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Exploring International Cuisine in Downtown Greensboro

Greensboro can feel like a small town. Odds are, if you have lived here for any length of time, you find yourself running into people regularly or discovering random connections between your friends and acquaintances. But for all of Greensboro’s close-knit vibe, the food scene is anything but limited. In fact, in downtown alone, it is easy to take a culinary journey around the globe without ever catching a flight from PTI.

Whether you seek authentic Greek and Middle Eastern flavors or a tour of the Far East, Downtown Greensboro is rich in international cuisine, with new options popping up regularly. In the mood for some dinner inspired by South America? The Gate City has you covered. Seeking the classic dishes of France that have inspired so many? Look no further than the heart of downtown.

There really is no end to the variety of nations whose rich food heritage is celebrated in Jeansboro. Not only can you choose from so many regional options, but these choices also run the gamut from budget-friendly to night-out-on-the-town prices. Getting hungry yet?

Pangea Bistro & Bar
230 South Elm Street

When first-time restaurant owner Juan Cirino, partner Jason Wilson, and chef Carlos Roman debated different concepts for Pangea, Cirino explained they wanted to use some of the group’s memories to inspire the location and the menu. The men also wanted to create dishes that Greensboro residents might not have experienced. “We wanted to bring international food; we wanted to go to Africa, France, the Caribbean—you name it,” Cirino says. To accomplish this feat, Pangea offers seasonal menus, with the newest dishes ranging from the Middle East (Lamb Za’atar) to South America (Pulpo a La Braza) to Europe (Gnudi).

Cirino describes Pangea as serving elevated comfort food. He finds that some have described the restaurant as fine dining, but that can be intimidating for many. He prefers to focus on the service experience. “We are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen,” he concludes.

The Acropolis Restaurant
416 North Eugene Street

Authenticity can make or break a restaurant, something Jimmy Contogiannis grew up very aware of with his family’s restaurant, The Acropolis. According to Contogiannis, The Acropolis is not just the oldest restaurant in Downtown Greensboro; it’s the oldest in Greensboro still operating, period. His parents opened the location in 1967, originally serving southern-style food. After Contogiannis’s dad retired, he and his mom switched the menu to Greek food on April 1, 1980, but it was no April Fools’ Day joke.

Contogiannis recalls that, at first, they had to give the Greek dishes away. “I was surprised how afraid people were to try the food, they were intimidated by it,” he says. Eventually, people came around, and the restaurant continues to go strong to this day. Contogiannis is the main chef, and he makes everything down to the sauces from scratch, including authentic dishes like tiropita, a quiche-like pie of feta, eggs, and phyllo; macaronatha, Greek spaghetti; and garides, shrimp baked with feta.

Chez Genèse
616 South Elm Street

The success of a restaurant typically starts with great food, but it rarely ends there. One of the best examples around Greensboro of a restaurant where amazing food might play second fiddle is Chez Genèse. Since opening in 2018, the French-inspired establishment has offered an integrated hiring model to provide equal employment for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, making it stand out.

From decadent breakfast offerings like brioche cinnamon French toast to the classic Croque-Monsieur for lunch, the bright and airy spot has become a destination for Greensboro residents looking to connect over a good meal they can feel good about. A case filled with French pastries and a rotating list of specials, such as mussels and fries or beef Burgundy, round out the location’s appeal.

 

Jerusalem Market on Elm
310 South Elm Street

Since 1989, Jerusalem Market has provided Middle Eastern groceries and more from its Sedgefield location. The family business expanded in 2016 to downtown, offering authentic kabobs, shawerma, mezze (small plates), and more in a full-service dining experience. Brothers Easa and Omar Hanhan have successfully expanded on what their father, Saliba, started, with both locations continuing to offer locals a taste of their heritage.

 

Inka Grill Peruvian Cuisine
214 South Elm Street

Creating authentic Peruvian fare is the passion of Inka Grill. Featuring special dishes like ceviche, pescado a la chorrillana (grilled fish filet in a red sauce with onions and tomatoes), and tacu tacu con lomo (rice, beans, Peruvian peppers, and steak), the restaurant fuses traditional flavors with fresh ingredients. The inviting location only adds to Inka Grill’s appeal, which aims to bring a little piece of Peru to diners.

Lao Restaurant + Bar
219A South Elm Street

Greensboro’s first Laotian restaurant features a menu of traditional Laotian dishes that owners Vonne Keobouala and her brother Matt “Jit” Lothakoun remember from their childhood. Similar to Thai food in flavor and ingredients, menu items range from Nam Khao (Lao-style lettuce wraps) to Khau Mee (stir fried noodles. The location also offers a full bar and beers from Laos and other Asian countries.

 

Zaytoon Mediterranean Grill
114 North Elm Street, Suite 102

Zaytoon Mediterranean Grill was founded more than twenty years ago with a passion for health and integrative medicine. The restaurant focuses on food ethics, producing dishes built on the idea of “food as medicine” to maximize the benefits of the Mediterranean diet. Partnerships with Deep Roots Market and The Greensboro Farmers Curb Market allow Zaytoon to expand the reach of its healthy options that utilize non-GMO flour and organic produce.

But when it comes to the international flavors Downtown Greensboro boasts, those half a dozen spots are just the beginning. What about Mexican, Japanese, or Korean? Don’t worry, Greensboro has you covered. Here are other tasty locations to check out:

  • Los Chicos (200 South Elm Street) provides some south-of-the-border flavor thanks to their tacos dorados de papas con chorizos, molletes, and their three varieties of taco boxes that serve four to six.
  • Yokai (501 North Greene Street) offers a range of Japanese-inspired options, from unique cheesy Kimchi tots to beloved ramen bowl selections. The restaurant also offers an extensive drink and sake menu in a playful and cozy setting.
  • Bonchon (607-A South Elm Street) brings a taste of Korea with its Bulgogi (marinated beef), Korean fried chicken available with a range of signature sauces, and Takoyaki (fried octopus dumplings). Finish the meal off with matcha or Thai tea-flavored mochi.
  • Europa Bar & Café (200 North Davie Street, #15) provides European-style dining in its cozy wood and tile interior location or on its patio. Home of Greensboro’s original wine Wednesday, diners can also enjoy dishes like mussels, steak frites, and more.
  • International Food LLC (114 North Elm Street) is the go-to lunch spot for those seeking beloved Mexican favorites like arroz con pollo, chimichangas, and quesadillas.
  • Poké Bowl (116 North Elm Street) showcases a taste of Hawaii and Japan to the ‘boro with its fresh bowls featuring Ahi tuna, salmon, and more. Don’t forget to grab a bubble tea.
  • Hibachi Cafe (362 South Elm Street) prepares delicious Japanese dishes from their namesake hibachi offerings to soba noodle bowls to sushi. Can’t decide? Combination platters let you opt for two hibachi proteins.
  • Midori Express (114 North Elm Street) is a fast and flavourful lunch choice with a menu that includes hibachi grilled options and Korean BBQ. Check out the daily lunch specials too.
  • Pizzeria L’Italiano (219 South Elm Street) is ideal for when you crave a classic slice. The menu ranges from specialty pies like spinach, pesto, or caprese, as well as Silician pizzas, calzones, and strombolis.

 

From well-established and beloved spots, next time you are craving a taste of life beyond Guilford County, these ten spots offer a round-the-world tour of flavor that doesn’t require a passport.

neighbors_gso #TasteWhatsReal #dtwngreensboro #dgso
Pangaea bringing the flavors of the Mediterranean with their mouthwatering Lamb Za’atar! #TasteWhatsReal #dgso #greensboro #greensboronc #greensborofoodie #greensborofood
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