Need Restaurants near Ballantyne area in Charlotte
Will be visiting and staying there for almost two weeks and would love nearby suggestions. People I am staying with are new to the area themselves and we will all be looking to explore and find new good places to eat and buy food in general. So far my research has turned up Table, Miro's Spanish Grille, and New South Kitchen in the immediate area and further away Rooster's Wood Fired Kitchen and Noble's. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
We are all from NYC and we like all kinds of food except Asian food. Italian, Greek, French, American are all fine. We will be exploring areas too, but I am trying to limit that to no more than 45 minutes too. He does not like to drive to new places and I don't want to be screamed at for navigating badly. :>)
I am not very familiar with the Ballantyne area, but more and more chefs are opening what appear to be quite decent places around there.
As you can imagine, Charlotte is no NYC, but I bet your relatives/friends will need an occassional Greek/French/Italian fix. I am going to suggest some fun things to try on your visit to give you a taste of Charlotte, with some options for exploring the surrounding areas.
Though the new light rail does not go all the way out to Ballantyne, you can easily park at the South Blvd station. You can then take the train into the city. http://www.charmeck.org/Departments/CATS/LYNX/home.htm
If you get off at the Bland St. station, you will be right in front of our best, and only authentic Greek restaurant. Charlotte has a rather large Greek population, but a surprising dearth of real Greek food. Many of our city's Greeks run diners (John's Cafe in Plaza Midwood, the Landmark on Central, Basils off South Blvd), where the food is more classic greasy spoon. http://www.greekislesrestaurant.com/about.html
Not everything at the Greek Isles is notable, but they do a good job with the standards.
Pay attention as the train travels between the East/West Blvd station and Bland Station, because on your left you will see Charlotte's local favorite: Price's Chicken Coop. This place was in the top three on Bon Appetit's "Best Fried Chicken" show last year. It's accolades are deserved. Near Price's is a place I love - Phat Burrito for a very good Tex-Mex take on burritos, tacos and house made salsas. Very casual, affordable and filling.
We don't really have a French restaurant in town, but there are several places that do French-inspired food. Lulu's on Central Ave. and Terra Restaurant on Providence Road are the first to come to mind. Sadly, we do not have a French Bistro here - I would love that. If you ever want to take a trip to Charleston, SC (only 3 hours from Charlotte), then you must visit La Fourchette with pommes frites cooked in duck fat!!!!
American - we got that! You will find plenty on these boards about that.
But if you're into drive-ins, etc., you may be interested in a visit to Gastonia, which is about 45 minutes south of downtown Charlotte. On Franklin Blvd, there is an old institution called Tony's Ice Cream, where old tar heels have been getting their burgers, dogs, fried bologna (a southern thing!) and milk shakes since 1947. Their shakes require a spoon. Cash only! http://www.tonysicecream.com/history.html
If anyone in your crowd likes to sew - and even if they don't - Mary Jo's Fabric Store is an institution as well, with ove 40,000 square feet of fabrics and sewing notions. People from all over the South know about this place. http://www.maryjos.com/about/default.asp
A little further down I-85 into South Carolina is the town of Spartanburg. This town is home to the Beacon Drive-In (also featured on that Food TV program) http://www.maryjos.com/about/default.asp
Eating at the Beacon is an experience - bring an appetite. The make ice cream sundaes the size of your head!
Spartanburg is about an hour and a half from Charlotte. About the only other thing there is the BMW factory. If you go just a few miles down the road, you will get to Greenville, SC, which IMO has one of the more charming downtowns of any city in the Piedmont.
131 Main on Rea/Ardrey Kell is supposed to be very good. They would probably enjoy Firebird's at Stonecrest. Cantina 1511 is also at Stonecrest, decent Mexican. Villa Antonio and Table are right in the heart of Ballantyne. I have been to Villa and it's pretty good. Great location for people watching. Haven't been to Table but I'm told very good, maybe not worth the price. I believe the restaurant that is actually in the Ballantyne Resort has gotten good reviews but again, haven't been and I've only recently begun spending much time in the area. It's really lovely and I'm wondering what kept me north of 51 for so long. Biggest tip? Search for lynnlato's posts on this site. She lives down in that neck of the woods and has very thorough and helpful tips. (Just checked; the restaurant at the resort is called the Gallery and it looks like a beautiful restaurant but you'll have to dig around to find reviews. I can tell you that the resort itself is pretty and they might enjoy just looking around if they haven't been. Maybe you all can crash a wedding!)
thanks for the suggestion, i will look into them. we actually have a reservation at Table for one of the evenings as I am told that is extremely close to where they live and when I inquired about the Gallery, I was told that is extremely close too. They have been to neither so we are looking forward to trying new restaurants together. Hopefully after I leave they have a good mix to go to. Thanks I will search for Lynnlato's posts. I have read a few so far.
Though not exactly in Ballantyne, I can't say enough good things about either Toscana in Phillips Place next to Southpark (about 4-5 miles) or Luce in Uptown (couple of miles further north). Any of Augusto Conte's restaurants are outstanding and you will absolutely not be disappointed - those two are the most upscale and are, IMHO, the best restauarants in the Charlotte area. His others are osterias and, while smaller and a bit more casual, still have the same excellent quality of food and wine.
I know they're not precisely in Ballantyne - but keep in mind this is the suburban New South (especially Ballantyne) and there's really nowhere that you are going to get around with avoiding a car.