About On The Square

115 East St. James Street
Tarboro, NC 27886
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Located in Historic Downtown Tarboro, one of the oldest towns in North Carolina, On the Square Restaurant offers seasonal, sustainable ingredients that are celebrated throughout the ever-changing menu. Open for dinner on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings and for lunch on Monday through Friday, we are as proud of our food and comfortable atmosphere as we are of our eclectic and value-driven wine list.

Dining Style:
Casual Dining

Cuisines:
Contemporary American

Hours of Operation:
Lunch: Monday - Friday: 11:00am - 3:00pm; Dinner: Thursday - Saturday: 5:00pm - 10:00pm

Cross Street:
Main Street

Dress Code:
Smart Casual

Price Range:
$30 and under

Payment Options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

Phone Number:
(252) 823-8268

Website:
http://www.onthesquarenc.com/

Catering:
We offer catering of every kind. From box lunches to weddings, we are happy and able to provide food and wine for your special event.

Executive Chef:
Stephen Ribustello

Private Party Facilities:
Our private dining area seats 38 people comfortably. It is available any night of the week. On Sunday-Wednesday, the minimum is $1500 ++, and on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings, the minimum is $2000 ++. Of course, we also cater off-premise so please contact us for more information if you already have a space in mind.

Private Party Contact:
Frances Liverman: 2528238268

Additional:
Banquet/Private Rooms, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Counter Seating, Delivery, Farm to Table, Full Bar, Gluten-free Menu, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Takeout, Wheelchair Access, Wine

Restaurant Photos

  • Cod Sandwich
  • Corned-Beef Ruben
Cod Sandwich
Corned-Beef Ruben

On The Square Ratings and Reviews

5
4
3
2
1

4.7

Overall Rating

based on recent ratings
food

4.7

service

4.5

ambience

4.3

value

4.2

noise

Moderate

99% would recommend it to a friend

Loved For

Best Overall
Raleigh / Durham / Chapel Hill
Notable Wine List
Raleigh / Durham / Chapel Hill
Contemporary American
Raleigh / Durham / Chapel Hill
4 More
Best Overall
Raleigh
Best Food
Raleigh
Best Value
Raleigh
Notable Wine List
Raleigh
Best Restaurants in Tarboro ›

Special Occasion (55)
Fit for Foodies (54)
Notable Wine List (45)
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Neighborhood Gem (34)
Romantic (24)
Great for Lunch (20)
Good for Groups (17)
Hot Spot (12)
Kid-friendly (5)
Vibrant Bar Scene (5)
Scenic View (3)
Great for Brunch (3)
Late-night Find (2)
Great for Outdoor Dining (1)
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855 reviews
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Nothing tremendously exciting on the men ...

 
 (Raleigh)
·Dined 4 days ago

Nothing tremendously exciting on the menu. The restaurant smelled slightly of mildew, which we stopped noticing by the time our entrees arrived. Oil was a bit cool for our fried items, so the calamari was tougher than we hoped and the parmesan fries that came with my steak were soggy. Not sure if I'll go back.

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food3
ambience2
service3

I as surprised that you order at the bar ...

 
 (Philadelphia)
·Dined on August 16, 2016

I as surprised that you order at the bar, and that was fine! A nice menu with several salads and sandwiches. The wait was not long. We both had Cobb salads (honey mustard for one and blue cheese for the other). I immediately noticed how good it smelled. The dressings were excellent, and the salad was one of the best that I have had in a long time. Ate the whole thing!! We will definitely go back anytime we are near Tarboro. What a gem!!

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food5
ambience4
service5

Rough start to this experience. Placed ...

 
 (Raleigh)
·Dined on August 13, 2016

Rough start to this experience. Placed in a dark corner with a wobbly table top. Took the server 10 minutes to come take the drink order, and another 5-7 minutes to bring it back. Server came back into dining room several times while we were waiting, nothing from the bar just tea and coke. Had to request a steak knife with the New York Strip. Silverware had soap spots. No candle, flower, or salt and pepper on table.

