Charlotteâs Center City and its surrounding neighborhoods offer an abundance of great restaurants, from upscale-trendy to down-home casual and just about everything in between. Here are some of the best and brightest spots in Queen City cuisine.
North Carolinaâs reputation for BBQ is well-represented in Charlotte. In South Charlotte, family-run McKoyâs Smokehouse and Saloon welcomes everyone from bikers to bankers to devour pecan wood-smoked meat, USDA prime steaks and perfectly seasoned pork. Macâs Speed Shop, located in a former South End transmission shop, boasts brisket that rivals any Texas joint.They also have locations in Lake Norman and Steele Creek. First Wardâs Queen City QÂ hits the mark with their family recipes, homemade everything and the belief that âthe best Q in the world is what youâre raised on.â
In Uptown, Mertâs Heart and Soul puts a spin on soul food with Low Country and Gullah-inspired dishes. The award-winning macaroni and cheese, cornbread and shrimp and grits are a few of the favorites, but you canât go wrong with anything on the menu here. Priceâs Chicken Coop in South End is another Charlotte classic â itâs been theÂ place for fried chicken since 1962.
Find superior pub fare at Mortimerâs Pub & Cafe at the EpiCentre. They serve up roast beef au jus sandwiches, burgers, paninis and pitas, all with old-fashioned style and service. For more âbeer food,â check out Growlers Pourhouse in NoDa â their Reuben was named âBest Sandwichâ by The Charlotte Observer. For breakfast or brunch, try the much-praised Terrace CafĂ© in South Park or Ballantyne (theyâre open for lunch and dinner, too).
In Center City, the award-winning Blue Restaurant & Bar offers a high-end Mediterranean culinary experience. Nearby, Aria Tuscan Grille brings the best of Italy to Charlotte. Carpe Diem Restaurant does New American cuisine but takes cues beautifully from the Mediterranean.
The decadent crepes at CrĂȘpe Cellar Kitchen & PubÂ add a French accent to NoDa (also try the Pesto Brie French Fries â theyâre unforgettable). In South Park, Georges BrasserieÂ blends modern and traditional French cuisine (try the tarte flambee, a pizza with bacon, onion and crĂšme fraiche). Nearby Zebra Restaurant offers fine dining French-style with plenty of fresh seafood.
In Uptown and South Park, Roosterâs Wood-Fired KitchenÂ weaves a European feel into its Carolina-based concept. In Dilworth, Bonterra Dining & Wine Room is big on flavor and ambience â itâs housed in a former 20th-century church.
Impeccable steak and seafood dominate the menu at Bentleyâs on 27, where you can also enjoy magnificent skyline views from the 27th floor of Charlotte Plaza. Back on street level in South Park, UpstreamÂ presents the freshest catch in an upscale setting. Also in South Park, donât miss innovative fusion dining at The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar, which is as delicious as it is innovative. Enso Asian Bistro and Sushi BarÂ in the EpiCentre is a great spot for late-night weekends â thereâs a DJ and sake bar. Â
Many Charlotte restaurants embrace the Farm to Fork movement. Inside Uptownâs Mint Museum, Halcyon, Flavors from the Earth sources from artisanal farms, dairies and wineries.
The Asbury and Mimosa GrillÂ also rely on local farms and growers for fresh, seasonal ingredients. Something Classic CafĂ© offers a âsandwich boutiqueâ and homemade desserts in a few different locations around town.