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Good Eats

Our critics' guide to recommended restaurants in Charlotte

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Original Pancake House, 1300 South Blvd., 704-372-7099. 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. A local charmer with traditional bistro food served with small town French flair. L, D $$$

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. L, D $$$

Pike's Old Fashioned Soda Shop, 1930 Camden Rd., 704-372-0092. Nostalgia reigns while being served homemade quality ice cream floats to sandwiches and fries to sticky buns. Breakfast on weekends. $$

Price's Chicken Coop, 1614 Camden Rd., 704-333-9866. Opened in 1962 and known locally for having the best deep 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 only. $

Red Star Tavern, 1315 East Boulevard, 704-333-3393. This Chicago-based chain offers comfortable, familiar bar food in an upscale setting. $$$

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. $$$

Sole Spanish Grille, 1608 East Boulevard, 704-343-9890. After almost a decade away, the owners return to Dilworth to once again serve legendary tapas and sparkling fresh Spanish and New World entrees and wines. Heated patio. $$$

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

Sullivan's Steakhouse, 1928 S. Blvd., 704-335-9228. Posh and opulent with 1920s art deco decadence and inviting dark wood, this upscale chain steakhouse is populated by some of Charlotte's best known folk who go for the refined service and fine steaks. $$$$

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, as can be seen from the fat tendrils of crab in the She Crab soup. Dishes offered in tapas or entree sizes. L, D $$$

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. L, D $$

Bistro 100, 100 N. Tryon St., 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. $$$$

Cosmos Cafe, 300 N. College St., Suite 101, 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. L, D $$$

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. L $

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, 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 $$$

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