Maybe you’re a recent transplant from a bigger city and you’re wary of all this open space and the strangers who make eye contact. When you find yourself looking for a loud, buzzy restaurant, head to Pizzeria Toro for dinner. There’s an open kitchen with a huge pizza oven, a long communal table down the center, and smaller tables and counters around the edge of the room. The wood-fired pizzas are thin and crispy on the bottom, with a chewy, blistered crust, and while the margherita is one of the best options, you can also choose from topping combinations like fennel sausage with roasted peppers and provolone, or a soft egg with oyster mushrooms, arugula, and parmesan. Like the pizzas, the appetizers change seasonally, but the bitter kale salad with parmesan and Calabrian chilis is a must, as is finishing with the fried-to-order zeppoles.
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Monuts is one of the best and most popular breakfast and lunch spots and a trip to Durham isn’t complete without heading here.
Parker and Otis
Parker and Otis is in a kitschy gift shop in Durham so after spending $20 on candy and things you don’t need, get some of our favorite sandwiches.
Dame’s Chicken & Waffles
You know you’re getting chicken and waffles at Dame’s in Durham and you know you’re going to need a nap after.
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Gocciolina is a cozy pasta place in Durham where you should bring a date and share a few reasonably-priced plates.
Eastcut Sandwich Bar
When you want to eat a great sandwich on a picnic table on an outdoor patio that’s open year round, head to Eastcut in Durham.
Saltbox Seafood Joint
Saltbox Seafood is a classic fish shack in the middle of lacklocked Durham instead of at the beach - but the fish is fantastic.
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