The Winston-Salem restaurant scene is strong. We’ve been to this North Carolina city several times and a huge reason why we return is the promise of great food and beer. Here are the restaurants we’ve been to that impressed us in such a way it imprinted our memories and tastebuds!
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Best Winston-Salem Restaurants for Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch, and Dinner
Note that some of these are only open for one or the other, not both. We have indicated which they’re open for next to the restaurant name.
Mission Pizza Napoletana Restaurant (Dinner)
Right out of the gate we need to proclaim Mission Pizza Napoletana was one of the BEST meals we have had. If not ever, definitely in recent history. And we travel all over the world.
This was why we weren’t surprised to learn they were a James Beard Foundation Semi-Finalist.
When I look at the images from our meal I’m overwhelmed with rich flavors flooding my memory. And not just the flavors but the QUALITY of the ingredients.
The most fascinating part is the owner and head chef, Peyton Smith, was formally a part of the soccer world, not the chef community. He’s certainly earned his place amongst creators of top cuisine, however. And supports local farmers and producers, “executing an Italian ethos in NC”.
Here’s what we ate:
- Arugula Salad with fresh finely grated Parmigiano cheese lightly tossed in lemon and extra virgin olive oil with fresh cracked black pepper
- Bucatini all’Amatriciana (this pasta is amazing and we dream about it!) with all sorts of tiny pieces of high-quality meats like pancetta and soppressata, tossed with pecorino cheese
- Clams Scampi Style, which was literally THE BEST clams we’ve ever had (and we’ve eaten our fair share of seafood) and I almost licked the plate
- Pizza with fresh mozzarella and greens, which we think was a special that night as it was fried and fired in their special pizza oven
- Zeppoles for dessert, which they serve in a brown paper bag and you shake up with powdered sugar
If you want to be surprised you can do an omakase of sorts. Their $40 prix fixe menu option lets the chef, Peyton Smith, choose the 5 courses you get (pizza included). They actually have a “pizzakase” option too!
They take reservations, but if you show up without them and there’s a wait it’s 100% worth waiting for.
Address: 707 Trade Street NW, Winston-Salem, NC 27101
Closed Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.
Six Hundred Degrees (Brunch, Lunch, and Dinner)
This restaurant is located at Bailey Power Plant, nearby Cugino Forno and Incindiary Brewing Co. They cook certain dishes with fire, hence the name of the restaurant.
We heard about it being the place to go shortly after it opened so we were excited to try it.
We thought it was good, not great. The restaurant is very segmented inside; we couldn’t decide if we missed things like being able to see the bar or if the rooms felt cozier. We’re still undecided!
The menu was slightly confusing with starters, entrees, a la carte items that are whole meals (like steaks), and then plenty of sides that could be meals in themselves too. (We have to say the side portion of risotto we received was huge and could have fed us both dinner!)
We recommend the General Tso’s Burnt Ends, which were cubes approximately one-inch square that were delicious and quality pork belly.
We weren’t thrilled with the Little Gem Salad (if have two pet peeves with food service, and brown spots on my lettuce is one of them – it also simply didn’t taste like fresh, crisp lettuce). We had the chicken wings, which we enjoyed.
The pull-apart rolls were really good and, when we sat down for our 7:30pm reservation utterly famished, we appreciated how quickly they were served.
The bill, with tip and a beer, came to just under $100.
We’re glad we tried it and you can let us know what you think if you go! When we were discussing our experience with a friend who has been here before, he said that the Bacon Wrapped Venison is one of the best things he’s ever eaten. We’ll have to try that next time!
Address: 450 N Patterson Ave Ste 120, Winston-Salem, NC 27101
Cugino Forno (Lunch and Dinner)
Part of the beauty of Cugino Forno, by Incindiery Brewing Company in Winston-Salem, is that the menu is limited to pizzas, three salad options, and a few desserts. That’s it!
But the pizza especially is damn good! (We can’t speak to their salads and desserts, to be honest, because we left all the room in our bellies for pizza when we went.)
This is the kind of place where you order at the counter, you get a table number, and place it where you decide to sit down so they can deliver your order to you. It’s low-key and casual.
You can get take-out and also choose items from their freezers, like pizzas you can cook at home. (You can even buy one to cook once you get home from your weekend trip to Winston-Salem if you live anywhere within a two-hour drive.)
