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Good Eats

Our critics' guide to recommended restaurants in Charlotte

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All Around Town

Anntony's Caribbean, 400 S. Tryon St., 704-339-0303; 2001 E. 7th St., 704-342-0749. All locations have different owners. A hint of the tropics; rotisserie chicken with Jamaican jerk sauce, ribs, Paradise Island fish special, curries, and Caribbean styled greens. $$

Azteca, 116 Woodlawn Rd., 704-525-5110; 9709 Independence Blvd., 704-814-9877; 1863 W. Franklin Blvd. (Gastonia), 704-866-7574. A favorite of many, Azteca offers a lengthy roster of flavorful dishes. $$

Brixx Wood-Fired Pizza, 801 Scott Avenue, 704-376-1000; 225 E. 6th St., 704-347-2749; 16915 Birkdale Commons Pkwy. (Huntersville), 704-894-0044. Home of the MBA program, and the "B" stands for beer. Late night noshing on goat cheese and shrimp pizzas has become a standard. Not complicated, but consistently good. Open late. L, D $$

Fuel Pizza Cafe, 1501 Central Ave., 704-376-3835; 1801 South Blvd., 704-335-7375; 319 W. Trade St., 704-344-1767; 404 S. Main St. (Davidson), 704-896-0200. Hand-tossed New York style pizza with kitschy automobile and gas station memorabilia. Traditional and gourmet style pizzas, calzones, and chicken wings. $$

McAlister's Deli, 4130 Carmel Rd., 704-540-7199; 15201-A John J. Delaney Dr., Ballantyne Commons East, 704-542-0727; 8046-D Providence Rd., Arboretum, 704-752-9665; 19330 W. Catawba Rd. (Cornelius), 704-896-3354. Offers over 100 items including sandwiches, salads, appetizers, plus they do more with a baked spud than you can imagine. $$

Mellow Mushroom, 4422 Colwick Rd., 704-362-5335; 4100-A Carmel Rd., 704-341-8236; 5814 Prosperity Church Rd., 704-875-2418. An Atlanta-based franchise with a local twist: a large selection of domestic and imported beers. The relaxed atmosphere and variety of pizzas attract all ages. $$

Midtown Sundries, 7715 Pineville-Matthews Rd., 704-541-8117; 3425 David Cox Rd., 704-597-7413; 18626 Harborside Dr. (Cornelius), 704-896-9013; 618 Kenilworth Ave., 704-358-3933. Very popular, festive spot for burgers and wings while watching a wide screen, playing pool, or listening to live music. $$

Restaurant Y Taqueria La Unica, 2801 Central Ave., 704-347-5115; 140 Eastway Dr., 704-597-1699; 1621 Walkup Ave. (Monroe), 704-282-2369. A hybrid offering fast food as well as entrees and most items feature the flavors of Mexico City. Try the sensational al pastor taco. $$

Salsa's Mexican Restaurant, Galleria Village Shopping Center, 1640 N. Sardis Rd., 704-846-3374; Carmel Commons Shopping Center, 6676 Carmel Rd., 704-759-9886. Singles and families crowd this vibrant, friendly dining room to feast on a mix of standard dishes (chimichangas, enchiladas, burritos, fajitas) with a smattering of homemade tastes. $$

The Graduate, 911 E. Morehead St., 704-377-3808; 8334 Pineville-Matthews Rd., 704-543-4020; 2014 Sharon Forest Rd., 704-532-2562. Popular hangouts with college crowd, offering good variety of dishes, subs, sandwiches, calzones and pizza. Try the cheese fries. $

Vinnie's Sardine Grill & Raw Bar, 1714 South Blvd., 704-332-0006; 142 E John St. (Matthews), 704-849-0202; 643 Williamson Rd. (Mooresville), 704-799-2090. You won't find sardines, but at this lively place the after-work crowd gathers to chow down on raw oysters, wings and more. L, D $$

Wolfman Pizza, 10620-A Providence Rd., 704-845-9888; McMullen Creek Market, 704-543-9653; Cotswold Mall, 704-366-3666. Flashy wide-ranging selection of California-style pizza, with everything from the sweet-tangy Maui, to New Mexico, to Shrimp, Pesto and Goat Cheese. Also home of the Howlzone (calzone). $$

Zapata's Cantina Mexican Restaurant, 8927 J. M. Keynes Dr., Suite 900, 704-503-1979; 1990S NC Hwy 73 (Cornelius), 704-987-8890; 15105 John J. Delaney Dr., 704-752-6869. Extensive, quality Mexican dishes like grilled lamb, along with a variety of burritos, enchiladas and more in a rustic, Old Mexico atmosphere. $$

Dilworth/Southend

300 East, 300 East Blvd., 704-332-6507. Locals have long gathered at this casual neighborhood bistro in a vintage house featuring an eclectic menu. L, D $$$

Berrybrook Farms Natural Foods, 1257 East Blvd., 704-334-6528. Homemade soups, herbed tofu sandwiches, bean burritos, and freshly squeezed fruit and vegetable juices found in a natural food shop. L $

Comet Grill, 2224 Park Rd., 704-371-4300. Dependable bar food in a friendly neighborhood joint. Big burgers, great fries, a spicy shrimp app and some vegetarian alternatives, too. $

Dominick's Little Italy, 200 East Bland St., 704-331-4010. This modest, but inviting Italian joint serves popular and predictable dishes, primarily Southern Italian, in large, family-style portions. $$$

Mangione's Ristorante, 1524 East Blvd., 704-334-4417. Opened in 1977. If you can't decide between Northern and Southern Italian, they have it mixed here. All the familiar bases are covered, plus you have Mr. Mangione's personalized service. L, D $$$

McIntosh's Steaks and Seafood, 1812 South Blvd., 704-342-1088. Folks head over to Greg McIntosh's steak and chop house for a round up of straight forward menu selections, gargantuan portions, and man-sized knives and forks. Elegant surroundings and service. D $$$$

Mister K's, 2107 South Blvd., 704-375-4318. A South Boulevard institution since 1967, but with a 50s-ish ambience: burgers, dogs and soft ice cream. Homemade onion ring lovers make this a second home. $

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