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Good Eats

Our critics' guide to recommended restaurants in Charlotte

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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. $$$

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. $$$

Nectar, 1730-A E. Woodlawn Rd., 704-519-4174. A delightful neighborhood spot to refuel on global, but gussied up, fusion foods. Appetizer dishes to try include the Caribbean crab and shrimp cakes, and heady shrimp and chicken spring rolls. L, D $$

Paluso's Pizzeria, 400 North Polk Street, 704-889-5050. This take out/delivery only place is not to be missed. They offer New York style pizza with freshly made dough, an outrageous meatball sandwich, and one of the best Philly Cheesesteak sandwiches in town. $

The Peaceful Dragon, 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 Neapolitan dishes at incredibly low prices. Served in a casual atmosphere. New York style pizza (large is 16 inch). Take out, too. $$ L, D $$

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 $$

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. L, D $

Saigon Cafe, 15105 John J. Delaney Dr., 704-542-7080. An inventive combination of French, Vietnamese, and Thai featuring the combined talents of chef Axel Dikkers and Be Phan in the kitchen. $$

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, 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. L, D $$

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. $$$

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 $$$

Il Nido Italian Restaurant, 4219-3 Providence Road, 704-364-4445. Small, 50 seat, intimate family-owned restaurant where you won't be a stranger twice. Co-owner and Italian native Manuela Baron's Tuscan recipes are worthy of frequent visits. $$

Manzetti's Bar & Grill, 6401 Morrison Blvd., 704-364-9334. A SouthPark landmark bar known for salads, onion rings, and Pittsburgh-style steaks. L, D $$$

Noble's, 6801 Morrison Blvd., 704-367-9463. A local version of award-winning Triad restaurant featuring American Regional cuisine in a graceful interior. L, D $$$$

Original Pancake House, 4736 Sharon Rd., 704-553-8364. 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. B, L $$

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