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Goodeats

The following is Creative Loafing's bite-sized guide to restaurants in Charlotte.

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KABOB HOUSE, PERSIAN CUISINE 6432 E. Independence Boulevard, 704-531-2500. An array of Persian delights: tender char-broiled kabobs, polo, and khoresht dishes, all reasonably priced. Building is not much to look at from the outside, but the interior is welcoming. $$-$$$

KING AND I RESTAURANT 4800 Central Avenue, 704-532-7511. Pristine Thai restaurant with flavorful dishes that are well-executed. Solicitous and knowledgeable service, too. L$$, D$$-$$$

KYOTO JAPANESE/KOREAN RESTAURANT 6404 Albemarle Road, 704-569-1954. The Korean dishes are so authentic that even the Korean menu is written in Korean script without benefit of translation. Helpful servers will guide you though. $$

LA CANASTA DOMINICANA RESTAURANT 4808 Central Avenue, 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$$

LA GRAN HAVANA 5917 Albemarle Road, 704-535-0223. Cuban chefs create island delights here. Wonderful black bean soup, golden maduros, mariquitas, and char-grilled pork with a tangy-sweet tamarind sauce. Steak, fish, and shellfish ingeniously prepared. Lunch features the famed Cuban sandwich. Bilingual menu. L, D $$

LANDMARK DINER 4429 Central Avenue, 704-532-1153. Big diner serves up the big picture of American food: millions of items, all cooked fresh. Save room for their big desserts. $L, $-$$D.

LANG VAN 3019 Shamrock Drive, at the corner of Eastway, 704-531-9525. Delicious Vietnamese cuisine with lots of fresh herbs in creative combinations. Try the yellow pancake, or let the helpful staff steer your order. $$.

MAMMA LENA'S PASTA & PIZZA 5135 Albemarle Road, 704-568-0000. Pizza (cooked in a wood-burning oven) and pasta are both terrific, as is fresh crusty bread. Unlimited salad or soup with entrees. $-$$.

MARISCOS LA MEXICANA, MEXICAN SEAFOOD 4400 Central Avenue, 704-531-4500. Mexican coastal cuisine, primarily seafood, served in huge portions at reasonable prices. $$

PHO AN HOA 4832 A-B Central Avenue, 704-537-0060. Very tasty Vietmanese soup shop. $

PIKE'S OLD FASHIONED SODA SHOP 2133 Shamrock Drive, 704-568-1636. The name says it all. Nostalgia reigns while being served homemade quality from ice cream floats to sandwiches and fries to sticky buns. Shamrock location closed on Sunday. $

PORTOFINO ITALIAN RESTAURANT AND PIZZERIA 3124 Eastway Drive, 704-568-7933. Wonderful rustic Neapolitan dishes at incredibly low prices served in a casual atmosphere. New York Style Pizza (large is 16 inch). Take out, too. $$

SOUTH 21 DRIVE IN 3101 E. Independence Boulevard, 704-377-4509. Charlotte landmark since '55, serves great burgers, fries, onion rings, etc. and still wins awards every year from our readers. Drive in or take out. $

WOODLANDS PURE VEGETARIAN SOUTH INDIAN CUISINE 7128-A Albemarle Road, 704-569-9193. Featuring excellent vegetarian idlis, vadas, sambars, and rasams of Udipi, south India served up with a flair. $$-$$$

ELIZABETH/PLAZA-MIDWOOD


CAJUN QUEEN 1800 E. 7th Street, 704-377-9017. Friendly atmosphere, jazz, and terrific service highlight the complete New Orleans-style menu. $$$

CIBI 1601 E. 7th Street, 704-344-0844. Unpretentious American bistro with French-Italian bistro-styled cuisine in an historic Elizabeth house. $$$

CUISINE MALAYA, MALAYSIAN CUISINE & JAPANESE SUSHI BAR 1411 Elizabeth Avenue, 704-372-0766 or 704-372-0768. Charlotte's only Malaysian restaurant serving first rate Roti Canai, Satay, Char Kway Teow and Beef Rendang. Sultry, yet sophisticated ambiance and fine service. $$$

DIAMOND INDIA 3200 Monroe Road, 704-333-1818. Northern Indian cuisine. Well-composed, heavenly-scented, nearly fat-free traditional dishes. $$

ETHAN'S OF ELIZABETH AMERICAN BISTRO 366 N. Caswell Road, 704-375-3007. Located in a charming old house in one of Charlotte's quaint neighborhoods, this comfortable bistro features well-executed New American cuisine. $$$

JOHN'S COUNTRY KITCHEN 1518 Central Avenue, 333-9551. A reminder of a culinary tradition we're quickly leaving behind. Brains and eggs, country ham, grits, and gravy. Open for lunch, too. Cash only. $

LUPIE'S CAFE 2718 Monroe Road, 704-374-1232. This funky, semi-legendary place is home to an eclectic, down-home hip clientele and a kitchen full of some of the best burgers and chili in town. Also, good homestyle meals. $

NOVA'S BAKERY 1511 Central Avenue, 704-333-5566. A great Eastern European bakery. Wonderful Cranberry Pecan and Orange Chocolate bread, focaccia, baguettes, country bread, brioche, potato pizzas, and more. $

THE PENGUIN 1921 Commonwealth Avenue, 704-375-6959. Reopened in 2001 after being refurbished to the original red, black, and chrome 1950s interior. Menu features burgers, foot long hot dogs, Eastern-styled barbecue, veggie burgers, fried pickles and pimento cheese sandwiches. $-$$

SWING 1000 1000 Central Avenue, 704-334-4443. Familiar dishes in a glamorous neo-1940s/Lounge/Rat Pack setting. Entertainment and dancing with a dose of swank. $$$-$$$$

LAKE NORMAN


ASAHI JAPANESE RESTAURANT 14211 Reese Boulevard, Huntersville. 704-948-7728. Prices are reasonable for this upbeat neighborhood spot filled with promise. Take out, too. $$$

BROOKLYN SOUTH PIZZERIA & ITALIAN EATERY Jetton Village Shopping Center, 19911-C N. Cove Road, Cornelius, 704-896-2928. A typical New York style, family-owned, neighborhood pizzeria where items are served in large sharable portions and kept at a minimal price. $$


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