THE IMPROPER PIG
Barbecue. This Charlotte eatery is full of what we consider proper barbecue manners. Understanding that much depends on the sauce, the Pig delivers a variety to your table. Try the St. Louis-style ribs, Southern egg rolls and Korean barbecue salmon. The mac ’n’ cheese was some of the best we’ve tasted. L, D (daily). www.theimproperpig. com. 110 S. Sharon Amity Road, 704.714.7878. Map 1, D6
PRIMO TUSCAN GRILLE
Italian. Primo is classic New York Italian with some eccentricities—veal osso bucco rests comfortably near shrimp and grits. An elegant and elevated bar is a nice spot for a pre-meal cocktail. And the wine list is a mix of Italian and Californian, with several by the glass. D (Tu-Sa). www.primotuscangrille.com. 116 Middleton Drive, 704.334.3346. Map 1, C6
Italian. Italian for “seasons,” this Myers Park restaurant serves a fresh range of Italian standards—handmade pastas, wood-fired pizzas, slowroasted meats. Located in the historic, villa-like Reynolds-Gourmajenko House (ask your server about the interesting history of the home), the atmosphere is cozy and comfortable. Twists on classic dishes include black pepper spaghetti with scallops and trout saltimbocca with celery root puree. Don’t miss the duck and delicata squash pizza, either. D (M-Sa). www.
stagioniclt.com. 715 Providence Road, 704.372.8110. Map 1, C6
Pizza. This is not your average pie—California-style originals include Cordon Bleu and Big Bad Wolf (with sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, banana peppers) pizzas. All sauces and dressings are prepared in house and the dough is made without bleach or potassium bromate (an oxidizing agent). L and D (daily). www.wolfmanpizza.com. 8504 Park Road, 704.552.4979. (Quail Corners) Map 1, C8; 106-B S. Sharon Amity Road, 704.366.3666. (Cotswold) Map 1, D6
AZTECA Mexican. This Mexican restaurant serves up huge portions family-style and superb, authentic flavors in a festive atmosphere. L and D (daily). www.aztecarestaurantcharlotte.com. 7340 Smith Corners Blvd., 704.598.4068. Map1, C3; 116E.Woodlawn Road, 704.525.5110. Map 1, C7; 9709 E. IndependenceBlvd.,704.814.9877. Map1,G7; 1863 W Franklin Blvd., 704.866.7574.
BABALU TAPAS & TACOS Latin. A historic house in the Dilworth neighborhood welcomes this small Southern chain that celebrates the Spanish tapas culture with Latino flair. Patio open year-round. L and D (daily). charlotte. eatbabalu.com. 1511 East Blvd., 704.334.1511.
FAMOUS TOASTERY American. The popularity of this breakfast spot comes from made-from-scratch and inventive dishes like the portobello mushroom benedict, the avocado omelet and the cinnamon raisin French toast. B and L (daily). www.famoustoastery.com. 2400 Park Road, 704.215.4166.; 8430 Rea Road, 980.613.8343.; 8933 JM Keynes Drive, 704.503.9599.
INIZIO PIZZA NAPOLETANA Pizza. Naples-style pies get expert care during preparation thanks to owner Grant Arons’ dedication to Italian ways. He uses fine-ground flour and bottled water from Italy to create the perfect balance of flavor and texture and topnotch toppings like pecorino, buffalo mozzarella, basil and even pistachio pesto make each bite a hit. L and D (daily). www.iniziopizza.com. 10620 Providence Road, 704.846.8909.
KID CASHEW Mediterannean. Proprietor Giorgio Bakatsias (also, a 2014 James Beard semifinalist for Outstanding Restaurateur) runs this place that puts emphasis on “fresh from the farm” food in its wood-fired shared plates. The menu is all-encompassing, running the gamut from Spanish octopus to Scottish salmon. Don’t overlook the intriguing cocktails like the Fig with bourbon, OJ and thyme. See? Its name may say “Kid,” but its presentations are anything but rudimentary. L and D (daily). 1608 East Blvd., 704.208.4148.
