January 18, 2021

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Cooking is a hobby

50 Best Restaurants in Charlotte: 2021

Chef de Cuisine Whitney Thomas garnishes dishes like lamb kofta kebabs with edible flowers at Mico. Photo by Peter Taylor.

UPTOWN

The Asbury
235 N. Tryon St.
704-342-1193
Chef Mike Long’s inventive menu mixes countryside favorites like biscuits and deviled eggs with bold flavors and contemporary techniques.
Try This: The Chicken Sandwich and Sticky Biscuits

Sea Level NC
129 E. 5th St.
704-412-2616
Concrete beams and rustic brick give an industrial feel to this seafood restaurant, which serves up dishes that are accessible, inventive, and sustainably sourced.
Get This To Go: Weeknight Seafood Supper (3 courses)

5Church
127 N. Tryon St.
704-919-1322
Top Chef alum Jamie Lynch’s innovative, seasonal menu includes morel mushroom flatbread and mint crusted lamb loin.
Try This: Yellowfin Tuna Sushi Tots

McNinch House
511 N. Church St.
704-332-6159
Guests order from a daily prix fixe menu (ranging from five courses to nine courses), choose their wine and entrées, and the staff takes care of the rest.
Try This: Rosemary & Dijon Crusted Rack of New Zealand Lamb

Fin & Fino
135 Levine Avenue of the Arts, Ste. 100 
704-800-5680
Come for the raw bar, but stay for bartender Brittany Kellum’s drinks. Then splurge on a slice of cheesecake.
Get This To Go: Lobster & Shrimp Roll + To-Go Cocktail Kit

Haymaker
225 S. Poplar St. 
704-626-6116
Enjoy locally and seasonally inspired dishes from North Carolina chef William Dissen in this bright, stylish space next to Romare Bearden Park.
Try This: Billy D’s Fried Chicken Sandwich

Alexander Michael’s
401 W. 9th St.
704-332-6789
The blackened catfish is cooked just right, the Cajun pasta is piping hot, and chatter fills the no-reservations dining room.
Try This: What It Is (blackened chicken breast over rotini in Cajun cream sauce)

Forchetta
230 N. College St.
704-602-2750
Chef Luca Annunziata serves lasagna just like his mom made it and carbonara as it’s served in Rome.
Try This: Fagatoni (stuffed crepe purses with Maine lobster and mascarpone, vodka sauce, and Parmesan cheese)

Aria
100 N. Tryon St.
704-376-8880
This restaurant serves up an extensive Italian menu in an elegant, modern space.

Get This To Go: Pasta Dinner For Two
(2 Caesar Salads, 1 Grandma B’s Lasagna, 1 Spaghetti + Giant Meatball, 2 Tiramisu, bread + beans)

Mico at The Grand Bohemian 
201 W. Trade St.
980-999-5550
The South American-inspired menu is full of complex flavors and unexpected mash-ups like harissa creamed spinach and brown butter bread crumbs.
Try This: Lamb Kofta kebabs + Flourless Chocolate Cake
* Best New Restaurant

Red Salt by David Burke
555 S. McDowell St.
980-237-5354
Celebrity chef David Burke is known for his Himalayan salt aging process for beef, and avant-garde approach to food presentation is on full display with bites like the maple-glazed bacon clothesline.
Try This: 32-oz. Dry-Aged Porterhouse for Two
* Best New Restaurant


Inizio Pizza Napoletana , Charlotte, Nc Sous Chef Chris Reinhart Pizzas Margherita D.o.p. Pizza Diavola Pizza Bianca Salad Caprese Photo By Petertaylor On 09july16

Domed pizza ovens burn oak logs at 1,000 degrees at Inizio. Photo by Peter Taylor.

