City Kitchen, the eclectic American brasserie in University Place, Chapel Hill, perfectly embodies its name. The lively atmosphere coupled with a unique style and daring dishes, gives the impression that one would find the restaurant on the corner of a bustling New York City street. The back walls are dyed cherry red and are covered with a wide variety of modern and antique paintings. Diners can peek into the open kitchen and get a glimpse of the culinary magic happening behind the scenes. Choose to dine under glowing light fixtures in the large indoor dining room equipped with a sprawling bar or enjoy a seat on the patio surrounded by lush shrubbery—either way, you won’t be disappointed.
We chose to sit outdoors on a busy night and enjoyed summery cicada calls and the laughter of our fellow patrons. At first glimpse, the menu lists a variety of dishes inspired by cuisines and techniques all around the world. Many caught our eye: pan-seared scallops atop spaghetti squash and dusted with parmigiano reggiano and a garlic agrodolce, roasted frenched chicken breast paired with crispy artichoke hearts, carrot puree and chimichurri…the list goes on. After weighing the options we chose the charcuterie plate and a special pork belly appetizer to start, and I chose the butternut squash and kale risotto for my main course.
Our eyes were delighted as we watched our appetizers weave their way through the crowd to our table. The wooden slab decorated with a selection of salami, prosciutto, pâté, pepperoni, marinated roasted red pepper, whole grain mustard, pickle skewers and artisanal toasted sesame crackers left us speechless. Each bite yielded a new flavor combination, surprising our taste buds every time. The pork belly was exceptional—the bites were extremely tender and immediately melted in our mouths. Garnished with garlic sautéed kale and thinly sliced radish, it certainly lived up to our expectations.
Next to the table was the warm, hearty bowl of risotto. The arborio rice was cooked to perfection and mixed with tender butternut squash, lacinato kale and parmigiana reggiano. A pillow of microgreens and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil topped off the dish. Each creamy, cheesy spoonful was more delicious than the last.
City Kitchen is definitely all that it’s cracked up to be, plus more. This is your destination for group outings—birthday dinners, Greek events—you name it and City Kitchen can accommodate you in style. The staff is genuinely passionate about creating a memorable experience for guests, and I guarantee every worldly bite you taste will leave you wanting more.
Special thanks to University Place for the delicious complimentary meal. These reviews are entirely honest and my own.