Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Charlotte, NC dining


foodiehall
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hub & I will be in Charlotte for the ACC Tournament in a few weeks, haven't been there in several years. I've gone back through some Southeast threads for advice on Charlotte restaurants and since Lan4dawg seems to be impressed with Lulu, I thought we could check that out. Since we usually sit through all the games, we'll probably be going out to eat only a couple of times....for dinner. Are there any other "don't miss" places out there? We're very much into chef-owned places; not too interested in BBQ/steakhouse places on this trip.

We used to love going to Lamplighter's on Morehead (?) Street and were very disappointed when it went out of business. Has that space been occupied by any other restaurant(S)? Thanks for any suggestions/advice you might pass along.

Edited by foodiehall (log)

CBHall

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hub & I will be in Charlotte for the ACC Tournament in a few weeks, haven't been there in several years.  I've gone back through some Southeast threads for advice on Charlotte restaurants and since Lan4dawg seems to be impressed with Lulu, I thought we could check that out.  Since we usually sit through all the games, we'll probably be going out to eat only a couple of times....for dinner.  Are there any other "don't miss" places out there?  We're very much into chef-owned places;  not too interested in BBQ/steakhouse places on this trip.

We used to love going to Lamplighter's on Morehead (?) Street and were very disappointed when it went out of business. Has that space been occupied by any other restaurant(S)? Thanks for any suggestions/advice you might pass along.

I hope it is still very good or I might be in trouble. ":^)

in loving memory of Mr. Squirt (1998-2004)--

the best cat ever.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hub & I will be in Charlotte for the ACC Tournament in a few weeks, haven't been there in several years.  I've gone back through some Southeast threads for advice on Charlotte restaurants and since Lan4dawg seems to be impressed with Lulu, I thought we could check that out.  Since we usually sit through all the games, we'll probably be going out to eat only a couple of times....for dinner.  Are there any other "don't miss" places out there?  We're very much into chef-owned places;  not too interested in BBQ/steakhouse places on this trip.

We used to love going to Lamplighter's on Morehead (?) Street and were very disappointed when it went out of business. Has that space been occupied by any other restaurant(S)? Thanks for any suggestions/advice you might pass along.

i work at a place called roosters and john mariani said some kind words about it in a review here if you care to scroll about a quarter way down the page. it's about 15 minutes away from the bobcat's arena, but i think it would suit what your looking for.

i've also heard wonderful things about lulu, and that is rather close to the arena. i'm just rather partial to my employer.

Edited by aycowles (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
  • 4 months later...

just ate at LuLu's based upon this boards advice..had a delightful meal

food was very nice

service was exceptional

ambiance was "bistro"

value was very good - outstanding meal for the price.

ate at Barringtons a few months back..the food was better, but at a much higher price.

I'd be very happy eating at either of these places again.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 6 months later...

Need to bump this thread up. In Charlotte on business through Friday, probably next week too - NY egulleteer, looking for the best to be had in Charlotte, nothing break your bank, sometimes I'm dealing with a stipend, sometimes entertaining or being entertained. Staying near the airport but looks like you have to drive everywhere for everything. Not interested in anything Asian unless there is some niche asian community, like a bunch of Hmongs or cambodias who make kickass food, already had Mac's for barbeque - need reccs!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Need to bump this thread up. In Charlotte on business through Friday, probably next week too - NY egulleteer, looking for the best to be had in Charlotte, nothing break your bank, sometimes I'm dealing with a stipend, sometimes entertaining or being entertained. Staying near the airport but looks like you have to drive everywhere for everything. Not interested in anything Asian unless there is some niche asian community, like a bunch of Hmongs or cambodias who make kickass food, already had Mac's for barbeque - need reccs!

I've often wondered with all the Hmong that were re-settled in the area, why none of them has ever, to my knowledge, opened a restaurant.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Need to bump this thread up. In Charlotte on business through Friday, probably next week too - NY egulleteer, looking for the best to be had in Charlotte, nothing break your bank, sometimes I'm dealing with a stipend, sometimes entertaining or being entertained. Staying near the airport but looks like you have to drive everywhere for everything. Not interested in anything Asian unless there is some niche asian community, like a bunch of Hmongs or cambodias who make kickass food, already had Mac's for barbeque - need reccs!

