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Good Eats

Our critics' guide to recommended restaurants in Charlotte

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East Charlotte


Ben Thanh Vietnamese Restaurant , 4900 Central Ave, 704-566-1088. A mom-and-pop restaurant from experienced people who know the ropes. The restaurant offers no glam, but an extensive traditional Vietnamese menu filled with fresh and delightfully clean flavored dishes. $
Dim Sum Chinese Restaurant , 2920-B Central Ave., 704-569-8959. Serves both excellent "real" and Americanized Chinese food with a wonderful dim sum assortment. Functional ambience. $$
El Loco Pollo , 3124 Eastway Dr. 520, 704-568-3600. These Peruvian dishes delight with a flavor dance of salsas, a freshness to the ceviche, a crispness to fried items, and an earthiness of potatoes and corn. Low-key setting. L, D $$
Gus's Sir Beef , 4101 Monroe Rd., 704-377-3210. 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, D $
House of Chinese Gourmet , 5608 E. Independence Blvd., 704-563-8989. This friendly little place serves some dishes lacking in other Charlotte Chinese restaurants with helpful, friendly service. $$
Kabob House, Persian Cuisine , 6432 E. Independence Blvd., 704-531-2500. An array of Persian delights: tender charbroiled kabobs, polo and khoresht dishes, all reasonably priced. Building is not much to look at from the outside, but the interior is welcoming. L, D $$$
King and I Restaurant , 4800 Central Ave., 704-532-7511. Small, pristine Thai restaurant with flavorful dishes, and a solicitous, knowledgable staff. $$$
La Canasta Dominicana Restaurant , 4808 Central Ave., 704-536-0009. Small, friendly, bilingual family-owned place offering well-prepared root and fruit island dishes. Seafood, stewed goat and homemade desserts, too. L, D $$
Lang Van , 3019 Shamrock Dr., 704-553-3864. Oldest Vietnamese restaurant in the city and has become one of the most popular ethnic restaurants, famous for their yellow pancakes. Delicious Vietnamese cuisine with lots of fresh herbs in creative combinations. L, D $$
Linares Mexican Restaurant , 4918 Central Ave., 704-535-6716. Small, comfortable family place offering northern Mexican comfort food, specializing in chicken and seafood, offered in hearty portions. Helpful, but not necessary, to be conversant in Spanish. $$
Mamma Lena's Pasta & Pizza , 5135 Albemarle Rd., 704-568-0000. Pizza (cooked in a wood-burning oven) and pasta are both terrific, as is the fresh crusty bread. Unlimited salad or soup with entrees. L, D $$
Mariscos La Mexicana, Mexican Seafood , 4400 Central Ave., 704-531-4500. Mexican coastal cuisine, primarily seafood, served in huge portions at reasonable prices. Bilingual menu and staff. L, D $$
Namaste India Bar & Restaurant , 4508 East Independence Blvd., 704-568-7979. This welcoming space offers a delightful riff on traditional northern Indian cuisine. Buffet offered at lunch. $$
Pho An Hoa , 4832 A-B Central Ave., 704-537-2595. Very tasty Vietnamese soup shop. B, L, D $
Portofino Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria , 3124 Eastway Dr., 704-568-7933. Wonderful rustic Neapolitan dishes at incredibly low prices. New York Style Pizza (large is 16 inch). Take out, too. $$
Pupusa Heat: Restaurante Salvadoreno , 4808 (G-H) Central Ave., 704-537-8475. A barebones spot offering Salvadorian comfort food includingpupusas revueltas, plantains, rice and beans, and quezadilla (cheesecake).Cash only. Knowledge of Spanish helpful. $
Restaurante El Pulgarcito , 4816 Central Ave., 704-563-6500. A bare bones shop specializing in pupusas, an El Salvadoran treat, and other Central American favorites. $
Saigon Bistro: Fine Vietnamese Cuisine , 3145 N. Sharon Amity, 704-536-5888. The Nyugen family offers a customer friendly, comfortableatmosphere in which to enjoy subdued, yet creative Vietnamese cuisine. $$
South 21 Drive In , 3101 E. Independence Blvd., 704-377-4509. Charlotte landmark since 1955, serves great burgers, fries, onion rings, etc., and still wins awards every year from our readers. Drive in or take out. L, D $
Taste of Havana Cuban Restaurant , 5534 Albemarle Rd., 704-535-0223. Owner Carol Torrez offers hearty black bean soup and other homespun Cuban dishes at reasonable prices. Flamingo guitar on Saturday nights. $
Woodlands Pure Vegetarian South Indian Cuisine , 7128-A Albemarle Rd., 704-569-9193. Featuring excellent vegetarian idlis, vadas, sambars, and rasams of Udipi, south India, served up with a flair. $$$

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