Address: 486 N. Patterson Ave. #115, Winston-Salem, NC 27101
Open daily, 11:00am to 9:00pm, and an hour later on Fridays and Saturdays.
Small Batch Beer Co. (Lunch and Dinner)
I’m guilty of looking things up on Yelp before arriving. But I love food photos and we eat with our eyes first, don’t we? That’s why I knew I had to have a milkshake when we arrived at Small Batch Beer Co. without even looking at the menu. And I’m not necessarily a milkshake kind of girl.
(Dan and I have different flavor preferences when it comes to these things too. He prefers vanilla, eight times out of ten, and I love whackier flavors like mint chocolate chip or black cherry.)
We weren’t disappointed! And we had to share the milkshake because truth be told I simply wanted a few big bites and sips. It was kind of like getting dessert before lunch! Dan had a beer brewed in-house as it was the start of our self-guided Winston-Salem breweries tour.
- Free Bird Salad was their take on a Cobb Salad with grilled chicken
- Smoke Batch Burger with grilled jalapeño peppers, pork belly, cheddar, bacon, and handcut fries
- Black and White milkshake with Oreo cookies, chocolate drizzle, and a chocolate chip cookie
- Small Batch Co. brewed beer, which they make in a nano-brewing style as their name indicates
Address: 241 W. 5th Street, Winston-Salem, NC 27101
Closed Mondays. Open Tuesday through Sunday until 11:00am to 10:00pm (kitchen closes at 9:00pm).
The Katharine, Brasserie and Bar at The Kimpton Cardinal Hotel (Lunch, Dinner, and Weekend Brunch)
We love French food. And we’re a little hard to please in this department, not just because we have high standards but because we’ve both been to France and cook French food at home. (Mostly Dan – he’s the French cuisine cooking pro in our home!)
We stayed there overnight so it was especially exciting to learn it had a great reputation. That meant we could have a delicious meal and cocktails, and simply take the elevator upstairs to our rooms after and not have to drive anywhere.
The restaurant was named after Katharine Reynolds, the wife of the founder of the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. Reynolds American’s original home was that building.
- Butchers Block Plate with house-made rillettes, pate, and pickled chow chow
- Baked Escargot (snails) with roasted garlic, herbed butter, and mini biscuit topper
- Coriander Crusted Duck Breast with fingerling potatoes and orange coriander sauce
Address: 401 N. Main Street, Winston-Salem, NC 27101
Canteen Market and Bistro (Lunch and Dinner)
Canteen Market and Bistro has three distinct areas to cater to whatever dining setting you may be in the mood for.
This is also a great place to get a cheese plate or charcuterie to go if you’re heading west to the wineries in the Yadkin Valley and want to pack a picnic.
This could be either buying groceries for cooking at home or sitting down at their restaurant for table service, or getting food to go from their pre-packaged refrigerators and deli counter. And it’s all at one location!
We loved the idea we could get items to go to bring on our self-guided tour of Winston-Salem breweries since a lot of the breweries don’t serve food but they allow customers to bring food in. It’s the perfect solution to support locals and get quick-to-go items to maximize your time in Winston-Salem.
Another thing I loved about their gourmet food section was that they had a pickles section for all your Bloody Mary and charcuterie try needs! So smart!
- Market Salad Plate with tuna salad on top
- Cat’s Club, a stacked sandwich with turkey, ham, cheddar, lettuce and tomato on toasted potato bread with shoestring fries
- Chess Pie, a chocolate pie that is another southern classic
- Raspberry Almond Square (which was delicious and a highlight of the meal!)
Address: 411 W. 4th Street, Winston-Salem, NC 27101
Young Cardinal Cafe & Co. (Breakfast, Brunch and Lunch)
If you’re craving a breakfast of something sweet and something savory, this is the place to go. You can get pancakes and eggs in a nice environment and coffee refilled to keep you caffeinated as you eat!
We only had to wait about 15 minutes for a table on a busy Sunday before we drove back home, east of Winston-Salem, during our weekend getaway from Raleigh.
Enjoy eggs benedict, avocado toast, French toast, biscuits, omelets – they have it all.
Address: 424 4th Street NW, Winston-Salem NC 27101
Open Tuesday through Sunday, 8:00am to 3:00pm. Closed Mondays.