Having said all that, the food was amazing. We ordered the chicken livers, New York Strip, and chicken and waffles. The only critique was the chicken livers with mushroom and red wine reduction did not have all the alcohol cooked off, however, it was so delicious I highly recommend it. The chicken livers were perfectly cooked, tender and delicious. The New York Strip was cooked to order, tender and juicy. The chicken and waffles had a bacon maple "gravy" that was addictive. Our compliments to the chef.

Even with the questionable beginning we will be going back again. The food makes the drive from Greenville completely worth it.

Tags: Romantic, Special Occasion
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food5
ambience3
service3
value3

This was a return visit for me after 2 y ...

 
 (Raleigh)
·Dined on July 30, 2016

This was a return visit for me after 2 years. The service was excellent with a well paced meal. The wine list was exceptional and the sommelier a great help. The food was a gourmand's delight .

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Romantic, Special Occasion, Notable Wine List
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food5
ambience4
service5
value4

Good food. No ambiance.

vip
 (Raleigh)
·Dined on July 23, 2016

Good food. No ambiance.

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food4
ambience3
service4

We are new to the area and wanted to try ...

vip
 (Atlanta)
·Dined on July 17, 2016

We are new to the area and wanted to try this restaurant, which was recommended by many as one of the best in eastern NC. We arrived a little early for our reservation. There was no obvious hostess. Unfortunately we were not seated until about 30 min after our reserved time. Then it was another 15 min before a server came to our table. Once we ordered, our food arrived promptly. More importantly, the food was great. There were no problems in the kitchen. But you shouldn't have to ask for a spoon when you order soup. Lol. The wine list was great and had good, but reasonably priced options. Perhaps service was off just on this occasion. We will give it another chance because of the food. This restaurant could be great. But they have to get their service up to the standards of their kitchen. It was a frustrating experience.

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food5
ambience3
service2

On the Square never fails to please! Wo ...

 
 (Raleigh)
·Dined on July 16, 2016

On the Square never fails to please! Wonderful food in a small atmosphere where service is wonderful. Their wines are the best! Love having a special dinner here!

Tags: Special Occasion, Great for Lunch, Neighborhood Gem, Hot Spot, Notable Wine List
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

I've eaten here a few times before and a ...

 
 (Raleigh)
·Dined on July 16, 2016

I've eaten here a few times before and always enjoyed the experience and the food. This particular visit, I brought some friends as part of a "girls weekend". This was the only night we planned to eat out for dinner. I was hugely disappointed. Our server was not knowledgeable and with every question seemed to say, "I can check". She knew nothing about wines, but also, did not offer to get someone who did. The calamari appetizer was great. When we received our meals, the friend who ordered the filet was very happy, the friend who ordered the ribeye was not (much of it was not edible and this is someone who knows ribeyes and what is expected), I ordered the salmon and altho' the flavor was very good, the fish was overcooked. I didn't even finish half. We decided to skip dessert. I'm not going to go back any time soon, there is nothing more frustrating than paying a good sum of money for a meal that would have been better at home.

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food2
ambience4
service1
value2

Without a doubt, this will be one of the ...

 
 (Raleigh)
·Dined on July 15, 2016

Without a doubt, this will be one of the best dining experiences of your life. This place is nestled into eastern North Carolina, and the food has the flare of the big city world class dinning, yet served with southern charm and an accent! Stephen and Inez, indeed, go out of their way to make you feel like you're in their home. I've eaten in big cities all across this country, yet I still can't wait to get back to their table. If you're disappointed, may God help you.

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food5
ambience5
service5

We've visited On the Square several time ...

 
 (New England)
·Dined on July 15, 2016

We've visited On the Square several times on our way back and forth to the Outer Banks. Always a good meal for foodies with local ingredients prepared in a unique fashion. The sea bass was excellent. Prices might be a touch higher than I would expect but still a great option for a small town. The staff was very efficient and was nice enough to seat us at a table near the front so we could keep an eye on our car with bikes hanging off the back.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Neighborhood Gem, Notable Wine List, Special Occasion
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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

We had our anniversary dinner here. WOR ...

