Explore Charlotte’s growing food scene, which is as varied as it is delicious, by going on a gastronomic adventure. Tucked away in the central region of North Carolina, Charlotte is home to an eclectic mix of eateries, each with its own distinct menu, atmosphere, and Southern charm. Charlotte’s culinary scene is as vibrant as the city itself, with hip restaurants in Uptown and obscure finds in old-world neighborhoods. We’ll browse the many food options in this guide, from locally sourced farm-to-table restaurants to internationally influenced eating options that highlight the city’s sophisticated edge. Charlotte’s restaurants will satisfy your palate and give you a fresh appreciation for food, regardless of whether you’re a gourmet barbecue enthusiast, a fan of cutting-edge cooking, or looking for the ideal brunch location.
The Fig Tree Restaurant
1601 E 7th St, Charlotte, NC 28204
You can find The Fig Tree nestled within Charlotte’s Elizabeth neighborhood. The building is a pre-WWI home famously known as the Lucas House.
The restaurant provides comfortable yet elegant seating including five beautiful dining rooms, a veranda and patio, fireplaces, and a full-service bar. Guests are equally as astounded by the aesthetics of The Fig Tree as they are with the food.
Be sure to try the escargot, elk chop, veal chop, scallops, and beignets to finish with something sweet.
2201 South Blvd Ste 130, Charlotte, NC 28203
Yunta is in the historic Dilworth neighborhood, surrounded by boutique shops. This upscale restaurant combines Japanese and Peruvian flavors that make my mouth water. .
The menu includes sushi rolls, dishes cooked in the wok, frilled meat, and ceviche.
After starting with fried yuca tostones served with rocoto sweet chili, I usually order several sushi rolls. It’s too hard to choose just one, so I choose one new one and stick with my go-to, the vegetable maki.
This sushi roll combines glazed sweet potato, portobello mushrooms, and kyuri cucumber with avocado and quinoa for a delicious vegetarian sushi option.
401 W 9th St, Charlotte, NC 28202
Alexander Michael’s is a delicious uptown tavern great for lunch or dinner. There’s no need to make a reservation, but since it’s a popular destination, I always carve out a few hours to wait if necessary, then eat a great meal without feeling rushed to make my next stop.
I can’t resist the Cajun fries and Caribbean jerk chicken quesadillas for lunch. Both dishes have just enough spice to keep my tastebuds awake for the rest of the day.
If I stop by for dinner, I usually order What It Is, a blackened chicken breast with Cajun sauce over rotini.
Calle Sol Latin Café & Cevicheria
1205 Thomas Ave, Charlotte, NC 28205
This cevicheria in Plaza Midwood makes me feel like I flew to Miami on a whim. The decor furthers the Florida vibe, but the food makes this restaurant necessary every time I visit Charlotte.
You can get a cafeteria lunch, picking one entree and two sides from the selection.
When I order from the lunch menu, I always get a Tampa Cubano as my main dish, but I only eat half, so I have room for some of the smaller plates.
I love the ham and bechamel croquetas, with a crisp exterior and warm, gooey interior. I also like getting sides of sweet plantains and mojo fries.
3019 Shamrock Dr, Charlotte, NC 28215
Lang Van is a family-owned Vietnamese restaurant in east Charlotte. You’ll get authentic Vietnamese versions of classic dishes like spring rolls, summer rolls, fried rice, and yellow pancakes.
The menu has many sides, soups, and vegetarian options, so I always find something to suit my taste.
When I stop by Lang Van, I pick either spring rolls or garden delight rolls as a starter. My main course varies depending on my tastes, but my favorites include shrimp lemongrass curry, stir-fried tofu with mixed vegetables, or Hu Tieu Dac Biet.
That dish is a rich soup containing crab, shrimp, pork, and rice noodles.
Fin & Fino
Address: 135 Levine Avenue of the Arts #100, Charlotte, NC 28202
Phone: (704) 800-5680
Fin & Fino is a social seafood house for those “with an explorer’s heart”. What sets this restaurant apart from many others is their take on a tasting menu, known as “The Treatment”, where guests can sample items both on and off the menu.
Private dining is also available in modern rooms that can comfortably accommodate 24 to 80 guests with a choice of plated lunch, dinner, or cocktails.
Guests speak highly of The Treatment in addition to the many small plates and tapas that Fin & Fino has to offer.
