15 most beautiful restaurants in Charlotte, ranked

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Looking for the perfectly designed space for just the right occasion? Here’s a list of the 15 most beautiful restaurants in our city.

Honorable mentions: Foxcroft Wine, CO, The Punch Room, Bonterra, Del Frisco’s, Customshop, Stoke, Pump House, Workman’s Friend, Fern and Soul Gastrolounge.


#15 Living Kitchen South End

Super-hip vegan restaurant inside South End’s historic Atherton Mill marries earthy and industrial design aesthetics with soaring windows, exposed brick and plenty of plants

Go for: A photo-worthy brunch you’ll brag about on Instagram.

Design element we love: The bar’s white subway tile backsplash and bright yellow barstools

Don’t forget: Atherton Market is open next door on Saturdays so you can pick up some produce and other local goods on your way out.

Money: $$. Most dishes are between $8-$13. Smoothies and juices are about $9.

Location and hours: Atherton Mill in South End. Monday – Saturday: 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.


#14 Halcyon

Sophisticated restaurant atop the grand staircase at The Mint Museum with floor-to-ceiling windows and a gorgeous view of the courtyard below

Go for: A fancy date night.

Design element we love: Earthy touches like the twig chandeliers and gorgeous raw edge wooden tables

Don’t forget: If it’s a Wednesday, you can visit The Mint Museum for free 5 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Money: $$$. Dinner entrees are in the $34 – $44 range.

Location and hours: The Mint Museum Uptown. 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. on Tuesday to Saturday and 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Sunday, closed Monday.


#13 Futo Buta

Casual little light rail-adjacent ramen shop where most of the indoor seats are at a counter or communal table — cozy on up

Go for: A solo meal. You can do it. Grab a seat at the bar and slurp your noodles in blissful solitude. It’s good for you, and you might make some friends.

Design element we love: Almost floor-to-ceiling wood paneling that warms the whole place up

Don’t forget: The house-made soft serve ice cream is insane and a mandatory end to every meal.

Money: $$. Steamed buns are $10, small rice bowls are $8 and ramen bowls are between $12-$18.

Location and hours: South End at the Bland Street light rail station. Monday – Thursday: 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. Friday – Saturday: 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. Sunday: noon to 10 p.m.


#12 Good Food on Montford

The OG of Charlotte small-plate restaurants.

Go for: A hot date or a hangout with close friends so you can share a ton of small plates. You’ll probably need 2-4 small plates per person. It ends up being an expensive dinner, but worth it. Oh, and the cocktails are underrated.

Design element we love: Modern design using several different materials.

Don’t forget: Good Food doesn’t do reservations; it’s first come, first served. But they do use the Nowait app if you’re looking to shorten your wait time.

Money: $$$. Small plates range from $6 – $14.

Location and hours: Montford. 1701 Montford Drive. Monday – Saturday: 5:30 p.m. – 10 p.m. Closed Sunday.


#11 Fahrenheit

Sleek, modern 21st-floor restaurant with stunning unobstructed views of the Uptown skyline

Go for: A chance to show off the city to your out-of-town friends (or parents)

Design element we love: The long, rectangular fire pit on the patio just sets the whole scene off

Don’t forget: To charge your phone. There are photo opps galore on the patio and you’ll be kicking yourself if your battery’s in the red.

Money: $$$. Dinner entrees are in the $34 – $55 range.

Location and hours: Uptown on the 21st floor of the Skye Condos. 222 S. Caldwell Street. Monday – Thursday: 4 p.m. – 11 p.m. Friday: 4 p.m. – 2 a.m. Sunday brunch: 11 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Sunday dinner: 4 p.m. – 9 p.m.


#10 The Cellar at Duckworth’s

Unexpected dark, cozy speakeasy-style gastropub in the basement of a sports bar

Go for: Late-night underground craft cocktails and small plates

Design element we love: The big, U-shaped tufted leather booth that feels so Godfather-y

Don’t forget: There is literally a cellar to the back left of the space. They’ve got all sorts of fancy beers there, ask your server about it.

