50 Best Restaurants in Charlotte: 2020
FIND THE LATEST VERSION OF THIS LIST (2021) HERE.
230 N. College St.
Chef Luca Annunziata serves lasagna just like his mom made it and carbonara as it’s served in Rome.
235 N. Tryon St.
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.
With views from the Mint Museum Uptown, this restaurant’s local menu is popular for lunch and pre-theater dinners.
100 W. Trade St.
Hotel dining gets an upgrade with this wood-fired grill, family-style concept in Marriott City Center.
Sea Level NC
129 E. 5th St.
Concrete beams and rustic brick give an industrial feel to this seafood restaurant, which serves up dishes that are accessible, inventive, and sustainably sourced.
127 N. Tryon St.
The spot’s innovative, seasonal menu includes yellowfin tuna sushi tots and mint crusted lamb loin.
511 N. Church St.
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
Come for the raw bar, but stay for bartender Brittany Kellum’s drinks. Then splurge on a slice of cheesecake.
225 S. Poplar St.
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.
The Parisian menu offers rotisserie chicken and a mix of pour commencer and plats, plus decadent desserts and specialty cocktails.
401 W. 9th St.
The blackened catfish is cooked just right, the Cajun pasta is piping hot, and chatter fills the no-reservations dining room.
100 N. Tryon St.
This restaurant serves up an extensive Italian menu in an elegant, modern space.
303 S. Church St.
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.
1508 S. Mint St.
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.
311 East Blvd.
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 Blvd.
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.
235 W. Tremont Ave.
A seasonal menu includes small plates like Korean-inspired calamari and barbecue-roasted octopus. The cocktail program focuses on innovative interpretations of classic drinks.
1829 Cleveland Ave.
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.
222 E. Bland St.
This ramen house promises authenticity, irreverence, and delightful, salty bowls of the hot noodle soup.
YUME Ramen Sushi & Bar
1508 S. Mint St.
The flavorful ramen and other Japanese classics here defy the restaurant’s plain interior. They also opened a new location in Wilmore last year.
1508 S. Mint St.
Feast on Carolina-style pork and Texas-style brisket, and grab a drink at the “Legends Counter” with custom plaques for Southern barbecue icons.
88470 Bellhaven Blvd.
The spot’s menu is sourced almost exclusively from North Carolina, and his tasting menu includes options like fried chicken and pork and beans.
3106 N. Davidson St.
Southern appetizers, fried chicken, and apothecary cocktails from Colleen Hughes draw a hip crowd to this mill town southern kitchen.
131 N. Main St.
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.
20210 Henderson Rd.
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.
1205 Thomas Ave.
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.
1401 Central Ave.
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.
1427 E. 10th St.
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.
1500 Central Ave.
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.
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.
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.
1601 Elizabeth Ave.
Owner and executive chef Trey Wilson uses top-notch, seasonal ingredients to create fresh takes on American cuisine in a hip, rustic atmosphere.
1961 E. 7th St.
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.
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.
1055 Metropolitan Ave., Ste. 130
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.
715 Providence Rd.
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.
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.
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.
Ingredients are fresh and cocktails are innovative at this spot, a sister to Dressler’s.
Beef ’N Bottle Steakhouse
4538 South Blvd.
An old favorite, this steak house is just what you’d expect, serving up thick and juicy cuts in a dark interior.
4620 Piedmont Row Dr., Ste. 170B
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.
530 Brandywine Rd.
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.
3920 Sharon Rd., Ste. 160
The menu features shareable plates of beef carpaccio or truffle and herb frittes—but order a flatbread pizza for yourself.
7822 Fairview Rd.
Bruce Moffett’s first restaurant is one of the best in town, with a classic menu and stellar service.
4905 Ashley Park Ln., Ste. 1
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.
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.,
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
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.