421 W Franklin St, Chapel Hill, NC | Directions 2751635.910444 -79.062234
Overrated – After reading Greg Cox's review I was expecting an "exceptional" experience, unfortunately I was not impressed. The decor was lovely, but having to look into the kitchen without a door and florescent lights was a real distraction. No amuse to start off the meal or sorbet between courses, like other fine dining restaurants I've been to throughout the Triangle. Some dishes were excellent and other's so -so, the cummin in the carrots was disgusting and ruined the lamb dish for me! The wine steward (owner?) was very animated when opening the wine, not subtle at all. Not a smooth romantic experience expected.
Wonderful ambiance and service – Bonne Soiree is a wonderful additional to the Triangle dining scene. It is fairly small (~9 tables, with seating for 35 people), which makes reservations mandatory; the dining room, however, is exquisite and romantic--a perfect setting for a special meal. The staff are extremely polished, knowledgable, yet unpretentious. The food was excellent, especially our dessert (a multi-layered torte). The wine pairings were excellent and a great deal. We are looking forward to our next meal there!
This restaurant is perfection – Even after having lived 5 years in the San Francisco Bay Area, dining at literally every high-end restaurant there, Bonne Soiree in Chapel Hill has redefined our standard of the perfect culinary experience.
I'll mention that Bonne Soiree does offer a $25/person wine pairing that seems an incredible deal given Tina's breadth of knowledge therein. We overheard her rattle off varietals and vintages with abandon appropriately suited to each and every dish that other parties mentioned. It was impressive and is just one example with the jeu de'vivre that Tina seemingly possesses in operating this restaurant. Her passion for fine cuisine was palpable.
Her husband Chip Smith creates some of the finest tastes my palette has ever encountered. For our first course, I started off with an endive salad with carmelized onions, a most delectably ripe pear, toasted walnuts, a few other goodies, and a light dressing ($8.95). Couldn't have tasted better. My fiancee ordered the ravioli filled with Carolina sweet potatoes and a broth comprising of Virginia ham, collard greens and pat liquor ($11.95). She was floored at its goodness.
Second course: I wish I could remember all the ingredients, but my memory eludes me, so you'll just have to excuse my generalities. I ordered oxtail ($27.95), surrounded by a wonderful brown broth with delicious morsels of sweet potato and other chunks of goodness. All of this built upon one another is such a silken and unified manner that it was difficult to believe that something could taste so wholesome yet be wrought from such ingenuity. My fiancee ordered a braised pork tenderloin with a pork belly, with wilted greens, grilled sweet potato chunks, and some other really delicious stuff
The service was understated, smooth as silk, perfectly paced, respectful, and appropriately conspicious.
I cannot imagine any dish that was ordered by either of us tasting any better, nor can I imagine how the service could've been any more impressive.
Haven for serious foodies – After hearing rave reviews about Bonne Soiree, my husband and I had to go and try the place and we were overwhelmed by the experience to say the least. The restaurant is located in an obscure alley across 3Cups. With only 9 tables in the room, the atmosphere was cozy and romantic and the decor of the restaurant was simple but elegant. Later we found out that the simplicity of the decor actually went well with the dishes that were the highlight of the restaurant. We've heard about the handwritten menus before the visit but it was even more impressive in sight. The waitress was well-versed and was happy to make recommendations. I've had my share of fine dining in the Triangle area but Bonne Soiree definitely would top the list. We highly enjoyed the duck soup and foie gras for the first course. While the menu included unique options like braised rabbit and quail, we had a flounder and a veal for the second course and every dish we ordered was simply far beyond our expectations. Vegetables were cooked to perfection and the none of the ingredients were overpowering but all worked together for a delectable sensation. Overall we were excited to find out about this latest gem in Chapel Hill and would recommend it to anyone who is serious about having an outstanding fine dining experience.
This European restaurant only has capacity for 32 people a night, so enjoy the seclusion if you can get a table. – In Short
Quiet elegance reigns supreme as you dine amidst Carolina-blue walls and a decor tinged with rich textures that evoke an old world style. The European menu pays homage to locale--house-made ravioli is filled with local cheese, and Carolina corn accompanies the grilled quail. Menus evolve every two months, and with just nine tables, you're sure to enjoy an intimate exclusivity sure to impress any date. Divine desserts finish a wildly romantic evening.
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