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Good Eats

Creative Loafing's bite-sized guide to restaurants in Charlotte.

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ALL AROUND TOWN

ANNTONY'S CARIBBEAN 2001 E. 7th, 704-342-0749; 145 Brevard Court, 704-339-0303; 20910 Torrence Chapel Road, Cornelius, 704-894-0280. A fun, change-of-pace restaurant for a casual lunch or dinner. Limited menu features rotisserie-cooked barbecued meats, what else, Caribbean style. $

BRUEGGER'S BAGEL BAKERY All over town. Chewy bagels, crisp on the outside, and served with either your favorite cream cheese or as a sandwich with any of a number of stuffings. $

EL CANCUN With various locations around town, El Cancun serves as close to authentic Mexican food as you'll find in the area, featuring fresh ingredients, down-home atmosphere and good vegetarian selections. $-$$

FUEL PIZZA CAFE 1501 Central Avenue, 704-376-3835; 319 W. Trade Street, 704-344-1767; 404 S. Main Street, Davidson, 704-896-0200. Hand-tossed New York style pizza with kitschy automobile and gas station memorabilia. Traditional and gourmet style pizzas all on a notable crust. Also calzones, garlic knot mini-sandwiches, chicken wings, nachos, and gyros. Limited seating. $$

THE GRADUATE 911 E. Morehead Street 704-377-3808; 8334 Pineville-Matthews Road, 704-543-4020; 2014 Sharon Forest Drive, 704-532-2562; 123 W. Trade Street, 704-358-3024. Popular hangouts with college crowd, offering good variety of dishes, subs, sandwiches, calzones, pizza. Try the cheese fries. $

LONGHORN STEAKS Various locations in Charlotte. A bustling, friendly crowd gathers here and no wonder - they have some of the best steaks and burgers anywhere. Casual, fun, meat haven. $L, $$D

MCALISTER'S DELI 4130 Carmel Road, 704-540-7199; 19330 W. Catawba Road, Cornelius, 704-896-3354; 8046-D Providence Road, Arboretum, 704-752-9665; 15201-A John J. Delaney Drive, Ballantyne Commons East, 704-542-0727. Offers over 100 items including sandwiches, salads, appetizers, plus they do more with a baked spud than you can imagine. $-$$

MELLOW MUSHROOM 4100-A Carmel Road, 704-341-8236; 4422 Colwick Road, 704-362-5335; 5814 Prosperity Church Road, 704-875-2418. What draws people is the convivial, relaxed atmosphere, great pizzas, and the largest selection of beer in town. $$

MIDTOWN SUNDRIES 618 Kenilworth Avenue, 704-358-3933; 7715 Pineville-Matthews Road, 704-541-8117; 3425 David Cox Rd. 704-597-7413; 4544 South Boulevard, 704-522-6100; 18665 Harborside Drive, Cornelius, 704-896-9013. Very popular, festive spot for burgers or wings, or watching a wide screen, playing pool, or listening to live music. $-$$

OUTBACK STEAKHOUSE 1412 East Boulevard, 704-333-0505; 9623-Y E. Independence Boulevard, 704-845-2222; 1015 Chancellor Drive, 704-598-7727; 1319 River Run Court, Rock Hill, 803-329-6283. The presiding theme is Australian: the presiding food is meat and lots of it. Great steaks, great appetizers. $$

VINNIE'S SARDINE GRILL & RAW BAR 1714 South Boulevard, 704-332-0006; 142 E. John Street, Matthews, 704-849-0202; 643 Williamson Road, Mooresville, 704-799-2090. Friendly, popular place for the after-work crowd. The menu ranges from soups, salads and wings to raw oysters and plentiful seafood dishes. $$

WOLFMAN PIZZA McMullen Creek Market, 704-543-WOLF; Selwyn Corners Shopping Ctr., 704-377-4695; Cotswold Mall, 704-366-3666; 10620-A Providence Road, 704-845-9888. Flashy wide-ranging selection of California-style pizza, with everything from the sweet-tangy Maui, to New Mexico, to Shrimp, Pesto and Goat Cheese. Also home of the Howlzone (calzone).$-$$

ZAPATA'S CANTINA MEXICAN RESTAURANT 8927 J.M. Keynes Drive, Suite 900, 704-503-1979; 1990S NC Hwy 73, Cornelius, 704-987-8890; 15105 John J. Delaney Drive, 704-752-6869. Extensive, quality Mexican dishes like grilled lamb, along with variety of burritos, enchiladas and more in a rustic, Old Mexico atmosphere. $$

DILWORTH/SOUTHEND

300 EAST 300 East Boulevard, 704-332-6507. This stylishly casual neighborhood bistro in an early 20th century house, features an eclectic menu. A longstanding local favorite. L$$, D$$-$$$

BERRYBROOK FARMS NATURAL FOODS 1257 East Boulevard, 704-334-6528. Healthy and wise, the lunches here are tasty. Veggie Burgers, bean burritos, tofu dogs, freshly squeezed OJ, carrot, and vegetable juices, large variety of smoothies, homemade soups, salads, and sandwiches. $

BISTRO EAST 1608 East Boulevard, 704-334-6161. Unpretentious American bistro cooking with a Southern twist. $$$

BRIXX WOOD-FIRED PIZZA 801 Scott Avenue, 704-376-1000. Gourmet pizzas, fabulous Caesar salad, other salads. Limited, but well chosen wine list served by the glass, too. Open late. $$-$$$

COMET GRILL 2224 Park Road, 704-371-4300. Good, dependable bar food at this friendly neighborhood spot. Big burgers, great fries, a spicy shrimp app and some veg alternatives, too. $

DILWORTH COFFEE 1235-B East Boulevard, Kenilworth Commons. 704-358-8003. Coffees and desserts, plus good morning munchies. Full array of coffees, including espresso, latte, cappuccino, all roasted there. $

EAST BOULEVARD BAR & GRILL 1601 East Boulevard, 704-332-2414. Friendly place whose menu ranges from wings to terrific salads to hearty burgers and more. $L, $$D

KOKO, AUTHENTIC CHINESE CUISINE 1742 Lombardy Circle, 704-338-6869. Cantonese and Mandarin cuisine served in an intimate environment. Chef Cheng uses a light touch with ingredients and the foods are slightly undercooked to stress the natural favors. Imported Sake. $$

MCINTOSH'S STEAKS & SEAFOOD 1812 South Boulevard, 704-342-1088. Locally-owned, men's-club-styled steak and chop house (fish, too) with straight forward menu selections, gargantuan portions, and flawless service. Dinner only. $$$$

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