Elaine's on Franklin

4.7
1036 reviews
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$31 to $50
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Global, International
Top Tags:
  • Good for a Date
  • Good for Anniversaries
  • Creative Cuisine
Chef/owner Bret Jennings brings you authentic regional world cuisine made with only the finest local, organic ingredients, presented in an elegant, but not pretentious environment. With menu changes almost every day, you can expect to find fresh, seasonal meats, cheeses and produce served up all year round in a style that's fun without being fussy. A southern boy at heart, Chef Jennings specializes in wild game and seafood along with traditional southern recipes that would make his granny proud.
Three certified sommeliers on staff will guide you through Elaine's award winning wine list, while a friendly and accommodating service staff provide for your every need.
Come in today, and find out what we mean by "Food for the Soul, Prepared from the Heart."
Dining Style
Fine Dining
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Cuisines
Global, International, Seafood, Tapas / Small Plates
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Hours of operation
Dinner: Tuesday - Thursday: 5:30pm - 9:30pm; Friday - Saturday: 5:30pm - 10:00pm
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Phone number
(919) 960-2770
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Payment options
AMEX, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Business Casual
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Executive chef
Bret Jennings
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Neighborhood
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Cross street
Roberson Street
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Parking details
You can use free parking on the street after 6 PM or any town lot after 8 PM.
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Public transit
Elaine's is located less than 50 yards from the nearest Chapel Hill Transit stop. Chapel Hill's buses run free of charge all year round.
Additional
Bar Dining, Beer, BYO Wine, Corkage Fee, Full Bar, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, View, Wheelchair Access, Wine
What 1036 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.7based on recent ratings
4.7
food
4.7
service
4.5
ambience
4.4
value
Noise · Quiet
98% of people would recommend it to a friend
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1.0Dined on August 4, 2018

Waited an hour for a mediocre meal. Won’t be back. There are too many awesome other restaurants in the area. Restaurant and menu seem tired. Could use some investment and a rethink.

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5.0Dined on August 4, 2018

Elaine's is ALWAYS a pleasurable experience with outstanding culinary selections, attentive and professional wait staff and overall ambience. We have treated our daughters to dinner there as well as celebrated special occasions such as birthdays/anniversary ourselves. This was our 51st, (yes, fifty FIRST) wedding anniversary and our dinner out was memorable. I made reservations noting the event and requesting a table by the window...such fun to watch the world go by! We arrived a little early so that we could celebrate with a special drink at the bar. Perfect! And the host was obviously primed to expect us for upon entry he said, "Ah, is this your anniversary?" Not only did we have our table by the window but a menu that was imprinted "Happy 51st Anniversary" at the top. In addition, we had received a card from Elaine's wishing us well the very day that I made the reservations. We were impressed by the thoughtful follow through of something we had filled out at an earlier time. I would recommend Elaine's absolutely. The food was delicious, as always, and the choices were varied. Presentation was innovative but not pretentious. The gravlax appetizer was wonderful as was the tuna cerviche. Brazilian chocolate creme brulee will go down in our culinary history. Thanks to Everyone at Elaine's for a stellar evening!

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5.0Dined on August 4, 2018

Always fantastic!!!

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5.0Dined on August 4, 2018

Excellent meal, great service and a friendly atmosphere

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5.0Dined on August 4, 2018

Awesome experience dining at Elaine’s. Both the food and the service were excellent. The menu offered creative tasty dishes and the dessert (a kind of flan) was delicious. I’d go back in a heartbeat!

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5.0Dined on July 28, 2018

The fresh tomato sampler was outstanding and served with 3 different course salts. overall meal was quite nice!

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5.0Dined on July 27, 2018

Mike is a fun server and the food is always great!

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4.0Dined on July 14, 2018

I particularly recommend the green tomato gazpacho as well as the crusted tuna steak with fried basil leaves.

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5.0Dined on July 14, 2018

My first dinner at Elaine's. It was superb.
Service was excellent. The scallop dish was the best I've ever had. Will visit again.

