The Fig Tree
The Fig Tree has quietly become one of the best chef-driven restaurants in town. Greg Zanitsch runs the kitchen and co-owns the place, and he knows when to push the envelope (pumpkin-seed-crusted scallop app) and when to dial it back (the simple pan-seared scallop entrée). The staff is well versed at matching the menu items to the well-chosen wine list, and, of course, the old-house location is eminently charming.
The Fig Tree Restaurant on the Cheap
Yes, The Fig Tree is pricey -- more than half the entrées cost more than $30. But there are ways to sample the fare for less. Zanitsch suggests trying the Nito Senetiner don Nicanor 2005, an Argentine table wine ($24), which pairs well with the Lamb Wellington appetizer -- lamb with mushroom duxelles baked in phyllo and served over a white bean puree ($15). Best of all, it's perfect for sharing. Or try the Adriano Adami ($27) -- an Italian Prosecco that complements fried food such as the Lobster Hush Puppies ($12) well, bringing out the acidity and crispness of the wine.
1601 E. Seventh St., 704-332-3322, charlottefigtree.com