Where to Eat in Charlotte's SouthPark Neighborhood: 2019

PETER TAYLOR
Korean fried chicken lettuce wraps.

These picks are based on our 2019 Best of the Best Awards, 2019 25 Best New Restaurants2018 50 Best Restaurants lists, and ongoing considerations from our editors. 


Barrington’s 

You’ll often spot Charlotte’s old money at Barrington’s, and not because the restaurant is old-fashioned. Here, you’ll find the familiarity of a corner pub with a menu that shows serious sophistication, something regulars have discovered and returned for since the restaurant opened in 2000. Chef and owner Bruce Moffett’s first concept, Barrington’s has a New England-inspired interior, with sea-evoking blues and photographs from Barrington, Rhode Island, snapped by Moffett’s wife, Katrina. The dishes here generally get everything right, from textures and tastes to the plating. The menu is high-end yet still comforting, with humbling touches such as fried onions on the scallops or trout served with sweet potato chips. It’s a place you’ll want to come back to, and if you can afford to make this your regular spot, the familiar faces of the staff will make it feel like home. 7822 Fairview Rd., 704-364-5755.


Rooster’s Wood-Fired Kitchen  

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. Multiple locations.


Yafo Kitchen

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


Dogwood Southern Table & Bar

Each staff member here seems to have their own set of regulars, giving this SouthPark restaurant a friendliness and familiarity that’s hard to find. Part of Jon Dressler’s Rare Roots Hospitality Group (Dressler’s, The Porter’s House), Dogwood’s focus is on modernized Southern fare, such as duck and dumplings, trout, and pimento cheese served bubbling hot in cast iron. Whether you prefer to sit at a table or barside with ultra-talented mixologist Brian Lorusso, you’ll find a warm welcome. 4905 Ashley Park Ln., Ste. H, 704-910-4919.


Baku

Chef Michael Shortino, now owner of Futo Buta, helped guide Baku to become one of the best Japanese restaurants in town when it opened back in 2013. Birdie Yang, of Yama and Yama Izakaya, purchased the restaurant in 2017. Yang gave the restaurant the refresh it needed to stay relevant in the city’s rapidly growing culinary scene by amping up the sake program and switching up the source of its seafood to the vendors from his existing locations. 4515 Sharon Rd., 704-817-7173.


Corkbuzz

In a city obsessed with craft beer, it’s refreshing to visit a place like this, where the menu is crafted with wine in mind. Master sommelier Laura Maniec opened this concept, sister to two New York City locations, because she has family in town, and her well-crafted wine list and education programs are fit for all levels of wine knowledge. The food only enhances that experience. 4905 Ashley Park Ln., Ste. J, 704-625-1328.


Reid’s Fine Foods

The larger dining room at the SouthPark location of Charlotte’s favorite upscale market translates to an expanded menu. 4331 Barclay Downs Dr., 704-377-7686.


Oak Steakhouse

Since opening, this restaurant has turned out delicious steaks and appetizers, but the service needs work, especially with such a high price tag. 4777 Sharon Rd., Ste. 125, 704-954-8900.


Sushi Guru

In addition to the sushi rolls at its SouthPark location, Sushi Guru’s new two-story restaurant in Plaza Midwood serves ramen, poke bowls, and other creative food mash-ups such as the donut sushi, a supersized specialty roll which can be customized with your preferred “filling,” and the sashimi pizza, a toasted pita pie topped with edamame, hummus, slices of fresh salmon or tuna, and drizzled with wasabi aioli and eel sauce. There’s also a cocktail bar on the second floor. 1217 The Plaza, 980-256-4220.


Peppervine

Chef Bill Greene serves a rotation of artistic small plates with unexpected pairings like lamb belly with kimichi porridge and smoked butternut squash with miso. The menu changes constantly (they print a new one every day), but guests can expect house-made breads, charcuterie boards, and ice cream. Start with an order of pimento cheese scones or the warm Japanese milk bread—a.k.a. “elevated King’s Hawaiian rolls”—and you can’t go wrong. 4620 Piedmont Row Dr., Ste. 170B, 980-283-2333


Bar Marcel

Chef Nicholas Tarnate (former executive chef of Aix en Provence) merges flavors from France, Italy, and Spain. His menu is heavy on pasta and seafood, with dishes like “spaghetti nero,” tossed with squid ink, calamari, lobster, and mint. Look for a brunch menu with global-inspired fare like Spanish tortilla (a potato and onion omelet), and pastry chef Krista Margies’ dessert menu, which includes artistic tarts and custards. 3920 Sharon Rd., Ste. 160, 908-237-1919


Upstream

Sam Diminich took over as executive chef last year, and this year, the SouthPark restaurant marks its 20th anniversary. Regulars also rave about the sweet-and-sour calamari, says Adam Rhew in his review of the spot, which has familiar flavors, but the squid is served in larger pieces than the more commonly found rings. 6902 Phillips Place, 704-556-7730.