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Good Eats

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zas has become a standard. Not complicated, but consistently good. Open late. $$

Comet Grill, 2224 Park Rd, 704-371-4300. Dependable bar food in a friendly neighborhood joint. Big burgers, great fries, a spicy shrimp app and some vegetarian alternatives, too. $

Mangione's Ristorante, 1524 E. Blvd., 704-334-4417. Opened in 1977. If you can't decide between Northern and Southern Italian, they have it mixed here. All the familiar bases are covered, plus you have Mr. Mangione's personalized service. $$$

McIntosh's Steaks and Seafood, 1812 South Blvd., 704-342-1088. Folks head over to Greg McIntosh's steak and chop house for a round up of straight forward menu selections, gargantuan portions, and man-sized knives and forks. Elegant surroundings and service. $$$$

Mister K's, 2107 South Blvd., 704-375-4318. A South Boulevard institution since 1967, but with a 50s-ish ambience: burgers, dogs ans soft ice cream. Homade onion lovers make this a second home. $

Nikko Japanese Restaurant & Sushi Bar, 1300-F S. Blvd., 704-370-0100. Sushi chef and owner Joanna Nix radiates warmth and hospitality throughout this traditional Japanese cuisine oasis. In addition to sparkling fresh sushi, there's yakimono, teriyaki, tempura and udon, too. $$$

Nirchi's Pizza, 1300-M South Blvd., 704-372-3535. Sicilian pan pizza and upper state New York styled 16 inch pies, exceptional chicken wings, subs, and sandwiches at reasonable prices. $$

Original Pancake House, 1300 South Blvd., 704-372-2929. This is a chain restaurant, but the pancakes are so good. The apple pancake is a huge, puffy affair big enough for at least two people. There are plenty of other flavors too. Expect to wait in line on weekends. $$

Patou, A French Bistro, 2400 Park Rd., 704-376-2233. Well-executed French and Belgian (try the Waterzooi) bistro cuisine. Menu changes seasonally. Patio. $$$

Pewter Rose, 1820 South Blvd., 704-332-8149. Opened in 1984. With its whimsical, charming, second story ambiance and notable wine list this restaurant is known for Chef Blake Dewey's eclectic cuisine. Very popular Sunday brunch spot. Nest door is Tutto Mondo, a stylish bar with late night food. $$$

Pike's Old Fashioned Soda Shop, 1930 Camden Road, 704-372-0092. Nostalgia reigns while being served homemade quality from ice cream floats to sandwiches and fries to sticky buns. Lunch only. Breakfast on weekends. $$

The Planet Grill, 1531 East Blvd., 704-372-1818. Buffet style, all you can eat, stir fry wrap joint. $$

Price's Chicken Coop, 1614 Camden Rd., 704-333-9866. Opened in 1962 and known locally for having the best deep fat fried chicken and fish in town, if not North Carolina. You'll see all kinds in line from construction workers to cardiologists. Take out only. Long lines at lunch move quickly. Cash. $

Ru San's Japanese Cuisine, Sushi & Seafood, 2440 Park Rd, Park Shopping Center, 704-374-0008. From Atlanta comes this high spirited, high volume, reasonably priced (for sushi) restaurant. $$$

Southend Brewery, South Blvd, 704-358-4677. Charlotte based brewpub which serves up their well-known Carolina Blonde and Olmstead Red. $$

Vidalia & Grapes, 1626 East Blvd., 704-358-8188. The grapes are in the glass and it is more than onions on the plate. Owner chef Tim Henderson hails from Charleston, and you'll find fat tendrils of crab in the She Crab soup. Dishes offered in tapas or entree sizes. $$$

Vittorio's Italian Cuisine, 311 East Boulevard., 704-344-8799. This is the former Chelsea's, relocated across town into an historic Dilworth house. Cuisine is primarily southern Italian, but some northern Italian dishes with an Ecuadorian influence. $$$

Downtown/MidtownAlexander Michael's, 401 W. 9th St., 704-332-6789. A neighborhood pub in Fourth Ward with domestic and imported beers, burgers, blackened chicken breast sandwiches, and an unflappable staff. $$

Bijoux Brasserie & Bar, 201 N. Tryon St., 704-377-0900. This restaurant evokes the painted memories of late nineteenth century French impressionists depicting life of a French brasserie. If you yearn for Paris, Bijoux has a setting worthy of a visit. $$$

Bistro 100, 100 N. Tryon St., Bank of America Corporate Center, 704-344-0515. A decade ago when there were few good places to eat downtown, there was Bistro 100. The kitchen is known for it's wood-burning oven and dishes that are decidedly French bistro. Open for Sunday Brunch. $$$

Bravo! Ristorante, 555 S. McDowell St., 704-372-4100. Italian cuisine is the star, and professional singers share the stage as waiters. $$$

Brixx Wood-Fired Pizza, 225 E. 6th Street, 704-347-2749. Home of the MBA program and the "B" stands for beer. Late night noshing on goat cheese and shrimp pizzas has become a standard. Not complicated, but consistently good. Open late. $$$

Capital Grille, 201 N. Tryon St., 704-348-1400. An upper end, luxuriously appointed, dark wood, clubby steak house with a national reputation for dry-aged porterhouse and sirloin steaks and large portions. $$$$

Carpe Diem Restaurant, 401 E. Trade St. (corner of Brevard), 704-377-7976. Relocated to new downtown digs in a century old building, but has been popular with Charlotteans since it first opened in 1989. The menu features eclectic cuisine. Closed Sunday. $$$

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