, the crust a bit burnt and the fish dry, I complained to the waitress that it tasted bad, she talked to the manager and came back with, and I quote: ??we can get you something else, but you will have to pay for both dishes. . .?
We also ordered the ??French toast brulle? apparently they must have been short staffed in the kitchen that day, as this was a bit singed as well. The peach ice cream that went with it was delicious though.
I would recommend Nana??s in Durham instead, if you are celebrating a special occasion and do not want to ruin it with ??overcooked arrogance?.

0
★☆☆☆☆

We went to the Magnolia grill for our wedding anniversary, I have been there in the past and found the food to be delicious, and therefore we picked the place. We ordered the fresh tomato salad which was wonderful, but it all went downhill from there. The crusted grouper I ordered was overcooked, the crust a bit burnt and the fish dry, I complained to the waitress that it tasted bad, she talked to the manager and came back with, and I quote: ??we can get you something else, but you will have to pay for both dishes. . .?
We also ordered the ??French toast brulle? apparently they must have been short staffed in the kitchen that day, as this was a bit singed as well. The peach ice cream that went with it was delicious though.
I would recommend Nana??s in Durham instead, if you are celebrating a special occasion and do not want to ruin it with ??overcooked arrogance?.

Pros: delicious salad and ice-cream

Cons: overcooked main course

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In town for business? Save yourself the hassle if you're visiting Raleigh and spend your money where it is appreciated. This is just a big fish in a tiny pond. Servers are rude and unaccommodating.
When our 9 month pregnant guest asked for a menu modification, for obvious health purposes, the server simply answered, "no." I understand that menu changes from customers are annoying, however, so are unmannerly restaurants and servers (it comes from above).
We will not go back because of the service. Food was incredible.
If you can tolerate the pretentious service then bon appetit, however, I think your money is better spent elsewhere.

2
★★★★☆

In town for business? Save yourself the hassle if you're visiting Raleigh and spend your money where it is appreciated. This is just a big fish in a tiny pond. Servers are rude and unaccommodating.
When our 9 month pregnant guest asked for a menu modification, for obvious health purposes, the server simply answered, "no." I understand that menu changes from customers are annoying, however, so are unmannerly restaurants and servers (it comes from above).
We will not go back because of the service. Food was incredible.
If you can tolerate the pretentious service then bon appetit, however, I think your money is better spent elsewhere.

Pros: Incredible food and menu

Cons: snobby service

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The food has always been good, worth the price - the desserts are great! Make sure you save room for some - even if you have to share. (Although it's better to order multiple things and sample them all!) My only complaint is that the dining room is very loud! You actually have to raise your voice to be heard. Not the place for a quiet, romantic meal, but still a great option for a louder group.

4
★★★★☆

The food has always been good, worth the price - the desserts are great! Make sure you save room for some - even if you have to share. (Although it's better to order multiple things and sample them all!) My only complaint is that the dining room is very loud! You actually have to raise your voice to be heard. Not the place for a quiet, romantic meal, but still a great option for a louder group.

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My bf made the reservation to surprise me and conversed w/ the chef prior to our arrival to confirm their knowledge of my intolerance/disease to be sure that this was not a problem. So, first, and most important to me, that worked out wonderfully--NOT sick at all (THANK YOU!). Now let me give you a quick background, I have lived and worked all over the country and travelled the world. I have eaten in some wonderful restaurants around the world. I have also worked in some wonderful restaurant ('four star') kitchens, as well. I LOVE food. MG, hands down, was one of the best meals I've ever had. In my life. Seriously. The chef will not substitute anything in his meals, but as I said earlier, we let him know that I was coming, and he was very helpful. It is unfortunate to see negative reviews and I can only base my review on my experience. I highly recommend.

2
★★★★★

My bf made the reservation to surprise me and conversed w/ the chef prior to our arrival to confirm their knowledge of my intolerance/disease to be sure that this was not a problem. So, first, and most important to me, that worked out wonderfully--NOT sick at all (THANK YOU!). Now let me give you a quick background, I have lived and worked all over the country and travelled the world. I have eaten in some wonderful restaurants around the world. I have also worked in some wonderful restaurant ('four star') kitchens, as well. I LOVE food. MG, hands down, was one of the best meals I've ever had. In my life. Seriously. The chef will not substitute anything in his meals, but as I said earlier, we let him know that I was coming, and he was very helpful. It is unfortunate to see negative reviews and I can only base my review on my experience. I highly recommend.

Pros: service excellent, food is ridiculously great, excellent value (would say UNDER priced)

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I am not a culinary expert nor do I have an educated or discerning palatte. I do however, know ridiculously good food when I eat it. I have never, ever, in all my life tasted anything as flavorful and unique as the dishes I had at MG. This is truly a lifetime perspective changing experience that no one should be without. This place is not overpriced, so anyone who says it is just doesn't understand that this isn't just some assembly line style mall parking lot restaurant. The staff is very pleasant and they were quite patient with my simpleton questions and unknowledgable demeanor. I found the atmosphere charming, unfettered, and very approachable. I have heard people complain that it is too average looking. So what, if you want to have to wear a suit and tie to eat go somewhere like that. I'll never understand why people try to take a lifetime's worth of messed up comparisons and expectations into a situation and then complain and judge the entire time they are witnessing a miracle.

Bottom line, you have to try this place if you are in the area. It simply is the best dinner I've ever had without exception.

P.S. Stella Artois on tap = sweet baby jesus awesome

2
★★★★★

I am not a culinary expert nor do I have an educated or discerning palatte. I do however, know ridiculously good food when I eat it. I have never, ever, in all my life tasted anything as flavorful and unique as the dishes I had at MG. This is truly a lifetime perspective changing experience that no one should be without. This place is not overpriced, so anyone who says it is just doesn't understand that this isn't just some assembly line style mall parking lot restaurant. The staff is very pleasant and they were quite patient with my simpleton questions and unknowledgable demeanor. I found the atmosphere charming, unfettered, and very approachable. I have heard people complain that it is too average looking. So what, if you want to have to wear a suit and tie to eat go somewhere like that. I'll never understand why people try to take a lifetime's worth of messed up comparisons and expectations into a situation and then complain and judge the entire time they are witnessing a miracle.

Bottom line, you have to try this place if you are in the area. It simply is the best dinner I've ever had without exception.

P.S. Stella Artois on tap = sweet baby jesus awesome

Pros: This is the dumbest question ever. Uh ... everything.

Cons: Kahn? No Kahn's here captain this is Seti Alpha 6.

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This is considered one of the best restaurants in the Triangle (actually I have seen reviews were it is considered one of the best in the nation!) The food is fantastic of course, and the atmosphere is quite nice as well. A very Bistro -like feel to it. The cost is not as bad as i thin people believe that it is. That is probably a good thing considering that it is usually pretty full (at least it was when I went).

The corkage fee is ridiculous! $25! Not something most people care about probably, but we like to bring our own wine to a restaurant because of personal preference, and economy.

Still, I would highly recommend Magnolias...I would say that you HAVE to go there at least once!

4
★★★★☆

This is considered one of the best restaurants in the Triangle (actually I have seen reviews were it is considered one of the best in the nation!) The food is fantastic of course, and the atmosphere is quite nice as well. A very Bistro -like feel to it. The cost is not as bad as i thin people believe that it is. That is probably a good thing considering that it is usually pretty full (at least it was when I went).

The corkage fee is ridiculous! $25! Not something most people care about probably, but we like to bring our own wine to a restaurant because of personal preference, and economy.

Still, I would highly recommend Magnolias...I would say that you HAVE to go there at least once!