MOCCO BISTRO Greek. A Greek delight that could make you forget you aren’t next to the Aegean Sea, this South End cafe is popular among Greek enthusiasts and newcomers, alike. Organic coffee, bougatsa and more are on the menu. Open Tu-F 7 am-9 pm, Sa 8:30 am-9 pm, Su 10 am-7 pm. www.moccobistro.com. 4004 South Blvd., 980.207.0508.
OKU Japanese/Sushi. A Southern approach to Asian cuisine means diners get traditional Japanese flavors and sushi rolls as well as fusions like spicy sesame pork belly and sashimi tacos. D (daily). www.o-kusushi.com. 2000 South Blvd., 704.594.1922.
RAI LAY THAI Thai. Popular among the young-professional crowd, this hip, convivial spot serves entrées inspired by various regions of Thailand. L (Tu-F), D (Tu-Su). www.railaythai.com. 1520 South Blvd., 980.207.0991.
TUPELO HONEY CAFE Southern. This Asheville-based eatery, known for its inviting atmosphere and farm-tofork New South cuisine, has made its way to South End. For a staple, try the Southern-fried-chicken BLT—a crispy, hormone-free chicken, apple cider bacon, dijonnaise, lettuce and tomato—with a requisite side of fried okra. L and D (daily), brunch (Sa-Su). www.tupelohoneycafe.com/ location/charlotte. 1820 South Blvd., 980.225.9175. Map 1, C6
CO Asian Fusion. Meaning “feast” in Vietnamese, “Co” offers a variety of intriguing Asian dishes like bon mi with caramel pork, green papaya salad, pad Thai and lots of sushi rolls. L and D (daily). www.eatatco.com. 4201 Park Road, 980.237.4655.
SIR EDMOND HALLEY’S British. For Anglophiles, it doesn’t get any better than this—lots of taps of traditional English brews, hearty, traditional British and not-so-British entrees and a lovely shaded outdoor patio. L (M-Sa), D (daily). www.halleyspub.com. 4151 Park Road, 704.525.7775. Map 1, C6
TREEHOUSE WHISKEY & FORK Southern. Some of the fondest dining memories may well be those when you’re in the great outdoors at a big picnic table with family and friends, perhaps while vacationing or marking a special occasion. Such are the feel and vibe at Treehouse. Here, Carolina-style barbecue, thick and juicy burgers, and a wide range of whiskey-based drinks that complement the smoked-inhouse meat all share the stage with an artificial tree whose branches cover most of the dining area. L and D (daily). www.treehouse-restaurant.com. 4423 Sharon Road, 980.207.0949. Map 1, C7
YAFO KITCHEN Israeli. This SouthPark Israeli eatery drew crowds as soon as it opened and has kept a loyal following. Chef Shai Fargian sources ingredients from Israel including amba powder, cumin, tahini, baharat and sumac for incredibly authentic flavor profiles. L and D (daily). www.yafokitchen.com. 720 Governor Morrison St., 704.365.7130.
DON PEDRO Mexican. This authentic Mexican restaurant offers homestyle dishes, plus, seafood specialties and sensational fajitas, all in a colorful, friendly atmosphere. L and D (daily). www.donpedrorestaurant.com. 1009 Chancellor Park Drive, 704.921.2414. Map 1, E4; 8943 S. Tryon St., 704.504.5037. Map 1, A7; 10015 Lee St., Pineville, 704.889.1311. Map 1, C9
FIREWATER American. Serving eclectic American cuisine, an extensive wine list and having a contemporary atmosphere, make this restaurant and bar ideal for group dining or an intimate date night. The menu boasts sushigrade tuna and great steaks in a modern, romantic setting. L and D (daily). www.firewatercharlotte.com. 8708 JW Clay Blvd., 704.549.0050. Map 1, E4
ALEXANDER MICHAEL’S American. This quintessential neighborhood pub brings lively conversation and quality food to this former Fourth Ward grocery store. Open M-Th 11 am-10 pm, F-Sa 11 am-11 pm. www. almikestavern.com. 401 W. 9th St., 704.332.6789. Map 2, G2