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5.0Dined on July 12, 2018

Outstanding food and service. Our favorite table was reserved and our waiter Mike was excellent. The tomato plate was delicious as was the tuna dish! We 4 had a great time and the chef has wonderful pairing of various flavors that are complementary. The salmon was also prepared wonderfully with refried beans. Would not have thought it went together but it was delightful as well. The food is always imaginative and attractively plated.

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5.0Dined on July 11, 2018

The food here is always exceptional, and the wine list is nice too. Staff very kind and knowledgable. But it is not inexpensive.

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5.0Dined on July 10, 2018

Great food, great service. Great preparations

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5.0Dined on July 8, 2018

Excellent

2nd visit in last three months

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5.0Dined on July 7, 2018

Do not remember what year Elaine's opened, but been dining there since the beginning. Have not made it over there in a while, so when I had the chance for a dinner on Franklin St, I knew exactly where I wanted to go. They are so consistently wonderful! We have eaten at all the big "foodie" places in the Triangle over our 20+ years living here and I still consider Elaine's my favorite. Their early bird dinner from 5:30-6:30 is just an insanely good deal. You choose an appetizer, dinner and dessert for $35 and have an option to do a wine pairing with each course for an additional $15. The menu to choose from is smaller than their normal menu, but still a nice amount of choices, generous portions, very knowledgeable staff that do a wonderful job pairing the wines if you choose to add that.

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5.0Dined on June 29, 2018

Food and service were both phenomenal! Chocolate cake was a little dry but that didn’t stop me from finishing it! Cozy table for two was great for a night out without the kids. Pricey but we knew that going in. Definitely will be back!

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5.0Dined on June 29, 2018

The finest meal I've had in Chapel Hill, hands down

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5.0Dined on June 29, 2018

Simply outstanding. The peppercorn tuna with hollandaise was out of this world.

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5.0Dined on June 23, 2018

Whenever I visit Durham I love to dine at Elaine’s. The food is creative and delicious, the service (Michael in particular) is friendly and impeccable, the setting is pleasant with a positive vibe. My favorite tables are tucked into the front windows. Just love it!

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5.0Dined on June 23, 2018

My 1st time at Elaines and it won't be the last. The food was great, the bartender friendly and creative and the entire staff made me feel welcome. There was a soft-shelled crab appetizer--it was so good I ordered a second one. The seared foil gras was also spectacular as was the red fish ceviche. The bartender handles the arrival of food extremely well. At other restaurants, often all the food comes at once -- he asked before ordering the next course. The meal was topped offed with a strawberry rhubarb tart--also wonderful. there is complimentary valet parking a few doors before the restaurant, so no need to drive around looking for parking.

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5.0Dined on June 21, 2018

We had heard about Elaine's for years and finally had the opportunity to dine here on the occasion of a mid week getaway en route to a family reunion. Decided to try to 'prix fixe' menu paired with wines for every course. We could not have enjoyed the menu or pairings more and our server was outstanding. We would do the full meal all over again this week given the opportunity

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5.0Dined on June 21, 2018

Of all the many times I have dined at Elaine's, I've never, ever been disappointed with the delicious food or the gracious service. Consistently a great meal and I'm always confident that taking guests there will be a wild success.

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4.0Dined on June 20, 2018

I write this with tough love. I've been going to Elaine's since 2000 when I moved to Chapel Hill from NYC. The food has always been excellent and I believe some of the best in the area; I've never been disappointed with the food. The staff used to be pretty cold in the earlier days but has warmed up over the years. Two big up sides. I'm not a "change for change sake" kinda guy but the interior cries out for a good cleaning / painting and perhaps a decor update. There's room for improvement and it's in the easiest part of the restaurant equation.

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5.0Dined on June 20, 2018

Elaine’s is a great place. Visit there every chance we get! Will be back soon!

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5.0Dined on June 20, 2018

I took clients here for business on a recommendation from a local. It was the perfect find. The waiter was extremely helpful and attended to us in the best way possible. The food was creative and excellent. I'll be back.

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5.0Dined on June 19, 2018

Amazing dinner!!!