SOUTH END/ DILWORTH

Copper
311 East Blvd.
704-333-0063
Ease into Indian cuisine with standard dishes like chicken tikka masala, or be more adventurous with the spicy seafood medley “anjeeri.”
Try This: Masala-Chili Cauliflower Florets

300 East
300 East Blvd.
704-332-6507
The interior of this old house-turned-restaurant is welcoming, as is the menu of familiar and surprising sandwiches, salads, and entrées. Save room for dessert by pastry chef Laney Jahkel-Parrish.
Get This To Go: Chicken Biscuit Picnic Box for Two

YUME Ramen Sushi & Bar
1508 S. Mint St. 
980-858-5678
The excellence of this spot’s ramen and sushi thankfully carry over to the to-go format, with Yume’s In-Home Ramen and Gyoza Kit among its innovations.
Try This: The Sakura Roll

Bardo
1508 S. Mint St.
980-585-2433
This foodie destination shifted its small plate offerings to a tasting menu format this year, available in three, five, seven, and 12 courses.
Try This: Three Course Tasting (squash, Hamachi fish, and beef cheek)

Bonterra 
1829 Cleveland Ave. 
704-333-9463
Its setting may be a historic Southern church, but Bonterra serves up modern Southern flavors with top-notch service. Wine lovers will be impressed by the more than 200 wines by the glass.

Get This To Go: Cheese & Charcuterie Board for Two

Futo Buta
222 E. Bland St. 
704-376-8400
This ramen house promises authenticity, irreverence, and delightful, salty bowls of the hot noodle.
Try This: The Buta Bowl

Inizio
2230 Park Rd., Ste. 01
704-900-0929
(Second location on Providence Road)
Two words: pistachio pizza. Seriously, try it. Then grab a spot on the patio beneath the bistro lights and enjoy a bottle of wine with friends.
Get This To Go: Diavolo pizza

VANA
1440 S. Tryon St., Ste. 100
980-819-5913
The team behind Bardo opened this rustic dining experience in 2020. Chef Michael Noll offers a blend of tapas and shareable plates in this open kitchen spot, and Amanda Britton reflects the wood-fired theme in her cocktails.
Try This: Quail (with Tandoori marinade, buttermilk, and chili oil)
* Best New Restaurant


WEST CHARLOTTE

Noble Smoke
1508 S. Mint St.
980-585-2433
Feast on Carolina-style pork and Texas-style brisket, and grab a drink at the “Legends Counter” with custom plaques for Southern barbecue icons.
Get This To Go: Prime Beef Brisket for 4


Charlotte, Nc March 12th Food And Staff Including Chef Greg Collier At Leah And Louise. Photographed In Charlotte Nc On March 12th, 2020. Photo By Peter Taylor

Smoked lamb rib at Leah & Louise. Photo by Peter Taylor.

NODA / NORTH OF CHARLOTTE

Haberdish
3106 N. Davidson St.
704-817-1084
Southern appetizers, fried chicken, and apothecary cocktails from Colleen Hughes draw a hip crowd to this mill town southern kitchen.
Try This: Fried Chicken Whole 

Kindred
131 N. Main St.
980-231-5000
Chef Joe Kindred, a James Beard Award semifinalist, serves homemade pasta dishes and creative small plates in historic downtown Davidson.
Try This: Smoked Pheasant Gumbo + milk bread

Hello, Sailor
20210 Henderson Rd.
704-997-5365
Davidson’s sweethearts, Joe and Katy Kindred, opened this lakefront spot. Expect Carolina classics like fried catfish and seafood platters, as well as tiki drinks.
Get This To Go: The Lobster Roll (served on milk bread)

The Goodyear House 
3032 N. Davidson St.
704-910-0132
Grab a table in the botanist room or the open patio on a warm night, and enjoy elevated comfort food like smoked cashew mac and cheese and guinea hen stew.
Get This To Go: The Goopy Burger with a Shaken Fry bag
* Best New Restaurant

Leah & Louise 
301 Camp Rd.
980-309-0690
A James Beard-nominated chef and Soul Food Sessions co-founder Greg Collier serves the dishes he grew up on, like hot fried quail and dirty grits, in a space modeled after a Memphis-style juke joint.
Try This: Bird is the Word sandwich
* Best New Restaurant


Charlotte Nc June 11: Nc Red And Chef Andrew Dodd In Charlotte North Carolina On June 11, 2019. Photo By Peter Taylor

A spread at N.C. Red. Photo by Peter Taylor.

