20 most beautiful restaurants in Charlotte, ranked

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This article was updated August 2018.

Looking for the perfectly designed space for just the right occasion? Here’s a list of the 20 most beautiful restaurants in our city.

Honorable mentions: Foxcroft Wine, Bonterra, Stoke, Pump House, Workman’s Friend, and Soul Gastrolounge.


Most Beautiful Restaurant in Charlotte?

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#20 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.


#19 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.


#18 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.


#17 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.


#16 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.


#15 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


#14 Zeppelin

New chef-driven upscale restaurant and lounge in South End

Go for: Group dinner with buddies who don’t mind spending money on tasty small plates and unique cocktails. I didn’t think they’d be able to pull off a “Soul Gastrolounge for South End” — but that’s exactly the track that Zeppelin’s on as of right now.

Don’t forget: The Edison, Zeppelin’s take on an Old Fashioned, is dramatically served in a smoke-filled glass dome that you’ve probably seen on Instagram.

Money: $$. Sharable small plates range from $11-$23.

Agenda guide: 5 things to know about Zeppelin

Location and hours: Tuesday – Thursday 5 p.m. – 11 p.m. and Friday & Saturday: 5 p.m. – 2 a.m. Sunday brunch as well.

booth-at-zeppelin-in-south-end


#13 The Stanley

Seasonally-driven, locally-sourced restaurant by James Beard Award Semifinalist chef Paul Verica, formerly of Heritage in Waxhaw

Go for: Date night with a foodie.

Design element we love: Intimate dining area with natural light. Grab a reservation in advance as there are only 63 total seats, including a private dining room in the back that can accommodate 28 and an 11-seat bar in the main dining room. Bar seats are first come, first served and I’d ask for the front dining room if they’ll let you choose.

Don’t forget: Yes, the menu really does change and you can actually view the version number on the top right-hand corner of the menu. In the first month, they changed the menu about 25 times.

Agenda Guide: 6 quick things to know before your first dinner date at The Stanley

Money: $$. Small plates range from $10-$18 and entrees are about $30.

Location and hours: 1961 E 7th St. Tuesday – Thursday 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday 5 p.m. – 10 p.m. and Sunday Brunch 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

bar-at-the-stanley-restaurant-charlotte


#12 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.


#11 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 The Art of War 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.


#10 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.


#9 Flour Shop

Intimate 66-seat restaurant with a central show kitchen in the middle of the dining room owned an operated by Trey Wilson, the well-respected chef behind Custom Shop in Elizabeth.

Go for: Date night. The simple menu consists of fresh pasta and breads along with roasted and grilled meats, seafood and vegetables. Go with the coal-roasted acorn squash appetizer ($12 and their best seller) and any pasta.

Design element we love: Flour Shop’s kitchen is literally in the center of the restaurant surrounded by a 22-seat, tiled bar. It’s the best seat in the house. In addition to the bar, there are tables that can seat up to another 44 guests. It’s not a big restaurant.

Don’t forget: They don’t do reservations. There’s typically no wait on the weekdays, but expect a wait on peak times during the weekend. Go early and then walk across the street to Dot Dot Dot after dinner for a cocktail.

Money: $$$. Most small plates are $14 and pastas range from $24-$28.

Agenda Guide: 7 takeaways from dining at Flour Shop — the hot new 66-seat restaurant by Trey Wilson 

Location and hours: Backlot at Park Road Shopping Center, 530 Brandywine Unit A. Monday – Saturday 5 p.m. – 10 p.m.

flour shop header


#8 Superica

Trendy Atlanta-based Tex-Mex restaurant from chef Ford Frye

Go for: Group dinner date with other fun couples. If you’re drinking go with the Matador (El Jimador Blanco, pineapple, lime, cilantro, served up for $10) or the Red Headed Stranger (Deep Eddy Ruby Red Vodka, Campari, fresh grapefruit for $11).

Design element we love: Exposed brick, huge windows and an awesome (albeit currently underutilized) patio

Don’t forget: For an appetizer, skip the guacamole and go with the queso fundido – broiled Monterey Jack and Chihuahua cheeses, warm tortillas and salsa cremosa ($10). Watch: Ted & Katie’s cheese pull challenge.

Money: $$. Unless you do the $11.99 lunch special, Superica is pricey. Most entrees range from $18-$38, fajitas $20-$28, enchiladas $13-$15 and tacos $13-$16. You get it, it’s not a cheap Mexican spot.

Agenda Guide: 10 quick takeaways from my first trip to Superica

Location and hours: 101 W. Worthington Aveneue #100. Dinner Monday – Thursday 5 p.m. 10 p.m., Friday 5 p.m. – 11 p.m., Saturday 3 p.m. – 11 p.m. and Sunday 3 – 10 p.m. Lunch Monday – Friday 11 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. And brunch Saturday and SUnday 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

superica-bar-area-charlotte

Bar area at 6:15 p.m. on a Friday evening.


#7 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.


#6 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.


#5 Haymaker

Farm-focused restaurant led by chef William Dissen of The Market Place in Asheville

Go for: Classy meal with a friend. As the sun sets, the horseshoe shaped bar has a beautiful glow. Plan on spending time there before or after your meal. Cocktails, including the Haymaker Punch, range from $10-$12.

Design elements we love: The roughly 4,000-square-foot restaurant features soaring floor-to-ceiling windows, mezzanine level seating and a cool 4-seat chef’s table overlooking the open kitchen.

Don’t forget: Most people will look at this as a dinner spot but it’s actually open all day — as early as 7 a.m. on weekdays — and serves breakfast fare like coffee, egg sandwiches and yogurt parfaits.

Money: $$$. Popular dishes include the NC shrimp a la plancha ($15), Brasstown beef burger ($15) for lunch, grilled NY strip ($32) and I loved the side of mac & cheese ($8).

Location and Hours: 225 S. Poplar St. Breakfast Monday – Friday 7 a.m.  – 10:30 a.m. coffee shop. Lunch 11 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Dinner 5 p.m. – 11 p.m. Brunch Saturday – Sunday 10 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

bar-area-at-haymaker


#4 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.


#3 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.


#2 La Belle Helene

New upscale French brasserie in the heart of Uptown

Go for: Date night in Uptown or fun business dinner when you’re tired of the steakhouses.

Design element we love: With super high ceilings and detailed interiors that include a mixture of pewter, antique wood and leather — it’s freaking gorgeous in this 166-seat restaurant.

Don’t forget: You’ve probably seen photos of LBH’s steak tartare on Instagram, but order the tuna tartare ($16) with sweet corn, confit lemon and a few pieces of popcorn on top was the best thing we ate.

Money: $$$. Small plates cost around $15 and entrees are about $35.

Agenda Guide: 6 quick takeaways from my first visit to La Belle Helene

Location and hours: 300 S Tryon St.

bar-at-la-belle-helene-french-restaurant-uptown-charlotte

La Belle Helene’s bar is popping — and the vibe will make you want to dress up (I wish kind of felt like I needed pants and a blazer).


#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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