I found 618 Bistro to be a good lunch spot. I tried the smoked salmon panini and lobster bisque as well as the mango, avocado & grilled chicken salad.
The salmon panini was good. I must concede that I have high standards for panini, having tried the original in Italy on my honeymoon. I have yet to taste anything like it in Raleigh. That said, the salmon panini was good and the ingredients were fresh. The panini had just the right amount of horseradish to add a little bite but not be overpowering.
The lobster bisque was one of the best I have tasted. It had fairly strong carrot taste, which was a bit of a surprise, but a pleasant one. The bisque was creamy but not heavy. I suspect that a good deal of carrot was added to the heavy cream to give the bisque its thickness.
The salad was good. It was fresh and well-prepared, but not as well-seasoned as the panini and the bisque.
All said, it was a very pleasant lunch. The tall ceilings, contemporary decor, subdued lighting, and spacious table seating give 618 Bistro a calming atmosphere. Most of the other patrons appeared to be having a relaxed Friday business lunch.
The 618 Bistro dinner menu features more options. In addition to the chicken, lamb chops and steak, there are quite a few seafood entrees, including snapper, salmon, tuna and swordfish. Most are under $20. I will be coming back for dinner in the near future.