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First, I would like to say that the person who wrote about water refills must be one of the dumbest people on the planet. Those are restrictions put in place by the CITY because of DROUGHT, sorry you have to bother yourself to ask for water when you want it. Further, they could be fined if they pour water without request, so take it up with the city, are you living under a rock? That is the most self centered attitude, and it is this kind of thoughtless demand for endless natural resources that creates problems in the first place.

To give an even handed analysis: Yes, the Barkers and the staff can be pretentious at times. But what's more pretentious than these award winning Chefs and their staff of snobby lackeys? The culture of Dukie stuff shirts that coalesce around this restaurant like flies on, uh, fruit! These pampered bags of whine love to throw their weight around the city they disdain, especially at important social/business gatherings which often involve a bite to eat at Magnolia Grill. Obviously, there are many good hearted Dukies out there, but reading some of these reviews made me laugh at the hypocrisy snobs calling snobs snobby.

I have been in many times, the food is excellent, and is not over priced. The service is good, sometimes great, sometimes not. The Chef is stubborn, so if you don't like the menu, don't go because he wont change it most of the time. The china and glassware is old and beat up, if that bothers you, don't go. If you are a strict vegetarian, this is not your place. Meat lovers will enjoy, the best dishes are hefty in southern flavor and most all of the red meat is fantastic. Dessert is the Best! Save room!

2
★★★★★

First, I would like to say that the person who wrote about water refills must be one of the dumbest people on the planet. Those are restrictions put in place by the CITY because of DROUGHT, sorry you have to bother yourself to ask for water when you want it. Further, they could be fined if they pour water without request, so take it up with the city, are you living under a rock? That is the most self centered attitude, and it is this kind of thoughtless demand for endless natural resources that creates problems in the first place.

To give an even handed analysis: Yes, the Barkers and the staff can be pretentious at times. But what's more pretentious than these award winning Chefs and their staff of snobby lackeys? The culture of Dukie stuff shirts that coalesce around this restaurant like flies on, uh, fruit! These pampered bags of whine love to throw their weight around the city they disdain, especially at important social/business gatherings which often involve a bite to eat at Magnolia Grill. Obviously, there are many good hearted Dukies out there, but reading some of these reviews made me laugh at the hypocrisy snobs calling snobs snobby.

I have been in many times, the food is excellent, and is not over priced. The service is good, sometimes great, sometimes not. The Chef is stubborn, so if you don't like the menu, don't go because he wont change it most of the time. The china and glassware is old and beat up, if that bothers you, don't go. If you are a strict vegetarian, this is not your place. Meat lovers will enjoy, the best dishes are hefty in southern flavor and most all of the red meat is fantastic. Dessert is the Best! Save room!

Pros: Food, Desserts

Cons: Snobbery

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This might be one of the best dining experiences of your life. An amazing mixture of big flavors both in entrees and desert. A menu that integrates flavors and attitudes of the South with the diversity of cultures that is modern Durham delivered in an urbane atmosphere that could be in any of the more traditional dining meccas. The staff is widely knowledgeable of both the menu and the wine list (diverse and reasonably priced) as most of them have been here for a while. I've heard some disparaging things from locals who are more comfortable in a less foody environment, but if you like daring culinary experiences, you'll love this place.

2
★★★★★

This might be one of the best dining experiences of your life. An amazing mixture of big flavors both in entrees and desert. A menu that integrates flavors and attitudes of the South with the diversity of cultures that is modern Durham delivered in an urbane atmosphere that could be in any of the more traditional dining meccas. The staff is widely knowledgeable of both the menu and the wine list (diverse and reasonably priced) as most of them have been here for a while. I've heard some disparaging things from locals who are more comfortable in a less foody environment, but if you like daring culinary experiences, you'll love this place.

Pros: menu, staff, wine list

Cons: make reservations well in advance

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I have tried to go to this place multiple times and they have either turned me away or were closed! They wouldn't even let us sit at the bar. I don't know how a place can turn away profit at 8:30

0
★☆☆☆☆

I have tried to go to this place multiple times and they have either turned me away or were closed! They wouldn't even let us sit at the bar. I don't know how a place can turn away profit at 8:30

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My friends and I went there to get dessert and drinks on a week night. The first thing the waiter said to us was "if you want water, you have to ask for it because we won't fill it up for you unless you ask for it." His manner was quite rude and its ridiculous to deny people a glass of water and have to make them flag down the waiter when you want water. Anyways, my friend was hungry and decided to get a salad, but she is a vegetarian and wanted them to keep the bacon off the salad. He said that the chef refused to do so. When we asked what other vegetarian options there were, there was like 2 other unappealing options. The place overall was incredibly pretentious, the staff was rude, and the whole experience left a very bad feeling. Which is too bad because the dessert I had was quite delicious, but I would never go back there to be treated so badly.

0
★☆☆☆☆

My friends and I went there to get dessert and drinks on a week night. The first thing the waiter said to us was "if you want water, you have to ask for it because we won't fill it up for you unless you ask for it." His manner was quite rude and its ridiculous to deny people a glass of water and have to make them flag down the waiter when you want water. Anyways, my friend was hungry and decided to get a salad, but she is a vegetarian and wanted them to keep the bacon off the salad. He said that the chef refused to do so. When we asked what other vegetarian options there were, there was like 2 other unappealing options. The place overall was incredibly pretentious, the staff was rude, and the whole experience left a very bad feeling. Which is too bad because the dessert I had was quite delicious, but I would never go back there to be treated so badly.

Pros: tasty dessert

Cons: rude, pretentious, overpriced

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When my husband and I were choosing a restaurant to celebrate our anniversary, we picked Magnolia Grill based on a good meal we'd had with my parents despite the usual difficulty getting a reservation and long wait. We ordered a very expensive bottle of wine ($130), though to our surprise, the waiter came back to inform us that the chef refused to sell us the bottle unless we both ordered meat. Regardless of the fact that we had already enjoyed this exact bottle with the chef's very own tuna ceviche, I had already settled on trout for my dinner, and we decided to scrap the wine altogether. Too bad for them we suppose because our entire meal was less than the bottle would have been. If you're looking to be disrespected by a pretentious, self-absorbed and condescending chef who makes adequate food at best, then this is the place for you. Save your time and money--there any plenty of other equally delicious restaurants in the triangle.

0
★☆☆☆☆

When my husband and I were choosing a restaurant to celebrate our anniversary, we picked Magnolia Grill based on a good meal we'd had with my parents despite the usual difficulty getting a reservation and long wait. We ordered a very expensive bottle of wine ($130), though to our surprise, the waiter came back to inform us that the chef refused to sell us the bottle unless we both ordered meat. Regardless of the fact that we had already enjoyed this exact bottle with the chef's very own tuna ceviche, I had already settled on trout for my dinner, and we decided to scrap the wine altogether. Too bad for them we suppose because our entire meal was less than the bottle would have been. If you're looking to be disrespected by a pretentious, self-absorbed and condescending chef who makes adequate food at best, then this is the place for you. Save your time and money--there any plenty of other equally delicious restaurants in the triangle.

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: We choose this Restaurant based upon published recommendations. We were disappointed with everything except the Desserts which were deserving of the high rating. When we tried to express our concerns about the two worst disappointments (overcooked tough veal and a "corked" bottle of wine) the chef/owner refused to speak with us directly but sent repeated rude messages to us through the staff; refused to sell us another bottle of wine, stating that we try bourbon and insisted that veal was suppose to be tough overcooked. We were later informed that he fancies himself as the Seinfeld "Soup Chef" of Durham. He likes to mix different flavors and has rec'd awards for his avant guard style, however unlike other gourmet chefs he believes the "customer is always wrong". My fellow diners asked me not to take his eccentrics personal; the manager apologized and the waiter was very attentive. We however cannot recommend this place and have urged the highly respected rating publication to reconsider the rating. The Gourmet dining experience requires more than a talented chef.

