10 Best Restaurants in Uptown Charlotte


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The 5Church dining room.

PETER TAYLOR

These picks are based on our 2018 50 Best Restaurants list. See the entire list here.


The Asbury

235 N. Tryon St., 704-342-1193

FOOD: ★★★★1/2 
SERVICE: ★★★★    
AMBIANCE: ★★★

Chef Matthew Krenz’s intentions in his kitchen are as pure as anyone’s. His family owns a cattle ranch, instilling in him a deep respect for his ingredients and the effort that goes into producing them. Located in the Dunhill Hotel, this place is open for all meals, but really shines during dinner. It’s not unusual to find lesser-utilized ingredients, such as beef tongue or heart, on the menu, prepared in a way that makes them as approachable as possible. Such dishes help minimize waste, but if you’d rather stick to the traditional cuts, The Asbury excels in that as well. There’s depth in this kitchen with Chef de Cuisine Mike Long working alongside Krenz, allowing for consistency no matter who is on the line.


Halcyon, Flavors from the Earth

500 S. Tryon St., 704-910-0865 

FOOD: ★★★★ 
SERVICE: ★★★1/2    
AMBIANCE: ★★★★1/2   

Uptown hasn’t always been friendly to fine dining restaurants, but Halcyon’s ingredient-focused menu continues to draw in locals and business travelers. Its location overlooking the southwestern entrance to uptown makes it an enchanting date night, and its treatment of expected and exotic ingredients—simply, yet with textbook technique and flavor combinations, such as its rabbit saddle or Spanish turbot, a white fish—make it a Charlotte classic.


Stoke

100 W. Trade St., 704-353-6005

FOOD: ★★★★ 
SERVICE: ★★★1/2    
AMBIANCE: ★★★1/2   

This restaurant in the revamped Marriott City Center set out to show that hotels could be a destination for Charlotteans, too. They hired chef Chris Coleman to craft a menu that has a local vibe but can be scaled up. The menu has slowly grown to push guests’ culinary comfort, with dishes that include mostardas, consommes, and agrodolces. Snuck into most dishes, though, is a nod to the South—whether it’s ingredients such as Lusty Monk mustard or a touch of sorghum in a glaze. 


Rooster’s Wood-Fired Kitchen  

Multiple locations

FOOD: ★★★1/2
SERVICE: ★★★1/2  
AMBIANCE: ★★★★  

Owner Chef Jim Noble is both a Francophile and a Southerner, and that comes through at both Rooster’s locations. You’ll find fine wines and some of the best cheese and charcuterie plates in town, as well the North Carolina ingredients Noble grew up eating, such as butter beans and greens, in a convivial environment where you can watch the kitchen at work.


Evoke

555 S. McDowell St., 980-237-5354

FOOD: ★★★★
SERVICE: ★★★  
AMBIANCE: ★★★1/2   

This restaurant inside Le Meridien has a modern interior, and its menu is modern steak house. It’s hard to hide your mistakes when you’re cooking something as simple as steaks, and Evoke’s kitchen is nearly always on point. The tray of salts served with each steak lets you garnish the meat, giving you a new flavor each visit. Former executive chef Oscar la Fuente recently departed to start his own catering business, but he leaves behind a capable kitchen.


Sea Level NC

129 E. 5th St., 704-412-2616

FOOD: ★★★1/2
SERVICE: ★★★★
AMBIANCE: ★★★1/2   

Happy hour—when oysters from Sea Level, North Carolina, are $1 apiece—draws in an after-work contingent, and that crowd doesn’t thin until the dinner rush passes. The name is inspired by the name of a seaside town, but is fitting for Charlotte’s most consistent seafood restaurant. The cocktail menu run by Colleen Hughes is worth noticing, as well. Top that all with a beautiful interior punctuated with Edison bulbs, and Sea Level is a dependable uptown favorite. 


Loft & Cellar

305 W. 4th St., 704-817-9057

FOOD: ★★★★1/2 
SERVICE: ★★1/2   
AMBIANCE: ★★★1/2   

With its international menu, Loft & Cellar stands out in Charlotte. Globetrotter and chef/co-owner Nicolas Daniels uses his travels to inspire a menu full of fusion, with dishes combining flavors from separate continents on a single plate. Construction and permitting delays caused this place to open far behind schedule, but gave Daniels extra time to finesse the menu. Judged on food alone, this uptown spot would be higher on the list—the marriage of international flavors is innovative and delicious—but the service side needs a bit more attention before Loft & Cellar cracks the top 15.


The King’s Kitchen

129 W. Trade St., 704-375-1990

FOOD: ★★★1/2
SERVICE: ★★★   
AMBIANCE: ★★★1/2   

This uptown spot, popular for businesspeople to grab a bite for lunch or dinner, is also a nonprofit. Owned by Jim Noble (Rooster’s), King’s Kitchen employs adults transitioning from incarceration in hopes that experience in the restaurant industry will set them on a path to employment. The menu is Southern classic, with meat-and-three options and crunchy, delectable fried chicken. 


5Church

Fifth and Church streets, 704-919-1322

FOOD: ★★★
SERVICE: ★★★1/2   
AMBIANCE: ★★★1/2 

Guests go to 5Church to be seen, but that doesn’t mean they’re not getting great food from Top Chef contestant Jamie Lynch’s kitchen.


McNinch House

511 N. Church St., 704-332-6159

FOOD: ★★★1/2
SERVICE: ★★★★
AMBIANCE: ★★★★   

It’s still a Charlotte institution in a beautiful setting—an expertly restored, late-1800s Victorian home. Yet as more restaurants open up, it’s getting harder to justify the price of the tasting menus here, which begin at five courses. If you have the money, the wine pairings are impressive.

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