Money: $$$. Dinner entrees are in the $19 – $68 range.

Location and hours: Uptown in the basement under Duckworth’s. 330 N. Tryon Street. Monday – Wednesday: 5 p.m. – midnight. Thursday: 5 p.m. – 1 am. Friday – Saturday: 5 p.m. – 2 a.m. Sunday: 5 p.m. – 11 p.m.


#9 O-Ku

O-Ku has the best sushi in Charlotte in a trendy urban setting that’ll make you feel like you’re in NYC.

Go for: Sushi date night. Must-order rolls: Spicy rainbow roll (seafood wrapper filled with snow crab, cucumber, avocado, masago, shiso dust, lime zest rainbow tobiko, spicy aioli, eel sauce, togarashi for $15) and the potato roll (tempura shrimp, avocado, wrapped with fried shoe-string potatoes, eel sauce, sweet chili for $13).

Design element we love: High ceilings and just the right amount of light and volume of music. If you’re into sushi-watching, sit at one of the ten seats in the back right bar to view preparation.

Don’t forget: If you’re not into sushi, go for their Tsukamen dipping noodles — ramen, hardboiled egg, condensed pork broth, braised pork belly ($16). You can also replace the pork belly with Wagyu ($40).

Money: $$$. Most rolls are $11-$15.

Location and hours: South End. 2000 South Boulevard. Monday – Wednesday: 5 p.m. – 10:30 pm. Thursday – Saturday 5 p.m. – 11 p.m. Sunday: 5 p.m. – 10 p.m.

oku-sushi-dining-room


#8 Dot Dot Dot

Upscale speakeasy with killer craft cocktails in an adult setting

Go for: Grown up cocktail with a buddy, date or friends when you want deep conversation without any distractions.

Design elements we love: Bookshelf above the round, leather red booths in the back right of the speakeasy give it that Ivy League library vibe. Oh, and the copper ceilings.

Don’t forget: You need to be a member ($10, it’s easy). They don’t take reservations, but if there aren’t any seats available just add your name and grab a drink at the Midwood Smokehouse bar which is about 50 yards away.

Money: $$. Small plates are about $10-$15. Cocktails aren’t cheap either, but they’re strong and made by arguably the most well respected bartenders in the city.

Location and hours: 4237 Park Road Unit B in the Backlot of Park Road Shopping Center. Tuesday – Sunday:5 p.m. to 2 a.m., closed on Monday.


#7 5Church

Trendy Uptown restaurant with an active nightlife scene

Go for: Dinner and drinks in a spot where you just might run into an athlete or celeb

Design element we love: The entire text of War and Peace handwritten on the ceiling

Don’t forget: Their desserts are insane. Save room.

Money: $$$. Entrees are $26 – $46.

Location and hours: Uptown. 127 N. Tryon Street. Lunch: Monday-Friday 11 a.m. – 3 pm. Dinner: Daily 5 p.m. – till. Brunch: Saturday 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.


#6 Stagioni

Italian restaurant that’s right at home in a historic Tuscan-inspired villa built as a private residence in 1920

Go for: Date night; it’s cozy and romantic

Design element we love: A bookcase with a secret door that the former owner Ms. Blanche Reynolds used to hide her liquor during Prohibition

Don’t forget: The pizzas are served with giant scissors for cutting, which is just oddly delightful and satisfying.

Money: $$. Apps and small plates run about $10, pizzas about $15 and both pastas and entrees are around $30.

Location and hours: Myers Park. 715 Providence Road. Monday – Thursday: 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday – Saturday: 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. Closed on Sundays.


#5 Hello Sailor

Joe and Katy Kindred’s new Palm Springs-inspired, mid-century modern lakeside restaurant features Sputnik chandeliers, stacked stone walls and slate and terrazzo flooring

Go for: Refined lakeside dining in a casual atmosphere

Design element we love: A small seating area with a bright yellow retro fireplace

Don’t forget: They’ve got dedicated boat slips and a tiki bar on the back deck that will open when the weather is right. Until then, pretend it’s summer by sipping a frozen negroni, one of their signature drinks.

