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Good Eats

Our critics' guide to recommended restaurants in Charlotte

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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. W.T. 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) ambience. 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 51

Bombay Grille Indian Cuisine, 8706-Pineville-Matthews Rd., 704-542-3933. Spice laden entree dishes give a tasty overview of Indian cuisine. The chicken tikka masala is second to none in town. $$$

Campania, 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. $$$$

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. $$

Siboney Cuban Restaurant, 8706 Pineville-Matthews Rd., 704-542-2996. Featuring upscale Cuban dishes and mojitos set in a semitropical "courtyard." Expertly crafted dishes such as Cuban snapper and Pierna asada make their appearance here. Cigar bar, too. $$$

Trio Restaurant, 10709 McMullen Creek Pkwy., 704-541-8000. Friendly place for an imaginative and eclectic selection of entrees, gourmet pizzas, burgers, sandwiches, salads and pastas. Emphasis on creative taste combinations. $$

Tsukiji, 8320 Pineville-Matthews Rd., 704-543-4081. Less expensive than other sushi restaurants, and the sushi is pretty good. Other Japanese dishes offered. $$$

Waldhorn Restaurant, 12101 Lancaster Hwy. (Rt. 521), 704-540-7074. This restaurant is located in an imposing two-story Alpine building feted with geranium flower boxes. Chef and owner Thomas Maier's attentive care may cause you to jettison stereotypic views of German cuisine. From grilled duck breast in lingonberry sauce to wienerschnitzel, it's all good. $$$

Wan Fu, 10719 Kettering Dr., 704-541-1688. Upscale Americanized Chinese restaurant in which dishes are beautifully presented. $$$

South Charlotte

Bangkok Ocha, 7629-B Pineville-Matthews Rd., 704-544-7770. Thai dishes of complex intensity and flavor set in a small, but polished restaurant. $$$

Bill Spoon's Barbecue, 5524 South Blvd., 704-525-8865. For nearly 40 years, this 65-seat pork parlor has been packed at lunch. The place to go for die hard Eastern barbecue aficionados. $

Bourbon Street Station, 6101 Old Pineville Rd., 704-522-0231. Good Cajun-style food is served up here, with an emphasis on a fun and friendly ambience. You can't miss; just keep your eye out for the old train. $$$

The Cupboard, 3005 South Blvd., 704-523-9934. One of the busiest of Charlotte's many home cooking restaurants. Great daily specials (don't miss the chicken pan pie) and legendary coconut pie. $

Don Quijote, Restaurante Espanol, 4640 South Blvd., 704-529-5959. Exceptional Northern and Southern Spanish cuisine. One could readily make a meal by choosing a variety of the 15 tantalizing Tapas items. And there's more: paellas, fabulous fish dishes, Spanish wines, and a large deck. $$$

Harrigan's Gourmet Deli, 5033-K South Blvd., 704-522-3550. Traditional cold cut sandwiches on round bread, specialty "Dilbert" sandwiches, housemade salads and daily specials. $

Jaipur Indian Cuisine, 5909 South Blvd., 704-643-1421. Don't let the exterior put you off. Inside you'll find balanced Indian dishes from all parts of the subcontinent. Reasonably priced, too. A great weekday lunch buffet, and a great dinner buffet on weekends. $$$


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