0
★☆☆☆☆

: We choose this Restaurant based upon published recommendations. We were disappointed with everything except the Desserts which were deserving of the high rating. When we tried to express our concerns about the two worst disappointments (overcooked tough veal and a "corked" bottle of wine) the chef/owner refused to speak with us directly but sent repeated rude messages to us through the staff; refused to sell us another bottle of wine, stating that we try bourbon and insisted that veal was suppose to be tough overcooked. We were later informed that he fancies himself as the Seinfeld "Soup Chef" of Durham. He likes to mix different flavors and has rec'd awards for his avant guard style, however unlike other gourmet chefs he believes the "customer is always wrong". My fellow diners asked me not to take his eccentrics personal; the manager apologized and the waiter was very attentive. We however cannot recommend this place and have urged the highly respected rating publication to reconsider the rating. The Gourmet dining experience requires more than a talented chef.

.

You can call us foodies and enjoy eateries everywhere we travel. We were excited that we finally had a chance to go to the MG. While the physical plant was pleasing and the hostess extremely attentive we found some very weak areas for a place opened so long.
Thought we d start with a cocktail since the plane ride was so long. The server was unaware if Beefeaters was aivaiable at the bar. When she brought the dinks she inturn spilled half on the table and didn t offer to refill or correct the situation/
. I had the fried oysters for an app. They were overcooked to my disappointment. Nothing like the ones at DC Coast in Washington DC or even at Cliff s In greenville NC. I then has the Stripped Bass( which had no side of veg) which was good however the portion was less then you d get at a weightwatcher convention at Gratersford prison. One of my fellow dinners had the duck which had an extremely strong soy flavoring which over powered the true flavor of the meat. My wife has the flounder which was a winner. It came with a citrus infused grite side.
The wine list was comprehsive. We had a pinot which goes with everything. We all agreed the place wasn t worth the money
On the whole and in general we re glad we tried it. Would we go back again "NO."

1
★★★☆☆

You can call us foodies and enjoy eateries everywhere we travel. We were excited that we finally had a chance to go to the MG. While the physical plant was pleasing and the hostess extremely attentive we found some very weak areas for a place opened so long.
Thought we d start with a cocktail since the plane ride was so long. The server was unaware if Beefeaters was aivaiable at the bar. When she brought the dinks she inturn spilled half on the table and didn t offer to refill or correct the situation/
. I had the fried oysters for an app. They were overcooked to my disappointment. Nothing like the ones at DC Coast in Washington DC or even at Cliff s In greenville NC. I then has the Stripped Bass( which had no side of veg) which was good however the portion was less then you d get at a weightwatcher convention at Gratersford prison. One of my fellow dinners had the duck which had an extremely strong soy flavoring which over powered the true flavor of the meat. My wife has the flounder which was a winner. It came with a citrus infused grite side.
The wine list was comprehsive. We had a pinot which goes with everything. We all agreed the place wasn t worth the money
On the whole and in general we re glad we tried it. Would we go back again "NO."

.

This rating is specifically for the Chef/Owner.
What a horrible way to treat a customer who has been coming to his restaurant for 10 years.
The food has always been wonderful and the service great.
While the service was still great and the food that I ate was delicious...
My entree was OVERCOOKED on one side. Med-Rare for one 1/2 and Med-WELL
for the 2nd half. And the Med-Well half was cut side down as if to hide that it was cook
improperly. The chef refused to do anything about it. The waitress took it back to the chef
2x and then the manager got involved. I didn't want anything for free. I just wanted to enjoy ALL of my dinner. Well, I didn't get the rest of my dinner. And we left without getting dessert. I was very sad and disappointed.

A place like outback would have taken an improperly prepared steak back and given the customer
what he/she ordered.

Here are some quotes from the chef/owner -

"Our philosophy has always been based on a foundation of the best available ingredients, carefully prepared and served without pretension."

"We love people who love food and wine and know what it feels like to work in an environment where that is most important."

Apparently, my entree was not carefully prepared and on this night, we were in an environment where the food was NOT one of the most important things.

We well not be returning. Such a shame.

1
★★☆☆☆

This rating is specifically for the Chef/Owner.
What a horrible way to treat a customer who has been coming to his restaurant for 10 years.
The food has always been wonderful and the service great.
While the service was still great and the food that I ate was delicious...
My entree was OVERCOOKED on one side. Med-Rare for one 1/2 and Med-WELL
for the 2nd half. And the Med-Well half was cut side down as if to hide that it was cook
improperly. The chef refused to do anything about it. The waitress took it back to the chef
2x and then the manager got involved. I didn't want anything for free. I just wanted to enjoy ALL of my dinner. Well, I didn't get the rest of my dinner. And we left without getting dessert. I was very sad and disappointed.

A place like outback would have taken an improperly prepared steak back and given the customer
what he/she ordered.

Here are some quotes from the chef/owner -

"Our philosophy has always been based on a foundation of the best available ingredients, carefully prepared and served without pretension."

"We love people who love food and wine and know what it feels like to work in an environment where that is most important."

Apparently, my entree was not carefully prepared and on this night, we were in an environment where the food was NOT one of the most important things.

We well not be returning. Such a shame.

Pros: Great Waitstaff

Cons: Chef/Owner has no sense of pride or care for what he serves. Poor attitude toward customers. Obviously has a superiority complex.

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I am re-posting this as a couple of friends of ours went and had the EXACT same experience a week ago. I think the owner must be the one posting such "Excellent" reviews....kinda sad. My wife and I are in our lower 30's, but look like we are in our 20's. I am assuming this is the reason why we were completely ignored by the service staff. We dressed nice and are quite polite, but over 50 minutes went past between appetizer and entree and we never saw our server. We asked for someone to go find him and were told "he will return shortly". No "I'm sorry" or anything. When one goes out to a nice dinner one expects to spend around two hours over good food. While the food really was exceptional we spent over 4...30 minutes waiting on the check even after we complained about being ignored. If you look "mature" and like you will leave a good tip I highly suggest the Grill, if not...go to the Bloomsbury Bistro in Raleigh or Elain's in Chapel Hill for excellent food and to be treated like a human being. We will not be going back, no one cared at all that we had such a poor experience.

0
★☆☆☆☆

I am re-posting this as a couple of friends of ours went and had the EXACT same experience a week ago. I think the owner must be the one posting such "Excellent" reviews....kinda sad. My wife and I are in our lower 30's, but look like we are in our 20's. I am assuming this is the reason why we were completely ignored by the service staff. We dressed nice and are quite polite, but over 50 minutes went past between appetizer and entree and we never saw our server. We asked for someone to go find him and were told "he will return shortly". No "I'm sorry" or anything. When one goes out to a nice dinner one expects to spend around two hours over good food. While the food really was exceptional we spent over 4...30 minutes waiting on the check even after we complained about being ignored. If you look "mature" and like you will leave a good tip I highly suggest the Grill, if not...go to the Bloomsbury Bistro in Raleigh or Elain's in Chapel Hill for excellent food and to be treated like a human being. We will not be going back, no one cared at all that we had such a poor experience.

Pros: Excellent Food

Cons: Horrible Service

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First: The Tortilla Soup might be the best thing I've ever eaten. It is almost too good to be true.

The entrees are excellent as well. After an amazing dish my first visit, I felt let down by the seabass I ordered the last time I went.

