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Good Eats

Our critics' guide to recommended restaurants in Charlotte

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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. L, D $$$

Harrigan's Gourmet Deli, 5033-K South Blvd., 704-522-3550. Traditional cold cut sandwiches on round bread, specialty "Dilbert" sandwiches, homemade 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. L, D $$$

Luisa's Brick Oven, 1730 Abbey Pl., 704-522-8782. Brick oven-baked pizza plus other Italian dishes. Pizza available with innovative topping alternatives. Take out orders prepared quickly. $$

Mai Japanese Restaurant, 5906 South Blvd., 704-522-1515. Sushi chefs produce deftly cleaved wondrous rolls that taste sparklingly fresh. Robata grill, too. $$$

Mojo Restaurant & Spirits, 1812 Montford Drive, 704-523-0474. Not much in decor or ambience, but more than just a place to drink and listen to music. The dinner menu is short, yet surprisingly ambitious; the food is quite good and reasonably priced. Late night bar menu, too. D $$

Monsoon, Thai Cuisine Restaurant, 2801 South Blvd., 704-519-0066. The lush kang panang with chopped kaffir lime leaves and holy basil is a gift to the senses. The key to eating well here is going with friends and sharing a spate of dishes. $$$

The Peaceful Dragon, Tea House and Cultural Center, 12610 Steele Creek Rd., 704-504-8866. Chef Geoff Bragg, a Johnson & Wales culinary graduate, presents delightful Asian dishes, which are not only pretty on the plate, but good for you - in this vegan restaurant. $$

Pho 98, 5937 South Blvd., 704-643-1243. You may not find all the Vietnamese dishes you like here, but what is offered sparkles with freshness and flavor. $$

Portofino Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria, 5126 Park Rd., 704-527-0702. Wonderful rustic neopolitan dishes at incredibly low prices. Served in a casual atmosphere. New York style pizza (large is 16 inch). Take out, too. $$

The Press Box, 1627 Montford Dr., 704-523-4981. With a pub-like interior, this meeting place is a Charlotte tradition for burgers, sandwiches and salads. L, D $$

Restaurant Tokyo, 4603 South Blvd., 704-527-8787. This authentic Japanese restaurant with licensed sushi chefs is located in a free standing building. They offer a full selection of excellent sushi, as well as teishoku, donburi, tempura and a well chosen wine list. First rate. $$$$

Restaurante Mi Tierrita, 5033-G South Blvd., 704-525-5781. The place is simple. The food is simple and is, perhaps, more comfortable with village tradition. But this is a fun place to explore rural Colombian cuisine. $$

The Roasting Company, 1601-A Montford Dr., 704-521-8188. Rotisserie chicken that falls off the bone and melts in your mouth. Excellent cornbread. $

Saigon Palace, 5215-B South Blvd., 704-529-0098. Delightful frothy tropical fruit shakes and hardy bowls of steaming pho are among the array of delicious items to try from the menu. Chinese buffet at lunch, but Vietnamese menu items are always available. $$

Sir Edmond Halley's Restaurant and Free House, 4151-A Park Rd., 704-525-2555. Quaint neighborhood pub ambience, but the food here is good. Caters to beer savants pouring seven drafts including Watney's and Whitbread. $$$

Sushi 101, Noodle & Sushi Bar, 1730-F East Woodlawn Rd., Shops at Woodlawn Rd., 704-672-0990. This upbeat spot offers a balance of conviviality, energy and informality with dishes that are uncomplicated and well-priced. Patio. Delivery available. $$

Villa Antonio, 4707 South Blvd., 704-523-1594. A wide ranging, expertly prepared selection of Northern Italian specialties and a fine wine list. Great service tops it off. $$$$

SouthPark/Cotswold

Baoding, 4722 Sharon Rd., Suite F., 704-552-8899. Named for Charlotte's sister city, this place offers funky, haute Chinese with an emphasis on fresh ingredients and unusual vegetarian selections. $$$

Barrington's Retaurant, 7822 Fairview Rd., 704-364-5755. Place is small, the wine list brief, but the food is powerful. Chef and owner Bruce Moffett achieves sensational tastes while creating simple and honest New American cuisine dishes. $$$

Charleys, Cotswold Village Shops, 704-367-9500. Specialties are good soups, salads and sandwiches. Don't miss the grilled chicken salad. $$

Cino Grille, 6401 Morrison Blvd., in the Specialty Shops, 704-365-8226. Eclectic innovative Southwestern cuisine celebrating corn and chilies. Not only for heat-seeking diners, some dishes are mild. Massive martini list. Jazz on weekends. L, D $$$

Hotel Charlotte, 705 S. Sharon Amity Rd., 704-364-8755. This comfort-food port with Cajun and Creole specialties has a loyal, neighborhood following. Known for its mammoth beer selection. L, D $$$


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