What do you do when you consider yourself a foodie and realize you have only been to a teeny tiny fraction of the restaurants in town? You make a list and vow to try as many as possible (or all of them) in a calendar year.
This is a three part list that includes restaurants I've never been to, restaurants I haven't been to in years (marked with an asterisk *), and restaurants that are my favorites. Only the new-to-me restaurants are included in the total count.
Still with me? Good!
I will update the list with links to blog posts about my experience and what I ate as I check off places on the list.
And now, in no particular order, the list!
- BLT - I love a great steak and potato dinner. Also, did somebody say signature popovers?! Located inside the chic Ritz Carlton, it's a must on my list!
- Alexander Michael’s - I'm ashamed to admit that this restaurant has been on my wishlist for at least five years and I have yet to go there. Rumor has it the place is like Cheers, where everybody knows your name.
- Murphy's Kitchen & Tap - You had me at Shepherd's Pie.
- Stoke - The food and the cocktails look amazing and the giant doughnut cake is Instagram worthy. It's no wonder that locals flock to this hotel restaurant and bar, located inside the newly renovated Charlotte Center City Marriott.
- Coco And The Director - This coffee shop, located inside Charlotte Center City Marriott, has a cool decor, a coffee bar, and carved to order sandwiches. Sign me up!
- Luce - Some of my fondest memories are of my trip to Northern Italy when I was a teenager. Most of those memories include food, which is why this restaurant is high on my list!
- Poplar Street Tapas Cafe & Wine Bar - Inspired Peruvian tapas? Yes, please! The ceviche is my top priority.
- 204 North - There are very few restaurants in Charlotte that serve fried green tomatoes. This is one of them.
- City Lights Rooftop Bar - Located on top of Le Meridien Charlotte, the bar offers a great view of the Charlotte skyline. And any place with a view of my favorite skyline gets top billing on my list!
- Evoke - I've been dying to try this restaurant since it opened a few years ago. The marinated baby beets salad, Peruvian ceviche, and gnocchi top my must try list.
- Chili Man - Everybody knows about Vic and his hot dog cart uptown and I can't wait till it's warm enough for him to be back out on the streets so I can finally try his legendary dogs.
- Halcyon - I've only been here once for a cocktail and it was one of the best I've ever had. Based on that I assume the food is just as good.
- Valhalla Pub and Eatery - I'm part Scandinavian so there are several items that I would love to try: the Norwegian Meatball plate, the Norwegian Burger, and the Swedish Hash. Skål!
- Something Classic Cafe - Their catering is top notch and I've heard amazing things about the cafe. Expect me to live there if their roast beef ciabatta sandwich is the same as what they have as part of their catering packages.
- The Cellar at Duckworth's - A "secret" underground restaurant and bar, you say? Count me in!
- McNinch House - This prix fixe, reservation only, restaurant is one of (if not THE) most romantic restaurants in town. Someone tell my husband this is where I want to go for our wedding anniversary in October.
- Mert's Heart & Soul - A soul food classic and another Uptown spot with fried green tomatoes. Count me in!
- Cowbell Burger & Whiskey Bar - Confession: I used to hate burgers. But that was before I discovered artisan burgers. Now I'm converted and love trying out burger focused restaurants. I'm on a Umami kick so that's the burger that I must try on my first visit.
- The Asbury - modern, rustic, Southern. If you don't get hungry reading the menu, you're not human.
- Tavolo - Reasonably priced Italian fare located inside the old Cosmo location.
- Green's Lunch - I've walked past this place more times than I could count. They've been around since 1926 and serve breakfast and lunch.
- Cafe Siena - Another restaurant I've walked passed on numerous occasions, another restaurant I must try this year.
- Aria Tuscan Grill* - One of my favorite restaurant in town and it's been forever since I've ate there. The chef's table is a must. It's also my top pick for Restaurant Week.
- Bentley's Restaurant On 27* - Another Charlotte classic, another restaurant I have not been to in almost a decade. Come for the crab cakes, stay for the view.
- Blue* - A classic restaurant with the best Sea Bass in town. Come for dinner, stay for the jazz. It's also where my now husband and I celebrated our engagement many many years ago.
- Mimosa Grill* - The last time I ate here was in 10 B.I., better known as the era Before Instagram, so there's no photographic evidence to remind me what it was that I ate. I remember the night, but that's a whole different story.
- The King's Kitchen - This is one of my absolute favorite restaurants in town and it's a non-profit. Eating for a good cause never felt so good.
- Dandelion Market - an old favorite for tapas and cocktails and dance parties.
- Basil Thai - another favorite that never disappoints. Get the Basil Duck and Pad Thai and thank me later.
- 5Church - equal parts chic, fun, and delicious. My favorites are the Lamb Burger, the 60 second steak, and the Viper. Seasonal dishes are not to be missed!
- VBGB Beer Hall and Garden - Sure it's a bar (with an extensive collection of craft beer taps) but their food is great, too! They have best soft pretzel in town and have other standout dishes such as the potatoes latkes, fried pickles, and totchos.
- Room 112 - One of my favorite "secret" spots for sushi Uptown with a great hot food menu.
- Sea Level - Their signature namesake oysters are delicious and the corn fritters are hands down the best corn fritters I've ever had.
- Malabar - The tapas are the delicious, the wine selection is great, and the paella is my favorite.
- Rhino Market & Deli - Take thee straight to the back of the store and order yourself a grilled cheese, it's the best in town!
- Pinky's Westside Grill - This place turned me into a fried pickle lover. My go to is the White Trash burger with a side salad or the Buffalo Shrimp salad. If you're a corn dog lover, this is your spot! They're hand dipped in house and there's also a vegetarian version.
- Bernardin's - This is one of my new favorite restaurants in town. I love the atmosphere, the food, and Susan the bartender.
- Pure Pizza - I'm obsessed with the Chorizo pizza and the bourbon honey for dipping the crust.
- Fahrenheit - I know this is going to sound crazy but my favorite thing on the menu is the wild mushroom pizza. Shh, don't tell Chef Rocco.
- Bonsai Fusion - Another favorite sushi spot, tucked away at 7th Street Market. Always fresh, always delicious!
- K.O. Sushi - Speaking of take-out sushi, this is another favorite of mine. Grab a couple of rolls and enjoy lunch al fresco at Romare Bearden Park.
- Chima Brazilian Steakhouse - There are other Rodizio style restaurants in town but this one is hands down the best.
Look, I'm just as surprised as you by some of the restaurants on the list! And to think this is only Uptown! I will be tackling the remainder of the neighborhoods throughout the year so make sure to check back!
Huge thanks to the following lists for inspiring me:
- Yelp's 2016 Top 50 Places to Eat in Charlotte
- Charlotte Magazine's 25 Best New Restaurants: 2017
- Eater's 18 Hottest New Restaurants in Charlotte, NC
What is your favorite Uptown restaurant and why?