Capture This: Instagram-worthy Dishes in Charlotte
Explore the Queen City’s food scene, one photo at a time
by Jessica Swannie Jan 23, 2020
New & Noteworthy
What’s Charlotte most excited about on Instagram this year? Steamed bao buns. The 2019 opening of Hawkers Asian Street Fare in South End sparked excitement for authentic Malaysian delicacies like street tacos, roti canai and, of course, steamed baos stuffed with Seoul hot chicken. Can’t get enough? Bao + Broth opened in Optimist Hall by the celebrated Moffett Restaurant Group and serves buns with bulgogi beef, pork belly and falafel.
Charlotte’s passion for food extends beyond just Asian street fare. La Belle Helene’sInstagram-worthy French dishes and stunning interior turn an ordinary night out into a photo opportunity. Try the fluffy rosemary brioche or the famous tuna tartare, bursting with hues of pink and citrusy yellows. Fun fact: The food isn’t the only thing that’s photogenic at La Belle Helene. The restaurant’s unisex bathroom was a finalist in the 18th annual “America’s Best Restroom Contest” hosted by Cintas.
Colorful dishes are the specialty at Flower Child, a healthy food destination in South End. The dishes are gluten-free, dairy-free and sugar-free, but they certainly don’t lack color. Salads and grain bowls are the go-to for pretty plates.
While the Queen City admires new openings, classic favorites still reign as top picks for Instagram shots. For instance, Cajun Queen presents a photo op both inside and out. The historic building set in Elizabeth serves New-Orleans-inspired fare each night. The artful plating of the shrimp and grits will make you pause before taking the first bite.
No matter the year, it appears that cheese will always have a special place on social media. Hawthorne’s NY Pizza & Bar does its Northern roots justice with its 18-inch Sicilian, topped with layers of mozzarella for the optimal Instagrammable cheese pull. And while you’re searching for attractive melted cheese, try the homemade mac and cheese from Haberdish or stop by Optimist Hall for a gooey grilled cheese from food-truck-turned-food-stall Papi Queso.
Sweets & Sips
Want to create drool-worthy dessert photos filled with melted chocolate and rainbow sprinkles? Start with Ninety’s Ice Cream & Sandwiches — every ice cream sandwich and crazy milkshake bursts with color and flavor. Popbar in NoDa sells the most geometrically pleasing ice cream bars that pop against the nearby purple wall.
For the perfect mural backdrop, head to Two Scoops Creamery in either the original Plaza Midwood location or the South End location. While in South End, order a fresh waffle cone to snap in front of the Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams sign. Or look for the 1961 Shasta Camper that houses gourmet bakery Wentworth & Fenn – a funky backdrop for the delectable pastries and cakes.
Thinking of capturing a video? Order the half-baked skillet cookie from The Summit Room in Dilworth and film as you sink your spoon into the gooey first bite. Just around the corner in the Park Road Shopping Center sits Suarez Bakery, where seasonal treats inspire daily lines and photo opportunities.
End your Instagram food tour with sips from The Crunkleton, which serves classic, Prohibition-era cocktails. You’ll certainly add a hint of nostalgia to your social media feed.