Eating Out in Charlotte, NC | Great Local Restaurants to Try

Alfresco lunch time at Latta Arcade, Charlotte, North Carolina, USA
Alfresco lunch time at Latta Arcade, Charlotte, North Carolina, USA | © Philip Scalia / Alamy
Photo of Chloe Hay
9 February 2017
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The largest city in North Carolina, Charlotte is a hotspot for cultural pursuits and is packed full of museums, art galleries, parks and some of the best eateries in the USA. Here is an updated version of Charlotte’s 10 Best Cultural Restaurants: Dining in North Carolina: from sushi-burger fusions to sophisticated tapas, these are 10 of the best cultural restaurants in Charlotte.

Mac’s Speed Shop

2B37WC5 Charlotte, NC/USA – May 14, 2019: Horizontal outdoor sidewalk shot of Mac’s Speed Shop bar and grille on South Blvd. showing brand/logo signage. | © Bruce VanLoon / Alamy

Part-biker bar, part-barbecue joint, Mac’s Speed Shop invites diners to sample their delicious family recipes, succulent meats and ice-cold beers in their Charlotte restaurant. Specialising in ‘Mexicue’ – that’s Mexican tortillas and tacos stuffed with barbecued meaty goodness – and anything else barbecue-related, Mac’s serves up a variety of dishes including grilled chicken wings, beef burgers, brisket and pulled pork sandwiches. There’s also an impressive menu of 300 cold beers and the staff are well skilled in matching the perfect pint to each food item, giving guests a rounded dining experience.

Midwood Smokehouse

Restaurant, Steakhouse, American, Gluten-free, $$$
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Midwood Smokehouse, Charlotte
`Midwood Smokehouse, Charlotte | Image Courtesy of 5Church
Hardwood hickory logs are burnt 24 hours a day, seven days a week on the custom-built, computer-controlled smoker at Midwood Smokehouse. This lengthy cooking process ensures that the meats are all cooked to perfection and taste absolutely incredible. You can choose to enjoy your lunch or dinner in the restaurant, outside on the patio or order a selection of meats to take away and eat picnic-style in the park. With its extensive menu, customers can enjoy caramelized cubes of brisket, St. Louis-style pork ribs, or even a fillet of salmon served with bacon-wrapped jalapenos and pimento cheese fries.

5Church Restaurant

Bar, Restaurant, American, $$$
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Charleston, USA. 10th Nov, 2016. 5Church restaurant in Charleston, S.C., opened last year in a century-old church, but the name of the restaurant stems from a Charlotte, N.C., street name (Church) where the original eatery opened a few years ago. © Lori R
H994WH Charleston, USA. 10th Nov, 2016. 5Church restaurant in Charleston, S.C., opened last year in a century-old church, but the name of the restaurant stems from a Charlotte, N.C., street name (Church) where the original eatery opened a few years ago. © Lori Rackl/Chicago Tribune/TNS/Alamy Live News | © Lori Rackl / Chicago Tribune / TNS / Alamy
Both an upmarket restaurant and a bar, 5Church is ever-growing in popularity and despite being relatively new on the scene, it has already marked itself out as one of the best eateries in the city. Offering imaginative and tasty dishes such as wasabi-crusted salmon, North Carolina mountain trout and crispy marinated tofu, the flavour combinations here are inspiring and innovative. A carefully chosen selection of local delicacies is available to order directly from the bar, best enjoyed alongside a glass of wine, champagne or with one of 5Church’s signature cocktails. The industrial design of the restaurant’s interior is expertly contrasted with the scriptures from Sun Tzu’s The Art of War that cover the ceiling adding to the uniqueness and intrigue of the establishment.

Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar

Bar, Restaurant, American, Vegetarian, Fast Food, Beer, Wine, Cocktails, $$$
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Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar_1952444
Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar | Courtesy of Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar
For premium burgers nowhere does it quite like Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar. Guests can relax in the chicer-than-average American diner, safe in the knowledge that their burgers are being made from scratch using fresh ingredients and cooked to perfection by a top chef. Meat lovers should go for the Bad Ass Burger consisting of a 10-ounce beef patty, lettuce, tomato, buttermilk fried bacon, horseradish mayo, handmade American cheese and pickles. For vegetarians there’s a choice of black bean burger combinations and for those that need gluten free there’s beef, chicken and buffalo options. Wash it all down with a hand-spun milkshake or a craft beer.

Good Food on Montford

Restaurant, American, $$$
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Exposed brick walls, unusual light fixtures and wooden ceiling beams create the cosy, rustic feel that makes Good Food on Montford such a sought-after restaurant for romantic dates and casual dinners. Set up by two brothers in 2009, Good Food has quickly become a firm favourite amongst locals. The cuisine is based on tapas-sized bites and sharing a selection of dishes is highly encouraged. Go for the southern fried quail, steamed buns, seared scallops and creamy risotto for a truly enjoyable meal. Located on the edge of Myers Park, Good Food is worth the drive slightly out of town and is the perfect stop for lunch after a morning’s meander through the parkland.

Firebird’s Wood Fire Grill

Restaurant, Vegetarian, Steakhouse, American, Vegan, Gluten-free, $$$
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There’s no beating around the bush at Firebird’s Wood Fire Grill: this restaurant serves classically simple, American, tasty dishes. Start with the smoked chicken wings or the crab cakes, follow with either an aged rib-eye steak or a pecan-crusted trout and finish with a slice of key lime pie or a warm chocolate brownie for a meal sure to satisfy even the largest of appetites. There are plenty of vegetarian and gluten free options available too and Firebird’s Wood Fire Grill is open for both lunch and dinner so there’s never a reason to go hungry in Charlotte.

Lang Van

Restaurant, Vietnamese, Asian, Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten-free, $$$
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Raved about by locals, Lang Van is the most popular Vietnamese restaurant in Charlotte. Don’t be put off by the exterior: the food here is simply divine and the service is excellent. Diners can order their favourite dishes or ask the waiting staff to recommend something for them. The menu is packed full of all the usual soups, noodles and rice dishes but it is the Vietnamese hot pot and the lemon grass curries that really make a visit here worthwhile. Book a table in advance or be prepared to wait a while because Lang Van has many loyal customers ensuring that the restaurant is nearly always full.

The Cowfish, Sushi Burger Bar

Bar, Restaurant, American, Seafood, Sushi, $$$
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The Cowfish_1952449
The Cowfish | Courtesy of The Cowfish
Serving both top quality burgers and delicious sushi, Cowfish appeals to a variety of foodies and enables couples and friends with differing favourite cuisines to dine side by side in equal enjoyment. Diners can choose items off of the extensive fresh sushi menu, from the organic burger menu or they can try something slightly more unusual from the ‘burgushi’ menu. Fusing burgers with sushi, these dishes are definitely interesting but good fun to try. If ‘burgushi’ doesn’t quite appeal, customers can still get creative by ordering off of the ‘build your own sushi roll’ menu allowing them to try out their own flavour combinations and invent new rolls. Completing the unusual dining experience, there’s a 600-gallon live cowfish aquarium acting as the restaurant’s centrepiece.

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