The fish was a little crusty and not cooked all the way through. And it had almost NO flavor. I was horribly disappointed.

Moral of the story: Magnolia Grill has a great staff, great food, and a great Totrilla Soup, just be aware that an item or two on the menu each night could be a dud because there is a different menu every day and some things just seem to not work out (the soup is always there though).

5
★★★★★

First: The Tortilla Soup might be the best thing I've ever eaten. It is almost too good to be true.

The entrees are excellent as well. After an amazing dish my first visit, I felt let down by the seabass I ordered the last time I went.

The fish was a little crusty and not cooked all the way through. And it had almost NO flavor. I was horribly disappointed.

Moral of the story: Magnolia Grill has a great staff, great food, and a great Totrilla Soup, just be aware that an item or two on the menu each night could be a dud because there is a different menu every day and some things just seem to not work out (the soup is always there though).

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Magnolia Grill has earned a reputation for being "the best" restaurant in Durham. It is packed with people every night. The crowd is eclectic-- from college students to retired professors. It is known for it's traditional southern menu. They make simple food burst with flavor. It is sophisticated and expensive. I highly recommend it for special occasions. It will exceed your expectations!

5
★★★★★

Magnolia Grill has earned a reputation for being "the best" restaurant in Durham. It is packed with people every night. The crowd is eclectic-- from college students to retired professors. It is known for it's traditional southern menu. They make simple food burst with flavor. It is sophisticated and expensive. I highly recommend it for special occasions. It will exceed your expectations!

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This restaurant has excellent food. It is a shame that in a liberal community such as Durham, they feel that it is appropriate to continue to serve foie gras. Chicago has banned foie gras and efforts are being made to ban it elsewhere. I used to love foie gras until I watched a video of them shoving a hose down a goose's throat, shooting a stream of feed into its stomach, and causing the esophagus to rupture. The owner's of Magnolia are well aware of this issue - the waitress joked about it last time I was there and even mentioned the Chicago ban to me.

0
★☆☆☆☆

This restaurant has excellent food. It is a shame that in a liberal community such as Durham, they feel that it is appropriate to continue to serve foie gras. Chicago has banned foie gras and efforts are being made to ban it elsewhere. I used to love foie gras until I watched a video of them shoving a hose down a goose's throat, shooting a stream of feed into its stomach, and causing the esophagus to rupture. The owner's of Magnolia are well aware of this issue - the waitress joked about it last time I was there and even mentioned the Chicago ban to me.

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Outstanding food! This is the only restaurant I ever want to eat for a special occasion. I have never been disappointed, each course is always magnificent, and the menu always changes. It is comfort food made in it's highest art form.
Only one bone to pick...please get better lighting! The fluorescent tube lighting is not aesthetically appealing, distracting and really cheap looking. I wish their taste would extend to the dining room. The dinginess feels contrived, and the atmosphere in general could use some thoughtful, subtle improvements.

2
★★★★★

Outstanding food! This is the only restaurant I ever want to eat for a special occasion. I have never been disappointed, each course is always magnificent, and the menu always changes. It is comfort food made in it's highest art form.
Only one bone to pick...please get better lighting! The fluorescent tube lighting is not aesthetically appealing, distracting and really cheap looking. I wish their taste would extend to the dining room. The dinginess feels contrived, and the atmosphere in general could use some thoughtful, subtle improvements.

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This is a restaurant that foodies will love. The core of the menu is southern staples ... pork, fresh seafood, greens, peas, breads, desserts ... yet, they are all done in a very upscale, unique way. No wonder the signature cookbook is named "Not Afraid of Flavor." The husband and wife owners are both James Beard award winners in their own right - Ben for the food in 2000 and Karen for the pastries in 2003. When other top chefs from around the country come to this area, they eat here ... often only here. I eat here about once a month and have seen Emeril, Alan Wong, Thomas Keller, other noted chefs dining with the rest of us - and loving it.
The prices are excellent for the quality and flavor of the food you receive. I have read other reviews that call the restaurant "pricey." Those folks must think that fine dining is Red Lobster. You can pay about $35 per person for three courses plus drink, tip, and tax. Of course, you can pay more if you order the most expensive items and drink the wines from the "reserved list." However, I have mentioned to others that the restaurant should be charging more for this food. Thank goodness they do not listen to me! In the last six months, I have eaten comparable food in New York, Chicago, Vancover, San Francisco, London, Brussels, and Rome. I often paid over $100 for three courses plus drink, tip, and tax (over $200 in the UK and Europe) and cannot say I had a better meal than I get at Magnolia Grill.
You will find the atmosphere simple and uncluttered. A very attentive staff. You are NOT rushed through your meal. The attraction to the restaurant is on the plates, not on the walls. Make reservations a few days in advance; otherwise, you will have to take your chances to eat in the bar area (just a handful of tables) where it is first-come, first-serve. Someone who truly understands and enjoys fine food will love this place.

2
★★★★★

This is a restaurant that foodies will love. The core of the menu is southern staples ... pork, fresh seafood, greens, peas, breads, desserts ... yet, they are all done in a very upscale, unique way. No wonder the signature cookbook is named "Not Afraid of Flavor." The husband and wife owners are both James Beard award winners in their own right - Ben for the food in 2000 and Karen for the pastries in 2003. When other top chefs from around the country come to this area, they eat here ... often only here. I eat here about once a month and have seen Emeril, Alan Wong, Thomas Keller, other noted chefs dining with the rest of us - and loving it.
The prices are excellent for the quality and flavor of the food you receive. I have read other reviews that call the restaurant "pricey." Those folks must think that fine dining is Red Lobster. You can pay about $35 per person for three courses plus drink, tip, and tax. Of course, you can pay more if you order the most expensive items and drink the wines from the "reserved list." However, I have mentioned to others that the restaurant should be charging more for this food. Thank goodness they do not listen to me! In the last six months, I have eaten comparable food in New York, Chicago, Vancover, San Francisco, London, Brussels, and Rome. I often paid over $100 for three courses plus drink, tip, and tax (over $200 in the UK and Europe) and cannot say I had a better meal than I get at Magnolia Grill.
You will find the atmosphere simple and uncluttered. A very attentive staff. You are NOT rushed through your meal. The attraction to the restaurant is on the plates, not on the walls. Make reservations a few days in advance; otherwise, you will have to take your chances to eat in the bar area (just a handful of tables) where it is first-come, first-serve. Someone who truly understands and enjoys fine food will love this place.

Pros: Quality and combinations of the food; service

Cons: Reservations usually required; average atmosphere/decorations

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To make it short, I've eaten all over the U.S. It's a nice place but not good enough to be close to the top 50.
Someone must be enjoying some good wine to say that!!

1
★★★☆☆

To make it short, I've eaten all over the U.S. It's a nice place but not good enough to be close to the top 50.
Someone must be enjoying some good wine to say that!!

Pros: service

Cons: pricy

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I have to think that the negative reviews of MG are written by competitors or whiney Northeastern Lynne Rosetto Kasper-wannabe Dukies . My wife and I live in Chapel Hill and go there for every birthday, anniversary, Mother's Day, and every other time we want to treat ourselves to the best food and service in the Triangle. It is ALWAYS the restaurant of choice for entertaining special clients and out-of-town guests. Tonight we'll be hosting the father of our son's fiancee at MG.

If there's a weakness, it's in the beer selection, and the only arrogance I've ever noticed is that THEY want ME to call THEM to confirm parties of five or more on the day before the reservation. They need to be the ones to call me for that.

There's no need for me to get into the discussion about the many flavors Ben and his staff are able to bring together to make most of the appetizers and entrees so memorable. Or to go on and on about Karen's desserts. Just go there and see what I mean. If you go twice and don't love this place, look in the mirror for the problem.