PLAZA MIDWOOD/ELIZABETH

Midwood Smokehouse
1401 Central Ave. (additional locations in Ballantyne, Birkdale Village, and Park Road Shopping Center)
704-295-4227
With North Carolina pulled pork, beef brisket, smoked chicken, and dry or sauced ribs, there’s a ’cue for everyone—and traditional sides to pair.
Get This To Go: Party Pack To-Go (choose 2 meats + 2 sides)

Intermezzo
1427 E. 10th St. 
704-347-2626
Even the pickiest eater can find something to order here, with menu options ranging from burgers and pizzas to cabbage rolls and stuffed peppers.
Try This: Piroska (Balkan-style stuffed pizza)

Soul Gastrolounge
1500 Central Ave.
704-348-1848
Expect to wait a while at this no-reservations spot, known for small plates like pork belly tacos with compressed watermelon, and a rotating list of craft cocktails.
Try This: Supernova Roll

Bistro La Bon
1322 Central Ave.
704-333-4646
This Plaza Midwood favorite recently expanded to a second location in Cotswold. Dinner favorites include the swedish meatballs, lavender chicken, and other tapas-style selections.
Try This: Pan-Seared Scottish Salmon

The Fig Tree Restaurant
1601 E. 7th St. 
704-332-3322
The Fig Tree specializes in fresh and flavorful cuisine with an emphasis on wine pairing in a 1913 bungalow.
Try This: Braised Wagyu Short Rib

Customshop
1601 Elizabeth Ave. 
704-333-3396
Owner and executive chef Trey Wilson uses top-notch, seasonal ingredients to create fresh takes on American cuisine in a hip, rustic atmosphere.
Try This: BBQ Octopus & Carolina Shrimp

NC Red
1205 Thomas Ave.
704-321-4716
The fourth restaurant from Bruce Moffett serves a mix of Rhode Island shore food, like oysters and stuffed clams, and southern comforts, like fried chicken and mac and cheese.
Get This To Go: A Whole Nash Chicken

The Stanley
1961 E. 7th St.
980-299-2741
Chef Paul Verica’s menu reflects a respect of seasonal produce, with playful dishes such as “Asparagus—as many ways as we could think of,” and a more robust cocktail program.
Get This To Go:The Philly cheesesteak, a favorite among local purists

Sweet Lew’s BBQ
923 Belmont Ave.
980-224-7584
Demand for Lewis Donald’s barbecue hasn’t wavered since the “shack” opened in 2018; it’s not uncommon for Sweet Lew’s to sell out of its brisket and chopped pork shoulder.
Get This To Go: #homegatepackage (2-pound whole hog, buns, 18 whole wings, red slaw, and two sides); feeds 6-8 people)


Charlotte, Nc December 11th 2020 Southern Pecan Restaurant. Roasted Corn Cakes Lousiana Bbq Shrimp W Toasty Bread Po’ Boy With Fried Shrimp, Chicken And Dumplings Southern Pecan Shrimp Boil Catfish Nuggets With Your Choice Of A Side And Sauce Des

Chicken and Dumplings with broccolini and a side of succotash at Southern Pecan. Photo by Peter Taylor.

SOUTHPARK

Good Food on Montford
1701 Montford Dr.
704-525-0881
Bruce Moffett’s small-plates bistro unites a variety of influences and flavors onto one menu, and each dish is worth ordering.
Try This: Pommes Frites (fries topped with truffle oil, parmesan, and herbs)

Rooster’s Wood-Fired Kitchen
6601 Morrison Blvd. (additional location in uptown)
704-366-8688
Chef Jim Noble’s menu features gussied-up, Southern-tinged American and European peasant fare, like hand-tossed pizzas and roasted chicken.
Get This To Go: Roasted Chicken Pizza

Dogwood Southern Table & Bar
4905 Ashley Park Ln.
704-910-4919
Ingredients are fresh and cocktails are innovative at this spot, a sister to Dressler’s.
Try This: Crab & Chorizo Hushpuppies

