Charlotte Restaurants Make City a Must for Foodies

This thriving metro packs a big punch when it comes to food accolades. It’s known for the best coffee shops and as a top culinary scene, with notable chefs and foodies calling it home. Want to learn more? If new to the area or visiting for the first time, check out these Charlotte restaurants. They offer a great place to sample the local food scene.

Charlotte Restaurants: Best Places for Local Food and Friendly Vibes

charlotte restaurants barbecue

Midwood Smokehouse

Midwood Smokehouse has multiple locations in the Carolinas. What makes it so popular? Some say they serve the best barbecue in Charlotte.

Midwood cooks their meat fresh every day, so when it’s gone, it’s gone for the day. However, they offer a full menu. Start with barbecue queso, meatballs or pimento cheese fries. Then select from barbecue sandwiches or combo platters. Those not interested in barbecue can order other types of sandwiches, ribs, half-chicken, salmon and tacos. Midwood Smokehouse also has build-your-own salad options.

Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar

Love a good burger? Look no further than Big Daddy’s, which has multiple locations throughout the U.S.

Burger options range from a 10 oz. patty topped with bacon and cheese to the simple patty melt. Others have different cheeses, fried eggs, Philly style, pastrami, mushrooms and barbecue. Non-beef entrees include chicken sandwiches, black-bean burgers, turkey and tuna. Visitors are welcome to create their own burgers and salads as well. Don’t leave without trying a signature cocktail.

charlotte restaurants upscale dining

The Fig Tree Restaurant

For a special occasion or a great fine-dining option, try The Fig Tree Restaurant. This spot ranks among the best Charlotte restaurants for its seasonal French- and Italian-inspired cuisine.

The Fig Tree opens for dinner and has an extensive wine list. Entrees include duck confit, lobster, scallops, lamb and smoked sausage. Each come with a chef-inspired side and sauces, such as salads, rosemary potatoes and roasted artichokes. To compliment the dish, ask for the best wine.

Mac’s Speed Shop

Mac’s Speed Shop is no ordinary barbecue joint. This restaurant pairs ‘cue with beer and bikes, too.

Start with fried pickles, cracklings or deviled eggs. Then order Carolina beef brisket, catfish, ribs, and pulled pork. All come with Southern-style sides. For something different, Mac’s also serves salads, burgers, sandwiches and wraps. Or try Mexican-inspired dishes made with barbecue such as buffalo chicken tacos. Before leaving, buy homemade sauces and rubs to take home.

casual dining charlotte nc

Pinky’s Westside Grill

Ranked among the most popular Charlotte restaurants for traditional American food, Pinky’s Westside Grill has been featured on Food Network’s Diners, Dives and Drive-Ins.

Crab puppies, hummus, chili and wings top the appetizer menu. Then choose from salads, chicken and shrimp baskets and tacos. Pinky’s Westside Grill also has a large selection of burgers, hot dogs, corn dogs, sandwiches and sides. Signature items include The Pinky Dog made with pimento cheese and chili. Vegetarian options are available.

The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar

This restaurant offers a little something different. They serve burgers, sushi and combination burgushi.

Burgers and sandwiches range from beef, chicken and salmon topped with cheeses, peppers, mushrooms, bacon and veggies. Sushi options include classic rolls and fusion specialties. For the ultimate Cowfish meal, try the bento box, which comes with a mini-burger, three sides and four-piece roll. In addition, visitors can build their own roll and order kid’s boxes with burgers and sushi.

pasta italian north carolina

Mama Ricotta’s

Craving savory Italian dishes? Visit Mama Ricotta’s, which has ranked among the top Charlotte restaurants for more than 25 years. This spot serves homestyle Italian favorites.

Appetizers, soups and salads offer a sample, but the stars are the entrees. Lunch features lasagna, cheese ravioli, penne, and organic spaghetti and meatballs. Or choose from subs, paninis, and pizzas cooked in the wood-burning oven. Dinner offers a larger selection featuring chicken, short rib, seafood and vegetarian options.

vietamese food pho

Lang Van

Lang Van Vietnamese restaurant specializes in authentic Vietnamese cuisine and ranks on many lists as the best Asian restaurant in Charlotte.

After selecting an appetizer, try soups made with beef, noodle, seafood, rice, egg noodle and wonton. House dishes include vermicelli with pork, beef, chicken curry and shrimp. In addition, Lang Van serves vegetarian-friendly dishes, rice dishes, Vietnamese hot pot, fried rice and lemon grass curry.

Cabo Fish Taco Baja Seagrill

Tacos are the main draw at Cabo’s, but there’s lots to try here.

Guacamole or the salsa trio a good first choice. Then dig into Cabo’s signature tacos made with tofu, fish, shrimp, chicken or steak. Most tacos come with cabbage, tomato, guac, cheese and a cilantro white sauce. Other menu items include hearty wraps, burritos, quesadillas and fajitas. Just don’t forget one of Cabo’s margaritas.

Next check out the top Charlotte activities and book a vacation home in Charlotte.