 
 (Raleigh)
·Dined on July 9, 2016

We had our anniversary dinner here. WORTH the 45 minute drive. Great service, extensive wine list with sommelier to assist, delicious well presented food in a rustic and romantic venue.

Tags: Notable Wine List, Romantic, Special Occasion
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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

Calamari is the best of anywhere I've ev ...

 
 (Virginia)
·Dined on July 9, 2016

Calamari is the best of anywhere I've ever been and is usually not on the menu but ask the server. The crab cake on the seafood trio was also excellent--not so with the oysters or shrimp. Oysters are not in season in NC which I should have remembered. Overall, this is still my favorite restaurant in Eastern NC.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Good for Groups, Neighborhood Gem, Notable Wine List, Special Occasion
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food4
ambience3
service4
value4

Friends recommend the location to us and ...

 
 (Raleigh)
·Dined on July 8, 2016

Friends recommend the location to us and we decided to try it on the way to the beach for the weekend. We will definitely return even though we live a little over an hour away. Clam appetizers were so good we had to order another (kids 12, 15 & 18 requested the second serving). The petite filet was very tender and my wife said the sauce it was served with was excellent. My sea bass was exceptional and I can't wait to come back to try the ribeye. This restaurant is providing a dinning experience, with a changing menu weekly, which we were looking for, not just the get you in, get you out like many of the chain restaurants unfortunately provide. My hat is off to On The Square!

Tags: Neighborhood Gem, Notable Wine List, Romantic, Special Occasion, Vibrant Bar Scene
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food5
ambience3
service5
value4

As always, the food was delicious. My f ...

 
 (South Carolina)
·Dined on July 2, 2016

As always, the food was delicious. My friend and I both had the same dinner and enjoyed every

morsel. My only complaint is that our waitress brought us the dessert menu before our entree was served and it did take longer than usual to get our entree.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Neighborhood Gem, Notable Wine List, Special Occasion
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food5
ambience4
service3
value4

The past 3 times we have dined at OTS, t ...

vip
 (Raleigh)
·Dined on July 1, 2016

The past 3 times we have dined at OTS, the portions get smaller each time. My husbands grouper resembled bait rather than a filet of grouper. The chicken scallopini might have been 3 oz, too small for $23. We aren't sure what is going on but prices are up and portions are down.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Neighborhood Gem, Notable Wine List
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food3
ambience4
service4
value2

The specials are always fun to explore. ...

 
 (Raleigh)
·Dined on June 28, 2016

The specials are always fun to explore. I ate twice this week, very different meals and both perfectly cooked, well plated and out of the ordinary. ;-)

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Great for Lunch, Neighborhood Gem, Notable Wine List, Romantic, Special Occasion
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

This place is truly a diamond in the ruf ...

 
 (Cincinnati)
·Dined on June 26, 2016

This place is truly a diamond in the ruff. One of my favorite restaurants in the state of NC, and definitely in my top 10 of national cuisine. The ambiance, service, food, sommelier wine pairing suggestions - everything Is wonderful. Ours meals tonight did not disappoint. Will definitely be back.

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food5
ambience5
service5

We went for my wife's 65th birthday. The ...

 
 (Raleigh)
·Dined on June 25, 2016

We went for my wife's 65th birthday. The food was very good. My wife's chicken dish was outstanding with the best Cous Cous I have ever had. The calamari was also exceptional. Prices were very good for the quality of the food. Service was only so-so with our waitress not doing the specials justice in her description. The ambiance is nice but never going to be exceptional and unfortunately we were seated near a couple who brought their two less than four year old kids. I like kids but not in a nice restaurant when we are trying to have a romantic dinner. They were a noise distraction, not the kids fault, they were doing what kids do. OTS wrapped it up nicely when my wife ordered a chocolate sundae for dessert and they bought a large sundae with a candle and special birthday wishes - nice surprise.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Great for Brunch, Notable Wine List, Special Occasion
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food5
ambience3
service3
value5

Always great food. Lunch is a little cr ...

vip
 (Raleigh)
·Dined on June 24, 2016

Always great food. Lunch is a little crowded and a reservation is a must.

