Poole's Downtown Diner

(919) 832-4477 | View Website

426 S McDowell St, Raleigh, NC | Directions   27601

35.774702 -78.642133

 
Restaurants, Diners, Traditional American  more

Price: $$

Tags: Bar Scene, Cheap Eats, Dine At The Bar, Late Night Dining, Lunch Spot

Payment Methods: Discover, MasterCard, Visa

Neighborhoods: Central

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Poole's Downtown Diner
Poole's Downtown Diner
Poole's Downtown Diner
Poole's Downtown Diner

Reviews for Poole's Downtown Diner

Recommends

What started out as a tribute to the southern diner has become possibly the defining southern diner of its -- or any other -- time, thanks to the brilliant chef Ashley Christensen.

Doesn't Recommend
11 months ago

Save your money !!! Overpriced and unexceptional dishes ($16 for a fried chicken thigh and drumstick, come on really) served a la fart by pretentious wait staff. What's up with the chalkboard menu ? This isn't fifth grade. Even TGIF has menus, probably. I have dined in NY, Paris, and Rome and have never felt so ripped off by such an over-hyped restaurant. Positive reviewers must be under the spell of the Gwyneth Paltrow effect (after all she was voted the most beautiful woman...huh??). I have been to this restaurant three times and can say they are consistent though.

Doesn't Recommend
1.0
over a year ago

Total Disappointment – We had high hopes for our dining experience at Poole's after hearing from several friends how good it was and seeing the owner/chef on TV talking about the restaurant. The menu looked interesting but I'm not sure I would call it Southern Comfort food at all, they didn't even have sweet tea! To sum it up the food was over priced and just OK. The presentation was nice but the taste was similar to what you can make at home. After the meal let down noone in our party was interested ordering dessert! The cleanliness of the bathroom was something else. The extra rolls of toilet paper has something spilled all over them and the toilet seat was dirty. Needless to say we won't be going back.

Doesn't Recommend
1.0
over a year ago

Nasty service; nasty place – The food's fine. Overpriced and far from excellent, but fine. I still can't understand though why Ashley Christenson has such a following; honestly, she's not that good.

The problem is the service though. They don't take reservations (which is fine). We went to the restaurant last night, and they had a private party and were closed until 9pm. Yet, they didn't bother to a) update their website or b) pick up their phone. So basically, we went down and found a sign posted on the door telling us it was closed. Talking with the "manager", he claimed that this sometimes happens and that they can't really do anything. Honestly, even if the food is decent, the fact that they close without notice and the service is condescending is enough to make me not go back.

Recommends
5.0
over a year ago

amazing place – I almost hate to write a wonderful review. I'd like to keep this place a secret, but it is a place that makes me happy I'm in Raleigh. Superior service, inventive menu, and wonderful urban vibe!

Recommends
3.0
over a year ago

Too Pricey............... – $18.00 for one (1) portion of catfish over a very small bed of peas !! Don't get me wrong, it was very good, but......had it come with at least 2 sides I probably wouldn't complain. The fish was very crispy and well prepared and the black eyed peas were tasty, but a side was missing. Also, where were the menus ? Oh, on the wall ! So, on a busy Friday or Saturday night after you get seated, you have to abandon your seat for a moment to go find the menu and then retain what you read by the time you get back to your seat so you can place you order.....What's wrong with just handing out menu's ??.......The place is small so I get charging a bit more for dinner, but I don't think I'll be returning. And did I mention the $9.00 drinks !! I don't mind paying for a good meal, but that was dissapointing...

Doesn't Recommend
1.0
over a year ago

An overpriced experience I would like to forget – I'm willing to struggle with hard to read menus written on chalkboards and even the restaurant's dark, loud ambiance with uncomfortable seating if the food is good and memorable. The food was indeed memorable, but for all the wrong reasons.

$3.00 for bread or toast if you so happen to find yourself at this establishment for brunch is just the start of a meal experience that was destined to go downhill. So often, bread is complimentary. Here, it comes at a price.

The entrees were unimpressive. Roasted chicken that was tough and flavorless served with potatoes that were bland. The crab cake was equally bad. It was very fishy with vegetables that were undercooked and without any flavor at all.

I'm not a stranger to these kinds of dining experiences, but I would not pay the prices Poole's charges for its meals for dishes like this. Too expensive for a meal I could make at home and make at home better for half the cost. Save your money for a dining experience that will be memorable for all the right reasons, not for one that will be memorable for all the wrong reasons.

