One of the best things about the Queen City is the restaurant scene. Whether you’re looking to provide out-of-towners with a list of local favorites, on the hunt for a rehearsal dinner or private party space, or just want to expand your local culinary horizons, these are some of our top choices.
From locally sourced to around the world
Charlotte’s lively restaurant scene is a testament to a rich tapestry of flavors. From down-home southern fare to fine dining, Charlotte offers a blend of locally sourced and international cuisine. The city’s diverse culinary landscape provides a taste for everyone and for every occasion.
Loved by locals
Want to know the best places to eat? Ask a local. Here are some hometown favorites everyone is sure to enjoy.
For fine dining, there’s no better place than The Fig Tree Restaurant. A blend of French and Italian cuisine is presented in a sophisticated atmosphere. And be prepared to enjoy an excellent selection of award-winning wines.
Celebrate southern-style food and wash it down with a craft cocktail at Haberdish. The trendy NoDa restaurant refers to its serving style as a “… potluck family gathering with only your favorites.”
Who would have thought sushi and burgers were a winning combo? But Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar makes it work. You’ll find one-of-a-kind sushi and burger dishes, along with “burgushi”. Yes, it’s a thing.
More top Charlotte restaurants
Still hungry? Here are a few more Queen City culinary establishments worth exploring.
Around Charlotte, you’ll find folks raving about the Q at Midwood Smokehouse. Enjoy mouthwatering smoked meats and hearty sides served in a laid-back atmosphere. Midwood also brings the BBQ to you, catering weddings, private parties, and corporate events.
Another locally sourced place favored by locals is The Asbury. Located in Uptown Charlotte, this restaurant offers a farm-to-table dining experience highlighting southern flavors and local ingredients. This modern restaurant is nestled in the historic Dunhill Hotel.
In Foxcroft East in South Park is Barrington’s. This neighborhood gem offers American fare centered around a seasonal menu of locally sourced ingredients. This was the first of Chef Bruce Moffett’s restaurants. This native New Englander fell in love with the South and stayed to found a group of four popular restaurants.
Experience Charlotte’s international flavor
This southern city showcases a vast array of ethnic restaurants. Consider one of these when your taste buds are searching for something new and different.
Italian cuisine has a home here. In Uptown Charlotte, Aria Tuscan Grill offers just that – dishes of seafood, pasta, and grilled meats inspired by Tuscany and presented in a modern setting. And if you’re staying at the Kimpton Tryon Park Hotel, make a reservation for a divine Italian-American dinner with a slightly southern twist at Angeline’s.
With two locations in Charlotte (South End and Mill District), Seoul Food Meat Company anchors its menu around Korean-inspired BBQ and sides and then gives it a spin with tacos, wings and other creative dishes. Both locations offer Karaoke rooms with lots of different themes – a fun way to spend time with your wedding party.
Another Asian fusion concept is Akahana Asian Bistro. This restaurant, with its roots in Japanese fare, is known for its fresh, fresh sushi. You’ll also find a mix of Asian flavors from Thailand, Vietnam, and China in their ramen, poke bowls, and contemporary small plates.
Sushi lovers will also enjoy Ru San’s Sushi & Seafood. Consistently rated as a top sushi restaurant in Charlotte, Ru San’s offers Japanese cuisine. Bring your party to them or have it catered for a casual, in-home dining experience.
Pho is the mainstay of Vietnamese cuisine. With its play on words in the name, Pho Real Vietnamese Restaurant is a family-owned eatery serving the country’s classics. This Charlotte gem has been voted one of the Best 10 Pho Restaurants in North Carolina.
If your taste buds desire the flavors of the Middle East, head to La Shish Kabob. This family-owned Mediterranean restaurant is known for its authentic shawarma, kebabs, falafel, and hummus. And the award-winning establishment provides an extensive menu for both meat lovers and vegetarians.
Rounding out this group of favorites is Paco’s Tacos & Tequila. James Beard winner Rob Walsh is a Tex-Me culinary expert and the mastermind behind the dishes. From wood-fired grilled fajitas to cheese enchiladas with chili con carne, each dish is focused on the freshest ingredients. And the restaurant lives up to the latter part of its name with over 100 tequilas.
Charlotte’s locally sourced food scene
While North Carolina’s top three crops are peanuts, soybeans, and corn, the state is also home to farmers focusing on locally-grown produce and proteins. Charlotte restaurants have tapped into family farms and the city has an ever-growing number of “real food” eateries. In addition to the ones mentioned earlier, here are some more great restaurants focused on the locally sourced food scene.
In the nearby suburb of Belmont, Heirloom Restaurant has a menu that revolves around the seasons. This farm-to-fork restaurant is proud to be “locally sourced and globally inspired.” The highlight of Heirloom is the six-course tasting menu.
Wood-fired cooking using the best local ingredients makes Stoke Charlotte a popular foodie favorite. Here guests can witness the preparation of their meals through the restaurant’s open kitchen. Experience the connection between chef and food firsthand.
For those looking for a plant-based menu, Living Kitchen offers vibrant dishes using organic and locally sourced ingredients. These vegan creations are enjoyed by everyone. This eclectic restaurant serves up a variety of traditional and unique – from plant-based burgers to Pad Thai.
Completing our list of top locally sourced restaurants is CustomShop Handcrafted Foods. The ever-rotating menu of North Carolina produce, seafood, and artisan items takes its inspiration from Spain, Italy, and France. This eatery also offers a seasonal cocktail menu that takes an ingredient-first approach.
Whether you’re looking for southern comfort food, fine dining, or something new, you’re sure to find a delicious meal in Charlotte. Bon appetit!