Lantern

4.8
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354 Reviews
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$31 to $50
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Asian
Lantern is a marriage of Asian flavors and North Carolina ingredients sourced mainly from local farms and fisheries. It has been named one of "America's Top 50 Restaurants" and "best farm-to-table restaurants" by Gourmet Magazine, one of "America's 50 Most Amazing Wine Experiences" by Food & Wine, and "Restaurant of the Year" in 2009 by The News & Observer.

What 354 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.8based on recent ratings
4.8
food
4.8
service
4.6
ambience
4.4
value
Noise · Moderate
94% of people would recommend it to a friend
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ND
New York Area
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Wonderful rtestaurant -- the staff are exceptionally friendly and helpful, and the food is wonderful!

JL
San Diego
6 reviews
Dined on February 7, 2020
Overall5food5service4ambience5

This was a really leisurely very delicious meal with friendly staff. Looking forward to going back again!

k
San Diego
5 reviews
Dined on February 7, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

A thoroughly enjoyable evening. Chapel Hill institution, deservedly so.

TF
Raleigh
39 reviews
Dined on February 4, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience4

A cozy, comfortable restaurant with modern interior. Delectable, seasonal menu using local produce, meat and seafood. Simple yet pleasing flavors and complex, layered flavored for the more adventurous. The special duck and crab spring rolls were amazing so was the seasonal take on the Chaat with root vegetables and cauliflower. Local NC fish, duck main dish and the chocolate hot cake for the shared finish; just perfect before heading to the theater.

SG
Raleigh
37 reviews
Dined on February 3, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great experience as always- great attention to details- food and drink superb- knowledgeable staff- personal service- will be back in a heart beat!!

w
New York Area
1 review
Dined on February 1, 2020
Overall5food5service4ambience4

The freshness and healthful nature of their offerings make Lantern a favorite of myself and my husband.

A
Raleigh
28 reviews
Dined on January 24, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

It was great to see Lantern on the list for Triangle Restaurant Week. The preset menu had great choices that let us try many different flavors.

JP
1 review
Dined on January 24, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience4

My wife and I, along with two friends, visited The Lantern on Friday of Restaurant Week. The food was outstanding and the service very professional and efficient. I had the pork & chive dumplings which were truly delicious (my tablemates wanted me to share, but No Way). They each had the Salt and Pepper Shrimp was they declared was the highlight of the night. One (a beef lover) had the Japanese steakhouse style steak, which was cooked to perfection. the rest of us had the Crispy, wild NC catfish which was first class (I didn't know catfish could taste so good). For desert there were three chocolate cakes - perfect - and one roasted banana ice cream sundae, good but not as tasty as the cake. It is very satisfying to see that the Lanterns still going strong and maintaining its fine reputation. There's a small parking lot beside the restaurant, but if fills up quickly (we went at 6:00 and found spots. Kudos to the Lantern.

GS
Raleigh
17 reviews
Dined on January 23, 2020
Overall3food3service4ambience1

I think this restaurant has been overrated since it opened, but I wanted to give it a fair shot. I've now gone 4 times over the last 2 years and have always been a bit disappointed, given its reputation. There's a better restaurant across the street (Elaine's).

s
Raleigh
42 reviews
Dined on January 21, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

A small, quiet restaurant on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill, just a "stone's throw" from IP3 and Al's Burger Shack. Minimalist decor, quiet ambiance. Went for Restaurant Week dinner special. Wait staff was very helpful, and provided excellent service. Three-course with numerous excellent choices [including one entree (pork shank) that was not printed on the Restaurant Week menu, but was on the a la carte menu]. The food most certainly did not disappoint. Would not hesitate to return.

MP
Raleigh
1 review
Dined on January 20, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience4

We chose the pre-fixe menu. The unobtrusive waiter gave good suggestions and paced our order. The shrimp starter was amazing. My squash salad was very good, especially the crispy greens. We did not seem rushed. My Japanese style steak was very tasty but not a tender cut. The steak knife had to work hard. The greens accompanying were amazingly good. My husband loved his catfish entree. It's a personal thing, but my wine by the glass was not special.
We don't usually have desserts as they are not usually special. BUT our banana sundae and chocolate cake were memorable. We talked of going back soon!

OT
Raleigh
1 review
Dined on January 20, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Triangle Food Week had Lantern in their list and it was a location I had never been before. It was a wonderful experience.

OT
Raleigh
1 review
Dined on January 20, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Lantern was phenomenal as always.

IE
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on January 18, 2020
Overall3food2service3ambience2

Had high expectations for this chapel hill staple, but sadly it did not meet up to it's reputation. In an exciting triangle restaurant scene, Lantern just doesn't stack up to other offerings. The food sounded delicious on paper, but overall it lacked the balance and technique you would expect for the price and reputation. Sadly, I don't think we will be returning.

OT
Raleigh
1 review
Dined on January 18, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The Lantern has impeccable service, with just the right timing between courses. Their food is remarkable. I have never been disappointed in any meal I've eaten. Thank you for a fabulous and satisfying evening.

JW
Raleigh
2 reviews
Dined on January 17, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We were welcomed warmly and seated quickly. The food was incredible, amazing flavors. Service was attentive but not hovering. As it got busier the noise level picked up but never got too loud. Lovely dining experience.

M
Raleigh
4 reviews
Dined on January 13, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Impeccable service! Been meaning to go forever. Everything delicious.