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food5
ambience4
service4

The food was excellent, and it is a wond ...

 
 (Raleigh)
·Dined on June 23, 2016

The food was excellent, and it is a wonderful place to celebrate a special occasion.

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food5
ambience5
service5

We moved out of the area over 3 years ag ...

 
 (Raleigh)
·Dined on June 16, 2016

We moved out of the area over 3 years ago but return to this restaurant when we are visiting. The food is always excellent and the staff is friendly. Be certain to make a reservation as soon as possible because the time slots fill up quickly.

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food5
ambience5
service5

Excellent food at a good price...but not much else

 
 (Raleigh)
·Dined on June 10, 2016

The food at On The Square was excellent. The remainder of the experience was a let down. The wait staff seemed like the owners' nieces and nephews--nice enough but not informed about the menu selections. We felt rushed and were asked if we were ready to order (our meal, not drinks) about a minute after we sat down. Tables are close together, but not too close as the clientele seemed to realize the proximity to others and were quiet. I was generally disappointed that I chose On The Square for our anniversary meal. I believe a wait staff that is attentive but not hovering, informed about the menu, not making me feel rushed, and most importantly, making me feel like they were glad I was there would make me want to go back. If I lived in Tarboro, I would go back for the high quality food but if I'm going on a drive again, I'll head to downtown Kinston.

Tags: Fit for Foodies
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food5
ambience2
service2
value3

Love coming from Greenville for dinner!

 
 (South Carolina)
·Dined on June 4, 2016

Love coming from Greenville for dinner!

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food5
ambience5
service5

Excellent Anniversary Meal

 
 (Raleigh)
·Dined on June 3, 2016

This is one of our favorite special occasion restaurants -- and a dinner there is always a treat to look forward to. The presentation of the food was awesome. The bottle of wine perfect. And for desert, they added "Happy Anniversary" in chocolate writing -- making a special occasion even more special.

Looking forward to our next visit and hoping to make it there more often!

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Notable Wine List, Romantic, Special Occasion
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food5
ambience4
service4
value5

Always the BEST experience !

 
 (Raleigh)
·Dined on June 3, 2016

On the Square never fails to make you feel so special! Very southern, comfortable dining experience with delicious food as a bonus! Their food is always the freshest plus the desserts decandent! We had the best strawberry cake that I have ever tasted! Cannot wait to return!

Tags: Good for Groups, Great for Lunch, Hot Spot, Neighborhood Gem, Notable Wine List
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Read about it, and sounded well worth th ...

 
 (Raleigh)
·Dined on June 2, 2016

Read about it, and sounded well worth the drive.

It was! Price not only seemed reasonable, but actually cheap for

Level of food and service. Wine was no exception. We will absolutely be returning within a month. Talk about a hidden gem. I know it's a drive from Raleigh, but don't miss this. Not a lot of places in Raleigh that bring this level of excellence.

And we consider ourselves hard to impress ex-New Yorkers.

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food5
ambience5
service5

Delicious

 
 (South Carolina)
·Dined on May 28, 2016

As usual, my friends and I each enjoyed delicious meals (and I had dessert). It is always exciting to try new items added to the menu.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Neighborhood Gem, Notable Wine List, Special Occasion
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food5
ambience4
service5
value4

The only complaint i have is that I call ...

 
 (Washington DC)
·Dined on May 26, 2016

The only complaint i have is that I called and changed my reservation to 8 people, upon arrival I found out my 80 year old uncle was coming and I needed to make an adjustment to 9 and the hostess got annoyed. She accommodated our request,however she was visibly upset about the change. We thanked her for accommodating our new request and she walked off and said nothing!!!! Our reservation was for 5:30 and the restaurant had plenty of room, however we did not let her attitude affect us celebrating my mother's 70th birthday!!

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Neighborhood Gem, Romantic, Vibrant Bar Scene
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food5
ambience5
service4
value5

Outstanding food and impressive wine sel ...

