50 Best Restaurants in Charlotte: 2018


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(page 2 of 5)


No. 11: Stoke

Slow-roasted lamb shoulder with a meyer lemon olive gremolata.

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. 


No. 12: Fork!

The heirloom tomato and pickled beet salad served at Fork! restaurant in Cornelius.

20517 N. Main St., Cornelius, 704-655-7465

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

This Cornelius restaurant is often overshadowed by Kindred when Charlotteans make the drive up north for dinner, but Lake Norman-area locals know how good this place is. Chef Tim Groody, who runs the restaurant with his wife, Melanie, focuses on sourcing, choosing organic and sustainable whenever possible. The menu changes daily, and the list of farms that supply it are nearly as long as the menu itself. The appetizers often have an Asian influence, but the daily list of what purveyors have in season is where you can really taste what Fork! is all about. 


No. 13: 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.


No. 14: Luca Modern Italian Kitchen (Now Closed)

1523 Elizabeth Ave., 704-910-3161

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

Rethinking Passion8 into a place that serves dishes from chef and co-owner Luca Annunziata’s home of Italy has given the restaurant a more cohesive sense of identity. The house-made pastas are the restaurant’s biggest draw.


No. 15: 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.


No. 16: Yafo Kitchen

Chef Shai Fargian works on some brussels sprouts at Yafo Kitchen.

720 Governor Morrison St., Ste. 120, 704-365-7130

FOOD: ★★★★ 
SERVICE: ★★★  
AMBIANCE: ★★★ 

Restaurateur Frank Scibelli has proven again with this latest spot that he has an eye for what diners want. His fast-casual concept focuses on healthy, flavorful dishes inspired by the Middle East. Israel-born chef Shai Fargian brings a connection to the cuisine that takes the restaurant beyond good business sense and in line with the culinary elite. A Plaza Midwood location is expected to open in mid-2018.

> Yafo was also one of our 25 Best New Restaurants in 2017.


No. 17: 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. 

 

> See our most recent feature on this restaurant here.


No. 18: Futo Buta

222 E. Bland St., 704-376-8400

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

Chef and owner Michael Shortino’s ramen restaurant caused a buzz when it first opened in 2015, with a constant wait for no-reservations tables. His noodle soups are both traditional and interpreted, while dishes such as the Crispy Rice are memorable and craveable.

The ramen rush hasn’t slowed down since Futo Buta’s customers slurped up their first bowls, and neither has Shortino—he plans to open Lincoln’s Haberdashery, a grab-and-go market in South End, soon.

 

> See a recipe Shortino shared with us here.


No. 19: Bonterra

1829 Cleveland Ave., 704-333-9463

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

Going to this restaurant, housed in a former church, has long been a pilgrimage for Charlotte epicureans. The wine list is one of the best in town, and chef Blake Hartwick’s menu celebrates Southern ingredients.


NARROW DOWN BY…

NEIGHBORHOOD
Elizabeth
Myers Park
Plaza Midwood
South End
SouthPark
Uptown

CUISINE
French
Italian
Japanese
Southern

 

BEST RESTAURANTS


NARROW DOWN BY…

NEIGHBORHOOD
Elizabeth
Myers Park
Plaza Midwood
South End
SouthPark
Uptown

CUISINE
French
Italian
Japanese
Southern

 

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