RD
New York Area
90 reviews
Dined on January 10, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We were a little disappointed in that the menu format has changed. There are now very limited main course options.

OT
Chicago
2 reviews
Dined on January 10, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Really enjoyed meal. Small menu selection. Dumplings were excellent. Don’t miss the roasted banana sundae for dessert

AS
1 review
Dined on January 4, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Delicious food and wonderful wait staff, really gem in Chapel Hill

LV
Raleigh
1 review
Dined on January 3, 2020
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Food and service were both good. Can’t wait to go back!

CH
New York Area
1 review
Dined on December 28, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We had a wonderful time celebrating Emma's birthday! Thank you for your fabulous food and generosity! We will be back soon:)

JS
1 review
Dined on December 27, 2019
Overall5food4service5ambience4

Good food and ambiance. Happy we made a reservation early, as the place filled up quickly, but still had an intimate feeling.

MB
1 review
Dined on December 17, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Ingredients, creativity and consistency. The Lantern hits on all cylinders. Thanks for a deliciously fun night.

CB
Western NC
2 reviews
Dined on December 14, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Always a special evening at Lantern. Pickled persimmon appetizer was a lovely seasonal a treat, and salt and pepper shrimp with flash fried cilantro never disappoint, but the meal was topped off by a warm persimmon pudding decorated with kumquats that was simply to die for. Woke up the next morning wanting to go back for more!

OT
1 review
Dined on December 6, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The food was very delicious and the service was great.

L
New York Area
1 review
Dined on November 23, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

It was a superb meal. Everything was delicious. Everything on the plate added something to the dish. We were a little late for our reservation and also took our time celebrating birthdays during our meal - never felt rushed. My friend is gluten-free and was delighted there were so many dishes she could eat. It was one ofthe best meals either of us have had in years. Highly recommend!!!

M
Raleigh
29 reviews
Dined on November 23, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

My partner and I shared appetizers five different appetizers rather than ordering a main. Each was extremely tasty and very nicely presented. It was a great way to sample some of this restaurant's fair.

B
Western NC
2 reviews
Dined on November 16, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The only negative might be the limited number of entrees, but the four of us all ordered different dishes, shared, and they were all wonderful...our server was particularly knowledgeable about the dishes, prep, wine...cozy, warm atmosphere...cocktails were creative and well made too

B
Raleigh
29 reviews
Dined on November 14, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience3

Nice seating (table of 4 for 2 people). Excellent, attentive service - great teamwork. Innovative cuisine: tasteful use of herbs, spices and combinations. Main course comes with healthy serving of vegetables. Persimmon based dessert was delicious.

PF
1 review
Dined on November 13, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The 3 of us decided to order 1 of each of the appetizers and share alike. Each was outstanding and we didn’t require any further food; although 2 of the 3 of us order dessert, which we each shared. Also excellent.

K
Greensboro
2 reviews
Dined on November 11, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Remains one of my all time favorite restaurants. Always worth the 1 and 1/2 hour drive. Intense and imaginative flavors.

TM
Raleigh
1 review
Dined on November 8, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great food. Chaat and the dumplings are must have! My drink (Junebug) was perfectly refreshing and went well with my entire meal! Get the chocolate cake for dessert. You will not be disappointed.

OT
Raleigh
1 review
Dined on November 8, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

This was hands down the best meal I’ve eaten in the last year. I could have eaten three orders of the pea shoot and scallion dumplings, and the Japanese pot on fire was unbelievable.

We sat in the bar section upstairs, which was a little loud for my taste— it was a Friday night and very crowded, so that the noise level was to be expected. For a more quiet experience, sit in the main dining room.

S
Raleigh
1 review
Dined on November 6, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great for a date night. The food was delish and nice portions. Parking available very close.

JG
Raleigh
104 reviews
Dined on October 25, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Excellent food and excellent service. We really enjoyed it!

KG
Raleigh
1 review
Dined on October 22, 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience4

Terrific meal in a great atmosphere. Exceeded my hopes and dreams.

Thank you so much,

K. Gammon

S
Greensboro
14 reviews
Dined on October 19, 2019
Overall2food3service1ambience1

The Lantern's web page had a lot of hype with previous chef's bio's and pics of chef's with their arms crossed, but the bottom line is the Lantern's food when I dined there with friends was underwhelming. The marketing was much better than the experience. First, the diningroom open to the public that night was dark and crowded with plain decor and cheap dining furniture. The tables did not have white cloths and were painted black and chipped. Not comfy or intimate. The very awkward server came over and gave us menu's and only gave us 1 drink menu for 3 diners so we had to wait to decide what we wanted to drink. With 3 ladies, that takes time. We chose our cocktails and then looked at the menu. It is pretty much what you see online, with no specials or anything that looked or sounded amazing. We mulled over the entree's and one decided on the Japanese Hot Pot and the other the Red Snapper. I decided on the pork dumpling appetizer and the squash soup. All diners concluded the food presentation was fair and so was the flavors of each dish. We wanted to love it, but for $30.00 entree's with poor service and blah food and atmosphere, I won't be back again.

OT
Raleigh
1 review
Dined on October 18, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great experience. Excellent food and really outstanding service.

OT
Columbus
7 reviews
Dined on October 18, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Lantern does not disappoint. Food is excellent with new choices as well as classics. Drink are imaginative as well and tasty!

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