50 Best Restaurants in Charlotte: 2020

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The Restaurants on Our ’50 Best’ List Offering Curbside, Delivery Options Amid the Coronavirus Pandemic

UPTOWN

Forchetta. Photo by Peter Taylor.

Forchetta
230 N. College St.
704-602-2750

Chef Luca Annunziata serves lasagna just like his mom made it and carbonara as it’s served in Rome. 

The Asbury
235 N. Tryon St.
704-342-1193

Chef Mike Long’s inventive menu mixes countryside favorites like biscuits and deviled eggs with bold flavors and contemporary techniques.

Halcyon, Flavors from the Earth 
500 S. Tryon St.
704-910-0865

With views from the Mint Museum Uptown, this restaurant’s local menu is popular for lunch and pre-theater dinners.

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

Hotel dining gets an upgrade with this wood-fired grill, family-style concept in Marriott City Center. 

Sea Level NC
129 E. 5th St.
704-412-2616

Concrete beams and rustic brick give an industrial feel to this seafood restaurant, which serves up dishes that are accessible, inventive, and sustainably sourced. 

5Church
127 N. Tryon St.
704-919-1322

The spot’s innovative, seasonal menu includes yellowfin tuna sushi tots and mint crusted lamb loin. 

McNinch House
511 N. Church St.
704-332-6159

Guests order from a daily prix fixe menu (ranging from five courses to nine courses), choose their wine and entrées, and the staff takes care of the rest. 

Fin & Fino
135 Levine Avenue of the Arts, Ste. 100
704-800-5680

Come for the raw bar, but stay for bartender Brittany Kellum’s drinks. Then splurge on a slice of cheesecake.

Haymaker
225 S. Poplar St.
704-626-6116

Enjoy locally and seasonally inspired dishes from North Carolina chef William Dissen in this bright, stylish space next to Romare Bearden Park. 

La Belle Helene
300 S. Tryon St.
704-969-2550

The Parisian menu offers rotisserie chicken and a mix of pour commencer and plats, plus decadent desserts and specialty cocktails. 

Alexander Michael’s
401 W. 9th St.
704-332-6789

The blackened catfish is cooked just right, the Cajun pasta is piping hot, and chatter fills the no-reservations dining room.

Aria
100 N. Tryon St.
704-376-8880

This restaurant serves up an extensive Italian menu in an elegant, modern space. 

Angeline’s
303 S. Church St.
704-445-2540

The Italian-inspired entreés at this uptown spot are all excellent, and the whipped ricotta with sourdough, lavender honey, and pistachio is the most imaginative appetizer on the menu. 


South End/Dilworth

Bardo. Photo by Peter Taylor.

Bardo
1508 S. Mint St.
980-585-2433

This foodie destination serves seasonal small plates and creative cocktails. The dining room looks into a big, open kitchen where diners can watch the chefs at work. 

Copper
311 East Blvd.
704-333-0063

Ease into Indian cuisine with standard dishes like chicken tikka masala, or be more adventurous with the seafood medley “anjeeri” and dial up the spice.

300 East
300 East Blvd.
704-332-6507

The interior of this old house-turned-restaurant is welcoming, as is the menu of familiar and surprising sandwiches, salads, and entrées. Save room for dessert by pastry chef Laney Jahkel-Parrish. 

Zeppelin
235 W. Tremont Ave.
980-209-0008
A seasonal menu includes small plates like Korean-inspired calamari and barbecue-roasted octopus. The cocktail program focuses on innovative interpretations of classic drinks.

Bonterra
1829 Cleveland Ave.
704-333-9463

Its setting may be a historic Southern church, but Bonterra serves up modern Southern flavors with top-notch service. Wine lovers will be impressed by the more than 200 wines by the glass. 

Futo Buta
222 E. Bland St.
704-376-8400

This ramen house promises authenticity, irreverence, and delightful, salty bowls of the hot noodle soup.