I've often wondered with all the Hmong that were re-settled in the area, why none of them has ever, to my knowledge, opened a restaurant.

Wow so I was just giving you an example, but I guess that WAS a bunch of Hmongs taking care of the Starbucks I was at earlier! haha

If you're local, please help!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What's happening, raji?

Being from Vermillion, South Dakota, I can't exactly say that I am local! :smile: However, the gf's family lives in Charlotte, and I have been there numerous times throughout the last 3 years. While she goes to see her parents and brother, I go along for the food!

As far as fine dining goes, the best experience I have had thus far is Zebra restaurant. Chef/Owner Jim Alexander (a former GA seafood chef champion and national Taste of Elegance winner) is doing some fantastic things with formal and accessible contemporary French food. We had the Chef's Grand Tasting with wine pairings, and the butter poached lobster on creamy risotto haunts me with its deliciousness to this day. A contender for best food around, and a huge wine list with options for all price levels. Definitely a must for the hardcore foodies visiting Charlotte.

Upstream is another wondeful establishment and is currently one of the more trendy spots to eat in Charlotte. Upstream is definitely an upscale locale, with Chef Tom Condron preparing grade-A day-boat seafood. The gf and I had our first great meal in Charlotte here; we began with some fresh crudos, for mains she had a perfectly cooked mahi mahi with mango and hearts of palm, and I had a "surf and turf" of grilled filet and two monstrous seared scallops. Another gem, and a very beautiful interior. This place is owned by a restaurant group called Harper's who, coincidentally, also own a gem called M5.

The other great Harper's establishment, M5, is more of a lounge than a restaurant, but we had a nice dinner there the last time we were in town (late Dec.). I really enjoyed the setup of the menu, which is divided into starters (obviously), then meats, fish and sides depending on whether you wanted roasted, grilled, etc. To begin, we had the garlic chile shrimp. I got one of the nightly specials (often including special ingredients priced insanely cheap) - a mixed dish of shrimp, clams, mussels, scallops and lobster together with rice in a spicy marinara sauce...rich, filling, outstanding comfort food. One of the coolest things about M5 is their wine service. They have an option called "Wine Journeys" where you receive 3 pours of 3 oz. each of wines from a certain region. I chose the Red Journey to Spain and the gf went with the Journey to Greece. This was a great deal, as it allows you to try different wines, and the pours are most certainly more than 3 oz.! On a side note, we had the best server we have had in our entire Charlotte dining career at M5 - definitely try to get Matt, he's the man.

Another high end dining experience can be found at Noble's- Chef Jim Noble's self-named flagship restaurant. We ate here after the Meineke Car Care Bowl in December, and this is what I consider to be the "nicest" restaurant in Charlotte. A beautiful interior, gorgeous presentation and the most extensive menu showcasing local and organic ingredients. As we were intending to go out for the night, we were looking for something that wasn't too heavy. I was a bit disappointed with the crispy fried calamari, but only because I had been expecting to be blown away - there wasn't anything wrong, per se, but I just wanted more from a restaurant of this caliber. The crabcake was quite good, with large chunks of crab in a very light and crispy exterior, but the sweetbreads stole the show - easily the best sweetbreads I have ever tasted. We also had the tasting of Noble's charcuterie, which was fine, and a crispy fried oyster salad, of which the oysters were fantastic. Noble's is a great experience overall, but you definitely pay the price for it.

On the opposite price spectrum, we had a romantic dinner at Luce, which I consider to be the premier Italian joint in town. The high ceilings and soft yellow interior make for a beautiful dining experience, but the pasta is the real star here. A nice beef carpaccio was the starter, and the fresh shaved parmiggiano and truffle oil definitely elevated this dish. Mains were a veal piccata with lemon-caper butter sauce for me, and cheese-stuffed rigatoni and canelloni for the gf. Delicious pasta carries the day, and the low prices make this a must-try in Charlotte.

