Currently my favorite restaurant is Buku in downtown Raleigh. The restaurant specializes in global street food and it’s so delicious and peaceful for a hippie like me.
The restaurant itself is so attractive. Buku has a full bar, lounge seating with comfy pillows, a spacious dining room, and huge windows. There is a waterfall “wall” between the bar and dining room which I love. The venue itself is spacious. You will not be running into anyone with the wide aisles. It is definitely the environment for a picky eater or liberal professional. The outdoor seating is semi covered and refreshing for those of us who like to enjoy food outside (this girl does!).
Service has been immaculate for all of my visit. Obviously they take the time to ensure all of their servers KNOW their menu. Anytime I had a question about an item on the menu it was answered promptly without making me feel “stupid” for not knowing. Sometimes at these nicer restaurants you run into servers who speak down to the guests who are ignorant of some menus items and that’s a personal pet peeve.
Every plate setup I’ve gotten from Buku was so sleek and colorful. There is a lot of play with geometric shapes and height. The appearance of the plate is so awesome that I take a picture every time. For a small plate dinner entree you will be paying $6-$13 and for large plates at $18-$30. I’ve never had a large plate before but usually a small plate and appetizer fills me up (I am not a big eater though). Also vegetarians and gluten free dieters we have choices at this restaurant! They have a gluten free menu and vegetarians options and substitutions.
The food at Buku is so heavenly. My food always tastes like it was made with love and genuine care when I eat it. The Kenko Roll (vegetarian sushi) literally reminds me of Spring in a roll. Fresh, green, and lively. My first time at Buku was this summer with a friend for our Triangle Restaurant Week. During this week the best (and most expensive in some cases) restaurants in the Triangle (Durham, Raleigh, Chapel Hill) create separate and “cheaper” menus for people to try. I ended up ordering the Caribbean Jerk Sweet Potato Filet (above picture) off their TRW menu. The entree I chose also ended up being the best meal I ate all year. According to the menu it was a “poached and seared sweet potato medallion, scotch bonnet and papaya escabeche, coconut curry, citrus and crisp plaintain”. It tasted as smooth as it sounded. The sweet potato was soft and creamy. The coconut curry accented the rice with a flowery aroma so gently. The entire plate blissfully dissolved in my mouth. I can describe that entree as how I would imagine it feeling drinking coconut water on a Caribbean beach during a sunset. I was honestly taken aback because I always eat quality foods yet trying something with flavors paired so well was a sweet experience.
Their brunch is buffet style and always a full house. This buffet has made to order waffles and omelets, croissants, couscous, and fruit salad just to name a few things. Despite it being buffet style the quality of the food does not waver.
If you decide to try Buku go the the Sunday brunch buffet (do call ahead seating) for a second trip. I believe Buku is at its best for dinner when the city is dying down for the night life. I would suggest trying the Hummus and Pita for an appetizer and the tropical heaven Filipino Halo-Halo dessert. I really think everyone should give this a restaurant a try when they are in downtown Raliegh. Buku has such a comfortable, classy environment which compliments its global cuisines.