From tapas to Italian to Low Country, then back to tapas, and, yes, even a steak house, these are the top new places to eat

Written by Jon Luther and Richard Thurmond
Photographs by Chris Edwards

720 Governor Morrison Street

The guys at Arooji's are old school. That's good. Charlotte needs more old school. Old school means half-empty espresso cups on café tables, good wine, and a place to eat that gets to the point. It means hearty and comfortable food. And owner Steve Arooji and Chef Livio Ingenito are turning out some pretty fine Tuscan cuisine. For example, a first course, Sambuce. A warm flour pastry stuffed with ground beef, potatoes, and mozzarella cheese. And the standout Parmigiana di Melanzane, paper-thin slices of eggplant and cheeses baked in the oven and served with spaghetti and a light marinara. The service is also superb. At one point we were in front of the restaurant getting some air, and the waiter asked if we wanted him to hold the door open so we could hear the music. That's service, folks. Take notes.

Head Scratcher
The layout. Puzzling use of space.

Double Your Pleasure
The first Arooji's is on Ballantyne Commons Parkway in the Promenade shopping center.

Drink Up
Sample the fine, mainly Italian, wine list on Wednesdays, with $15 flights paired with an app.

Categories: Feature, Food + Drink, Restaurants & Food