Restaurant News & Reviews

New spots for retro, chic eats

With the unrelenting waves of financial bad news, are you suffering a case of recession depression? Two new eateries in downtown Raleigh might be just what the doctor ordered.

In the case of The Remedy Diner (137 E. Hargett St.; 835-3553; ), that would be an actual doctor. The restaurant's name and urban-retro vibe are inspired by its location in the circa 1926 Delany building, where Dr. Lemuel T. Delany practiced family medicine for more than 30 years. The restaurant's "Cures What Ales You" slogan is a nod to that history as well, according to owner Angie Holder. It's also a punning reference to the bar, which offers a modest but well-chosen selection of draft beers, wines by the glass and mixed drinks.

While Holder manages the front of the house, partner Scott Williams is in the kitchen, whipping up an eclectic menu of sandwiches and other "Over-the-Counter Remedies."

Much of the offering is inspired by diner tradition, with options including tuna melt, Reuben, BLT and daily specials ranging from country fried steak to open-faced turkey sandwiches. True to diner tradition, breakfast is served all day. On the other hand, those who choose to take the remedy part literally can choose from a healthy selection of vegetarian sandwiches and salads, including a design-your-own salad assembled from greens, vegetables, cheeses, proteins and dressings.

If the diner's down-to-earth style doesn't do it for you, then perhaps the café chic of European Espresso & Wine Café (222 Glenwood Ave.; 521-5434; will.

International business consultant Anthony Gouveia opened the café and wine bar in late February, modeling its offering of light, sophisticated fare after those of the continental cafés he encountered in his travels.

Just how sophisticated? We're talking smoked salmon (Norwegian or Scottish) plates and four -- count 'em, four -- foie gras offerings.

We're talking a French-leaning selection of more than 80 wines, most of them available by the glass. We're talking by-reservation gatherings for champagne and caviar, the first of which is in the works.

But don't be intimidated. If the $30.75 per person price on the goose foie gras with truffles is a tad rich for your blood, there are plenty of affordable alternatives.

Plates of imported cheeses and antipasto platters are all priced under $15, and quiches are half that.

If all you want is a light breakfast, then a croissant and cappuccino won't set you back any more here than anywhere else.