 
 (Raleigh)
·Dined on May 25, 2016

Outstanding food and impressive wine selection. Big city dining experience in acquaint historic beautiful small town.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Neighborhood Gem, Notable Wine List, Special Occasion
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Food always good! Highly recommend the ...

 
 (Raleigh)
·Dined on May 24, 2016

Food always good! Highly recommend the Carrot cake cupcakes!!!!!

Tags: Great for Lunch, Neighborhood Gem
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

First time left good impression.

 
 (Raleigh)
·Dined on May 22, 2016

Great server. Great atmosphere and fantastic food and dessert.will definitely be back (with friends).

Tags: Good for Groups, Romantic, Special Occasion
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Great Place off the beaten path worth the trip.

 
 (Raleigh)
·Dined on May 8, 2016

Absolutely one of the best restaurants in eastern NC. Tarboro is not a hot spot for food but this place is worth the trip. The menu is moderate priced. Dinner for 2 with a bottle of wine under $100 not including tax and tip. the food is great as is the service. Would definitely go again. Best for a date night with your significant other or special occasion. Reservations are best made 1-2 days a head of time for best selection of times. We will definitely be going again.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Notable Wine List, Romantic, Special Occasion
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Mother's Day celebration dinner

 
 (Raleigh)
·Dined on May 6, 2016

We enjoyed the restaurant, the historic location, the service and the food. I ordered the sea food trio. It caught me by surprise that all the seafood items were fried. Maybe the menu mentioned this and I just missed it. My wife's meal, the seafood crepes, was outstanding. The restaurant was full and busy, yet the service was good.

Tags: Neighborhood Gem, Notable Wine List, Special Occasion
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food3
ambience4
service4
value4

On the Square is on time!

 
 (Raleigh)
·Dined on May 6, 2016

On the square has a limited, rotating menu that allows them to focus on quality and presentation of the food. Selection usually covers meat, chicken, seafood and locally sourced veggies. The dinner entrees can be pricey. Good wine, beer and cocktail selection. They also have their own nearby brewery and pub. Very popular so can get busy and noisey. The restaurant is in a historical store front in the wonderfully quaint historical town of Tarboro. The executive chef is very experienced and well trained, as is the restaurant manager.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Neighborhood Gem, Notable Wine List, Special Occasion
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food4
ambience5
service4
value3

Thursday Night at On The Square

 
 (Western NC)
·Dined on May 5, 2016

The wait staff is exceptional. Well-informed, attentive, but not hovering. Food was outstanding. Broken Dreams was terrific.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Notable Wine List
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food5
ambience3
service5
value4

Great wine selection, knowledgeable sta ...

 
 (Raleigh)
·Dined on May 5, 2016

Great wine selection, knowledgeable staff, delicious food

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food5
ambience5
service5

The food was delicious as always!

 
 (South Carolina)
·Dined on April 30, 2016

The food was wonderful as usual, but I tried the seafood crepes for the first time, and they were amazing, rich and decadent. My dining partners both had steak, always a good choice. Love it, can not wait to go back again.

Tags: Fit for Foodies
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food5
ambience3
service4
value5

a gem in Tarboro

 
 (Raleigh)
·Dined on April 28, 2016

We also look forward to an opportunity to dine at On the Square. Great menu and wine list, and always a few creative specials. We've never been disappointed.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Notable Wine List, Special Occasion
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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

Great Place

 
 (Raleigh)
·Dined on April 22, 2016

Great food, friendly service. It took a bit longer than I would have liked but other than that no complaints.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Good for Groups, Hot Spot, Neighborhood Gem, Notable Wine List, Romantic, Special Occasion
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food5
ambience4
service3
value4

I just had a wonderful supper with my wi ...

 
 (Raleigh)
·Dined on April 22, 2016

I just had a wonderful supper with my wife. The food, wine, and service were superb. The calamari was perfection. It was perfectly cooked and seasoned. The aioli sauce served with it was divine. I have eaten a lot of fried calamari over the years around the world. What I had tonight beat anything I had in Italy.

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food5
ambience5
service5

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