3116 N Davidson St, Charlotte, NC 28205
Ever Andalo is a quaint Italian restaurant in NoDa, the art district around North Davidson. The chef makes the pasta in-house, so I always order a noodle-based dish, like mushroom tortelloni or Calabrian chili pappardelle.
The other menu items always tempt me, though. I can’t resist splurging on focaccia to start, with a flight of olive oil to dip each bite of bread.
The oysters are also a treat, especially because I can choose between raw or roasted. Even if I’m stuffed, I make room for dessert or at least get it to go.
The homemade cannoli are unbeatable, but the tiramisu is also a great choice.
Good Food on Montford
Address: 1701 Montford Dr, Charlotte, NC 28209
Phone: (704) 525-0881
Good Food on Montford is the place to go for beautiful small plates, a casual vibe, and amazing cuisine. Good Food prides themselves on putting a fresh spin on small global plates to serve Charlotte’s on-the-go demographic.
Good Food provides a seasonal menu with only locally sourced ingredients. The menu is constantly evolving and changing, so you may be able to try something new every time you choose to dine in.
Their most popular dishes are small plates and tapas such as green curry mussels, steamed pork buns, and garganelli.
Leah and Louise
Address: 301 Camp Rd, Charlotte, NC 28206
Phone: (980) 309-0690
From the heart, for the soul, and locally sourced. These are the pillars of Leah and Louise. Leah and Louise give their modern take on classic southern dishes while still honoring tradition and heritage.
Brunch is a specialty for Leah and Lousie and pairs well with a signature cocktail. If you’re having trouble finding a drink you like, just ask the friendly staff that will work with you to ensure your complete satisfaction.
Restaurant favorites include oxtail and dumplings, roasted cabbage, catfish, grits, and bread pudding.
225 S Poplar St, Charlotte, NC 28202
Haymaker is an uptown restaurant near Romare Bearden Park. The chef uses locally-sourced items to create stunning seasonal menus, so there’s always something new and delicious to pick at Haymaker.
I always stop by for dinner since they’re open every day but Sunday. However, I count myself lucky if I’m in town for their special weekend brunches.
The menu includes small and large plates. My favorite small plate is Carolina shrimp, roasted and spiced with red curry and cut with lemon.
The red wine braised pork shank is my favorite main course, served with pickled red onion, crowder peas, and braised collards.
Though filling, I make room for their homemade mac and cheese with smoked cheddar mornay.
3007 Central Ave, Charlotte, NC 28205
This Ethiopian restaurant in Plaza Midwood delivers quality, authentic cuisine in a comfortable setting. The menu includes many vegetarian options, but I usually splurge on entrees from the beef and lamb section.
Lamb or beef tibs use Ethiopian spiced butter, rosemary, and berbere sauce to add a rich flavor to the meat.
I always order extra injera: cabbage sauteed with spices, jalapenos, onion, and garlic. Sambusas are a mouth-watering appetizer stuffed with lentils or ground beef, plus those delicious Ethiopian spices.
The Cellar at Duckworth’s
Address: 330 N Tryon St, Charlotte, NC 28202
Phone: (980) 349-4078
When you combine a gastropub with chef-curated recipes you get the Cellar at Duckworth’s. The restaurant is inspired by the prohibition era as the building was originally built in 1912.
The Cellar at Duckworth’s has become a place where the atmosphere is almost as great as the food. Creative culinary works and signature cocktails.
Dishes to give a try include the truffle mac and cheese, brussel sprouts, mini waffle cone appetizer, and a variety of small plates.
1100 Metropolitan Ave #125, Charlotte, NC 28204
Dressler’s Restaurant in Midtown is the best place to go for a special occasion. They have a solid dinner menu but create special dishes and set menus for holidays, like Easter, or even local celebrations, like Charlotte’s high school proms.
When I go for dinner, I get pimento cheese as an appetizer, even though it’s incredibly filling. North Carolina knows how to make classic Southern pimento cheese, and Dressler’s serves it with bacon and tomato jam on a toasted baguette.
The pan-seared salmon entree with lentils, cabbage, and tomatoes is my favorite main course.
Address: 131 N Main St, Davidson, NC 28036
Phone: (980) 231-5000
Kindred is a family-owned restaurant serving contemporary southern cuisine. Flavors found around the world have found their way to this Charlotte restaurant.
In addition to the beautiful presentation, Kindred places an emphasis on using seasonal, locally sourced ingredients in each and every one of their dishes.