2
★★★★★

I have to think that the negative reviews of MG are written by competitors or whiney Northeastern Lynne Rosetto Kasper-wannabe Dukies . My wife and I live in Chapel Hill and go there for every birthday, anniversary, Mother's Day, and every other time we want to treat ourselves to the best food and service in the Triangle. It is ALWAYS the restaurant of choice for entertaining special clients and out-of-town guests. Tonight we'll be hosting the father of our son's fiancee at MG.

If there's a weakness, it's in the beer selection, and the only arrogance I've ever noticed is that THEY want ME to call THEM to confirm parties of five or more on the day before the reservation. They need to be the ones to call me for that.

There's no need for me to get into the discussion about the many flavors Ben and his staff are able to bring together to make most of the appetizers and entrees so memorable. Or to go on and on about Karen's desserts. Just go there and see what I mean. If you go twice and don't love this place, look in the mirror for the problem.

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My husband and I went to Magnolia's for the first time last night. After reading a lot of the reviews on this site, I was a little nervous as to what we would be getting. I'm glad to say it's no where near as horrible as some of the experiences here, but not nearly as fabulous as some experiences, either. The hostess and waitstaff were friendly, if a little formal (which for me, is a good thing). It was just as loud as naysayers here have said, not very romantic. First courses were foie gras for me, bacon salad for my husband. The foie gras was not well balanced with its accompanying flavors; it ended up being far too heavy. It reminded me of a spinach salad, but one that was trying too hard, and failing. My husband's dish was also too overwhelming with flavors. We love complexity and inventiveness in our food, but this seemed like it was just complexity without a purpose. Second course: I had halibut with spring veggies; husband had veal. Presentation was beautiful, but the food was tepid (as so many other people here have said.) The marriage between my halibut and accompanying pea puree with herbs was divine nonetheless. However, my husband's veal was tough and overcooked. When the server asked how our meals were, he looked genuinely shocked when we told him the veal had been tough. That was the only moment of pretentiousness that I got from the staff. Dessert was goat cheese cheesecake with fruit confit, about which I had my reservations, but it was fabulous. The savory cheese coupled with the sweetness of the fruit very nicely and the textures played well together. Portions were appropriately sized. So, if you've never been to Magnolia, it's worth a try, but some advice: expect it to be LOUD, expect to pay a lot of money, expect some hits and some misses with the food. Also, be sure and combine all flavors available on the plate with each bite. I'm glad I went, but I've had better food from other "gourmet" restaurants; I won't be going back.

1
★★★☆☆

My husband and I went to Magnolia's for the first time last night. After reading a lot of the reviews on this site, I was a little nervous as to what we would be getting. I'm glad to say it's no where near as horrible as some of the experiences here, but not nearly as fabulous as some experiences, either. The hostess and waitstaff were friendly, if a little formal (which for me, is a good thing). It was just as loud as naysayers here have said, not very romantic. First courses were foie gras for me, bacon salad for my husband. The foie gras was not well balanced with its accompanying flavors; it ended up being far too heavy. It reminded me of a spinach salad, but one that was trying too hard, and failing. My husband's dish was also too overwhelming with flavors. We love complexity and inventiveness in our food, but this seemed like it was just complexity without a purpose. Second course: I had halibut with spring veggies; husband had veal. Presentation was beautiful, but the food was tepid (as so many other people here have said.) The marriage between my halibut and accompanying pea puree with herbs was divine nonetheless. However, my husband's veal was tough and overcooked. When the server asked how our meals were, he looked genuinely shocked when we told him the veal had been tough. That was the only moment of pretentiousness that I got from the staff. Dessert was goat cheese cheesecake with fruit confit, about which I had my reservations, but it was fabulous. The savory cheese coupled with the sweetness of the fruit very nicely and the textures played well together. Portions were appropriately sized. So, if you've never been to Magnolia, it's worth a try, but some advice: expect it to be LOUD, expect to pay a lot of money, expect some hits and some misses with the food. Also, be sure and combine all flavors available on the plate with each bite. I'm glad I went, but I've had better food from other "gourmet" restaurants; I won't be going back.

Pros: Great dessert, inventive flavors

Cons: Too loud, low scale atmosphere, overpriced and overhyped

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Still fabulous after all of these years! Not only was our server cute as a button and extremely knowledgeable about every dish (no small feat, as the menu changes daily and is very complex!) our table of 4 had different appetizers, entrees, and desserts and all was tasty, well-presented, and perfect. Only downer for us is that it's not in our town (Chapel Hill) but worth the short drive. Thanks!

2
★★★★★

Still fabulous after all of these years! Not only was our server cute as a button and extremely knowledgeable about every dish (no small feat, as the menu changes daily and is very complex!) our table of 4 had different appetizers, entrees, and desserts and all was tasty, well-presented, and perfect. Only downer for us is that it's not in our town (Chapel Hill) but worth the short drive. Thanks!

Pros: food, selection, service, unique menu

Cons: location

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I've known about MG for several years and have heard good and bad things about it. My husband and I finally went to MG last weekend and were so very disappointed. Our request for a set of "clean" silverware apparently proved taxing and burdensome for the wait staff. We ordered seafood that arrived at the table, tepid. We sent the plates back and after 20 minutes, received warmer food, which appeared to have been "slung" on the plates lacking any kind of presentation.

My husband and I don't ask for much when we go out to eat and we always overlook minor gaffes in service or quality because restaurant work is hard and even the best chefs can have an off night or dish. However, when the service is bad, food is mediore, and you're made to feel as if you're unwelcome, it's inexcusable.

I've read several of the bad reviews that MG has received on this website, and, unfortunately, I'll have to add another one. If the Barkers are actually reading what I would call consistently negative comments, one would think that they would take steps to address them.

It's sad that a restaurant of MG's caliber just can't live up to it's reputation. Thankfully, there are an increasing number of far superior restaurants in Durham. Let's hope that MG will redeem itself in the future in light of the increased competition.

1
★★★☆☆

I've known about MG for several years and have heard good and bad things about it. My husband and I finally went to MG last weekend and were so very disappointed. Our request for a set of "clean" silverware apparently proved taxing and burdensome for the wait staff. We ordered seafood that arrived at the table, tepid. We sent the plates back and after 20 minutes, received warmer food, which appeared to have been "slung" on the plates lacking any kind of presentation.

My husband and I don't ask for much when we go out to eat and we always overlook minor gaffes in service or quality because restaurant work is hard and even the best chefs can have an off night or dish. However, when the service is bad, food is mediore, and you're made to feel as if you're unwelcome, it's inexcusable.

I've read several of the bad reviews that MG has received on this website, and, unfortunately, I'll have to add another one. If the Barkers are actually reading what I would call consistently negative comments, one would think that they would take steps to address them.

It's sad that a restaurant of MG's caliber just can't live up to it's reputation. Thankfully, there are an increasing number of far superior restaurants in Durham. Let's hope that MG will redeem itself in the future in light of the increased competition.

Pros: Clean floors.

Cons: Low marks on service, but high marks on self-importance. Tepid food.

