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Restaurants near Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU)

Exploring the culinary delights nestled close to the Raleigh-Durham International Airport for travelers and foodies alike.

December 19, 2023
 min read
Last updated:
Feb 14
A view of the Raleigh skyline.
Finding a great spot to eat near an airport can be a hit or miss affair, but lucky for you, Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU) is surrounded by a collection of eateries that will turn that quick layover or the wait for your next flight into a delicious escape. Whether you're craving some hearty Southern comfort food, a slice of authentic Neapolitan pizza, or exotic flavors from afar, the restaurants around RDU have got you covered. Here's a roundup of some of the top spots where you can fuel up and feel right at home, even when you're on the go.

Angus Barn

If walls could talk, Angus Barn’s would speak volumes of the decades they've spent serving some of the best steaks in North Carolina. Just a short drive from RDU, this place isn't just about eating; it's about the experience. With its sawdust-covered floors, a dizzying array of hanging copper cookware, and an invitingly warm fireplace, the ambiance is as rich as the flavors. Their legendary chocolate chess pie rounds off the experience, making sure that your culinary journey is as sweet at the end as it was savory at the start. With over 50 years in the business, they know how to leave a mark on both your heart and your stomach.

Clyde Cooper's BBQ

In the heart of Raleigh and a mere stone's throw from RDU, Clyde Cooper's BBQ stands as a bastion of barbecue tradition. With a history stretching back over eight decades, Cooper’s is a place where time slows down, just enough for you to enjoy every succulent piece of their pit-smoked barbecue. The hickory-smoked ribs and Carolina-style pulled pork are must-tries, and they come with a side of history as rich as their coleslaw is creamy. Don't forget to try the Brunswick stew – it’s a delightful medley that perfectly encapsulates the essence of Southern comfort food.

Page Road Grill

Nestled near the Research Triangle Park, Page Road Grill is a culinary beacon for those who enjoy a creative spin on traditional American dishes. From their crispy calamari starter to their signature grilled salmon, every dish is a testament to their commitment to freshness and local produce. The atmosphere is just the right mix of upscale and relaxed, making it suitable for business lunches or family dinners. Their craft beer selection is as thoughtfully curated as their menu, ensuring that you can toast to good food, good company, and the joy of being just minutes away from RDU.

Gonza Tacos y Tequila

Gonza Tacos y Tequila brings a slice of Mexican zest to the vicinity of RDU with a colorful décor that’s as vibrant as the dishes. With a tequila list that could make any aficionado weak in the knees, and a range of tacos that cover everything from al pastor to vegetarian, there’s something for every palate. The lively atmosphere is just what you need to kick those pre-flight nerves or to celebrate a successful journey. Make sure to try their award-winning fish tacos, and don’t shy away from asking for a tequila recommendation – the staff are as knowledgeable as they are welcoming.

Mez Contemporary Mexican

A modern twist on traditional Mexican cuisine awaits you at Mez Contemporary Mexican. Only a short drive from the airport, Mez blends the authentic tastes of Mexico with contemporary culinary techniques. Their enchiladas are enveloped in a blanket of perfectly spiced mole sauce, and their chipotle shrimp will dance on your tongue with a lively kick. The restaurant itself boasts an inviting atmosphere, where sleek lines and colorful accents create a warm yet sophisticated setting. For those looking to relax before a flight, Mez also offers a range of signature cocktails that reflect their innovative approach to dining.


For those seeking an upscale dining experience, Herons offers a serene escape mere minutes from the hustle and bustle of RDU. It's a fine dining sanctuary where the art of food meets the beauty of nature. The menu, crafted by award-winning chefs, features dishes that are as visually stunning as they are delicious. With an emphasis on organic produce and local artisanship, every meal is a celebration of North Carolina’s seasonal best. Dining at Herons is not just about the exquisite flavors; it's about savoring the artful presentation and the story behind each dish.

Backyard Bistro

Backyard Bistro is your go-to for a laid-back yet flavorful dining experience. Their menu is a haven for comfort food enthusiasts, boasting everything from towering burgers to tangy buffalo wings. It's a gathering spot where the spirit of Southern hospitality shines, and the BBQ pulled pork nachos are a crowd favorite, embodying the joy of casual dining. Sports fans will find a home here too, with big screens ensuring you don’t miss a play, even when you’re miles away from the stadium. Located conveniently close to RDU, it's a spot where locals and travelers can bond over good food and great times.

Cucciolo Terrazza

Cucciolo Terrazza offers an intimate Italian dining experience, with dishes that exude the warmth and passion of Italian cooking. The handcrafted pastas and meticulously prepared sauces are the stars here, with each bite taking you closer to the heart of Italy. The ambiance is cozy and inviting, perfect for those looking for a tranquil dining experience before heading to the airport. This restaurant prides itself on its simplicity and quality, making it a local favorite. Whether it's the buttery richness of their carbonara or the delicate flavors of their pappardelle al ragu, Cucciolo Terrazza doesn't just serve meals; it serves memories.

Alpaca Peruvian Charcoal Chicken

At Alpaca Peruvian Charcoal Chicken, the art of roasting chicken is taken to new heights. Marinated in a signature blend of Peruvian spices and cooked to smoky perfection, the chicken is both juicy and flavorful. The sides are equally impressive, with options like yuca fries and plantains providing a delightful complement to the meal. This casual eatery, with its fast service and friendly atmosphere, is ideal for those in a hurry but still wishing to enjoy a meal that’s a departure from the typical fast-food fare. It's a culinary nod to the rich flavors of Peru, situated within easy reach of RDU.

Neomonde Mediterranean

Delve into the heart of Mediterranean cuisine at Neomonde Mediterranean, a family-owned gem that brings the rich flavors of Lebanon to the Raleigh-Durham area. Just a short drive from RDU, Neomonde offers a vibrant array of dishes, from savory kebabs to fresh, colorful salads, and an assortment of baked goods that are made in-house daily. The inviting atmosphere is filled with the aroma of spices and freshly baked pita, making it a perfect stop for those seeking a healthful, flavorful meal. Their commitment to authenticity and quality ingredients ensures that each visit is both a culinary delight and a journey to the Mediterranean shores. The areas surrounding RDU are a treasure trove for food lovers, and this list is just a starting point. Each restaurant offers a unique flavor and atmosphere that ensure a memorable culinary adventure. So the next time you find yourself at RDU with a craving or some time to spare, venture out to one of these top spots. Whether it's for the oak-fired steaks, the slow-smoked barbecue, the fresh contemporary dishes, or the globally inspired plates, these restaurants offer more than just a meal—they provide a taste of the local culture and the passion of the chefs who call the Raleigh-Durham area home. Enjoy your meal, and safe travels!
*Prices fluctuate based on season and day of the week.

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