Modern dining in wooded North Carolina
Herons at North Carolina’s Raleigh-area The Umstead Hotel and Spa offers an extraordinary culinary journey incorporating the hotel’s themes of art, nature and wellness.

With its own organic garden nearby, the culinary team, under the leadership of executive chef Steven D. Greene, curates top-quality ingredients for a fine-dining experience that’s rare in this neck of the woods.

A passion for locally grown fruits and vegetables and farm-fresh meats and seafood is evident in the often-flawless fare. Fresh flavors, surprising combinations, and eye-catching presentations are the hallmarks of dining the experience here.
Our Inspector's Highlights
  • The intimate 98-seat dining room features a full-view kitchen, original artwork and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the wooded grounds.
  • Choose a three- or four-course meal, or opt for the chef’s signature eight-course kaiseki dinner. Each course showcases Herons’ style of food in an intricate and artful form and creatively puts a regional spin on American cuisine.
  • There is generally a pleasant background murmur of voices from fellow diners, hotel guests and bar patrons that allows for conversation without feeling stuffy, along with the sounds of piano music and live jazz on Friday and Saturday evenings.
  • The dining room is elegant and hushed with a open, soundproof kitchen that often mesmerizes guests as they watch Heron’s culinary masters in action.
  • A stellar wine list features more than 1,600 wines; craft beer and signature cocktails are available, too.
Things to Know
  • The Five-Star restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and weekend brunch.
  • Jackets are not required for dinner, but this is not a casual dining experience. You’ll want to adhere to the business casual dress code — ladies will want to don a cocktail dress and gents will feel comfortable in slacks and a button down.
  • Much of Herons' produce is sourced from the sustainable culinary farm on the campus of tech company SAS, less than a mile from the restaurant, where chef Greene and chef de cuisine Spencer Thomson work with the farmer to grow organic micro-greens and fruit.
  • Reservations are highly recommended at this Five-Star North Carolina restaurant. Book your spot online or by calling directly at 919-447-4200.
The Food
  • Expect dishes like squab with black barley risotto and red currant jus; venison with cocoa dust, smoked vanilla-peanut relish and hibiscus; or duck with farro, pistachio, wild coriander and blood orange.
  • Ordering dessert is a responsibility at Herons. Recent examples of whimsical decadences include a winter pear dish with hazelnuts and maple-parsnip ice cream, and a Videri dark chocolate ganache with pistachios and smoked milk chocolate ice cream.
  • Morning meals consist of gourmet versions of much-loved standards like the crab cake Benedict made with blue crab and country ham.
  • Come lunchtime, opt for sophisticated dishes like cauliflower soup with smoked trout and brown butter, and roasted chicken served with rosemary polenta and pearl onions.
The Bar
  • The Bar and Lounge is a local favorite and it’s not difficult to see why — you can dine on the cuisine of chef Greene in a more casual form than Herons, overlooking the hotel’s curated art collection.
  • A favorite spot for diners in the lounge is near the hotel’s fireplace or on the terrace by the outdoor fireplace.
  • Some of the same items you see on the Herons menu you can also see on the bar menu, plus a fine selection of sandwiches. One can never go wrong the Umstead burger, served with vine-ripened tomatoes, pickles, cheese and fries.
  • The bar itself crafts culinary-inspired cocktails that offer a unique taste of the season's best flavors — we like autumn’s apple drink, made with whiskey, apple, cinnamon, lime, orange and bitters.
Business casual
Gluten-free options
Private dining
Reservations recommended
Valet parking
Vegetarian options
Getting There
100 Woodland Pond Drive, Cary, North Carolina 27513
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