Their menu is extremely versatile with offerings from milk bread and cinnamon rolls, to beef tartare and squid ink pasta. Other highly-rated dishes include potatoes with duck fat, rigatoni, and small plates.
500 S Tryon St, Charlotte, NC 28202
Mariposa is a multicultural restaurant inside the Mint Museum Uptown. I always make time to see the latest exhibits, then stop into Mariposa for a bite to eat. They serve brunch, lunch, and dinner, or you can get a glass of wine and enjoy dessert.
When I go for dinner, I like getting small plates of hearth-roasted mushrooms, street corn fritters, and pork belly bulgogi lettuce wraps.
However, a large plate of chipotle-crusted short ribs served with sweet potatoes can occasionally tempt me. If I manage to save room for dessert, I always get the flaming sticky toffee pudding, served warm with a dash of whiskey.
1401 Central Ave, Charlotte, NC 28205
Midwood Smokehouse, in Plaza Midwood, is where I always go when I want some quality North Carolina BBQ. As previously mentioned, North Carolina nails the Southern pimento cheese, so my go-to appetizer is an order of pimento cheese fries.
When I’m feeling indulgent, I add chopped brisket on top.
At a place like Midwood Smokehouse, you can’t go wrong with a barbeque plate. My favorites are the Carolina pork, dressed with the vinegar sauce North Carolina made famous.
The burnt ends are also delicious, coated in Midwood Smokehouse’s custom cola barbecue sauce.
Address: 4620 Piedmont Row Dr Suite 170B, Charlotte, NC 28210
Phone: (980)- 283-2333
Peppervine is a restaurant located in the Southpark area of Charlotte serving small plates made with locally sourced ingredients. In addition to their exquisite food, they also boast a top-of-the-line wine list, including both craft cocktails and non-alcoholic beverages.
The ambiance of Peppervine is classy, to say the least thanks to their high-top bar and beautifully decorated dining area. However, don’t feel the need to dress too fancy, as “casual” is the recommended attire.
Their most popular menu items include their short ribs, pork belly, bucatini, yeast rolls, and pimento cheese scones.
The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar
4310 Sharon Rd, Charlotte, NC 28211
A unique restaurant in Barclay Downs is the Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar—yes, all of those items are in one place and top-notch.
I always make time to stop by this trendy restaurant and order a new item from the menu to ensure I get to taste it all.
While plenty of beef and turkey burgers are on the menu, the lamb patty with grilled halloumi cheese is one I’ve never seen anywhere else.
It’s one of my favorites, and I usually order it with a sushi roll on the side, preferring the custom options on the fusion menu.
Address: 7822 Fairview Rd, Charlotte, NC 28226
Phone: (704) 364-5755
Barrington’s has been a Charlotte favorite for over 20 years serving New American cuisine. Barrington’s excels in traditional dishes while providing a fresh spin on many classics.
If you’re craving a homestyle feel while you dine, Barrington’s small dining area and comfort dishes are sure to do the trick.
Their most interesting dish is easily rabbit pot pie, but other favorites include scallops, deconstructed sushi, tagliatelle, and foie gras. In addition, any appetizer or wine from their extensive wine list would be an excellent choice.
3106 N Davidson St, Charlotte, NC 28205
Haberdish is another great restaurant in the NoDa neighborhood. Anytime I want delicious bites and strong cocktails, Haberdish is my go-to. They also serve brunch on weekends, so it’s always possible to spend some time here.
The fried chicken tenders with honey butter syrup are the best, especially with sweet potato dumplings. I usually get a chicken biscuit sandwich for brunch, but I always make room for the homemade cinnamon roll with dulce caramel dip.
2216 Freedom Dr, Charlotte, NC 28208
Noble Smoke is a Southern BBQ restaurant in West Charlotte. Though it’s a North Carolina place, Noble Smoke serves Texas beef brisket better than anything in that state.
I love getting Miss Mary’s platter to enjoy pork, brisket, smoked turkey, and a short rib rack.
The sides are where Noble Smoke really shines. I alternate between eastern or western slaw with each visit, but the hush puppies and pickled beets are the two items I can’t do without.
As all authentic BBQ restaurants know, you must end the meal with banana pudding. Noble Smoke elevates their dessert with Heath bar crumbles for crunchiness and extra flavor.
