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Good Eats

Our critics' guide to recommended restaurants in the Charlotte area

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Ethan's of Elizabeth American Bistro, 366 North Caswell Road, 704-375-3007. Located in a charming old house in one of Charlotte's quaint neighborhoods, this comfortable bistro features the creative abilities of chef and owner Mark Martin who produces well-executed New American cuisine. $$$

Ibex Ethiopian Restaurant, 3200 Monroe Rd., 704-333-1818. A tasty berbere is used as the base for the piquant dishes. The twelve-seat mesab room where the coffee service ceremony is held becomes a buffet at lunch; the main dining area is sparse. Ethiopian beer available. $$

John's Country Kitchen, 1518 Central Ave., 704-333-9551. A reminder of a culinary tradition we're quickly leaving behind. Brains and eggs, country ham, grits and gravy. Open for lunch too. Cash only. $

Lupie's Cafe, 2718 Monroe Rd., 704-374-1232. This funky, semi-legendary place is home to an eclectic, down-home hip clientle and a kitchen full of some of the best burgers and and vegetarian, and non vegetarian chili in town. $

Nova's Bakery, 1511 Central Ave., 704-333-5566. A great Eastern European bakery. Wonderful Cranberry Pecan and Orange Chocolate bread, focaccia, baguettes, country bread, brioche, potato pizzas, and more. $

The Penguin, 1921 Commonwealth Ave., 704-375-6959. Reopened in 2001 after being refurbished to the original red, black, and chrome 1950s interior. Menu features burgers, foot long hot dogs, Eastern-styled barbecue, veggie burgers, fried pickles and pimento cheese sandwiches. $$

Swing 1000, 1000 Central Ave., 704-334-4443. Familiar dishes in a glamorous neo-1940s/Lounge/Rat Pack setting. Entertainment and dancing with a dose of swank. $$$$Lake NormanBrooklyn South Pizzeria & Italian Eatery, 19911-C N. Cove Road, 704-948-7728. A typical New York style, family-owned, neighborhood pizzeria where items are served in large sharable portions and kept at a minimal price. $$

Ferrucci's Old Tyme Italian Market, 20910 Torrence Chapel Rd., Shops on the Green, 704-896-3190. A few tables let you eat some of their housemade lasagna in-house, or take home some eggplant parmesan, or meats, cheeses, and cold cuts. They grind their own Italian sausage. $

Greg's Famous B-B-Q, 233 S. Broad St., 704-664-4848. The menu has everything from barbecue to lasagna, chicken to foot long hot dogs and all at unbelievably low prices. $$

Kudzu on South Broad, 259 S. Broad St., 704-663-1859. Chef-owner Chip Potts filters his culinary training in classical cuisine through his Southern heritage to arrive at a unique combination of tantalizing and mouth-watering dishes. Situated in a quaint Victorian house. $$$

Mama Mia Too at the Holbrook House, 101 Maxwell Ave., 704-875-0505. New Yorkers love this place primarily featuring Southern Italian cuisine in a charming house in the center of town. $$$

Mickey & Mooch, 9723 Sam Furr Rd., 704-895-6654. This stylish locally-owned restaurant has an infectious energy. Steaks and chops are served Pittsburgh style. Menu also has many Low Country dishes, pastas, barbecue baby back ribs, chicken, and seafood. $$$$

Royal Siam, 8301 Magnolia Estates Dr., 704-892-4811. Exceptionally fresh Thai food. Everything made to order in house. $$$

Saragoni's Restaurant & Bar, 1459 River Highway, 704-664-6996. A neighborhood restaurant with pasta, pizzas, sandwiches and grill items with a view of Lake Norman. $$$

Southend Brewery & Smokehouse, 704-895-2739. A Charlotte-based brewpub which serves up their well-known Carolina Blonde and Olmstead Red. $$

Sushi @The Lake, 19732 One Norman Rd., 704-987-8080. This West Coast styled Sushi bar offers traditional sushi and grilled items. $$$Matthews/Southeast CharlotteBoardwalk Billy's, Crown Point, 1636 Sardis Rd North, 704-841-8688. This beach-styled place may look like a bar, but offers much more. Their Billy's Steam Party (enough for two) is filled with steamed shrimp, oysters, clams, and crab legs, potatoes, and corn on the cob. Serves food late. $$

The Fish Farm, 1200 Sam Newell Rd., 704-847-8578. Traditional fish camp food mixed with Southern country, steaks, and ribs set in a barn. $$$

Greg's Famous B-B-Q, 10915 Monroe Rd., 704-847-5035. The menu has everything from barbecue to lasagna, chicken to foot long hot dogs and all at unbelievably low prices. $$

Kristopher's Sports Bar & Restaurant, 250 N. Trade St., 704-845-6200. Popular sports bar with New York styled pizza, Buffalo wings, soups and sandwiches. $$

Raucci's on East John Street, 131 E. John St., 704-841-8282. Family owned Italian restaurant serving New York-styled southern Italian cuisine (no pizza). Pizza at lunch only. This is hearty, but unobtrusive fare. $$$

Taste of Asia, Vietnamese & Chinese Restaurant, 9626 Monroe Rd., 704-846-2515. Fresh, large-portioned, and flavorful Vietnamese, Hunan and Szechwan cuisine prepared in an open kitchen. Eat in or take out. $$

Township Grille, Matthews Festival, 10400 East Independence Boulevard, 704-847-2480. Matthews' version of Buffalo, NY with great wings, roast beef on kummelweck rolls, and a large selection of beers, including Genesee beer and cream ale. $


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