7 Best Restaurants in Charlotte's South End and Dilworth


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As do most dishes, the spring rolls at Rai Lay come adorned with a flower.

PETER TAYLOR

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


O-Ku

2000 South Blvd., Ste. 510, 704-594-1922

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

Sushi is all about the sourcing, and you can taste it’s done well at South End’s O-Ku. Michael Chanthavong is the executive chef at this Charleston import, and his enthusiasm radiates from the people behind the sushi bar to the front-of-house staff, who will help you navigate the sushi and sake selections. Don’t think that this spot is simply raw seafood, however—for the ocean-averse, dishes made with duck, pork belly, and wagyu beef are equally thoughtful.


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 recently opened Lincoln’s Haberdashery, a grab-and-go market in South End.


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.


Copper

311 East Blvd., 704-333-0063

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

Classic Indian dishes and creative specials are served in a homey dining room, with service that’s nearly always on point. 


Rai Lay 

1520 South Blvd., Ste. 130, 980-207-0991

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

This small South End spot serves delicious Thai noodle dishes in a warm environment, as well as sushi and Asian comfort food classics. Friendly service only adds to the homey experience.


300 East 

300 East Blvd., 704-332-6507

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

There’s always a lively crowd in this old home-turned-restaurant, enjoying hearty American fare or a salad to save room for some of the city’s best desserts. 


Vivace 

1100 Metropolitan Ave., Ste. 100, 704-370-7755

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

Known for a killer brunch special, hearty pastas, and a convenient lunch, Vivace suits just about any occasion, even when it’s too cold to sit out on the restaurant’s BOB award-winning patio. 

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