YUME Ramen Sushi & Bar
1508 S. Mint St.
980-858-5678

The flavorful ramen and other Japanese classics here defy the restaurant’s plain interior. They also opened a new location in Wilmore last year. 


West Charlotte

Noble Smoke’s banana pudding. Photo by Peter Taylor.

Noble Smoke
1508 S. Mint St.
980-585-2433

Feast on Carolina-style pork and Texas-style brisket, and grab a drink at the “Legends Counter” with custom plaques for Southern barbecue icons. 

Heirloom
88470 Bellhaven Blvd.
704-595-7710

The spot’s menu is sourced almost exclusively from North Carolina, and his tasting menu includes options like fried chicken and pork and beans. 


NoDa/North Charlotte

Haberdish. Photo by Peter Taylor.

Haberdish
3106 N. Davidson St.
704-817-1084

Southern appetizers, fried chicken, and apothecary cocktails from Colleen Hughes draw a hip crowd to this mill town southern kitchen.

Kindred
131 N. Main St.
980-231-5000

Every meal at the Davidson restaurant starts the same way: with cloud-like milk bread, an appetizer with such a following, Kindred made T-shirts. The subsequent dishes are just as beautiful, and they’ve earned chef and co-owner Joe Kindred a James Beard nod for the past four years. 

Hello, Sailor
20210 Henderson Rd.
704-997-5365

Davidson’s sweethearts, Joe and Katy Kindred, opened this lakefront spot. Expect Carolina classics like fried catfish and seafood platters, as well as tiki drinks. 


Plaza Midwood/Elizabeth

NC Red. Photo by Peter Taylor.

NC Red
1205 Thomas Ave.
704-321-4716
Bruce Moffett had a big 2019—he opened two restaurants and released his cookbook, Bruce Moffett Cooks: A New England Chef in a New South Kitchen. NC Red’s ambitious menu merges the cuisine of his first home in New England and his current home in the South with dishes like Nashville hot chicken and a lobster roll. 

Midwood Smokehouse
1401 Central Ave.
704-295-4227
With North Carolina pulled pork, beef brisket, smoked chicken, and dry or sauced ribs, there’s a ’cue for everyone—and traditional sides to pair. The restaurant has a number of Charlotte locations including Ballantyne and Park Road Shopping Center, but the Plaza Midwood spot is its flagship post.

Intermezzo
1427 E. 10th St.
704-347-2626

Even the pickiest eater can find something to order at this fusion spot, with menu options ranging from burgers and pizzas to cabbage rolls and stuffed peppers. 

Carpe Diem
1535 Elizabeth Ave.
704-377-7976

A beautiful interior and a no-fuss vibe create a stress-free fine dining experience, with dishes ranging from buttermilk-fried chicken over spinach with black pepper shallot gravy to local seafood specials. 

Soul Gastrolounge
1500 Central Ave.
704-348-1848

Expect to wait a while at this no-reservations spot, known for small plates like pork belly tacos with compressed watermelon, and a rotating list of craft cocktails. 

Bistro La Bon
1322 Central Ave.
704-333-4646
This Plaza Midwood favorite recently expanded to a second location in Cotswold. Dinner favorites include the swedish meatballs, lavender chicken, and other tapas-style selections. 

The Fig Tree Restaurant
1601 E. 7th St.
704-332-3322

The No. 2 restaurant on our 2018 Best Restaurants list, the Fig Tree specializes in fresh and flavorful cuisine with an emphasis on wine pairing in a 1913 bungalow. 

Customshop
1601 Elizabeth Ave.
704-333-3396

Owner and executive chef Trey Wilson uses top-notch, seasonal ingredients to create fresh takes on American cuisine in a hip, rustic atmosphere. 

The Stanley
1961 E. 7th St.
980-299-2741
Beloved Heritage chef Paul Verica opened The Stanley in 2018 with his son, Alex, as sous chef. The Elizabeth restaurant was a semifinalist for best new restaurant last year. 