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My spouse and I went to Magnolia Grill this week and had another wonderful meal. We've been to MG several times and have been extremely pleased with the quality of the food, the presentation and the staff. I've read some of the other reviews and I believe I had the same pork dish describe previously however I found the dish to be wonderful. I had the pork osso bucco and most osso buccos I've had are fatty and most certainly contain the large bone. With most osso bucco meals, I've had to work around the fatty portions and the meat is extremely tender and flavorful. My dish was served with red beans giving it a New Orleans flavor. The portions are sufficient in that you can have an appetizer, main course and dessert - which I strongly suggest so that you don't miss out on the incredible desserts. We have had different staff wait on us and found their descriptions of the meals to be very accurate when we have inquired about a particular dish. My spouse has the seafood often and it is very important to ask first as to the temperature that it is prepared - tuna in most restaurants I've been to is served med. rare to rare unless requested differently as are many other seafoods if they are sushi-grade. We've seen Ben and Karen Barker personally shopping at the Carrboro's Farmers Market purchasing fresh produce for the restaurant so the quality of the food is wonderful and local. The combinations of spices, produce, vegetables and meats are incredibly creative and imaginative. We have dined in some of the top restaurants in New York, Chicago and other big cities and continue to believe that MG is one of the top in the country and certainly in NC (apparently Gourmet magazine agrees). The staff have been helpful, informative and professional. If you are looking for a chain-type restaurant or a low-light private booth, this is not for you to try. If you are looking for quality, freshness, awesome main courses and desserts - then I highly recommend it.

2
★★★★★

My spouse and I went to Magnolia Grill this week and had another wonderful meal. We've been to MG several times and have been extremely pleased with the quality of the food, the presentation and the staff. I've read some of the other reviews and I believe I had the same pork dish describe previously however I found the dish to be wonderful. I had the pork osso bucco and most osso buccos I've had are fatty and most certainly contain the large bone. With most osso bucco meals, I've had to work around the fatty portions and the meat is extremely tender and flavorful. My dish was served with red beans giving it a New Orleans flavor. The portions are sufficient in that you can have an appetizer, main course and dessert - which I strongly suggest so that you don't miss out on the incredible desserts. We have had different staff wait on us and found their descriptions of the meals to be very accurate when we have inquired about a particular dish. My spouse has the seafood often and it is very important to ask first as to the temperature that it is prepared - tuna in most restaurants I've been to is served med. rare to rare unless requested differently as are many other seafoods if they are sushi-grade. We've seen Ben and Karen Barker personally shopping at the Carrboro's Farmers Market purchasing fresh produce for the restaurant so the quality of the food is wonderful and local. The combinations of spices, produce, vegetables and meats are incredibly creative and imaginative. We have dined in some of the top restaurants in New York, Chicago and other big cities and continue to believe that MG is one of the top in the country and certainly in NC (apparently Gourmet magazine agrees). The staff have been helpful, informative and professional. If you are looking for a chain-type restaurant or a low-light private booth, this is not for you to try. If you are looking for quality, freshness, awesome main courses and desserts - then I highly recommend it.

Pros: excellent quality food, freshness, creative entrees, desserts

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The food was very disappointing. My husband ordered pork and was presented with a big, fatty piece of meat he could hardly eat with a large bone in the center accompanied by red beans. I could have prepared something far more appealing at home. My fish dish was o.k. but was described as served with lots of greens which I love. There were small flakes of the ingredients described on the menu but it did not amount to a fork full. The waiter was far from friendly but we proceeded from appetizers through dessert in hopes of a good surprise that never came.

1
★★☆☆☆

The food was very disappointing. My husband ordered pork and was presented with a big, fatty piece of meat he could hardly eat with a large bone in the center accompanied by red beans. I could have prepared something far more appealing at home. My fish dish was o.k. but was described as served with lots of greens which I love. There were small flakes of the ingredients described on the menu but it did not amount to a fork full. The waiter was far from friendly but we proceeded from appetizers through dessert in hopes of a good surprise that never came.

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I am a foodie. I worked at A Southern Season for two years, love to cook, and am passionate about fresh local ingredients and inventive cooking. For our first wedding anniversary, my husband surprised me with dinner at Magnolia Grill. Lots of the reviews on this site complain about the ambiance, but personally, I go to a restaurant for the food, period. I would much rather have INCREDIBLE food on plain china than mediocre food on crystal plates. For two twenty-somethings who are very knowledgeable about food but don't go to fancy restaurants much (and don't know much about wine), the ambiance was perfect--pretty casual, and the server was not condescending at all about our lack of wine knowledge. The food was amazing, especially the appetizer (baby beet and goat cheese salad) and dessert. When I took the first bite of my dessert (a lemon custard cake with fresh strawberries and whipped cream), I started crying. I'm not kidding. The only con (and this was a year ago)--the handwritten menu was incredibly hard to read. They need a good graphic designer (or at least someone who can type). Also, for the person who thinks the cooks are back there opening up jars, take a look at their cookbook. Many of the recipes must be started days in advance. If you're passionate about food, go. If you want a "big night out" maybe try somewhere where the ambiance is more important than the food.

2
★★★★★

I am a foodie. I worked at A Southern Season for two years, love to cook, and am passionate about fresh local ingredients and inventive cooking. For our first wedding anniversary, my husband surprised me with dinner at Magnolia Grill. Lots of the reviews on this site complain about the ambiance, but personally, I go to a restaurant for the food, period. I would much rather have INCREDIBLE food on plain china than mediocre food on crystal plates. For two twenty-somethings who are very knowledgeable about food but don't go to fancy restaurants much (and don't know much about wine), the ambiance was perfect--pretty casual, and the server was not condescending at all about our lack of wine knowledge. The food was amazing, especially the appetizer (baby beet and goat cheese salad) and dessert. When I took the first bite of my dessert (a lemon custard cake with fresh strawberries and whipped cream), I started crying. I'm not kidding. The only con (and this was a year ago)--the handwritten menu was incredibly hard to read. They need a good graphic designer (or at least someone who can type). Also, for the person who thinks the cooks are back there opening up jars, take a look at their cookbook. Many of the recipes must be started days in advance. If you're passionate about food, go. If you want a "big night out" maybe try somewhere where the ambiance is more important than the food.

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Since moving here from Chicago I have been on the hunt for my favorite fine dinning restaurant. And my search ends here! Magnolia Grill was recommended to me by many new friends and it lived up to the hype in every way. The menu changes often which is great for going back and trying new things. Every single thing we ordered (4 of us) was mouth-watering and creative. The twice baked grits with truffles were to die for. The servers are very knowledgeable and helpful in ordering. Excellent place to celebrate a special occasion or just to splurge for a fun night out. Atmosphere is simple and nice...much more casual than other fine dining. All in all, best local restaurant I've been to yet. There is a reason it was voted number 9 in gourmet magazine's ranked nation-wide restaurants. A local classic!

2
★★★★★

Since moving here from Chicago I have been on the hunt for my favorite fine dinning restaurant. And my search ends here! Magnolia Grill was recommended to me by many new friends and it lived up to the hype in every way. The menu changes often which is great for going back and trying new things. Every single thing we ordered (4 of us) was mouth-watering and creative. The twice baked grits with truffles were to die for. The servers are very knowledgeable and helpful in ordering. Excellent place to celebrate a special occasion or just to splurge for a fun night out. Atmosphere is simple and nice...much more casual than other fine dining. All in all, best local restaurant I've been to yet. There is a reason it was voted number 9 in gourmet magazine's ranked nation-wide restaurants. A local classic!

Pros: the food, the food, the food!

Cons: atmosphere isn't as fancy as one would like for a big night out.

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My husband and I have been going to Magnolia Grill since the early 90's and it's our favorite restaurant. We've never had bad service and the food is always amazing.
I have to wonder what the expectations are of the folks that are complaining here. Maybe they like the type of restaurant where the servers ask you every 5 seconds if everything is allright. Maybe they like the sort of atmosphere where every square inch of wall space is covered with something to entertain them. Maybe they prefer gigantic portions of deep fried cheese covered whatever.
The atmosphere at Magnolia is clean and simple and the walls are hung with a changing exhibit of artwork by local artists. The chefs at Magnolia Grill use fresh local ingredients in creative, inspired combinations that burst with flavor and are beautifully presented. They are culinary artists.

