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Sep 24, 2009 01:35 PM

Arena Area Dining Charlotte NC

Hey Hounds,

Going on a date with the Wife in a few weeks and am looking for a good restaurant around Time Warner Cable Arena (never to early to start planning, right!). We are adventurous eaters and don't mind something new.

I don't spend much time uptown, so I am not terribly familiar with what is there. A quick Google search turned up the usual chains.

I'm looking for a decent value, not a budget buster (one income family of four, the kids are not coming). Something within walking distance to TWCA is preferable, park once and don't have to worry about getting tipsy.

Can you help me?

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  1. Tons of options. Basil for good Thai. Sonoma has a new, lower price point menu that sounds good, although I haven't been. Coco Osteria for italian. Ratcliffe on the Green for more upscale "brasserie" style food. Enso in the Epicentre complex for sushi and asian fusion. Or you could ride the light rail a couple of stops to Greek Isles for excellent greek food at very reasonable prices.

    10 Replies
    1. re: bbqdawg

      Thank bbqdawg. I had forgotten about Basil and was unaware of Enso.

      1. re: c.u.shoeless

        I think Basil is expensive and overrated. The portions are about half of what you get right down South Blvd at Monsoon and not nearly as tasty. I vote for Coco Osteria. Great food, pretty restaurant and reasonable prices. And closer to the arena. I'm not a fan of the Epicenter at all. I think it's dusty and dirty and overrun with college kids in the evening.

        1. re: southernitalian

          Went to Coco Osteria for the first time the other night after always seeing it and being curious. Have to say, I was so pleasantly surprised. The service was awesome and the food was really good. It was very Italian, like Italy-Italian as opposed to Italian-American.

          I had the Chicken Parmigiana (my personal weakness) and just loved it. The chicken was lightly fried and perfectly cooked, with a light layer of sauce and fresh mozzarella cheese. The side of spaghetti was cooked well, had a light sauce with some fresh tomatoes on top.

          Being an Italian-Amerian I love my Americanized Italian peasant food, but I really enjoyed Coco Osteria. Small menu, but done very well.

          1. re: mcap

            Ever since my wife and I celebrated our fifth anniversary in Italy, American-Italian food has been ruined. (Darn traveling.)

      2. re: bbqdawg

        You could also give Lavecchia's a shot, easy walking distance and they give a 10% discount if you have an event ticket. A bit more of a hike would get you to Aquafina, which I much more prefer. I appear to be in a seafood mood.

        I haven't been to Basil in Charlotte but I have been to the one in Charleston and found it to be overpriced and underwhelming.

        1. re: friek

          southern, good to know. I've never been to the epicenter to see the clientele. Does Coco have a specialty? Or at least something that they do particularly well?

          friek, I haven't been Lavecchia's in years and I didn't know about the discount. (I'm not above coupons, food tastes the same with them as without.) Seafood is always an option.

          1. re: c.u.shoeless

            If you're thinking italian, Luce is also right there in Hearst tower.

            1. re: friek

              Is Luce a similar price point to Coco?

            2. re: c.u.shoeless

              I'd say the specialty is pasta, but I've thoroughly enjoyed everything I've ever had there. They serve a fabulous white bean dip (more like a salad?) with their deliciious bread. If it's not too warm, seating outside is great.

        2. Luce and Coco Osteria are owned by the same person. Both are good but Luce is far superior. If it's not too far Fiamma is the best Italian food in town. INHO
          I think Epicenter is pretty cool. I don't think it's dusty or dirty just lots of construction going on. Some venues at Epicenter do get overrun with college kids in the evening. Luckily I have no desire to ride the mechanical bull at whiskey river so it's no problem for me. I do hear Howl at the Moon is a great fun spot and look forward to checking that out soon.

          4 Replies
          1. re: GodfatherofLunch

            So epicenter might be good for a post concert drink then...

            1. re: c.u.shoeless

              There's no problem with Epicentre any time...I've never noticed any large amounts of dust or dirt, nor been bothered by the age of the other patrons.

              1. re: c.u.shoeless

                absolutely. Epicentre has many things to check out -
                By the way what concert are you seeing?

                1. re: c.u.shoeless

                  I would not recommend the Epicentre for a post-concert drink. Its not a laid-back kind of place. At that time of night its an "entertainment venue". If you don't mind crowds of people, then the Epicentre is not horrible. But I wouldn't go there for a "date night". Howl at the Moon was jam packed last time I was there and they stopped letting folks in because they were at capacity. Whiskey River was a young crowd and not anywhere I would recommend to anyone I know. I agree with SI, in that Epicentre is geared more towards a 20-something crowd.

              2. You could go to Pewter Rose on South Blvd and take the train to the Arena. If you are driving in you could eat at NOFO on Liz, then booze it up after dinner.

                4 Replies
                1. re: waitress

                  I've never even heard of NOFO. I'll look into it. What can you tell me about it (style of food, price points, etc.)

                    1. re: easzman1

                      Wow! That sucks. I was just there last Wednesday. I was talking with one of the managers and he told me how tough it has been for them, but he didn't give any indication that it might close. That's too bad. It was a really good place to have in the neighborhood.

                      1. re: ickymettle

                        It was a cool place but wasn't the best food . . . kinda run-o-the-mill . . . not bad though, just averageish. Actually only went once and that was just a few days ago.