Ethnic places to eat in Charlotte, NC
Indian - definitely Copper if you want to spend more money... for vegetarian I'd recommend Udipi in the University area.
I second jlwnc on Cuisine Malaya. Some of the dishes are a miss, but the Malaysian dishes and surpisingly the sushi are excellent.
I've heard Dim Sum on Central is the best Chinese in Charlotte, but I have yet to go. China Bistro 88 on 4th is the best I've had in town, but I agree with others that Charlotte is lacking outstanding Chinese.
Has anyone been to Meskerem for Ethiopian? I used to live in DC and there were scores of great Ethiopian restaurants. I think Meskerem is Charlotte's only one... but I'm very curious to try.
For Italian - there is a great gelato place in Huntersville in Birkdale Village - Cafe Mia. I don't get up that way very often, but my Italian teacher recommended it - and wow - that was delicious gelato. Also had a good panini there. Molto buono!
thbunny, I've heard good things about the Ethiopian place. I think Tricia Childress gave them a glowing review... but it was some time ago.
I was just at Bangkok Ocha and it's always been my favorite Thai place in S.Clt. Their curry dishes are lovely and the service is wonderful.
Everyone who likes German food raves about Waldhorn near Carolina Place Mall. I despise German food ( I find it bland ) but this place seems to satisfy those who dig it.
Quite honestly, I'd steer clear of Italian in Charlotte. There are some places that do the upscale stuff well (although personally that's a contradiction of terms - upscale italian), but the small family owned places leave something to be desired.
I second Dim Sum and Cuisine Malaya... and have heard good things about Copper. I liked Bombay Grille for Indian but haven't been there in a couple of years.
Ilios Noche is the sister restaurant to Nolen Kitchen and also does outstanding Greek in a casual atmosphere. It's in S.Clt and a bit more accessible.
"Everyone who likes German food raves about Waldhorn near Carolina Place Mall. I despise German food ( I find it bland ) but this place seems to satisfy those who dig it."
Unfortunately, German food in the US is much like Chinese. Most of it is awful. If you go to Germany you will discover that there are a variety of cuisines that are quite interesting. What is served up in the US is a Bavarian cliche.
Lynn-it was Ilios Noche that I meant when I recommended Cilantro's, so thanks for suggesting it. (I have no idea why I mixed them up)
thbunny- There are at least 2 Ethiopian restaurants in Charlotte. One (older) is Red Sea, just around the corner from Cuisine Malaya. The other is Eskerem.
I have always liked the Red Sea, but I progresed from dining there to takeout to not at all due to cleanliness issues. (It has become a strange place as well: there is a pool table in the back and I get the impression it is s a barroom/pool hall/hang out for some of the owners' friends. I found it unsettling though I can't say why exactly.)
The food however was very good.
I have tried Eskerem twice and both times found it bland. It is also priced higher than Red Sea and IMO a little expensive for what it is.
Little girl tree--Where is Saffron located?
Has anyone tried the Turkish place in Pineville (in Thai House's old location)?
Saffron is down in Ayresley Place on South Tryon. It's wonderful. The other ethnic restaurant I can highly recommend is Tomi. It's a Chinese place at Colony Place. I think it's the same family that used to own Koko. We went on Saturday night and can't stop raving about it. Their hot and sour soup is clear, not gunky brown like you usually see. I had the chicken in garlic sauce and it was wonderful. The service was fantastic, very nice people. I wish them the best. Lynn - I always agree with you almost 100% and most of your post is dead on but what about Portofino? I really like that place for Italian.
Chinese- forget it, I have yet to find decent chinese food in Charlotte
Indian-Bombay Grille and Copper (not traditional, more gourmet/creative Indian, but very good.) I avoid Maharani, Situl and Jaipur based on cleanliness issues and lack of consistency. Woodlands is vegetarian, good and inexpensive,but typically very slow.
Italian- Portofino's for everyday, reasonable priced fare.
Ole Ole has been gone at least 5 years. Folks may be thinking of Sole which is very good. Miro is good as is Cilantro's
Cuisine Malaya is good and has a variety of Asian dishes, some noodles, sushi and Malayasian
Thai Thai is take out only and excellent (former owners of King and I). Second on Thai House.
Also recommend Greek Isles
Vietnamese - Pho 98 is good but the service is slow. Ben Than on Central is far better - it's owned by the people who used to own Lang Van. My only gripe is that the neighborhood is kinda scary. http://benthanhcharlotte.com/
Azteca has great, consistent Mexican. Their chef's specials are wonderful. http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&ie=UTF8&q=azteca&near=Charlotte,+NC&fb=1&view=text&cd=2&latlng=35135249,-80713740,12465094503527032267&ei=B-swR8_2M46QiwHh-4GACg#
I second Bangkok Ocha -great Thai.
Now, Indian food...We used to have great Indian food in town with Diamind Indian and India Palace. I have been to every Indian restaurant in town and I have finally, after years of searching, found great Indian again - Saffron. The food doesn't taste homogenous, it's actually pretty. Not fussy like @ Copper, but pretty and fresh. I go there once a week and it's waaay on the other side of town. I tried Nirvana a week ago and was so disappointed that I had to go to Saffron days later to sate my desire for Indian food.
Chinese - Dragonfly used to be good, now it's wretched. The last time I went, both entree's and the appetizer were greasy and undercooked. Soho cafe in Harrisburg is still good, though http://www.harrisburgtowncenter.com/h....
Greek - I'd suggest Nolen Kitchen. Greek Isles is fun, but Nolen is much more meticulously crafter fine Greek food.
I live in Pineville (S. Charlotte for those that don't know) and my favorite pastime is eating ethnic food. I believe that I am a very good food critic and am a great judge of delicious, good quality food. The following is a list of my favorite ethnic places to eat. Viet Thai: if you love Thai food and love Vietnamese food, this restaurant is an awesome combination of both kinds...its between Park Rd. & Hwy 51 behind Burlington Coat Factory; Thai House is very good also, just pricier, just Thai food, off 51 also. Bombay Grille is a wonderful Indian restaurant off Hwy 51, lunch is buffet... just wonderful. Bangkok Ocha is a kick ass Thai restaurant off Hwy 51, wonderful atmosphere, also a touch of Vietnamese on the meu as well! Jade Asian Fusion in Ballantyne Village is a wonderful sushi, vietnamese and thai mixture, but does not fall short on any of their dishes given they are fusion ... every menu item spares no flavor or quality, awesome atmosphere and reasonably priced. There are many other ethnic restaurants in S. Charlotte, but I'm a big fan of vietnamese and thai, so those are my favorites... Undoubtedly though, if you love vietnamese food, the #1 in Charlotte is hands down, Pho Hoa restaurant on Central Avenue!! Go Panthers!
Here's a list of some decent ethnic restaurants:
Indian - try Jaipur on South Blvd or India Palace on Independence Drive
Japanese - Musashi on Park Road
German - Rheinland Haus on Park Road (not the best but apparently they've been in business since the early 60s) and I've seen good reviews for another German restaurant in Pineville, NC near Carolina Place Mall
Thai - Thai House on Central Ave, Charlotte or Pineville-Matthews Rd, Pineville
Still on a quest for good Spanish, Chinese and Italian though...kinda hard to please a former New Yorker.
Hope this helps.
re: Anne H.
Thanks Jim - I'd forgotten about Ole' Ole' but I hadn't been there in a while either. I always pass Don Quixote and I'll give them a try. By the way...my future in-laws from Chicago will be coming to visit in a month or so - got any suggestions for a unique place to take them for a first-time meeting with my parents?