2
★★★★★

My husband and I have been going to Magnolia Grill since the early 90's and it's our favorite restaurant. We've never had bad service and the food is always amazing.
I have to wonder what the expectations are of the folks that are complaining here. Maybe they like the type of restaurant where the servers ask you every 5 seconds if everything is allright. Maybe they like the sort of atmosphere where every square inch of wall space is covered with something to entertain them. Maybe they prefer gigantic portions of deep fried cheese covered whatever.
The atmosphere at Magnolia is clean and simple and the walls are hung with a changing exhibit of artwork by local artists. The chefs at Magnolia Grill use fresh local ingredients in creative, inspired combinations that burst with flavor and are beautifully presented. They are culinary artists.

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I had gone there with my boyfriend to celebrate a special occasion after learning much about the hype surrounding the restaurant. The food was average but the ambiance and service were extremely disappointing. Snob central. However, against my better judgement, I thought I'd give it another chance and took my parents there for my mom's birthday. To my horror, the service was again outrageously bad. The wait staff there are snobby without reason for being so (it's not as if they're working at a 4star restaurant like the Fearrington House). They ignored my parents for most of the evening and we left feeling like someone had robbed us blind. Don't ever go there unless you look like a WASP with lots of old southern money.

1
★★★☆☆

I had gone there with my boyfriend to celebrate a special occasion after learning much about the hype surrounding the restaurant. The food was average but the ambiance and service were extremely disappointing. Snob central. However, against my better judgement, I thought I'd give it another chance and took my parents there for my mom's birthday. To my horror, the service was again outrageously bad. The wait staff there are snobby without reason for being so (it's not as if they're working at a 4star restaurant like the Fearrington House). They ignored my parents for most of the evening and we left feeling like someone had robbed us blind. Don't ever go there unless you look like a WASP with lots of old southern money.

Pros: dessert

Cons: service and ambiance

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I recently dined at Magnolia Grille after hearing all the hype about the food and ambience.
The restaurant is nothing like I imagined. While the flower arrangements were beautiful, the restaurant itself was nothing special in decor. Plain walls with a few photographs and basic white linen tablecloth on the tables. The tables were way too cramped together so you were too close to other people's tables. The restaurant was small and too loud. The food was way too expensive and overrated. I had tiny slice of tuna which was not done and a basic veggie chutney and I couldn't tell what veggies were in it because they were so tiny. I had a summer salad which was just a bed of mixed organic greens with about 5 tiny pecans and balsamic dressing. My husband had the salmon which was a tiny slice of fish and another veggie chutney. Nothing to rave about. I had the apricot sorbet dessert and it was basically two wafer cookies with a spoonful of apricot sorbet. Very disappointed with the entire meal. And they charged $10.00 for a chardonnay, basic white house wine which I thought was a huge ripoff. The service was incredibly slow. I was starving when I left and the meal cost $100.00!

Just another overrated yuppie restaurant.

0
★☆☆☆☆

I recently dined at Magnolia Grille after hearing all the hype about the food and ambience.
The restaurant is nothing like I imagined. While the flower arrangements were beautiful, the restaurant itself was nothing special in decor. Plain walls with a few photographs and basic white linen tablecloth on the tables. The tables were way too cramped together so you were too close to other people's tables. The restaurant was small and too loud. The food was way too expensive and overrated. I had tiny slice of tuna which was not done and a basic veggie chutney and I couldn't tell what veggies were in it because they were so tiny. I had a summer salad which was just a bed of mixed organic greens with about 5 tiny pecans and balsamic dressing. My husband had the salmon which was a tiny slice of fish and another veggie chutney. Nothing to rave about. I had the apricot sorbet dessert and it was basically two wafer cookies with a spoonful of apricot sorbet. Very disappointed with the entire meal. And they charged $10.00 for a chardonnay, basic white house wine which I thought was a huge ripoff. The service was incredibly slow. I was starving when I left and the meal cost $100.00!

Just another overrated yuppie restaurant.

Pros: flowers were nice

Cons: everything else

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My wife and I ate at Magnolia on a Saturday night and had a bizarrely terrible experience.

The restaurant is very loud with bad 80's flourescent lighting, exposed cheap-looking ceiling fans, and an acoustic tile ceiling.

We tried to order wine, but the server advised us to get another (more expensive) one, saying that it was 'spicier'. When we opened it, it was sweet, like maneshevitz aged in french oak. Although the service was attentive - they filled our water glasses within a milimeter of the brim - they left our empty bread basket on the table during the entire meal, not asking if we wanted more, or wanted it removed. The dishes that we were served on were battered white pasta bowls from the 80s. Earlier that day, I had found substantially better china at the Salvation Army.

We got a chickpea cake as an appetizer that was pretty good, but not refined. We ordered the "wild alaskan salmon" and the pork shoulder. The pork arrived overcooked and dry despite being requested "medium rare". The salmon was cooked fine, but was pale as chicken and flavorless (most likely Atlantic farmed). We sent the pork back and got a tuna entree instead, which tasted more like the potato crust than a piece of fish. The vegetables that came with each entree were a strange combination of the raw and the cooked, the preserved and the fresh. The tuna came with shredded beets and corn, the salmon with preserved artichokes and beans. It was as if a group of self-taught chefs were opening jars of 'fancy' ingredients to impress a rube-like clientele.

1
★★☆☆☆

My wife and I ate at Magnolia on a Saturday night and had a bizarrely terrible experience.

The restaurant is very loud with bad 80's flourescent lighting, exposed cheap-looking ceiling fans, and an acoustic tile ceiling.

We tried to order wine, but the server advised us to get another (more expensive) one, saying that it was 'spicier'. When we opened it, it was sweet, like maneshevitz aged in french oak. Although the service was attentive - they filled our water glasses within a milimeter of the brim - they left our empty bread basket on the table during the entire meal, not asking if we wanted more, or wanted it removed. The dishes that we were served on were battered white pasta bowls from the 80s. Earlier that day, I had found substantially better china at the Salvation Army.

We got a chickpea cake as an appetizer that was pretty good, but not refined. We ordered the "wild alaskan salmon" and the pork shoulder. The pork arrived overcooked and dry despite being requested "medium rare". The salmon was cooked fine, but was pale as chicken and flavorless (most likely Atlantic farmed). We sent the pork back and got a tuna entree instead, which tasted more like the potato crust than a piece of fish. The vegetables that came with each entree were a strange combination of the raw and the cooked, the preserved and the fresh. The tuna came with shredded beets and corn, the salmon with preserved artichokes and beans. It was as if a group of self-taught chefs were opening jars of 'fancy' ingredients to impress a rube-like clientele.

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Never disappoints! everything about this place is exceptional. Food is out of the world, excellent wine selection and service. The ambience is not the best part and also it gets noisy, but you forget everything once you taste your food.

2
★★★★★

Never disappoints! everything about this place is exceptional. Food is out of the world, excellent wine selection and service. The ambience is not the best part and also it gets noisy, but you forget everything once you taste your food.

Pros: great food, service and wines

Cons: ambience

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The food is good. The atmosphere is OK. We have eaten here often over the last few years. The last time we ate there I found a hair deeply embedded in my entree. It was disgusting, to say the least.They gave me a free dessert and not much of an apology. We decided to try it again on June 10. We arrived 6 minutes late and were chastised at the end of our meal by the manager. We were asked to move to another table "to chat", especially she added, because we were late and had messed up their seating for the rest of the evening.. Others who had been seated before us were still in the restaurant.I called later to express my disappointment and was further chastised. The other couple we ate with called and were told that the waitress told the manager we were late. Sounds like a waitress who was trying to cover for herself. Her service was fair, nothing extraordinary.Our food was delivered in a timely manner, but not in record time. We will not go back. There are other, better restaurants in the area who know how to be nice to their patrons.

