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need unpretentious special occasion dining option in Charlotte (south park)

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I get to see my Dad only a couple of times a year. We always go out for a long dinner to catch up, martini's to start, drink some good wine and have a fine meal. We will be staying in the South Park area of Charlotte but will have a car so can travel if need be.

The short list at the moment includes Good Food, Andrew Blair, Lulu's, Ruth Chris, Bonterra, and Barrington's (where we dined a few years ago). As you can see most are close to South Park and a couple are 5-6 miles away. Price is not an issue. We want more of a good food experience and most importantly, don't want to be rushed. Of the list above Ruth Chris is the outlier I know but, Dad does want the option to order a good steak. I like to support local (non chain) restaurants with innovative food and wine menus.

Of the list, what do you recommend or am I missing one? most of my research was done on chowhound or tripadvisor with some google thrown in.

thanks in advance for your help.

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  1. Sorry - one additional bit of information; neither of us are local which is why I'm asking the question in the first place. I am flying in from Boston and my Dad lives in Raleigh and is coming down for a couple of days.
    ATLNOBOS

    1. I would definitely throw out Ruth's Chris, as you can get that anywhere and there's really nothing special about it. I've heard Bonterra' has gone downhill a little bit, but maybe that's not the case. From the that list, I would say Lulu, Barrington's and Good Food would be the top three. If you think you and your dad would enjoy sharing small plates, Good Food is good for that, but don't go there to get a hearty steak.

      2 Replies
      1. re: ickymettle

        I really enjoyed the food at Good Food but think it would be a difficult place to carry on a conversation. I would recommend Andrew Blairs they have both excellent food and a very comfortable dinning room. A great place to catch up. Try a dish called The Carpet Bagger Short ribs served over mashed potatoes and topped with creamed spinach and fried oysters. It may not be a steak but man it sure is hearty.

        1. re: GodfatherofLunch

          I agree with GFL, Good Food is so loud and not a comfortable atmosphere. Lulu's doesn't typically have a great steak option and it isn't the place for a leisurely meal either. I wouldn't even consider Ruth's Chris for the reasons the OP mentioned.

          My vote is for Andrew Blairs... with Barringtons a close second. Go with Andrew Blairs since you've already done Barringtons. Chefs Mark & Blake will serve you up some innovate locally sourced food that will knock your socks off.

      2. Take a look at Georges Brassierre in the Piedmont Row complex at SouthPark. I had lunch there this week and they have a very traditional brassierre menu and service. Great attention to detail and preparation, and nice space. It may be a little loud, but it recently opened and i do not think they are getting the crowds yet.

        1. This is great feedback and you've picked up on something I should have mentioned in the original post; given the importance of the meal and get together, it is preferable that we can carry on a decent coversation without shouting. others feel free to weigh in but I do feel like we are hoing in on a top 2 or 3.

          ATLNOBOS

          1 Reply
          1. re: ATLNOBOS

            it might be a little farther away than you want to travel, but for a GREAT local steak place, look up beef and bottle. 50's style decor, wonderful steaks.

            http://www.beefandbottle.com/