The Top 10 Restaurants In Charlotte's City Center, USA

Prachi Vyas

Charlotte is, at its core, a modern city on its way to having one of the sleekest restaurant scenes in the entire state. In its metamorphosis, Charlotte is ditching the old American cuisine styles and embracing a diversity of new ethnic foods and menus while maintaining a strong sense of character and modernity.

Pan-fried Oysters at McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood

1. McCormick & Schmick's Seafood

Bar, Restaurant, American, Seafood, Vegetarian

Fountain and Charlotte Plaza
© Andrew Simpsons/WikiCommons
For seafood so fresh you wouldn’t believe, make a reservation for an evening meal at McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood. One of Charlotte’s premier seafood restaurants, reviewers rave about the extensive, diverse and high-end menu options that have stayed consistent and delicious since the 1970s. Each day, the catch of the day is brought into the kitchen of McCormick and hand-crafted into award-winning bar food that includes shrimp cocktail, blended juices, aged steaks and more.

2. Bentley's On 27

Restaurant, French

Bentley’s On 27 is a fine dining establishment located on, as promised, the 27th floor of Charlotte Plaza, right at the tippity top. Unsurprisingly, this means it has unparalleled views of Charlotte’s cityscape and is one of the best places in Charlotte to dine with a view. Dedicated to serving classic French cuisine, Bentley’s loves to prep and serve its dishes in a gueridon, a mobile cooking cart frequently used in France to provide table-side service. You know you’re getting a high-class, authentic experience from the moment you step inside this impeccable restaurant.

3. Mimosa Grill

Restaurant, American

The Trust and Chima Brazilian Steakhouse
© James Willamor/Flickr
Mimosa Grill is the perfect go-to place for those days you know you just want tasty food but with a low-key, indie vibe. It has won accolades since 1995 for its array of New American fare, including being named one of Charlotte’s best restaurants. Offering a menu with delectable Southern-style dishes like creamy shrimp grits and buttery biscuits, along with an incredible Sunday brunch menu with vegetarian and meat options alike, Mimosa Grill is a fantastic restaurant for the whole family to enjoy.

4. Chima Brazilian Steakhouse

Bar, Restaurant, Steakhouse, Vegetarian

Heirloom Tomato Salad - Kings Kitchen restaurant, Charlotte
© David Berkowitz/Flickr
Chima Brazilian Steakhouse celebrates the diversity of Charlotte’s food scene by making Brazilian cuisine easily accessible to the city’s hungriest souls. Named after chimarrao, a Brazilian drink known for its symbolic properties of friendship and hospitality, Chima offers nothing short of an all-out traditional feast prepared with the utmost dedication by talented chefs. Come here for tender sirloin, grilled lamb, and a sumptuous salad bar with all the accompaniments you’ll need, including fresh greens, grilled fish, cold cuts, tender veggies, and hot Brazilian soups.

5. The King's Kitchen & Bakery

Bakery, Restaurant, American, Vegetarian, Vegan

Dessert at Rooster’s Wood-fired Kitchen
© Sean Biehle/Flickr
Not only is The King’s Kitchen & Bakery an intimate little place specializing in farm to fork meals, it is also a dedicated grassroots charity organization. The King’s Kitchen is known and loved for hiring those in dire need of employment, as well as donating a portion of its proceeds to Charlotte’s less fortunate. Come here to make a difference while dining on a fresh peach or tomato salads, creamy pimento cheese spread on toasted bread, homemade macaroni and cheese with chicken, and so much more.

Rooster’s Wood-fired Kitchen

Rooster’s Wood-fired Kitchen serves food exactly as its name suggests: with the smoky, charred finish that only a wood-fired stove can exude. Executive Chef Jim Noble opened this uptown joint with a vision: to offer the best a la carte options at the most reasonable prices. In doing so, he has breathed new life into the family-style restaurant category, using his animated and open-facing kitchen to give a distinctly homey feel to the place. Come here for the barbecued offerings, including chicken wings marinated in Chef Noble’s homemade BBQ sauce.

Address and telephone number: 150 N College St, Charlotte, NC 28202 +1 (704) 370-7667

6. McNinch House Restaurant

Bistro, Restaurant, American

Tuna Tartare
@ BLT Steak Bistro | © cdorobek/Flickr
With so many Charlottean restaurants transforming into upscale, refined and elegant eating venues, it’s nice to take a step back in time at McNinch House Restaurant. Located in a historic and perfectly preserved Victorian-era home, the McNinch House specializes in French-style reconstructed cuisine served on old-fashioned fine china, on tables covered with white linen and decorated with an antiquated golden candlestick. The servers offer each lady a single-stem red rose as they leave the restaurant, conjuring up the romantic atmosphere of a bygone era.

7. BLT Steak

Bistro, Steakhouse

Branching off the lobby of the glamorously upscale Ritz-Carlton is BLT Steak, an elegant steakhouse inspired by the timeless style and taste of a French bistro. You’ll feel like a million dollars just ordering one of their cocktails made from premium liquor and fresh-squeezed juices or even a side of their poppers, made from chunks of bread crust filled with gooey Gruyère cheese and creamy butter. For an experience that is equal parts snazzy and delicious, urbane yet unpretentious, it doesn’t get more real than BLT Steak.

8. Aria Tuscan Grill

Restaurant, Italian, Vegetarian, Vegan

Thai Spring Roll
© Steven Depolo/Flickr
Taking a nod from the light, refreshing Tuscan cuisine of central Italy is Aria Tuscan Grill. Located in the heart of Charlotte’s city center, this up-and-coming restaurant specializes in the simplicity of Italian comfort food without compromising on an upscale atmosphere. Founded by Charlottean restaurateur Pierre Bader, Aria promises to deliver the refined authenticity of Tuscany with its caramelized gnocchi, wild mushroom pizza, hand-selected Italian wine, tenderized pork loin, and warm and inviting ambiance. If you really want to escape the city, head to the lounge on Aria’s top floor and bask in the quietude.

9. Basil Thai Cuisine

Restaurant, Asian, Thai, Vegetarian

Enhancing Charlotte’s reputation as a melting pot is Basil Thai Cuisine, a restaurant focused on modern interpretations of traditional Thai street food. With artful renditions of favorites like panang curry and chicken pad thai, Basil Thai offers a nod to the palate of spicy-sweet flavors inherent to Thai cooking. The decor is definitely on the modern side, with an emphasis on keeping things sleek and high key. Try the incredibly light spring rolls, which are never fried and always served with a Thai basil accent; you can see it being made in the open, spacious kitchen while you chat with friends over drinks.

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