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4.0Dined on June 16, 2018

Enjoyed our first meal at Elaine’s. Will definitely return. The food was excellent (though on the pricey end), the ambience original and the wait staff efficient. The only drawback was our table location (next to the check in station and maitre’d).

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5.0Dined on June 16, 2018

Really lovely service. Delicious food. We found a Pinot noir on the wine list that must be one of the best we’ve ever had. A wonderful anniversary dinner.

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5.0Dined on June 15, 2018

Amazing food and wait staff.Cocktails are delicious!

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5.0Dined on June 15, 2018

Elaine’s is special. Chef Bret creates wonderful tastes for the mouth and personally addresses food sensitives. Elaine’s is the perfect date night restaurant for my wife and I. We drive 90 miles for special experience.

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5.0Dined on June 9, 2018

Elaine's on Franklin always amazes! The service is always top-notch. The chef-owned restaurant really highlights farm to table ideas, with fresh tasting meals that are over-the-top. Their wine list is extensive, so be prepared to pair your wine with each course.

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5.0Dined on June 9, 2018

We love Elaine’s. The food is always wonderful.

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5.0Dined on June 7, 2018

Several really outstanding and unique fish options-- we shared the red snapper ceviche appetizer, I had the salmon and she had the swordfish. Our server was also top-notch. We'll be back!

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4.0Dined on June 6, 2018

Very nice menu. Interesting and very divers. Good wines list at reasonable prices. Food was excellent, fresh and very well spiced.. The service was good and atmosphere pleasant and calm. It is a bit more expensive than other good restaurants in the area.

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5.0Dined on June 6, 2018

Can I give this 10 stars?! Our 'go to' restaurant in Chapel Hill/Durham for excellent food, service, cocktails, wine and beer selections. There are SO FEW restaurants like this where you can have a wonderful meal and not have to shout in order to have your dining partners hear the conversation! White tablecloths but not fussy. Absolutely wonderful atmosphere. Hoping that this one will be in business for a long time to come! Dined with a party of 7 for a graduation and with a party of 4 friends in the past month and perfect on both occasions.

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5.0Dined on June 2, 2018

We had a delightful evening. The food was awesome, especially the foie gras appetizer. The staff was incredibly thoughtful for our anniversary dinner. We highly recommend Elaine’s.

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4.0Dined on June 1, 2018

Wonderful local fresh seafood, prepared perfectly. Great cocktails. Very good server. Nice ambiance.

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5.0Dined on June 1, 2018

Elaine's never disappoints. I tend to gravitate to things I love like Oysters Rockefeller and whatever duck dish is on the menu. This time I leaped into softshell crab appetizer (excellent) and salmon (medium rare - exactly as I asked for it) over refried black beans with avocado and salsa. Very tasty. Glad I branched out. My husband had yellow-fin tuna seviche and filet mignon with a potato tower. Also excellent and done perfectly. For dessert he had pineapple upside down cake with basil ice cream (refreshing and not too sweet) and I had the impossible Flan and Pecan cake with Dulce de leche. I was a bit disappointed in my dessert as it seemed a bit bland and I thought the crushed pecan cake was dry. I'm thinking it would have benefited from being thinner and maybe bourbon-soaked (???) I'm not a chef, but that seems to be it would be yummier. I never expect to like everything I order. I do expect it to be well-prepared using excellent ingredients and everything was. My husband had the wine pairings and enjoyed all the choices - Burgundy Chardonnay, Alexander Valley Cab and a South African dessert wine. We were there for Elaine's $35 Prix Fixe special they occasionally offer on the full menu. Making this an exceptionally good deal! Thank you Bret.

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5.0Dined on May 31, 2018

One of our favorites!! Always a good meal, good staff, great food. We visit every chance we get!

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1.0Dined on May 31, 2018

The menu was Not At All as open table prescribed. Catfish really? Bottom feeder who eats that? And Salmon from NC farm? Totally disappointed. Never recommend.

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4.0Dined on May 29, 2018

Our food was good but not great. We have both had much better for much less. Both entrees were saltier than we would have preferred.

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