AQUA E VINO—
Italian. Chef Gabriele Grigolon, who has worked for the likes of the great Alain Ducasse and Charlotte restaurant Luce, brings a bold Italian menu to this recently renovated space. But there are other hints of the globe on his menu, too, such as grilled Spanish octopus with artichokes and crispy capers and North Carolina fresh shrimp fritto with garlic aioli. D (Tu-Sa). www.aquaevino.com. 4219 Providence Road, 704.364.4445. Map 1 D7
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. Map 1 C3; 116 E. Woodlawn Road, 704.525.5110. Map 1 C7; 9709 E. IndependenceBlvd.,704.814.9877. Map1G7; 1863 W Franklin Blvd., 704.866.7574.
Japanese. This swanky, SouthPark-area lounge and restaurant beckons with wafts of Robata-style charcoal-grilled Japanese delights, such as Yakitori skewers (everything from beef to chicken livers) and its fresh, interesting maki rolls and sashimi. A small-bites smorgasbord makes Baku a great spot for a date, a treat after a business day, or a girls night out, as there are plenty of options to suit every taste. D (M-Sa). www.baku-restaurant. com. 4515 Sharon Road, 704.817.7173.
DOGWOOD SOUTHERN TABLE & BAR—
Southern. This farm-to-fork restaurant serves regional cuisine, using as many Carolina products as possible. So diners can expect to find such dishes as roasted Heritage Farms pork shoulder in banana leaf, and smoked barbecue NC Shrimp with charred okra and tomatoes. The Southern-inspired space with brick walls, reclaimed wood and restored fireplaces also serves up a regionally spirited craft-cocktail program, global wines and Carolina craft beers. L (M-F), D (daily), brunch (Su). www.dogwoodsoutherntable.com. 4905 Ashley Park Lane, 704.910.4919. Map 1 C7
Thai. Healthy food at moderate prices is at the core of this Thai-Korean fusion menu, with creamy curries, Thai classics and sushi all expertly crafted. The Southeast-Asian comfort foods pair nicely with fresh cocktails like a lychee martini or a strawberry lemon drop. L and D (TuSu). www.hibiscus-charlotte.com. 1600 E. Woodlawn Road, 980.256.4380.
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