Recommends
3.0
over a year ago

Poole's Diner – I’m a sucker for these James Beard awards – and try to visit establishments that house these gifted folks whenever possible. Apparently, the Poole’s Diner has recently received some decent recognition from the pros.

Talk about timing — Saturday night ~ 7:30 – we decided to go to Poole’s diner for a first-time dinner and sat down at the bar almost immediately.

Huge sangria fan -and Poole’s tasty version did not disappoint, in fact – I had two.

Appetizer menu was pretty diverse – my dinner date and I were playing safe and ordered the pimento cheese+toast, and the turnip green salad. Got what we ordered: safe. Nothing too spectacular — pretty cliché plates. Big portions.

Dinner was a total let-down – again, James Beard winner?? We were instructed to split an entrée and order sides by our waiter – Our selection “Rosemary Chicken” was out and was replaced by their fried chicken. Word on the street is the owner of this establishment is opening several other restaurants – one being a fried chicken joint. Delivering this news only made the expectations higher—this has to be ridiculous chicken!? I love my fried foods, but holy salt – I couldn’t eat it? And the “notorious” mac&cheese was just as salty and another downer with it’s too simple/literal recipe of…macaroni pasta…and…cheeses. These sentiments were shared by my dinner date.

Dessert? No thanks. Perhaps I visited with just too high expectations, considering the press and local reputation Poole’s diner has received… but I left confused what the hype was about.

Doesn't Recommend
2.0
over a year ago

Won't accomodate groups – We've been to Poole's several times and the food has always been fantastic. As a result, we tried to bring a group of friends who had never been before.

Our friend called to make the reservation (for 9 people), and was told that they do not take reservations, but if she came in a half an hour early, they would put her on "the list", so she did.

The place was filling up fast, so when most of our group was there, we asked to be seated, but were told that we could not be seated until absolutely everyone in our group was there.

While we waited for the last two people, the Poole's staff continued to seat other patrons, so that when our last person arrived (15 minutes later) there were no empty tables. We were then told by the hostess that it would be an hour and 40 minutes before there would be a table for us!

Rather than seat seven of us and sell us appetizers and drinks for 15 minutes until the last two people arrived, they made us stand around in the crowd for 40 minutes waiting, to then be told it would be another hour and 40 minutes. They made no effort whatsoever to accommodate our party, despite being asked in advance how we should proceed.

Fortunately we had a pretty easy going group, so we all agreed to walk somewhere else (Jibarra) rather than wait. As we were leaving the manager offered to call some places nearby and make a reservation for us, but really, that was something they should have offered earlier, when it was clear that they were not going to seat us or make any effort to make room for us.

I'm sure the food would have been delicious, it always has been in the past, but I'll never go back with more than 4 people, max, and I can't recommend anyone else try.

Just to be clear, I'm giving the lower rating not for the food, but for the poor management and customer service.

Recommends
5.0
over a year ago

Favorite Raleigh Restaurant – Poole's Diner is my favorite all-time Raleigh restaurant! Offerings continue to be inventive and delicious. I will go back again and again. Favorites include beet salad, carpaccio, and mac and cheese! It is well worth the wait to be seated.

Doesn't Recommend
2.0
over a year ago

Headed in the wrong direction.... – This place is best described as a tapas bar that uses local ingredients but charges full entree prices. I will admit that what little food I was served at Poole's was pretty tasty. Unfortunately, the servings were way too small for the price.

I understand small serving's when discussing ingredients like foie gras, truffles, or truly exotic foods, but this place specializes in fresh local ingredients. A few medallions of local sweet potatoes (.79/lb at the farmers market) will run you around $9.00 dollars, approximately 2 oz of friend NC flounder, a plentiful fish that usually sells for $5.00 a pound, will run you $20.00 and will include maybe a quarter cup of roasted brussels sprouts ($.99/lb at the market).

If your into this style of food, I would recommend spending the $30.00 you will drop on a snack at Poole's on the Lee Bros' cookbooks, taking a trip to the Farmer's Market on Lake Wheeler Rd., and making this stuff yourself. It's not complicated food by any definition.

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Poole's Downtown Diner

Lardcore! The Greatest Restaurants of the New Southern Cuisine The south has risen again -- at least culinarily. The best, most innovative, most deeply felt food…
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