For the usual steakhouse, etc., we go to Ruth's Chris uptown, but Morton's, The Palm, and Sullivan's all get a lot of press for being top-tier steak restaurants.

If you are just looking for a great burger, a beer and a fun atmosphere, Big Daddy's Burger Bar is the place to be. Hands-down, the best burger I have ever had - hugely customizable 100% grass-fed hormone free beef, with all kinds of condiments and add-ons at no extra charge. A very fun place to grab a bite to eat.

My favorite place in Charlotte, the one that I absolutely have to go to every time I am there, is Ilios Noche. It's a Greek place that specializes in classic Greek and Mediterranean cuisine, and man do they do it up right. From the must-trys (saganaki, the octopus, souvlaki, whole striped bass, and the steak marsala) to the traditional Greek dishes like braised lamb shank and lamb oreganata, this place is the best food for the money in all of Charlotte. The most expensive thing on the menu is under $30, and the gigantic wood-burning stove and beautiful chandelier make dining here a treat!

Charlotte definitely has numerous great food options for all price ranges, and is a wonderful dining city! Let me know if you have any more questions about the scene...hope this helps!

Edited by lhollers (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow I appreciate the lengthy response! I'm gonna put this to the group and report back! The high-end places are appreciated, but I think I might be met with a $50 pp expense limit as all companies are cutting back. Are there more midrange pricerange places worth mentioning?

Let's see how a bunch of city slickers do in north cakcalacky!

Edited by raji (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nice! Glad you enjoyed M5; Harper's group is doing some great things in the Charlotte dining scene...

Alright, I didn't realize that you had a larger group with you, so that changes things a bit - still looking for moderately-priced, I presume?

A few other places that we have very much enjoyed that aren't super expensive are:

Harper's - cheap, good Southern food

Bonterra - bomb-ass wine list (shout-outs from Wine Spectator magazine) and a really cool "Food for Wine" menu that allows you to choose small plates that complement the wine you select. This might not be the best option for a true "dinner" though, as mains are somewhat expensive ($30-40).

Villa Antonio - I know I threw in my plug for Luce, but this site is known as one of the better places to get Italian in the city...prices are right around $30 for mains, but there are some cheaper options, as well!

If you're looking for something different from the norm:

Restaurant i - "French Japanese" fusion (weird, I know, but it works) with the best sushi I have had in Charlotte. I got the sushi platter, she got the Beef Tataki:

gallery_58515_6462_27000.jpggallery_58515_6462_9428.jpg

Copper - upscale Indian cuisine at a reasonable price - another Wine Spectator favorite...beautiful interior

Cabo Fish Taco - A straight-up good time, in a quaint (read: tiny) building, with some good ol' fish tacos and Mexican food - people getting hammered, being loud, and enjoying food - my kind of place!!

Brixx Wood Fired Pizza - pretty self explanatory, and yet oh so tasty...

Finally, I know that I said this in my last post, but for a genuinely great restaurant experience, I have never gone wrong with Ilios Noche - the food, the service, the interior, the wines...all of it combines to make this one of my absolute favorite places to go in the entire city.

If you do go (and you should), please do me one huge favor - say hi to Doug for me...he's the bigger guy with glasses (I believe a manager now) and he was the first one that we met in Charlotte during our first meal dining out; kind of a tradition for us to stop in and see him every time we are there haha!

Another thing I would recommend is to pick up one the Charlotte magazines entitled "Creative Loafing." You can find these anywhere around the city, they're free, and inside is an extensive dining guide (based on area of the city) that lists the type of food, a brief review, and a price range...very helpful, and what we originally went off of when deciding where to go.

Hope this helps, and let me know if you need anything else! Enjoy your time in the beautiful Queen City, and rest assured that I am insanely jealous as I labor away at my legal studies, eating Hy-Vee Chinese in Vermillion, SD! :wacko:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I thought I heard that Restaurant i closed recently.

Wow, that sucks...well, I would go ahead and take that one off the list - replace with Ru San's - a little less expensive, a little more Americanized, but a really fun atmosphere and somewhere where you most certainly won't go home hungry...man, that really is shitty that Restaurant i closed down...

Edited by lhollers (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...