Up­town

Where Charlotte - - DINING -

ARIA TUS­CAN GRILL—

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 Win­stonSalem 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

BLT STEAK—

Steak­house. Any restau­rant lo­cated off the lobby of the Ritz-Carl­ton is bound to spe­cial­ize in up­scale din­ing, so it comes as no sur­prise that BLT Steak (BLT stand­ing in for Bistro Lau­rent Touron­del) serves up great food. Not a steak fan? Or­der form plenty of other op­tions, such as tuna tar­tar or mouth­wa­ter­ing sides such as jalapeno mashed pota­toes. B (daily), L (M-F), D (M-Sa), brunch (Su). bltrestau­rants.com/blt-steak/char­lotte/. 110 N. Col­lege St., 704.972.4380. Map 2 E5

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

COCO AND THE DI­REC­TOR—

Cof­fee Bar. Hip fac­tor earns this new­comer a spot on Char­lotte’s mod­ern, in-the-know scene. En­joy live mu­sic while you sip your sin­gle ori­gin pour-over from sta­dium seat­ing, or catch up with a col­league in the free-to-re­serve co-lab space. There’s also a nicely cu­rated se­lec­tion of unique (yeah, truly unique) gift items, for when you’re in a jam or just-must-have-it. But, of course, cof­fee is the star here; have it cold brewed, Aero­press-ed or as espresso. Open daily 6 am-10 pm. co­coandthedi­rec­tor.com. 100 W. Trade St., 704.353.6003.

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

STOKE—

New South­ern. There are so many amaz­ing things to say about Stoke—far too many to men­tion here. But for starters, there is Chef Chris Cole­man’s re­fined, South­ern-in­spired and sourced food. Then there is the wood-over fla­vor, the bar’s french pressed cock­tails, the ac­tion-packed view of the open kitchen, and the in­dulge-wor­thy one-pound dough­nut. L (M-F), D (daily), brunch (Sa-Su). www. stokechar­lotte.com. 100 W. Trade St., 704.353.6005.

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

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