Food & Drink

The Best Restaurants in Charlotte Right Now

Published On 10/03/2017 Published On 10/03/2017
FRAN'S FILLING STATION
5Church Charlotte

5Church

Uptown

Since 2012, 5Church has been serving Charlotteans unique dishes and delicious cocktails. With the expansion of locations in Atlanta and Charleston, chef Jamie Lynch decided it was time for the flagship location to have a refresh. With a refreshed interior and menu, only a few signature dishes, such as the lamb burger, remain on the menu. But have no fear Charlotte diners! New additions such as the Ahi Tuna Poke with avocado and the citrus and herb roasted whole fish are sure to be favorites with their fresh and flavorful taste.

The Asbury

The Asbury

Uptown

In the historic Dunhill Hotel, The Asbury is a Southern restaurant, but with an upscale, modern twist that helps it stand out from the classics . The Maw Maw’s Cast Iron Biscuits are served with bacon jam and are the best way to start dinner. The menu also includes several true Southern staples like chicken & dumplings and sweet potato casserole, but adds a few new favorites into the mix: order the thyme & smoked peanut-crusted lamb chops and chicken liver risotto if you’re looking to try something new.

7th Street Public Market

7th Street Public Market

Fourth Ward

Although 7th Street Public Market is just that (a market), it’s one of the best-kept secrets for food in Charlotte. It features vendors from celebrated sushi, pizza, crepes, bread, and coffee purveyors in the city -- easily making it a one-stop culinary destination.

Flickr/scpetrel

Earl's Grocery

Elizabeth

Earl’s is a specialty grocery serving up some of the best food in Charlotte. While waiting for your order, feel free to peruse the cheese and charcuterie selections. And sure, maybe pick up a little something extra while you’re there. Order the No. 6 (a duck confit-beet hash) or the Harvest Salad with smoked farro, pickled onions, and fennel. Just saying. It’s wonderful.

Courtesy of Fork!

Fork!

Davidson

Located in a historic home nestled between Cornelius and Davidson, Fork! is one of the warmest and most intimate dining settings in the Charlotte area. With a menu that changes regularly, chef Tim Groody cooks with locally sourced fresh ingredients from farmers’ markets. You can taste the care that chef Tim puts in every dish. On a recent trip, the spicy chicken spring roll with wasabi and plum sauce and a pan-seared Spanish mackerel were the hits of the night. Don’t leave without ordering one of the mac & cheese options. The goat cheese mac is so popular that fans created a Facebook page in its honor.

Fran's Filling Station

Fran's Filling Station

Dilworth

The namesake of Fran Scibelli, who’s been active in the Charlotte culinary scene since 1994, Fran’s Filling Station is the definition of hospitality in a Southern city. Open since 2009, Fran’s has been providing patrons with eclectic dishes such as spicy lamb nachos and bacon wrapped tater tots to its signature Fran’s Meatballs and the Braised Beef Brisket. Stretchy pants are encouraged and a nap will likely happen after eating here.

The Fig Tree

The Fig Tree

Elizabeth

A well-curated wine selection, a seasonal menu, and a reputation for being one of the best date spots in Charlotte has made The Fig Tree one of the most quintessential restaurants in our city. After you try some of the fresh seafood dishes (which you must do), order up some dessert -- specifically the chocolate French silk torte.

COURTESY OF REMY THURSTON

futo buta

South End

Chef Michael Shortino opened Futo Buta in May of 2015 and has started a ramen revolution in Charlotte. Utilizing fresh ingredients, Futo Buta offers patrons Japanese-inspired dishes that are not only made from scratch, but also stunning. Ramen, gyoza, and Japanese fried chicken are some of the standouts. And don’t worry, it has forks, if you’d rather not use chopsticks.

Good Food on Montford

Good Food on Montford

Park Road

As the sophomore effort of chef Bruce Moffett, Good Food makes sister restaurant Barrington’s proud. And if we’re being honest (and cheesy), the spot does have good food. It’s a tapas-style restaurant where food is meant to be shared. Check out the Prince Edward Island mussels and ask your server for extra bread to sop up the green curry sauce. And because, well, the bread is great.