Sweet Lew’s BBQ
923 Belmont Ave.
980-224-7584
Demand for Lewis Donald’s barbecue hasn’t wavered since the “shack” opened last year; it’s not uncommon for Sweet Lew’s to sell out of its brisket and chopped pork shoulder.

Pizzeria Omaggio
1055 Metropolitan Ave., Ste. 130
704-370-0777

Among a sea of by-the-slice joints, owner Daniel Siragusa sticks by his Italian roots with personal pizzas. Some think they can’t possibly eat the whole pie, but they do. And then they order dessert.


South Charlotte

Sichuan Pork Belly and Pimento Cheese Scones at Peppervine. Photo by Peter Taylor.

Stagioni
715 Providence Rd.
704-372-8110

Meaning “seasons,” this concept from Bruce Moffett serves Italian standards. A must-visit for Chef Eric Ferguson’s delicious, handmade pastas, wood-fired pizzas, and slow-roasted meats.

Good Food on Montford
1701 Montford Dr.
704-525-0881

Bruce Moffett’s small-plates bistro unites a variety of influences and flavors onto one menu, and each dish is worth ordering. 

Rooster’s Wood-Fired Kitchen
6601 Morrison Blvd.
704-366-8688

Chef Jim Noble’s menu features gussied-up, Southern-tinged American and European peasant fare, like hand-tossed pizzas and roasted chicken. A second location is in uptown. 

Dogwood Southern Table & Bar
4905 Ashley Park Ln.
704-910-4919

Ingredients are fresh and cocktails are innovative at this spot, a sister to Dressler’s.

Beef  ’N Bottle Steakhouse
4538 South Blvd.
704-523-9977
An old favorite, this steak house is just what you’d expect, serving up thick and juicy cuts in a dark interior.

Peppervine
4620 Piedmont Row Dr., Ste. 170B
980-283-2333

Chef Bill Greene serves a rotation of artistic small plates with unexpected pairings like lamb belly with kimchi porridge, or smoked butternut squash with miso.

Flour Shop
530 Brandywine Rd.
980-299-3754

Watch your pasta get prepared in the open kitchen. Chef Trey Wilson’s shared plates are great for larger groups, but if you don’t want to share, get the lamb Bolognese.

Upstream
6902 Philips Pl.
704-556-7730

The 20-year-old SouthPark mainstay is known for upscale seafood, but executive chef Sam Diminich’s sushi menu adds Pacific Rim flavors to the mix.

Bar Marcel
3920 Sharon Rd., Ste. 160
980-237-1919

The menu features shareable plates of beef carpaccio or truffle and herb frittes—but order a flatbread pizza for yourself.

Barrington’s
7822 Fairview Rd.
704-364-5755

Bruce Moffett’s first restaurant is one of the best in town, with a classic menu and stellar service.

Corkbuzz
4905 Ashley Park Ln., Ste. 1
704-625-2261

This place focuses on food that pairs well with wine—all 200-plus by the bottle and nearly 40 by the glass.

Aqua e Vino
4219 Providence Rd.
704-364-4445
This Italian restaurant has one of the smallest dining rooms in town, which means it can be hard to nab a reservation without planning. It also means chef Gabriele Grigolon can serve each dish, from pastas to composed plates, with textbook precision.

The Porter’s House
7417 Waverly Walk Ave.,
704-930-7878

Steak house The newest member of the Rare Roots Hospitality Group (Dressler’s, Dogwood) is known for thick-cut steaks, modern sides, and craft cocktails. 

Dot Dot Dot
4237 Park Rd., Ste. B
704-817-3710

Stefan Huebner’s creative cocktails may be the main attraction at this members-only speakeasy, but the sweet potato gnocchi with bourbon glaze will convince you to stay for dinner.

Categories: Food + Drink