Food + Drink

Shockingly Southern

 Chef Chris Edwards deconstructs chicken and dumplings.As a transplant from the hinterlands of the Northeast, otherwise known as Buffalo, Boston, and Philadelphia, there are things I cannot hope to understand about the South. NASCAR is one—for the life of me…

Falafel Surprise

Falafel, made from fried spiced chickpeas, is served with a tangy yogurt sauce while the kafta arayes (think crispy pita filled with spiced ground beef and served with chopped pickles) is a highlight on the menu.Those unfamiliar with Lebanon may…

The Rainbow Grill

Rainbow Grill A line on the menu at the Rainbow Grill claims "The Best Burger in Charlotte." I asked Willie West, the proprietor for thirty-eight years, where the quote came from. "All my customers." The burgers really are great, made…

The Flying Biscuit Café

About fifteen years ago on one of those sticky days that give Hotlanta its nickname, I ate lunch at the original Flying Biscuit Café. That biscuit tasted like it was straight from my grandma's harvest-gold-colored oven. The restaurant's new Stonecrest…

Valentino's Taco Truck

Alejandro mans the truck behind Valentino's Mexican restaurant on Sharon Amity Road. I spotted the taco truck parked behind Valentino's, so I made a quick U-turn, because I love a good taco truck. I know a lot of people who…

Big Daddy's Burger Bar

The Classic Southern is a burger topped with chili, relish, and slaw.For such a simple sandwich, the burger is getting a lot of love these days. In New York City, which never met a comfort food it couldn't bastardize, you…

The Test of Time

Frank Manzetti's TavernTime was, Manzetti's was SouthPark's top destination restaurant. This was in those dark days before fancy chain steakhouses and seafood shops discovered little ol' Charlotte, before the mall became a gleaming paean to luxury brands, before someone decided…

Zada Janes

If it weren't for the coconut chocolate fudge torte sitting within reach of me throughout my lunch at Zada Jane's, I just might have escaped with a full stomach and light meal to boot. No such luck. But that's what…

Original Pancake House

Original Pancake HouseSince Anderson’s closed, Charlotte’s power brokers (and those who wish to be) have been casting about for a suitable spot to talk business and politics over pancakes and coffee. The new location of the Original Pancake House just…

Yes to Curry, Hold the Meat

To the best of my knowledge, Charlotte's South Indian restaurants are the only establishments in town offering an exclusively vegetarian menu. This might seem limiting, especially to customers who love their "meat and three." But a constraint on raw materials…

Nice Catch

 On a recent visit to New Orleans, I was comforted by the spirit of the people and the hope for the region in the face of the Katrina aftermath. The city lost half its citizens in the resulting diaspora, but…

Intermezzo Pizzeria and Cafe

Photo by Chris Edwards Photo by Chris EdwardsIf you are in the Plaza Midwood area and are looking for an alternative to the common pizza joint, drop in to Intermezzo. Located at Tenth and Central, Intermezzo offers excellent pizza from a…

Arooji's

 Arooji's 720 Governor Morrison Street 704-366-6610The 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…

Long Live the Queen

You know, it's kinda nice to go to a restaurant that just wants you to have fun. My earliest experiences with Cajun Queen came in college, a decade and a half ago. For some reason, Cajun Queen was on the…

Best Restaurants

OK, fine, here are the BEST restaurants in Charlotte.With so many good new restaurants, we decided to eschew our traditional Best Restaurants list for a look at the promising rookies. But we know that some of you gotta have your…

Sugar Magnolia

 Sugar Magnolia9824 Rea Road, in Blakeney704-540-0000This warm spot opened late last year, but ongoing construction at its Blakeney home has kept it under the radar. That's too bad, because everyone needs to know about this place. Owners Chris and Brandy…

Ratcliffe on the Green

 Ratcliffe on the Green425 South Tryon Street704-358-9898The chefs at Ratcliffe on the Green incorporate a significant amount of local produce into the menu. (Chris Edwards)Chef Mark Hibbs is doing some serious name dropping on his Ratcliffe menu—Ashley Farms, Tega Hills,…

Simple Pleasures

7741 Colony Rd.(corner of Colony and Rea roads)704-759-1288$$, L, D. Closed Monday "You're here for takeout?" the man behind the counter asks. We arrive at seven on a Friday night. Only one other table in Tomi's stylish, red-paneled interior is…

Firenze

 Firenze6414 Rea Road, in Shops at Piper Glen704-544-4949Firenze (Chris Edwards)The Tuscan way of cooking and serving food is based on sourcing the freshest ingredients possible, preparing them simply, and serving them passionately at the proper moment. No fusion, no foams,…

Del Frisco's

 Del Frisco's 4725 Piedmont Row Drive704-552-5502At Del Frisco's, choose from the 1,650-selection wine list or head for the tasting cellar. (Chris Edwards)Strolling into Del Frisco's is to be assaulted by sheer opulence. It's a striking space. Huge thirty-foot windows dominate…

Customshop

 Customshop1601 Elizabeth Avenue704-333-3396With entrees at $20 or under, and forty wines under $40, you can't go wrong at Customshop. (Chris Edwards)From time to time, it's fun to allow oneself to be seduced by well-prepared and well-presented food. At Customshop, seduced…

Las Ramblas

 Las Ramblas2400 Park Road704-335-8444Las Ramblas Executive Chef Blake Hartwick spent a month in Spain preparing his authentic tapas menu. (Chris Edwards)More than anything else, Las Ramblas is a fun place to eat and drink. There are four distinct areas, each…

Tria Terra

 Tria Terra7707 Pineville-Matthews Road, 704-541-2924The tapas att tiny Tria Terra are outstanding. (Chris Edwards)Owners Patricio Campoverde and Esteban Vintimilla have transformed this former Moe's burrito joint into a sixty-seater that swings and surprises. Ecuadoran by birth and New York City-bred,…

Imagining Italy

Once you do discover Arooji’s, you are assaulted with kindness. There is a familial glow to the service. The staff cares about its guests, and it shows. It occurs to me that I could probably order a Big Mac, and…

Hickory Tavern

 Tucked just off Johnston Road, the seventh Hickory Tavern (there’s also one in Hickory, one in Spartanburg, and four others in Charlotte) opened this summer. While you might dismiss it as just another bar and grill, this Hickory Tavern feels…

So Far, So Good

Turkey was once the seat of an empire, a land of imperial sophistication where East and West crossed paths. A meal at Sofram only hints at this rich history, but its menu blends European and Middle Eastern influence with confidence…

African Flavor

[rsg2_singledisplay:836}Tucked into a Myers Park shopping center, Meskerem is decorated with Ethiopian wall hangings above booths and glass-topped tables, creating an atmosphere of unpretentious calm. Meats and vegetables arrive on a vast, round injera platter, arranged like paints on an…

Here's the Beef

 Hipsters flock to it; it spawns imitators in cities across the country.Meanwhile, regulars at George Fine’s Beef ’n’ Bottle in Charlotte keep right on ordering ribeyes, New York strips, and oysters Rockefeller, blissfully unaware of how cool they have become.As…

Charlotte Restaurant Guide

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