COURTESY OF THE GALLERY RESTAURANT

Gallery Restaurant

Ballantyne

The Ballantyne Hotel and Lodge is known for the PGA golf course and spa, but there is more than meets the eye at this luxury hotel. The Gallery Restaurant serves Southern food with character and unexpected flavors. Using mostly locally sourced ingredients, Chef Matt Tillman likes to add unique touches, such as sorghum kettle corn on a poached Asian pear salad, and coffee rub on a 22-oz. “cowboy” ribeye. Start or end the night with a drink from their extensive selection of bourbon, scotch and whiskey. But make sure you order dessert before you leave! The pomegranate cream cheese Bavarian dessert is unexpected, but not easily forgotten.

Courtesy of Heritage Food and Drink

Heritage Food & Drink

Waxhaw

Only two years old and located just outside of the city limits, Heritage has Charlotteans getting in their cars and driving to the suburbs. The menu changes weekly based on what’s in season and locally available, but it’s never a letdown. Some favorites: the deviled eggs, the duck breast with black rice, and wow, the North Carolina trout.

Flickr/lirena

Lang Van

Eastland

While this Vietnamese gem is located off the beaten path, it is worth the trek. The staff is friendly, but what stands out most is the delicious and traditional Vietnamese cuisine. From bun to pho to Vietnamese yellow pancakes, Lang Van continues to expand Charlotte’s horizons when it comes to culinary offerings.

Courtesy of Stoke

Stoke

Uptown

Housed inside the Charlotte Marriott City Center, the sleek and spacious Stoke looks like an extension of the restaurant's open kitchen, where chefs are creating seasonal American cuisine, much of which is wood-fired. There are plenty of wooden and marble tables to gather around, and if you're lucky, you'll get a seat near the kitchen so you can watch as the team pieces together beautiful ham and cheese boards, and dishes like tender sticky pork shank and smoked chicken. The bar features local craft beer and artisanal cocktails (go for the Bartender’s Handshake).

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1. 5Church 127 N Tryon St, Suite 8, Charlotte, NC 28202

Feather chandeliers, leather banquettes, and a black ceiling set the scene at this sleek, loft-style space in the center of Uptown, where signature dishes such as a lamb burger, ahi tuna poke, and citrus- & herb-roasted whole fish are served alongside fancy libations. Guests typically mingle here earlier in the evenings for a drink or two before continuing on to another nearby nightlife destinations. Specialty cocktails like the Viper (Patron, orange liqueur, cucumber water, and cayenne pepper) and the Rosemary Gin Fizz (gin, liquid egg whites, and rosemary simple syrup) are sophisticated enough to keep up with the crowd.

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2. The Asbury 235 North Tryon St, Charlotte, NC 28202

The Asbury is a modern southern restaurant, resting inside the historic Dunhill Hotel. Here, Executive Chef Chris Coleman gives Carolina favorites a modern twist, like his Cast Iron Biscuits served with bacon jam made using his grandmother’s recipe, or shrimp and grits with miso. The menu also features true southern staples like a fresh NC seafood boil and fried green tomatoes. The antique beauty of this restaurant is not to be understated, and you have the choice of either sitting inside or out on the stunning patio.

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3. 7th Street Public Market 224 East 7th St., Charlotte, NC 28202

The 7th Street Public Market is a Charlotte staple and a great place to meet members of the local foodie community. Comprised of a selection of local shops and grocers, the space houses a wide variety of cuisine and foodstuffs, from fresh made sushi, whole wheat pizza, a wine and cheese shops, and a juice bar, and more.

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4. Earl's Grocery 1609 Elizabeth Ave, Charlotte, NC 28204

This hip grocery is a place to be seen... at lunchtime, at least. Earl's has all sorts of amazing eats like hot bowls of ramen and steak tacos, plus daily features. The real winner, though, is the turkey sandwich. Yes, you heard that right, stacks of deli turkey with smoked Gouda, sun-dried tomato aioli, and avocado stuffed between two slices of lightly grilled wheat bread. It's simple perfection.

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5. Fork! 20517 N Main St, Charlotte, NC 28340

Located in a historic home nestled between Cornelius and Davidson, Fork! is a warm and intimate setting with a regularly changing menu, which always plays host to the freshest, locally sourced dishes, such as a spicy chicken spring roll with wasabi and plum sauce, and a pan-seared Spanish mackerel. For extreme comfort, order the tangy goat cheese mac, which is so popular that fans created a Facebook page in its honor. At brunch, the cheddar herb biscuits and gravy is your best bet, particularly when eaten on the sunny wraparound porch.