0
★☆☆☆☆

The food is good. The atmosphere is OK. We have eaten here often over the last few years. The last time we ate there I found a hair deeply embedded in my entree. It was disgusting, to say the least.They gave me a free dessert and not much of an apology. We decided to try it again on June 10. We arrived 6 minutes late and were chastised at the end of our meal by the manager. We were asked to move to another table "to chat", especially she added, because we were late and had messed up their seating for the rest of the evening.. Others who had been seated before us were still in the restaurant.I called later to express my disappointment and was further chastised. The other couple we ate with called and were told that the waitress told the manager we were late. Sounds like a waitress who was trying to cover for herself. Her service was fair, nothing extraordinary.Our food was delivered in a timely manner, but not in record time. We will not go back. There are other, better restaurants in the area who know how to be nice to their patrons.

Pros: food is good

Cons: manager is extremely rude

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1) The MG serves by far the best food in the triangle, and this is from a 18 year resident who has tried it all. ALL the hype is deserved.
2) The service is great! Any one who had a bad service experience probobly had absurd expectations going in or just their own problems. My wife and I have eaten in restaurants this caliber around the world and I have never had better service at one, and that is consistantly, over many years of meals at the Grill. The staff are friendy, knowledable (VERY) about the food and food in general, and attentive in just the right way for comfortable fine American dining.

2
★★★★★

1) The MG serves by far the best food in the triangle, and this is from a 18 year resident who has tried it all. ALL the hype is deserved.
2) The service is great! Any one who had a bad service experience probobly had absurd expectations going in or just their own problems. My wife and I have eaten in restaurants this caliber around the world and I have never had better service at one, and that is consistantly, over many years of meals at the Grill. The staff are friendy, knowledable (VERY) about the food and food in general, and attentive in just the right way for comfortable fine American dining.

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We have eaten at Magnolia Grill on many occasions. We find the food outstanding, complex and creative....wonderful! The ambiance isn't exceptional, nice but not amazing...we really eat there for the food, the food is great. The service has been good and average, depending on who you have. We have really enjoyed eating at Magnolia Grill and we highly recommend trying it!

2
★★★★★

We have eaten at Magnolia Grill on many occasions. We find the food outstanding, complex and creative....wonderful! The ambiance isn't exceptional, nice but not amazing...we really eat there for the food, the food is great. The service has been good and average, depending on who you have. We have really enjoyed eating at Magnolia Grill and we highly recommend trying it!

Pros: food is exceptional, parking is easy

Cons: ambiance is average, service is average

.

An echo of a previous reviewer: I was gruffly and rudely received when I called for reservations and was concerned this would bode ill for the dinner.

Not to worry, as the staff as congenial, the food was delicious, and the evening a success. The menu was quite inventive, and my pan-seared grouper was beautifully displayed above a magenta-pink sauce! The portions are smallish, but all the better because you will end up devouring all of your tablemates' desserts. Save room; they're the best part.

The ambience is lacking (see Four Square for how to have a romantic dinner in a small space), but the crowds are only a problem if your neighbors are cacklers. Otherwise, it just made for a fun time.

Overall, a 10 for food and an 8 for the experience. Take that, you Caraleigh-snobs!

2
★★★★☆

An echo of a previous reviewer: I was gruffly and rudely received when I called for reservations and was concerned this would bode ill for the dinner.

Not to worry, as the staff as congenial, the food was delicious, and the evening a success. The menu was quite inventive, and my pan-seared grouper was beautifully displayed above a magenta-pink sauce! The portions are smallish, but all the better because you will end up devouring all of your tablemates' desserts. Save room; they're the best part.

The ambience is lacking (see Four Square for how to have a romantic dinner in a small space), but the crowds are only a problem if your neighbors are cacklers. Otherwise, it just made for a fun time.

Overall, a 10 for food and an 8 for the experience. Take that, you Caraleigh-snobs!

Pros: Creative dishes, pleasant staff, the desserts!

Cons: Anomalous haughtiness

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The presentations were visually appealing, most of the dishes were delicious. The main dishes seemed over-salted, but the desserts--which they are famous for--were amazing.

2
★★★★☆

The presentations were visually appealing, most of the dishes were delicious. The main dishes seemed over-salted, but the desserts--which they are famous for--were amazing.

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This place is a great place to go for any special occassion. No, the service is not the fastest but fast-food service is not what you're looking for here. An experience that you can get no where else is exactly what you get. The food is unique and delicious. I have been to many "Nice" restaurants where the food was beatifully presented but only half the things on the plate were edible. Here, everything tastes atleast as good as it looks. And the desserts were delicious as well. My wife and I visit once a year and each time is worth the wait. And for the price, it is reasonable compared to comparable experiences. Compared to Outback, yes it's pricey. but compared to Ruth's Chris, it's a bargain.

2
★★★★★

This place is a great place to go for any special occassion. No, the service is not the fastest but fast-food service is not what you're looking for here. An experience that you can get no where else is exactly what you get. The food is unique and delicious. I have been to many "Nice" restaurants where the food was beatifully presented but only half the things on the plate were edible. Here, everything tastes atleast as good as it looks. And the desserts were delicious as well. My wife and I visit once a year and each time is worth the wait. And for the price, it is reasonable compared to comparable experiences. Compared to Outback, yes it's pricey. but compared to Ruth's Chris, it's a bargain.

Pros: Delicious, Unique and Original

Cons: Reservations Hard

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The BEST meal we've had since leaving DC and landing in RTP. Excellent balance of flavors, textures, visual appeal, and portion size. We left very satisfied and not stuffed. Fabulous service, food, and ambience. Highly HIGHLY recommended!!

2
★★★★★

The BEST meal we've had since leaving DC and landing in RTP. Excellent balance of flavors, textures, visual appeal, and portion size. We left very satisfied and not stuffed. Fabulous service, food, and ambience. Highly HIGHLY recommended!!

.

This restaurant is all about GREAT FOOD!!! Ben Barker the chef is truly a food genius. The flavors of the foods served are simply azing. Although the restaurant is simple, it is nice. The wait staff is always attentive. If you are a FOODIE like myself, this is the restaurant we all seek. These people who complain about the wait need to go eat at their local chain restuarants and quit taking up valuable table space.

2
★★★★★

This restaurant is all about GREAT FOOD!!! Ben Barker the chef is truly a food genius. The flavors of the foods served are simply azing. Although the restaurant is simple, it is nice. The wait staff is always attentive. If you are a FOODIE like myself, this is the restaurant we all seek. These people who complain about the wait need to go eat at their local chain restuarants and quit taking up valuable table space.

Pros: Delicious, Delicious, Delicious

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This restaurant is amazing. The food is to die for and the service is perfection. The back waits are very speedy and courtious. I hope to return there soon even this saturday.

2
★★★★★

This restaurant is amazing. The food is to die for and the service is perfection. The back waits are very speedy and courtious. I hope to return there soon even this saturday.

Pros: Food, Atmoshpere, Not too pricy

Cons: N/a, N/a, N/a

Editorial from

Chefs Ben and Karen Barker combine French technique with Southern flavors in one of North Carolina's foremost regional restaurants. The modest neighborhood venue belies such seasonal menu temptations as twice-baked grits souffle with wild…

 

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