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Good Eats

Our critics' guide to recommended restaurants in the Charlotte area

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Yen's, 9010 Monroe Rd., 704-845-9444. Small, family owned Chinese restaurant which prepares many Chinese cuisines and offers solicitous service. $$Myers ParkFenwicks, 511 Providence Rd., 704-333-2750. Smaller than some bathrooms, but cozier, and a fun place. The menu runs to standards like steak and pasta, with fresh vegetables daily. $$$

The Meeting House Restaurant, 801 Providence Rd., 704-334-6338. Located in a charming house in the center of Myers Park, this is a meeting place for the neighborhood crowd. Talented chef and owner Chris Zion was trained at Le Cordon Bleu, yet the dishes are American bistro. $$$North Charlotte/UniversityAmalfi, Italian Cuisine, 8542 University City Blvd., 704-547-8651. Small, family-owned Italian eatery with a loyal following. The owner, a native of Naples, prepares generous portions of simple and tasty southern Italian fare, everything from pastas to pizzas. Closed Monday. $$

Boardwalk Billy's, UNCC, Shoppes at University Place, 8933-2 J.M. Keynes Dr., 704-503-7427. 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, crab legs, potatoes, and corn on the cob. Serves food late. $$

Bombay Cuisine, 230 East W.T. Harris Blvd., 704-503-5558. Exquisite Northern and Southern Indian dishes set before you in a setting where every detail has been noted. $$$

Boudreaux's Louisiana Kitchen, 501 E. 36th St., 704-331-9898. Po'Boys and muffalettas at lunch, inexpensive traditional Creole and Cajun dishes at dinner served in a spacious, artsy dining room. Sunday Brunch, too. $$

Bubba's Barbecue, 4400 Sunset Rd., Exit 16 off I-77, 704-393-2000. Eastern NC-style barbecue. $

Cabo Fish Taco Baja Seagrill, 3201 North Davidson St., 704-332-8868. Set in a humble NoDa historic building, these well crafted, tasty dishes will bring you back for regular feeding forays. There are vegetarian, chicken, and steak selections. $$

Ciro's Italian Restaurant, 8927 J.M. Keynes Dr., #100 (University Place), 704-597-7511. Simple New-York-styled southern Italian red and white cuisine served in a lively Italian-wedding/happy family atmosphere. Enormous portions, steaming fresh baked bread, marvelous marinara, reasonable prices. $$$

Fat City, 3127 N. Davidson St., 704-343-0240. This mainstay of the N. Davidson arts district serves a variety of sandwiches, salads, and apps, with a good vegetarian selection. $

Gert's Lil' Diner, 3658 Beatties Ford Rd., 704-392-0485. It's in a trailer, and there isn't much of a sign outside, but this diner serves up the best country food in the world. The okra and tomatoes will save your soul. $

Grandma's Country Kitchen, 6615 N. Tryon St., 704-392-0485. Small, make yourself at home place featuring Southern country cooking. Excellent freshly baked johnnycakes with molasses. Menu roster changes daily, but look for fried croaker, meatloaf, veggie burgers, tuna melts, fried okra, macaroni and cheese with as many as eight cheeses, collard greens, and homemade desserts. $$

Kelly's Cafe, 3100 N. Davidson Street, 704-372-0103. A small restaurant located in a renovated NoDa house, the menu offers strictly, but flavorfully, vegetarian dishes. $

Melting Pot, 230 E. WT Harris Blvd., 704-548-2432. A Florida based franchise that has been around since 1975, but is now primed again to catch the latest fondue wave. You will find all kinds of fondues: cheese, beef, seafood, chicken and chocolate. $$$

Old Hickory House, 6538 N. Tryon St., 704-596-8014. Western-NC-styled barbecue at its finest. Sliced or chopped, served on paper wrapping, in a dining room that features a smoky hickory pit and a 60's (and TV's Bonanza ambiance. Cash only. $

The Roasting Company, 9311 JW Clay Blvd., 704-503-3335. Rotisserie chicken that falls off the bone and melts in your mouth. Excellent cornbread. $Pineville/Hwy 51Campania, 6414 Rea Rd., 704-541-8505. Charlotte's nexus to Naples. Copious portions of remarkable dishes with Italian wines to match. Beautifully appointed dining room. Pricey, but considerably less than airfare. $$$$

Ciro's Italian Restaurant, 10420-F Centrum Parkway, 704-543-1550. Simple New-York-styled southern Italian red and white cuisine served in a lively Italian-wedding/happy family atmosphere. Enormous portions, steaming fresh baked bread, marvelous marinara, reasonable prices. $$$

Firebirds Rocky Mountain Grill, 7716 Rea Rd., 704-752-7979. This stunning facility resembles a Colorado lodge complete with roaring fire and aspen columns. Menu items, served in huge portions, are simple, straighforward, and have a southwestern flair. $$$

Katz New York, 8045 Providence Rd., in the Arboretum Office Park, 704-543-4666. Hand cut fries, potato knish, matzo ball soup, housemade corned beef and cole slaw, egg creams, and well-made cold cut sandwiches, all Big Apple deli style. $$

The Peaceful Dragon, Tea House and Cultural Center, 8324 Pineville-Matthews Rd., 704-543-8899. Small dining area offers light vegetarian fare. All dishes made from scratch, including veggie burger. Many vegan items. $$


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