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6. Fran's Filling Station 2410 Park Rd, Charlotte, NC 28203

The namesake of Fran Scibelli, who’s been active in the Charlotte culinary scene since 1994, Fran’s Filling Station is the definition of hospitality in a Southern city. Open since 2009, Fran’s has been providing patrons with eclectic dishes such as spicy lamb nachos and bacon wrapped tater tots to its signature Fran’s Meatballs and the Braised Beef Brisket. Stretchy pants are encouraged and a nap will likely happen after eating here.

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7. The Fig Tree 1601 E 7th St, Charlotte, NC 28204

We think we've found your new Charlotte date spot: a refurbished 1913 Craftsmen style bungalow offering intimate ambience in spades. Elizabeth's The Fig Tree Restaurant serves upscale, French inspired seasonal fare worth forking over a few bucks for. You'll thank us after you've tasted their seasonal offerings like the appetite-whetting stuffed calamari, fois gras and crab cheesecake lamb along with filling mains like lamb, elk or veal chops.

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8. futo buta 222 E Bland St, Charlotte, NC 28203

Futo Buta, located in the South End of Charlotte, serves authentic house-made ramen noodles steeped in broths glistening with golden droplets of fat, plus vegetarian options, as well. The restaurant offers an intimate group-style dining experience with long communal tables and a chic, minimalist look. On the menu, you'll also find other traditional Japanese cuisine options and an extensive selection of sakes and locally brewed beers.

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9. Good Food on Montford 1701 Montford Dr, Charlotte, NC 28209

The eclectic small plates menu at Good Food on Montford has helped earn Bruce Moffett previous James Beard nominations for best chef in the Southeast. Though the menu changes with the seasons, staples like the steamed bun stuffed with five spice rubbed pork belly, and the mussels in a green curry coconut broth remain undeniable favorites. If you’re looking for conviviality, this is your place, just look at the mishmash of patterned brick walls, colorful tile and sleek light fixtures.

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10. Gallery Restaurant 10000 Ballantyne Commons Pkwy, Charlotte, NC 28277

The Ballantyne Hotel and Lodge may be known for its PGA golf course and spa, but the Gallery Restaurant holds its own: it serves Southern food with unexpected flavors, such as sorghum kettle corn on a poached Asian pear salad, and coffee rub on a 22-oz cowboy ribeye. If you're coming for lunch, don't feel like you have to order fancy -- the NC Local Burger is arguably the most luxurious item on the menu, and comes topped with a sunny side-up egg and local white cheddar soaked in a Charlotte-brewed ale. There's an extensive selection of bourbon, scotch, and whiskey, too, plus a pomegranate cream cheese Bavarian dessert that, really, is the only way to end a meal here.

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11. Heritage Food & Drink 201 W South Main St, Waxhaw, NC 28173

Though the drive to Waxhaw is always worth it, a Sunday drive to visit Chef Paul Verica inside his hyperlocal restaurant is that much more pleasurable. The big deal at brunch are the house-made donuts, which change weekly, and the hangover helper, a headache-fighting, belly-fortifying combination of bread, pimento cheese, bacon, pulled pork with a fried egg and crispy onions.

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12. Lang Van 3019 Shamrock Dr, Charlotte, NC 28215

If there was a Vietnamese restaurant version of Cheers, it would be filmed at Lang Van. While this ethnic gem is located off the beaten path, you'll still find a packed house full of locals, and an attentive staff and owner that can remember your order every time you walk in the door. The Vietnamese dishes are traditional and fresh, from bun, to pho, and Vietnamese yellow crepes, which are not to be missed.

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13. Stoke 100 W Trade St, Charlotte, NC 28202

Housed inside the Charlotte Marriott City Center, the sleek and spacious Stoke looks like an extension of the restaurant's open kitchen, where chefs are creating seasonal American cuisine, much of which is wood-fired. There are plenty of wooden and marble tables to gather around, and if you're lucky, you'll get a seat near the kitchen so you can watch as the team pieces together beautiful ham and cheese boards, and dishes like tender sticky pork shank and smoked chicken. The bar features local craft beer and artisanal cocktails (go for the Bartender’s Handshake).