Holiday date? 10 most romantic restaurants in Charlotte, ranked

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2018 Holiday Edition: Romantic Restaurant Power Rankings

Looking for a romantic rate night? I feel ya. Here’s a quick overview and ranking of the most romantic restaurants in Charlotte.

Honorable mentions: Bardo,McNinch House, The Cellar at Duckworth’s, Bonterra, Dot Dot Dot, Crepe Cellar and Aqua e Vino.


#10 Good Food

The OG of Charlotte small-plate restaurants.

Must-order dish: Steamed bun – Five Spice rubbed pork belly, hoisin, pickled vegetables ($10).

Agenda pro tip: Go with an intimate group of friends (or a hot date) and 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.

Logistics: 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.

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Inside Good Food on Montford. Agenda related story: Top 50 restaurants in Charlotte, ranked


#9 Alexander Michael’s

The ideal neighborhood tavern, serving unpretentious food in historic Fourth Ward

Best for: The couple looking for something casual but intimate

Must-order dish: What It Is – blackened chicken breast over fresh rotini in a cajun cream sauce ($16.75). Eat in it in a booth.

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Alexander Michael's

Photo via Laura Sumrak. Agenda related story: Best sandwiches in Charlotte


#8 Barrington’s

Tiny, no-frills SouthPark restaurant where it’s hard to get a reservation without making it a week in advance

Best for: The married couple that’s just not into the new trendy stuff and wants a classic spot

Must-order dish: Seared organic chicken served with creamy mashed potatoes, wilted spinach and a garlic pan sauce ($23).

Agenda pro tip: The restaurant only has about a dozen or so tables, so make sure to call well in advance for a reservation. Also, it’s 30 yards from Foxcroft Wine Co – which makes for a great pre- or post-dinner drink.

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#7 Kindred

Gorgeous, award-winning small plate restaurant in Davidson

Best for: The couple that’s tired of the usual stuff and doesn’t mind driving to Davidson and making a night out of it

Must-order dish: Crispy oysters with dill yogurt, Calabrian chile oil ($12). And of course you’re ordering their famous milk bread (save some and make French toast the next morning with it).

Agenda pro tip: Order a “Barkeep’s Choice” and the bartender will surprise you with a cocktail of his/her choosing.

kindred-restaurant-in-charlotte

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Kindred’s Crispy Oysters, so damn good


#6 Soul Gastrolounge

Intimate, no-reservations space drips cool with resident DJs spinning every night of the week

Best for: The couple that’s cool and loves a good cocktail

Must-order dish: Asian glazed pork belly tacos on flour tortillas with watermelon salsa ($12).

Drink: Cucumber Mule on tap. They sell 100-150 a night. In the summer, I also can’t resist the grown-up snowcone (complete with a tiny wooden spoon).

inside-soul-gastrolounge cocktails

Agenda related story: 50 best bars in Charlotte, ranked


#5 Beef ‘N Bottle

Old-school steakhouse

Best for: The couple that loves steak and Budweiser

Must-order dish: 16 oz. choice-cut ribeye ($39).

Noteworthy: Instead of adding the salad toppings onto the salad, they give you a separate salad topping plate. Puts me to work and allows me to create the perfectly balanced salad and to dip the remaining veggies into my blue cheese salad dressing. Oh, and the cheese dip is money.


#4 The Stanley

Seasonally-driven, locally-sourced restaurant by James Beard Award Semifinalist chef Paul Verica

Best for: The couple looking for something neighborhood-y and sophisticated

Space: The Stanley only seats 63 total, 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.

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#3 Stagioni

Modern take on classic Italian dishes in an intimate Myers Park setting with an open kitchen

Best for: The pizza loving couple that wants a classy spot that isn’t stuffy

Must-order dishes: Start with the meatballs – local pork, parmesan, marinara and ciabatta ($10) and then go with the pepperoni and sausage pizza ($16).

Noteworthy: Pizzas are served with giant pair of scissors so you can cut it as you like. It’s fun.

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Yes, scissors. Agenda related story: Best pizza in Charlotte


#2 Fig Tree

Sets the standard for a white tablecloth, fine-dining destination in Charlotte — it’s the restaurant I chose after I got engaged to my wife 7 years ago

Best for: The couple that’s getting engaged.

Must-order dish: Fig Tree’s famous elk chop ($42) — grilled New Zealand elk chop over horseradish spaetzle with smoked bacon-braized purple cabbage and boursin-dijon sauce.

Space: Located in Elizabeth, you’ll find Fig Tree inside a Craftsman-style bungalow built in 1913.

elk-chop-at-fig-tree-charlotte

Elk Chop is the right order, but I almost did the Ostrich ($39) because it’s weird.


#1 Bardo

New cozy small plate and cocktail spot loved by foodies

Best for: The foodie couple that wants to try a new restaurant

Menu: There are only 13 dishes on the menu and a few dessert options. Portions are small, but the food is outstanding.

Must-order dishes: Oysters ($18), ricotta tortellini ($15) and dry aged ribeye ($23).

Space: The kitchen is exposed to the dining room, which makes for a very cool experience. It’s a cozy restaurant with only about 15 tables.

Ricotta Tortellini – green curry, cauliflower, coconut, pistachio ($14). Agenda related story: Best new restaurants in Charlotte

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Ted Williams
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Publisher, golfer, dad and magician (seriously).