I lived in Charlotte for about 7 years and it’s no secret that I loved the Charlotte dining scene because at one point I was 75lbs heavier than when I arrived. I think it has something to do with the amount of culinary schools located in the city. Here are a few of the restaurants that I recommend, the majority of them can only be found in Charlotte or the Carolinas.
A cute tapas bar in uptown, nice for group setting so you can share the food. I love the different cocktails. The upstairs bar is cute. It would be a nice special event area. The bar staff has always been friendly. My picks, Smoked Wings, Salmon Cakes, Market Mac and Cheese, and Pommes Fritas. My favorite are the various Martinis they have for the holidays. One has Godiva chocolate; there is also a pumpkin flavored martini. They seem sweet but the bartenders make sure that it’s not too sweet.
Great for a client meeting, birthday dinner or date night. This is an upscale restaurant with great food. I had the pleasure of eating here during restaurant week and for a client lunch. I enjoyed the seared tuna for an appetizer, the salmon for entrée and the Chocolate Torte for dessert.
Great for a date night or Sunday Brunch. I had the Scottish Salmon for dinner. I have also attended for Sunday Brunch. The sides are buffet style and you order the main entrees as you are ready. I liked the brunch. My only complaint was that they didn’t have sausage alternatives like turkey, chicken or vegetarian.
This is usally a late night spot for good breakfast food. You will see this place get packed starting at midnight, like wait outside as if you are entering a club, packed I list this place as a good alternative to Ihop or Denny's. I like the breakfast food here, chicken and waffle and the french toast. They also have good fried fish.
This area is known for eclectic lounges, restaurants and stores. This cafe stays packed on the weekend. There are no reservations accepted on the weekend. It is a small restaurant with limited parking. When you get in and taste the food you can see why! I have only had breakfast here but I hear all of the food is amazing! My pick for brunch, Booker T’s East Side Hasher:A bed of sweet potato hash browns topped with two ‘happy eggs’ frittata style with your choice of local Grateful Growers pork sausage, turkey sausage or soysage (below). Then covered with melted cheddar cheese and green onions. Choice of toast or TLC biscuit , The Pinkney Street Pancakes are also great. I love that they have vegetarian options. Be prepared for a wait. If you can’t wait, head on over to the next spot.
This spot is good for any meal. The brunch is great, there is more space as this is a multilevel restaurant with an open air rooftop that provides a distant view of the Charlotte Skyline. This place is also a trendy spot to come on a Friday night or a date night on the roof. I like the menu and prices better during Sunday Brunch.
The Chicken on a cheddar scallion biscuit for Brunch!
This trendy restaurant provides a date night or girls night out with great food, unusual coctails and a DJ that plays house music. Space is also a factor so expect a wait or go early in the evening or early for Sunday Brunch. It is great for sushi and tapas. Their menu changes but some of my favorites are: The Soul Roll, Korean BBQ wings, Cheese Plate and the Chicken and Waffles (Brunch)
Midwood Smokehouse $$1401 Central Ave Charlotte, NC 28204
A great casual BBQ place great for lunch or dinner. I don’t eat pork or beef, but from friends I have heard those are excellent. The service is always good and the portion of food is great. My picks: Pimento Cheese Fries, Smoked Wings, Smoked ½ Chicken and Chicken BBQ. Sides, Mac and Cheese, Side Salad with Avocado Green Goddess Dressing.
NODA (North Davidson Street)
A restaurant that has a unique approach to mexican food. It's in an area with a few pubs and shops. On the weekend it tends to get very crowded. I have been for lunch and dinner. They have daily special item menus. My favorite is the honey wasabi tuna burrito and the salmon burrito whenever they have that.
Amelie's $$ 2424 N Davidson St.Charlotte, NC 28205
An eclectic french bakery that provides awesome sweets and light food such as sandwiches. This location tends to draw college students because the seating includes sofas and tables that provide a study location for the students. Go early or during the day. The early night around 8pm tends to be crowded with students and families on the weekend. They bake fresh so once they are out, they are out. Saturday night is very busy, if you go on a Sunday morning they might not have alot due to the activity on Saturday. I normally get the almond tea cake, sticky bun and/or Turkey and Manchego on Crossaint. This location is their flagship and open 24/7/365. They have a newer location in Atlanta. I am curious to see if it's like it's flagship.
This is my absolute favorite restaurant in Charlotte. I love that they have different occasions each night such as Wine Down Mondays where you receive half off bottle of wines. They have happy hour food specials at the bar and on the patio, Monday-Thursday 4:30-6pm. On Wednesdays they have drink specials all day throughout the entire restaurant. My favorites are the smoked chicken wings (not for everyone, they are baked) , ranch rings, firebirds chicken pasta (minus the bacon for me), sesame encrusted salmon with a side Caesar salad or parmesan mashed potatoes or sautéed spinach and the BREAD they give you! I guess it didn’t help that I lived across the street from the Northlake Mall location.
The Roasting Company$ 1521 Montford Dr, Charlotte, NC 28209
A very casual restaurant that offers great Rotisserie Chicken. This was my favorite lunch time spot. It gets very crowded so if you go during lunch hours go early. I always get rotisserie chicken with the smoked gouda pasta, mashed sweet potatoes and an extra cornbread. I did take some back to my baby cousin and he sampled the sweet mashed potatoes and as I fed him, he screamed at me and almost fell face foward into the bowl trying to drink it (really lol). He was rushing to eat them, it's safe to say he enjoyed them. :) They also have recently added a bar with a wide selection of draft beer.
This is not a restaurant but while you’re in the area check out the great cupcakes at this bakery. They have different flavors each day. The cupcakes are baked fresh and once they are out they are gone. Early morning is the best time to go. The sweet potato cheesecake muffin is great!
Mama Ricotta’s $$ 601 S Kings Dr, Charlotte, NC 28204
An Italian restaurant that I prefer to Maggianos. The portions are big and food and service are great. You can’t go wrong with anything here. I have too many favorites to list. I have normally gone for lunch.
I added this place for the experience. It’s an Italian restaurant but I think that the portions could be better for the price. The food was good. If you are looking for a great points with your date, try this place. It’s a very trendy atmosphere.
300 East Restaurant$$ 300 East Boulevard Charlotte, NC 28203
This quaint little restaurant set inside a house is a gem I discovered for Dinner. Great for a birthday dinner or date night. I have also been for lunch and had a chance to eat on the patio. It is pricey for a regular lunch but I did enjoy the Asian Tuna Burger.
Although I only eat certain things like fish and chicken. I have visited these restaurants with people who have had other items on the menu and enjoyed it! There are other places that have good food but did not make the list due to poor service. If you can catch some of the more expensive restuarants during Charlotte's restaurant week Queen's Feast, you can get 3 courses for $30-35. Queen's Feast happens once in the winter and once during the summer. You can also catch great deals on Living Social, Groupon. Feel free to comment with some of your favorite dishes from the restaurants. If you have any questions about Charlotte comment below. Charlotte is like a second home to me. If you think your restuarant should be on the list, please send me a message so that we can schedule a full review.