715 Providence Rd, Charlotte, NC 28207
Stagioni is an Italian restaurant in the Cotswold area, right off NC 16. The chefs use local produce to create seasonal menus.
With this freshness in mind, I always start with the local baby greens, topped with pancetta, goat cheese, and white balsamic vinaigrette.
The pizzas at Stagioni are the best, whether it’s the standard pepperoni and sausage or mortadella with pistachio cream and pesto. However, any pasta with house-made ricotta is my top choice, like the tagliolini or rigatoni.
Though every dish is filling, I save room for a boozy Italian float or strong cocktail like the villa espresso.
1212 The Plaza, Charlotte, NC 28205
Supperland is a unique restaurant in an old Plaza Midwood church. While the menu resembles a standard steakhouse, there are several items that are just as quirky as the location.
With the overall vibe of a church potluck, I always prioritize room for a slice of salter honey pie or a banana pudding sundae.
For my main course, I love the Wagyu NY Strip. The Supperland chefs cook it perfectly, topped with just salt and pepper.
I get mushroom risotto for a rich side and have to give myself a little time to digest before I can even get up to leave.
Address: 511 N Church St, Charlotte, NC 28202
Phone: (704) 332-6159
Dining at the McNinch House Restaurant is an experience. Not only is the food exquisite, the restaurant’s location also happens to be historical.
511 North Church Street was the residence of the McNinch family all the way from 1891 to 1978. The McNinch House Restaurant has since become a great place to go for birthdays, anniversaries, or corporate dining.
Their savory dishes are filet mignon, swordfish, duck breast, veal tenderloin, lobster bisque, and cheese & vegetable tortellini.
Sea Level NC
Address: 135 Levine Avenue of the Arts #100, Charlotte, NC 28202
Phone: (704) 800-5680
Sea Level NC is one of the best seafood restaurants and oyster bars in the Carolinas. Founder, Paul Manley, has made a name for himself and his restaurant focusing on sustainable and local fishing.
Now, Sea Level NC has the only farm-to-fork oyster grown in North Carolina to be served on the half shell.
Some featured items include the tilefish, wreckfish, and brasstown ribeye. From the raw bar, try the truist tower, 5th street tower, shrimp cocktail, or salmon poke tacos.
Bernardin’s Restaurant at Ratcliffe
Address: 435 S Tryon St Ste 100, Charlotte, NC 28202
Phone: (704) 332-3188
Bernardin’s is a five-star restaurant specializing in seafood, lamb, veal, beef, poultry, and pasta since 1992. Opened Monday through Saturday, Bernardin’s is known for excellent service, delicious entrees, as well as a sophisticated and elegant atmosphere.
Bernardin’s has 2 private dining rooms available for almost any occasion from family gatherings, rehearsal dinners, or business dinners.
Their most famed offerings include scallops, crab cakes, goat cheese ravioli, duck breast, and for the more adventurous grilled emu and kangaroo.
Address: 235 N Tryon St, Charlotte, NC 28202
Phone: (704) 342-1193
The Asbury in Charlotte is the definition of southern hospitality. Located within the lobby of the city’s only historic hotel, The Asbury celebrates its southern past while looking ahead to the future.
While many restaurants compete for the most photogenic and Instagram-worthy food, The Asbury is confident in the southern charm found within their simple yet flavorful dishes.
Brunch is very popular, recommended dishes include chicken and waffles, biscuits, deviled eggs, and omelet.
As you can see, there’s no shortage of great places to eat in Charlotte, North Carolina. Each and every restaurant we’ve compiled on this list is sure to give you five-star treatment.
The southern influence of the Carolinas combined with the urban energy of Charlotte makes for a one-of-a-kind dining experience.
Looking for other places to eat in the area? Maybe you need a quick pizza fix, check out our favorite pizzerias in Charlotte here.
Did we leave a restaurant out of this list? Make sure you leave us a comment and we’ll check it out!
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When it comes to local restaurant recommendations, we pride ourselves on being a reliable and trustworthy resource. Our suggestions are not just based on our personal experiences, ensuring a more authentic and well-rounded perspective, but also on extensive online research. We diligently searched the internet and reviewed 6 credible sites and blogs, including Southernliving.com and Tripadvisor.com.
We compiled all the findings in one location and sorted them by the frequency of mentions to ensure you receive top-notch recommendations. We strive to present you with a curated list of establishments that truly stand out, allowing you to enjoy the best dining experiences possible.
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