Porch Kitchen and Cantina (Lunch, Dinner, Sunday Brunch)
When we drove up to where the GPS took us to get to brunch at The Porch, I thought we were in the wrong place until Dan pointed out the colorful tables and flags beyond the parking lot, past a very tall arch of greenery that serves as an entry to the parking lot pathway to the restaurant.
We felt like we struck gold with this gem of a place to be and eat. You can’t help but smile, thanks to the many colors of the decor inside and out.
We had brunch here on a Sunday and were blown away but the variety the menu offers, from omelets, French toast, to burritos, salads, and breakfast tacos. They have savory and sweet options and what you may consider “American” items and southwest or Mexican inspired too.
We ordered an OG Burrito with smoked chicken and the Carry the Torch breakfast tacos (they come three to an order) with fried avocado. You can choose your protein or avocado option with a lot of their savory dishes.
The service was great, the ambiance great (we sat outside) and the food was delicious and priced right. We can’t wait to go back!
Address: 840 Mill Works St, Winston Salem, North Carolina 27101
Open Monday through Saturday, 11:00am to 9:00pm, and Sundays from 10:00am to 3:00pm.
Krankie’s Coffee (Breakfast, Lunch, and Brunch)
The best way to start a day is with a great meal. And that’s especially valid if it’s the weekend and you’re heading out to a place like Krankie’s Coffee for brunch.
They have the cutest little coffee shop inside for to-go items (not just cups of coffee but bags of it and some cute apparel too) and a full sit-down restaurant. They also have one of our, colorful favorite Art-o-mat machines as well.
By the way: did you know Texas Pete hot sauce is from Winston-Salem? It’s true! It’s from North Carolina…contrary to what you may have thought, definitely not from Texas. It was on every table at Krankie’s.
We devoured breakfast:
- Hoppin’ John bowl with a rice and cornbread base, topped with collard greens, peas, and chow chow (I added an egg)
- Smothered and Covered Chicken Biscuit, with fried chicken drenched with sausage gravy (such a southern classic!)
Address: 211 E 3rd Street, Winston-Salem, NC 27101
Open daily, 8:00am-3:00pm.
Mojito: Latin Soul Food (Lunch and Dinner)
Chef Mike, a partner at the space that was formerly Mary’s Gourmet Diner, purchased the restaurant from her. He is the owner of the new Latin restaurant along with his wife, Michelle. They bring years of expertise in Cuban cuisine to the table in Winston-Salem.
We love Cuban cuisine, especially from our short time living in Fort Lauderdale together, so we’re excited to try Mojito, Latin Soul Food.
Address: 723 N. Trade Street, Winston-Salem, NC 27101
Closed Tuesday and Wednesday. Closes at 6:00pm on Sundays.
Earl’s in Winston-Salem’s Industry Hill (Lunch and Dinner)
This was one of our favorite stops. We were leaving to go back home to Raleigh and wanted something that was no fuss, low stress, and casual. It wouldn’t hurt if it was comforting and delicious! We went to Earl’s because Dan and I spotted it while we were trying Wise Man Brewing, across the street earlier in our trip.
It was exactly what we were craving! It’s also a whiskey bar and music venue for country, bluegrass, and folk.
- Tator Tot Nachos (because how can you say no when you see that on a menu?) with queso, ranch, bacon, jalapeño peppers, and scallions
- The Wedge salad, prepared in the classic style with iceberg lettuce, topped with bacon, tomatoes, and blue cheese
- “EFC” Earl’s Fried Chicken sandwich with lettuce, pickles, and mayo
Address: 121 W. 9th Street, Winston-Salem NC 27101
Open 7 days a week from 11:00am-2:00am. Yes, in the morning.
We hope you eat your heart out in Winston-Salem as we did!
Please note: We thank Visit Winston-Salem for generously hosting us. All the opinions in the post are ours and we bring you genuine content with real facts, photos and thoughts. Always.
Heading to Winston-Salem? Also check out:
- Self-Guided Tour of Breweries in Winston-Salem, North Carolina
- Top Winston-Salem Attractions for a First Time Visit
- Upcycled Retro Cigarette Machines: How the Art-o-Mat from Winston-Salem is Democratizing Art