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Old 09-06-2011, 12:34 PM
 
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Thinking of going to one of these restaurants this weekend. Is there a difference regarding atmosphere or food quality ? Thanks.
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Old 09-07-2011, 08:34 AM
 
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Bueller?
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Old 09-07-2011, 08:46 AM
 
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I haven't yet been to Magnolia Grill, but my husband and I did go to Piedmont a couple months ago. The food was solid, but not spectacular -- a bit salty for my taste. The space was nice and the waitstaff attentive, though.

Hope you have a great time, wherever you choose.
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Old 09-07-2011, 08:51 AM
 
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I've not been to Piedmont since the ownership change, so although I assume the quality there is still good, I don't know that for a fact. The atmosphere there is good both for groups and couples.

The food at Magnolia Grill is awesome, as long as you don't have a vegetarian in your group. It is a bit of a noisy room, so it is better for larger groups (4 or more)...if you are going as a couple on an intimate date, I'd recommend sitting at the tables up by the bar, or at the bar, as it can be tough to carry on a conversation in the main area.

Overall, I'd say go to Mag Grill, as I think it is the best restaurant in the triangle.
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Old 09-07-2011, 08:56 AM
 
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I've only been to Piedmont for lunches, and it was prior to the change in chef, but I have been to Magnolia Grill many times over the last years for dinners. It is always excellent, and special. In terms of atmosphere, Piedmont is a little more trendy, and there's nothing really romantic about Mangolia. Some of the tables at Magnolia are very close together and it can get loud in there when full. Though tables at Piedmont can be close too as I recall.

My vote hands down based on food would be Magnolia. I have never been disappointed with what I've gotten there, and the dishes are always very creative. You'll definitely need a reservation unless you go when they open and sit in one of the "walk-in" tables. It's our "go-to" place if we want a dinner where we know we'll have excellent food and service.

ETA: Looks like Toot above & I posted at the same time (didn't see that reply before posting mine). Appears that we're in agreement on all points!

Last edited by jill7930; 09-07-2011 at 08:57 AM.. Reason: add something
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Old 09-07-2011, 09:07 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toot68 View Post
The food at Magnolia Grill is awesome, as long as you don't have a vegetarian in your group. It is a bit of a noisy room, so it is better for larger groups (4 or more)...if you are going as a couple on an intimate date, I'd recommend sitting at the tables up by the bar, or at the bar, as it can be tough to carry on a conversation in the main area.
Personally I would choose to avoid Magnolia Grill because of the noise. It is one of the loudest fine restaurants I have ever dined in. I went once with a business group and we could barely converse. There are better choices for good food and a pleasant atmosphere.
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Old 09-07-2011, 03:41 PM
 
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I vote for Magnolia. Or Nana's, which is another of the great restaurants in Durham. I really like Piedmont, but it's not of the same caliber as Magnolia or Nana's. I DO like Piedmont's drink menu - they make some really neat drinks and the bar manager is really personable and interesting. The food there is typically good, but not as interesting as the food at some of the other places. That being said, we go to Piedmont pretty frequently - twice a month or so. It's close and convenient and the employees are all really friendly.

I've only been to Nana's once, but the food was absolutely spectacular. I liked it more than Magnolia, but I may be in the minority for that one.

Like others have said, the atmosphere at Magnolia is kind of weird. I wouldn't go there on a first date or an anniversary, because it is pretty loud and weird inside. Food is amazing, but the atmosphere takes away from it a bit.

Enjoy your meal! Whichever you choose, it's a good choice!
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Old 09-07-2011, 03:44 PM
 
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I've only been to Nana's once, but the food was absolutely spectacular. I liked it more than Magnolia, but I may be in the minority for that one.
I'm with you on that one - great food and great atmosphere, especially for an intimate, romantic dinner.
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Old 09-08-2011, 10:53 AM
 
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I have only been to Piedmont under the new owners & Chef Marco Shaw. Chef Shaw's method is true Farm to Table. He actually is also involved with the growth of the food at Coon Rock Farm. Magnolia Grill uses some local ingredients, but they also have Alaskan Salmon on the menu now.

Everything I've ever eaten at Piedmont is mouth watering good. And I love the creative dishes like pumpkin leaf wrapped snapper that they have on the menu now. Marco makes his own bratwurst too, and they are the best I've eaten in NC. Marco was a chef in NY, Santa Fe, and Portland, so I like that he brings a more diverse scope of experinence to his food. And I think it shows in every bite. Also, I have never found his food to be salty as another poster mentioned. And I'm very sensitive to salt.

I love the food at Magnolia Grill. But the noise level is really hard for me. When we get out with out the kids we want to be able to hear each other. And it's tough at Magnolia Grill. I do love their food, but I don't find it to be as creative as Piedmont.

For me it comes down to this: I prefer Piedmont because 1) it's a great atmosphere where I can hear my husband, 2) the food is inspiring & the service is great, 3) AND the support local growers with locally grown food as you will see with the majority of their menu. Alaskan Halibut paired with local basil isn't really local.
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Old 09-08-2011, 11:30 AM
 
Location: Durham, NC
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We tried to like the new Piedmont but it was just OK. Service was so-so and we thought the portions were really small. We haven't been to Magnolia Grill in a very long time, but it was a better meal (yes, extremely loud). I second the Nana's recommendation though.
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