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Good Eats

Our critics' guide to recommended restaurants in Charlotte

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Lupie's Cafe, 101 Old Statesville Rd. (Huntersville), 704-948-3959. This funky, semi-legendary place is home to an eclectic, down-home hip clientele and a kitchen full of some of the best burgers, chili and vegetarian chili in town. L, D $

Mama Mia Too at the Holbrook House, 101 Maxwell Ave. (Huntersville), 704-875-0505. New Yorkers love this place primarily featuring Southern Italian cuisine in a charming house in the center of town. $$$

Mickey & Mooch, 9723 Sam Furr Rd. (Huntersville), 704-895-6654. This stylish locally-owned restaurant has an infectious energy. Steaks and chops are served Pittsburgh style. Menu also has many Low Country dishes, pastas, barbecue baby back ribs, chicken, and seafood. D $$$$

Saragoni's Restaurant & Bar, 1459 River Highway (Mooresville), 704-664-6996. A neighborhood restaurant with pasta, pizzas, sandwiches and grill items with a view of Lake Norman. D $$$

Sekisui, 14211 Reese Rd. (Huntersville), 704-992-1234. Co-owner and chef Yoshi Takusagawa creates stunning Japanese cuisine in this neighborhood spot. $$$

Sushi @ The Lake, 19732 One Norman Rd. (Cornelius), 704-987-8080. This West Coast styled Sushi bar offers traditional sushi and grilled items. L, D $$$

Thai Grill, 19741 South Main Street (Cornelius), 704-655-8880. A neighborhood restaurant with fragrant soups and flavorful entrees. $$

Thai Marlai, 19700 One Norman Blvd. (Cornelius), 704-892-7191. For 20 years plus, owner Toi Rogers had Thai restaurants in Charlotte before launching this venture at Lake Norman, and she toils to make sure her patrons are happy. The menu features the usual fare, rarely mild, but spectacular specials. $$ L, D

The Prickly Pear, Modern Mexican Cuisine, 761 N. Main St. (Mooresville), 704-799-0875. Located in a small former church, the Pear sets forth an upscale challenging menu of new takes on Mexican cuisine. Reservations may be required. Live music on weekends. $$

The Soda Shop, 104 South Main St. (Davidson), 704-896-7743. The menu is crowded with gems that will convince you how delicious life can be in a small college town: chili, hot dogs, Reubens, tuna melts, chicken salad, club sandwiches, wraps, quesadillas, vegetarian selections, phosphates, and classic sundaes. B, L, D $

Matthews/Southeast Charlotte

Boardwalk Billy's, Crown Point, 1636 Sardis Rd. North, 704-841-8688. This beach-styled place may look like a bar, but offers much more. Their Billy's Steam Party (enough for two) is filled with steamed shrimp, oysters, clams, crab legs, potatoes and corn on the cob. Serves food late. $$

The Fish Farm, 1200 Sam Newell Rd., 704-847-8578. Traditional fish camp food mixed with Southern country, steaks, and ribs. Set in a barn. $$$

Fontanella Italian Ristorante, 10412 E. Independence Blvd, Matthews, 704-844-0103. The Sicilian-born Brucia family restaurant has devoted fans from past restaurants and this proves to be one of the loveliest mom-and-pop shows in town with family-style southern Italian dishes, New York pizza, and house-made and imported desserts. $$

Ghali's Deli & Grill, 10416 East Independence Blvd. Matthews, 704-845-5566. A bright, but small mom and pop sandwich shop offering a mix of Philly cheesesteaks, quesadillas, gyros, falafels, kabobs, some entrees, as well as finely crafted Lebanese specialties such as shawirma, kafta, fattoush, and baba ghannoug. $

Greg's Famous B-B-Q, 10915 Monroe Rd., 704-847-5035. The menu has everything from barbecue to lasagna, chicken to foot long hot dogs and all at unbelievably low prices. $$

Kristopher's Sports Bar & Restaurant, 250 N. Trade St., 704-845-6200. Popular sports bar with New York styled pizza, Buffalo wings, soups and sandwiches. L, D $

Mi Tierra Latino Grill & Fritanga, 11450 East Independence Blvd., Matthews Plaza, 704-845-0400. The Herrera family owns this gem which features a selection of Nicaraguan, Colombian, Cuban, and a few Mexican dishes. Feast on yuccas, plantains, flavorful grilled dishes and the Latino sauce triad: chimichurri, salsa encurtido, and mojo. $

Raucci's on East John Street, 131 E. John St., 704-841-8282. Family owned Italian restaurant serving New York-styled southern Italian cuisine. Pizza at lunch only. This is hearty, but unobtrusive fare. L, D $$$

Township Grille, Matthews Festival, 10400 East Independence Boulevard, 704-847-2480. Matthews' version of Buffalo, NY, with great wings, roast beef on kummelweck rolls and a large selection of beers, including Genesee beer and cream ale. $

Yen's, 9010 Monroe Rd., 704-845-9444. Small, family owned Chinese restaurant which prepares many Chinese cuisines and offers solicitous service. $$

Myers Park

Fenwicks, 511 Providence Rd., 704-333-2750. Smaller than some bathrooms, but cozier, and a fun place. The menu runs to standards like steak and pasta, with fresh vegetables daily. $$$

The Meeting House, 801 Providence Rd., 704-334-6338. Located in a charming house in the center of Myers Park, this is a meeting place for the neighborhood crowd. Talented chef and owner Chris Zion was trained at Le Cordon Bleu, yet the dishes are American bistro. D $$$

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