ARIA Italian. Pierre Bader delves into classic Tuscan Italian cuisine with this Uptown venture. On the main floor, witness kitchen action through a large glass window, or sit up close and personal at a chef’s table inside the kitchen itself. Upstairs, a quiet bar is the perfect place to stop in for a drink and antipasti before a show at Belk Theater or Booth Playhouse (which open up into Founders Hall), or a concert or game at Time Warner
Cable Arena. L (M-F), D (M-Sa). www. ariacharlotte.com. 100 N. Tryon St., 704.376.8880. Map 2, F4
BERNARDIN’S Contemporary American. Across the street from the Levine Center for the Arts complex, this Uptown fine-dining restaurant is the sister location to its original spot in Winston-Salem and offers creative menu items, sauteed brie-stuffed chicken breast with caramelized Pearl onions, in a classy, convenient setting. L (M-F), D (M-Sa). www.bernardinsfinedining.com. 435 S. Tryon St., 704.332.3188. Map 2, E5
BLUE RESTAURANT & BAR Mediterranean. An award-winning menu (don’t pass on the scallops) and stunning décor have taken the city by storm. With owner Alex Myrick and Chef Gene Briggs at the helm, expect vibrant cuisine and an upscale, jazzbar-style ambiance. D (M-Sa). www. bluecharlotte.com. 206 N. College St., 704.927.2583. Map 2, E4
BRIXX WOODFIRED PIZZA Pizza. Fire up your lunch or dinner with a handcrafted pizza cooked in a wood-burning oven. The big salads are also popu- lar, and there’s a selection of signature sandwiches, pastas and desserts. Brixx features 16 wines by the glass and 24 beers on tap—and some of the best outdoor dining in the city. L and D (daily). www.brixxpizza.com. 225 E. Sixth St., 704.347.2749 Map 2, E4; 1801 Scott Ave., 704.376.1000 Map 1, D5; 9820 Rea Road, 704.940.2011; 7814 Fairview Road, 704.295.0707. Map 1, D9; 16915 Birkdale Commons Pkwy., Huntersville,. Map 1, B1
THE CELLAR AT DUCKWORTH’S Gastropub. This gastropub serves elevated, imaginative cuisine in an atmosphere that epitomizes the building’s rich history. Built in 1912, the cellar’s exposed brick and ceiling beams in this largely un-marked restaurant evoke the 1920s hush-hush feel of a speakeasy. The cocktails, though, have modern twists on old school classics. D (daily) www.thecellaratduckworths.com. 330 N. Tryon St., 980.349.4078. Map 2, G4
CITY SMOKE Barbecue. Chicken, fish and hearty salads play second fiddle to the five types of barbecue at this uptown favorite run by the same outfit as its popular next-door neighbor, Aria. Pop in for a regional craft beer, such as a Highland Gaelic Amber Ale or a Foothills People’s Porter, or a glass of bourbon (the menu offers dozens). L (M-F), D (M-Sa). www.citysmokeclt.com. 100 N. Tryon St., 704.376.2295. Map 2, F4
ENSO Japanese/Sushi. This Asian bistro and sushi bar is located in the EpiCentre, which means you’ll get a healthy dose of swanky club vibe to go with your sashimi. The atmosphere is sleek and sexy, and though it might seem almost like an afterthought to the buzzy social atmosphere, the sushi here is incredibly well-executed. L (M-Sa), D (daily). www.ensocharlotte.com. 210 E. Trade St., 704.716.3676. Map 2, F5
EVOKE Steakhouse. Located in Le Méridien Charlotte, this steakhouse serves prime and dry-aged steaks, homemade pastas and fresh crudos (an Italian fish dish akin to sashimi but more involved with ingredients)—all meant to entice the guest’s senses. Also choose from an extensive wine list or indulge in one of the restaurant’s 40 craft whiskeys. B, L and D (daily). www. evokerestaurant.com. 555 S. McDowell St., 980.237.5354. Map 2, G7
FUJI Japanese. This casual dining venture has all the fun and flavor of hibachi, plus, extras like delicious bubble teas, all in the convenient Epicentre location. L and D (M-Sa). www.fujiepicentre.com. 210 East Trade St., 980.207.3969.
