While we’re keeping pace to cover the 100+ new restaurants that will open in Charlotte this year, plenty more established spots are quietly executing and drawing loyal crowds.
Here are 9 of the best restaurants that fly just off our everyday coverage radar and deserve a whole lot more attention…
South End / Brookhill
Yamazaru – 2173 Hawkins Street – The team behind Ru San’s, highly regarded as one of the best sushi spots in town, opened Yamazaru last year in a jackpot spot right off the Rail Trail next to Sycamore.
In-the-know sushi fans freaking love it, but with no website and a largely inactive social presence, Yamazaru manages to lay pretty low. Get in there.
Fran’s Filling Station – 2410 Park Road – Fran’s, a longtime Dilworth staple, has a menu that’s tough to categorize. Dishes range from quirky (like the bacon-wrapped tater tots and cornbread waffles) to classic (like Fran’s legendary meatballs and homemade pasta).
Want tacos? They’ve got it. Burgers? Check. Pasta? Duh. Because Fran’s has a little of everything, it can be hard for newcomers to pinpoint it with a general search for something like burgers, tacos or Italian — even though loyal fans know they do all of it extremely well.
Krazy Fish – 2501 Central Avenue– From funky decor to an eclectic menu, Krazy Fish is a bright, playful sensory hodgepodge in a tired old Pizza Hut on Central Avenue. Contrary to its name, summing Krazy Fish up as a seafood restaurant alone misses the bigger picture — that absolutely nothing has to make sense in here (like the fact that you can get tacos with a side of mac and cheese).
It’s the kind of place to go when no one can agree on where to go because they’ve got it all — curry, pad Thai, roti, tacos, barbecue sandwiches and more. Oh, and fresh seafood.
Po’ Boys – 3022 Freedom Drive – This seafood market offers fresh fish by the pound (raw or cooked) as well as a cafe menu featuring fried fish sandwiches, salads, low country boil and more.
Choose your fresh catch, breading (regular, Cajun or salt & pepper) and sauce (mayo, tartar or Po’ Boy) and they’ll prep it for you. Be prepared to wait in line at peak meal times.
Poplar Street – 224 W. 10th Street – This charming tapas and wine bar in the historic Morrison House is a Fourth Ward gem. The Peruvian-inspired menu features shareable small plates like stuffed avocado, quinoa salad and garlic shrimp over mashed potatoes.
Grab a seat under the string lights on the front patio or cozy up in one of the four rooms inside.
NoDa Bodega – 1200 E. 36th Street – NoDa’s chill neighborhood sandwich shop is a bit off the main N. Davidson drag but has no trouble drawing people in with enticing daily features.
Savor Cafe – 1404 W. Morehead Street – The westside cafe and catering operation serves lunch, dinner and weekend brunch featuring southern classics like Tennessee hot chicken & waffles, shrimp & grits, chicken & dumplings and some of the city’s best banana pudding.
The newly renovated patio (summer 2017) is an added draw for the warm weather months.
Aqua e Vino – 4219 Providence Road – The intimate restaurant from acclaimed chef Gabriele Grigolon features northern Italian and modern Mediterranean cuisine.
Stop by Tuesday – Thursday for Butta la Pasta, a multi-course, family-style dinner with antipasti for the table, 3 pasta courses and dinner for $40 per person.
Zio Casual Italian – 116 Middleton Drive – The undisputed #1 most underrated restaurant in all of Charlotte (according to Agenda readers) is a sneaky little Italian restaurant tucked away in Myers Park just off Providence Road.
They’ve got their own garden that generates about 1,000 pounds of produce utilized by the kitchen in the summer months.
Header photo of Po’ Boys Lowcountry Seafood via Instagram