Beef ’N Bottle Steakhouse
4538 South Blvd. 
704-523-9977
An old favorite, this steak house is just what you’d expect, serving up thick and juicy cuts in a dark interior.
Try This: Trio Medallions

Little Mama’s Italian
4521 Sharon Rd. 
980-209-0323
Think of this eatery as the prequel to Mama Ricotta’s, with family recipes and scratch-made pastas and mozzarella. Settle into one of the dining rooms with a plate of pappardelle or cozy up at the “Mozz Bar” and watch the chefs at work.
Try This: Penne alla Vodka
* Best New Restaurant

Peppervine
4620 Piedmont Row Dr., Ste. 170B
980-283-2333
Chef Bill Greene serves a rotation of artistic small plates with unexpected pairings like lamb belly with kimchi porridge, or smoked butternut squash with miso.
Get This To Go: Signature Yeast Rolls

Flour Shop
530 Brandywine Rd.
980-299-3754
Watch your pasta get prepared in the open kitchen. Chef Trey Wilson’s shared plates are great for larger groups, but if you don’t want to share, get the lamb Bolognese.
Try This: Rigatoni with Veal Bolognese 

Barrington’s
7822 Fairview Rd.
704-364-5755
Bruce Moffett’s first restaurant is one of the best in town, with a classic menu and stellar service.
Get This To Go: Roasted Chicken, Family-Style

Dot Dot Dot
4237 Park Rd., Ste. B
704-817-3710
Stefan Huebner’s creative cocktails may be the main attraction at this members-only speakeasy, but chef Daniel Wheeler’s sweet potato gnocchi with bourbon glaze will convince you to stay for dinner.
Get This To Go: Old Fashioned Cocktail Kit + the Cheese & Charcuterie platter

Easy Like Sunday
1600 E. Woodlawn Rd., Ste. 100 
980-335-2428
The fried chicken and cornmeal pancakes are worth standing in line for, but if you’d rather skip the weekend rush, go in the evening and have a boozy brunch after dark.
Try This: Fried Chicken and Cornmeal Pancakes
* Best New Restaurant

Southern Pecan
6705 Phillips Place Ct., Ste. C
704-749-2949
The team behind Café Monte serves Gulf Coast-inspired cuisine like pecan fried catfish, Louisiana barbecue shrimp, and oyster po’ boys.
Try This: Roasted Corn Cakes
* Best New Restaurant


Aqua E Vino, Charlotte, Nc Photographed On 21nov17. Photographs By Peter Taylor

Spanish octopus with meats, cheeses, and tarts at Aqua e Vino. Photo by Peter Taylor.

SOUTH CHARLOTTE

Aqua e Vino
4219 Providence Rd. 
704-364-4445
This Italian restaurant has one of the smallest dining rooms in town, which means it can be hard to nab a reservation without planning. It also means chef Gabriele Grigolon can serve each dish, from pastas to composed plates, with textbook precision.
Try This: Gnocchi

The Porter’s House
7417 Waverly Walk Ave.
704-930-7878
This member of the Rare Roots Hospitality Group (Dressler’s, Dogwood) is known for thick-cut steaks, modern sides, and craft cocktails.
Get This To Go: 36-ounce Prime Porterhouse, Family-Style

Red Sake
8410 Rea Rd., Ste. 100 
980-498-1578
This is sushi for true sushi aficionados. The Luke Lobster roll is a delectable mouthful of lobster meat, spicy tuna, avocado, and eel sauce topped with sweet potato strings.
Try This: Black Jack Roll
* Best New Restaurant

The Gallery Restaurant
10000 Ballantyne Commons Pkwy. 
704-248-4100
Inside the Ballantyne hotel, you’ll find Southern-inspired, white-tablecloth dining with dishes sourced from local farmers.
Try This: Bison Short Rib + Gallery Mac & Cheese

OGGI Ristorante Italiano
6646 Hawfield Way Dr. 
704-716-9400
Find comfort food like spaghetti and house meatballs and lasagna, or savor some squid ink linguini and a glass of pinot grigio on the patio.
Get This To Go: Lasagna OGGI