HALCYON Contemporary American. Enjoy the skyline view and absolutely delicious farm-to-table plates at the Mint Museum’s resident restaurant. Upscale yet comfortable, the environs are romantic and refined. In the kitchen, Chef James Stouffer uses local ingredients to create such things as kale and farro salad, fried oysters and Kobe beef tartare, and Spanish sole. Save room for gelato. L (Tu-Su), D (TuSa). www.halcyonflavors.com. 500 S. Tryon St., 704.910.0865. Map 2, C4
MCCORMICK & SCHMICK’S Seafood. This upscale chain offers an amazing variety of fresh seafood as well as delicious aged steaks, plus, great salads and happy hour specials. L (M-F), D (daily). www.mccormickandschmicks.com. 200 S. Tryon St., 704.377.0201. Map 2, D4; 4335 Barclay Downs Drive, 704.442.5522. Map 1, D9
MERT’S HEART AND SOUL Southern. This stylish yet down-home eatery offers patrons simple, savory Southern, soul and Lowcountry cooking: Think award-winng mac ‘n’ cheese or sweet cornbread sitting alongside fried chicken, fried catfish or blackened pork chops. It’s a huge favorite with the lunch crowd. L and D (daily), brunch (Sa-Su). www.mertscharlotte.com. 214 N. College St., 704.342.4222. Map 2, F4
NEFELIE’S Greek. Located in the outdoor portion of the Latta Arcade, this two-level spot, with bar below and restaurant above, features tasty Greek street food including pork, beef and chicken gyros, salads and daily specials. Take out or eat in, service is fast and friendly. 145 Brevard Court, 704.464.4601.
PURE PIZZA Pizza. This pizza heaven in uptown’s 7th Street Public Market proudly serves up pies made from fresh, locally grown ingredients. It’s farm-to-fork dining at its best. L and D (M-Sa). www.purepizzaclt.com. 224 E. 7th St., 980.207.0037. Map 2, E4; 1911 Central Ave., 980.430.1701.
RI RA THE IRISH PUB Irish. This place is as Irish as you’re going to get in North Carolina. All the Emerald Isle staples
on tap, Irish food ‘til late, and vintage Eire collectibles on the wall. A relaxing patio overlooks Hearst Plaza. L and D (daily). www.rira.com. 208 N. Tryon St., 704.333.5554. Map 2, E5
RUTH’S CHRIS STEAK HOUSE Steakhouse. This famous chain, which started in New Orleans, offers sizzling, seasoned steaks, flawless service and an excellent wine list. L (M-F), D (daily). www.ruthschris.com. 6000 Fairview Road, 704.556.1115; 222 S. Tryon St., 704.338.9444. Map 2, D5
TAVOLO Italian. This family style Italian restaurant features delectable wood-fired pizzas like the proscuitto and fig with roasted garlic oil and Italian parsley as well as classic pasta dishes like bolognese with rigatone and fettucine alfredo. And if you’re looking to unwind with a drink in a chic atmosphere, head upstairs and enjoy a fine wine or martini. L (Su-F), D (daily). www.tavolocharlotte.com. 300 North College St., 704.595.3190. Map 2, G4
THE MCNINCH HOUSE New Southern. Reservations are required here and you can expect to be treated like royalty during this unique five-course meal (you choose your entrée, but everything else, including the wine, is chosen for you). This is Charlotte’s premier special-occasion restaurant located in a beautiful 1892 Queen Anne-style home. D (Tu-Sa). www.mcninchhouserestaurant.com. 511 N. Church St., 704.332.6159. Map 2, E3
TRADE RESTAURANT & BAR Breakfast. A breakfast-all-day concept here is a health-minded one. It includes sourced cage-free eggs, organic fiber-rich cereals, steel cut oats, gluten-free breads and a hormone- and additive-free, blueberry-maple sausage patty. B, L and D (daily). www.omnihotels.com. 132 E. Trade St., 704.377.0400. Map 2, E4
VINTAGE WINE LOUNGE Wine Bar. Located in historic Brevard Court, Vintage offers artisan cheese, meat plates and a well-balanced wine list. Go relax with a group of friends on the leather couches at this modest wine bar in Uptown. D (Tu-Sa). www. vintagewinelounge.netwaiter.com/ charlotte/about. 317 S. Church St., 704.332.3273. Map 2, D5