Wedged between Deep South Bar and Med Ethel’s Tattoo Parlor on South Dawson Street is a small and otherwise unassuming restaurant named Fiction Kitchen. This is a well-known and universally well-liked restaurant that rose from a 2012 Kickstarter campaign to an hour-long wait on a Saturday night in downtown Raleigh. So you might be asking – why haven’t I been before now? To be honest Fiction Kitchen is a vegan/vegetarian restaurant and I might have been a little biased against a night out without steak, chicken or fish. After my first visit, I am here to admit I was quick to judge and may have made a mistake. Consider this review my mea culpa and if you haven’t been yet – don’t let meat make a call you might regret.

Everything that came to the table was outstanding. Maybe it was vegan or vegetarian but it was all very well done and extremely creative. From the first course of bread and spread (we tried both the cornbread and the baguette) with vegan and dairy pimento cheese to a variety of main course attractions to an array of desserts. I was particularly impressed by my choice of “chicken” and waffles. I took a risk choosing a faux dish of something I am a fan of and have had in multiple restaurants. I asked for the spicy version and was not disappointed. In fact – I would put this version head to head with many of the real chicken versions and expect good results. Other entrees at the table included the Farmer’s Market Plate, NC Peanut Noodle Bowl, and Nori Rolls and Sashimi Tofu – all excellent. Dessert didn’t disappoint either – with my personal favorite being the vegan tres leches cake.

Overall – this was a great menu and experience for dinner. If you go on a Friday or Saturday night expect to wait – they don’t take reservations. We waited about an hour for a table but you can get a drink or walk to Crank Arm Brewery just up the street and they will call you when your table is ready. The bread and spread is a great start to the meal but a little filling. The entrees are good sized and you won’t leave hungry but you will want to leave room to at least split a dessert. They have a good beer and cocktail menu so you will find something you like. Other than that – get the chicken and waffles.

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