Money: $$. Sandwiches run about $10 and most plates/platters range from $14 to $20.

Location & Hours: Lake Norman. 20210 Henderson Rd, Cornelius, NC. 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday to Sunday and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Monday.


#4 Merchant & Trade

Stunning rooftop bar on the 19th floor of the Kimpton Hotel in Uptown overlooking Romare Bearden Park

Go for: Swanky rooftop cocktails and killer Uptown views

Design element we love: The use of rocking chairs in the lawn area gives it a real “back porch in the sky” kind of vibe. And the 10,000 programmable LED lights on the roof add new visual interest to the skyline as a whole.

Don’t forget: You can most likely expect a line to get on the elevator to the 19th floor. Also, there’s a strict dress code that bans flip flops, baseball hats, athletic shoes, sweatshirts and sports apparel, among other items.

Money: $$. Cocktails are $14. Small plates are $10 – $15.

Location and Hours: Uptown on the 19th floor of the Kimpton Hotel. 303 S. Church Street. Monday – Thursday 4:30 p.m. – midnight. Friday – Saturday: 4:30 p.m. – 1 a.m.


#3 The Suffolk Punch

Quadruple threat coffee shop, brewery, restaurant and full bar in an airy, industrial space that’s dripping with plants and located just steps from the light rail

Go for: Anything — coffee on the way to work, lunch or dinner with friends, happy hour beers or late-night cocktails.

Design element we love: The sprawling light rail-adjacent patio has a practical retractable awning that makes it a more comfortable space on scorching sunny days

Don’t forget: It’s the sister concept to Hyde Brewing, which is brewed right there on site.

Money: $. Small plates are $5 – $12. Entrees are $10 – $19.

Location and Hours: South End at the New Bern light rail station. Monday – Thursday: 7:30 a.m. – 10 p.m. Friday: 7:30 a.m. – midnight. Saturday: 9 a.m. – midnight. Sunday: 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.


#2 Haberdish

The hottest new restaurant of 2017, famous for its Southern comfort food and jaw-dropping cocktails, is located in an old general store building in the heart of the early 19th-century north Charlotte mill town now known as the NoDa neighborhood

Go for: A huge Southern meal served on dishes that make it feel like you’re eating at home

Design element we love: Handcrafted tabletops made from wood from the rafters and bar taps made from repurposed mill spindles

Don’t forget: They serve weekday brunch Tuesday – Friday 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. and you deserve the kind of life that includes brunch in the middle of the work day.

Money: $$. Apps range from $5-$9, fried chicken is about $9.50 and sides range from $3.50 to $6. Cocktails are about $12.

Location and hours: NoDa. 3106 North Davidson Street. Tuesday – Thursday: 5 p.m. – 11 p.m. Friday: 5 p.m. – 1 a.m. Saturday: 11:30 a.m. – 1 a.m. Sunday: 11:30 a.m. – 11 p.m. Closed Monday.


#1 Kindred

Exquisite award-winning small plate restaurant located in an old 1914 pharmacy in downtown Davidson

Go for: A celebratory dinner — birthdays, anniversaries, promotions etc.

Design element we love: Aside from everything, the bar is a centerpiece of the restaurant and a real work of art

Don’t forget: The answer to “Would you like bread?” should be a resounding “YES PLEASE” because their free milkbread is legendary. Also, you can order a “Barkeep’s Choice” and the bartender will surprise you with a cocktail matched to your flavor profile preferences.

Money: $$. The average small plate is about $12, and you should do at least two small plates per person.

Location and hours: Davidson. 131 N Main Street. Tuesday -Saturday: 11 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. and 5 – 10 p.m. They’re closed on Sundays and Mondays.

Kindred’s space is gorgeous. The two-story restaurant features a bar downstairs and dining on the main and second floor. It’s worth the drive to Davidson, and I recommend getting there early to walk to the super-cute downtown. Instagram.

Header photo of Haberdish by Dustin Peck

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