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Good Eats

Our critics' guide to recommended restaurants in Charlotte

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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 ambience and notable wine list this restaurant is known for Chef Blake Dewey's eclectic cuisine. Very popular Sunday brunch spot. Next 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 Square Shopping Center, 704-374-0008. From Atlanta comes this high spirited, high volume, reasonably priced (for sushi) restaurant. $$$

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

Southern Comforts, BBQ and Soul, 1511 East Blvd., 704-331-9222. A bit of fish camp, a dash of Low Country, and an ode to three styles of Southern barbecue. Comforts is pure Southern cuisine, albeit upscale. $$$

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. $$$

Downtown/Midtown

Alexander 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 19th century French impressionists depicting life in 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 its 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. $$$

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. $$$

The Coffee Cup, 914 Clarkston St., 704-375-8855. Charlotte institution and Soul Food Central, serving the most mouth-watering Southern fare this side of Grandma's stove. Daily specials. Breakfast and Lunch only. $$

Cosmos Cafe, 300 N. College St., 704-372-3553. Popular spot, great for late-night, with a comfortably hip ambience, serving a wide variety of cuisine styles: sushi, tapas, pizza, Malaysian to Middle Eastern, you name it. Clever cuisine in a busy location. $$$

French Quarter Annex, 317 S. Church St., 704-377-1715. Deservedly popular restaurant serves a selection of Cajun and continental foods in the shadow of Ericsson Stadium. $$

Green's Lunch, 309 W. 4th St., 704-332-1786. Longtime uptown favorite for one main reason: Carolina styled hotdogs with chili and slaw. If it's dogs you want, you'll be hard pressed to find better ones. $

Gus' Sir Beef Uptown, 324 S. Tryon St., 704-347-5741. Homespun Gus's is known for "Fresh My Farm" vegetables cooked without grease. If you want to be a Charlottean, you'll have to go for the fried squash. $


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