2 January, 2013

Plaza Café

Comments : 2 Posted in : Dining in Raleigh - NC, Restaurants on by : The Gourmez

Plaza Café
411 Fayetteville Street
Downtown Raleigh
Breakfast, Lunch


It’s my first blog of 2013, and well, I wish I had one for you exploding with praise. Instead, it’s on a joint that’s mostly unremarkable. I’ve passed the Plaza Café many times while wandering in downtown Raleigh. It seems ideal for grabbing food in a hurry, only giving up a few of your minutes while they make it to go. For order-at-the-counter spots embedded within downtown buildings without much personality like this one, I expect fresh ingredients but not necessarily quality ones and I don’t expect creativity. That’s basically what I found at the Plaza Café. It has a typical selection of salads, cold and warm sandwiches, and wraps


What that means is everything’s cut up ahead of time. They just assemble your order and apply some heat as necessary. The list of breakfast items is appealingly cheesy, greasy, and bacon loaded, which is perfect for those breakfasts when you’re in a hurry and nothing else will satisfy. But I didn’t try breakfast. I was there to pick up a quick lunch while helping my husband at a conference across the street. We shared a sesame chicken salad and a chipotle wrap.

I was presently surprised by the tastiness of the sesame chicken salad.

Plaza Cafe 3

It contains grilled chicken, fried chow mein noodles, sliced almonds, a mix of baby greens, and chunks of green bell pepper. What they did well was have the chicken cut into bite-size pieces, not too big or small. All the vegetables and toppings tasted fresh and were crunchy when they should have been. The sesame-ginger dressing was exactly what I want for a standard Asian-style salad: thick, tangy, sugary, and far more delicious than I’m proud of, frankly. The only complaint I have for the salad is that it was much heavier on the chicken side than the lettuce side.

The chipotle wrap was not as pleasing.


As you can see, it was skimpily filled, and the shredded iceberg lettuce and hothouse tomato used were nowhere near as crisp and fresh as the veggies on the salad. The bacon and turkey were not memorable, but the ham did have considerable flavor. I liked that the tortilla was pressed but it wasn’t toasted long enough to do more than warm the provolone cheese. I could not see the chipotle sauce, but its kick was appreciable and welcome.

I’m wary of a place that offers chicken wings as their daily special, and the sandwich was not up to snuff. But the salad exceeded expectations, and the speed of service was awesome. I think Plaza Café is probably best suited to those quick grabs for breakfast and lunch when easing hunger is your most important concern. I think most folks would likely find a favorite one or two menu items and stick with them.


Reviewed 16 Nov 12.

Plaza Cafe on Urbanspoon


2 thoughts on : Plaza Café

  • Stefen
    August 24, 2014 at 7:30 am

    I hate when bloggers are so biased in their opinions and this blog was no different. Although you have never had their breakfast but you still try to bad mouth it by calling it cheesy unhealthy etc. I eat breakfast at plaza cafe almost everyday. They have one of the freshest and healthiest breakfast in the area. They make eggs to order- real eggs not substitutes. They make everything fresh everyday. They offer omelettes made to order along with gourmet omelettes that are changed few times a month. They offer fresh fruit, juices, bagels, English muffins, biscuits … everything you could want for a breakfast. And as far creativity is concerned yes they have standard deli menu but they also have hot food menu that changes every week, with different items on the menu everyday. They make gourmet burgers, indian food, asian food, mexican food and so many other cuisines. Out of all the neighbouring restaurant in the area they are the ones with most creative menus. All their produce comes fresh from farmers market. So before blogging make sure you get your facts right. Dont blogg about a buisness if you have some vendetta against them. Txs for biased reviews. Very responsible of you.

    • August 24, 2014 at 10:58 am

      Hi Stefan, thanks for the comment! I especially like it when readers give a different perspective than the one I had–yes, I am biased. All reviews are biased and based on personal opinion. In most cases, my reviews are also based on only one trip to a restaurant, so I can only evaluate them on what I chose that day. Had the chipotle wrap been better prepared (more fillings, heated enough to melt the cheese, more flavorful ingredients, including the chipotle sauce), I would have rated them higher.

      I was actually complimenting Plaza Cafe on their breakfast options by writing “The list of breakfast items is appealingly cheesy, greasy, and bacon loaded, which is perfect for those breakfasts when you’re in a hurry and nothing else will satisfy.” I could see how you’d maybe read it that as a passive-aggressive jab but that was not my intent. I *LOVE* that type of breakfast. That’s great that they offer a range of items as well. Thank you for sharing them.

      I am also delighted to hear that they now procure all their produce from the Farmer’s Market! When I reviewed them 1.5 years ago, I don’t believe that was the case, but perhaps that has changed since then or perhaps I’m not as good at guessing ingredient quality as I think I am. Either way, I’m glad you’ve confirmed that they do, because I always support restaurants making the effort to get better, fresher ingredients from local producers.

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