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Mar 14, 2009 02:38 PM

What's best in Charlotte?

Looking for any good eating ideas in Charlotte, NC. I will be in Charlotte from 3/15 to 3/21 for work. I am open to anything. Street food to fine dining. BBQ to fusion to ethnic food to home cooking. Drive thru to white table clothe. City to sticks. What is the best that Charlotte has to offer? I'm form New Orleans so I think about what I'm going to eat that day while I brush my teeth in the morning. Let me have it!

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  1. I'm hesitant to help out a UF fan, but reluctantly will do so. :-) First, you should definately do a search on here...there are lots of posts about Charlotte Chow. You might also want to tell us where you are staying, wil you have a car, etc. Charlotte is a very spread out city, and somewhat confusing to drive around in. Off the top of my head, I'd say Lulu is absolutely worth checking out. I think it is flat out fantastic. I also really like Arpa, a tapas restaurant in Uptown (downtown). For Dim Sum, there is a place called Dim Sum that is excellent. Pio Pio is a great "peruvian" style roasted chicken restaurant. There's not any great bbq in Charlotte, but I think Old Hickory House is better than most people give it credit for being.

    8 Replies
      1. re: carolinadawg

        I love Pio Pio I just had it for lunch the chicken is really good with a side salad the dressing is great and so are the Tostones. I would also suggest Terra, Barringtons, or Roosters for a little more upscale dining. Below are the websites if you would like to check out there menus. Hope this helps!

        1. re: carolinadawg

          Thanks for all the great advice. Even form a dawg. Enemies on the field, but allies at the table.

          My eating around Charlotte was very good. Tuesday I went to Lulu. Maybe the best onion soup I have ever had. The lamb shank was good, not great; but the lemon and goat cheese potatos were something special. Half price bottles of wine was a lucky circumstance.

          Next was Las Ramblas. My favorite. I tried lots of different things. It was all was very good. The artichoke cakes were my favorite, but everything was top notch. I was flyiing solo, so the food bar was an excellent place to kick back and read the paper while eating. I don't usually like the strip mall restaurants, but the inside was spacious and very comfortable. Wish I had as good a tapas palce in New Orleans like this.

          Thursday was M5 with a friend. Not a place I would normally frequent due to the sleek, polished, high end chain feel. But it was good. I had mussells, onion soup, and braised short ribs. A solid meal. Nothing mind blowing, but it was good.

          Lastly on friday was Barringtons. I was also excellent. One the best fish dishes I have had in a while. Good wine, great space.

          So all in all, I had a great food experience in Charlotte.

          1. re: geauxgators

            Fantastic, When a foodie from New Orleans has high praise for our local restaurants it makes me realize how far we have come as a food city. Rock On Charlotte

            1. re: geauxgators

              I'm glad you were able to get to all of these restaurants and for the most part had a pleasurable experience!!

            2. re: carolinadawg

              No good BBQ??!! I'm a gator as well so maybe it's just in my nature to find conflict somewhere in your post, but does Mac's not qualify as good bbq?

              1. re: ash0529

                Actually, I said there is no great bbq in CLT. Yes, Mac's is good, but its far from great, as far as traditional NC 'Q goes.

                1. re: carolinadawg

                  Agreed. It's a well known fact around town. Just the way it is.

            3. Arpa is overrated, if you're going to do tapas try Las Ramblas. Great food, great staff and a wonderful atmosphere. I know many disagree, but I'd also say you want to try Price's Chicken Coop, I'd say this qualifies as street food as there are no tables.

              1 Reply
              1. re: friek

                Agreed on Arpa. I wasn't impressed. Carolinadawg made many other good recs, IMHO. Of course Price's Chicken Coop is a Charlotte institution and adored by the big city gourmands.

                As carolinadawg rec'd, Lulu is my hands down Charlotte favorite. A close second for me, at least today, is Carpe Diem. I had dinner there a few nights ago and had some amazing scallops, pan-seared and served over an almond and brie risotto w/ just a drizzle of a tomato basil sauce. Perfect! A picture for your viewing pleasure:

              2. On a casual note... here is an evening to spend on one small block:

                Head over to The Penguin in the Plaza-Midwood area. Get there around 7pm (there will be lines) and order the fried pickles with a Carolina Dog (hot dog with chili and cole slaw)

                Go across the street to dish - a funky little restaurant with good southern style food. The shrimp and grits are really good, as is the meatloaf.

                Then, stop next door to Thomas Street Tavern to sit out on the back deck with a couple drinks. Weather will be great and the place will be packed.

                To end the night, go around the corner to the Common Market. It is a little corner store that you can buy micro-brews out of the cooler, pop 'em open, and drink right there in the store or out in the back alley. Always some artsy and colorful characters there...

                If you are still hungry after that.... head down Central Avenue to the Landmark Diner for great diner food.


                1. Thanks for reporting back, and I'm glad you found some good chow!