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Good Eats

Our critics' guide to recommended restaurants in Charlotte

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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. L, D $$$

Bravo! Ristorante, 555 S. McDowell St., 704-372-4100. Italian cuisine is the star, and professional singers share the stage as waiters. D $$$

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. B, L $$

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. L, D $$

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. B, L $

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. $

Hartigan's Irish Pub, 601 S. Cedar St., 704-347-1841. A friendly neighborhood bar dishing up sandwiches, salads, and traditional bar appetizers, all in the shadow of Ericsson Stadium. L, D $$

Latorre's, Latin American Cuisine, 118 W. 5th St., 704-377-4448. Featuring upscale Nuevo Latino dishes that are innovative, well-executed and served in large portions. At lunch, they serve one of the best Cuban sandwiches in the city. L, D $$$

LaVecchia's Seafood Grille, 225 E. 6th St., 704-370-6776. A haven for seafood lovers. Well-prepared, inventive dishes set in an upscale interior. For fun try the three coast raw oyster sampler. L, D $$$

Maharani Indian Cuisine, 901 S. Kings Dr., 704-370-2455. At the confluence of Dilworth and Myers Park, this is the only Indian restaurant near downtown. If you seek shish kebab barbecued on skewers in a tandoor, aromatic biryanis, and spicy kormas, stop in here. $$$

Mama Ricotta's, 601-A S. Kings Dr., 704-343-0155. Small but imaginative menu of pastas, antipasti and pizza. $$

McNinch House, 511 N. Church St., 704-332-6159. Owner-chef Ellen Davis offers a prix fixe dinner in a renovated Fourth Ward Victorian mansion with nine wood burning fireplaces. Known for romantic, and sometimes clandestine meetings, and exceptional service. Reservations required. D $$$$

Melting Pot, Kings Court Plaza, Kings Dr., 704-334-4400. 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. D $$$

Mert's Heart and Soul, 214 N. College St., 704-342-4222. Owners James and Renee Bazzelle create delectable Low Country and Southern country dishes. Service is solicitous, art provocative, food down-home and honest, and prices incredibly low. Open late weekends. L, D $$

Morton's of Chicago Steakhouse, 227 W. Trade St. (Carillon Building), 704-342-4222. Well known for steaks and elegance. Morton's has restaurants in 50 U.S. and international cities. Dinner only. $$$$

Palomino Restaurant, 525 N. Tryon St., 704-373-9499. A Seattle-based chain which serves uncomplicated dishes in a warm, vibrant and inviting atmosphere. Delightful patio fountain. L, D $$$

Phil's Deli, 105 E. 5th St., 704-347-0035. Authentic NYC-style deli (minus NYC prices) with friendly service, fresh breads and sumptuous cold cuts. $

Red Sea Restaurant and Bar, 206 E. Independence Blvd., 704-375-4999. Small, bare bones restaurant serving flavorful Ethiopian food. L, D $$

Simmons Fourth Ward Restaurant, 516 N. Graham St., 704-334-6640. Classic Southern country recipes: smothered pork chops, mac & cheese, baked chicken with corn bread dressing, collard greens, barbecue ribs. B, L, D $$

Sonoma Bistro & Wine Bar, 129 W. Trade St., 704-377-1333. Owner Pierre Bader and chef Tim Groody team up to produce innovative New American cuisine with locally grown produce in an urban atmosphere. Award winning wine list. L, D $$$


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