Best Restaurants

Out of all the restaurants in a city, 10Best narrows the options to those places with the most appeal and the best reputations. We offer carefully vetted selections to let you explore Charlotte dining on your own. If time is really tight, though, and you don't have the leisure to look through all our offerings, we present our Charlotte Best Restaurants list. Here, we distill the best businesses down to a special selection of ten. These places promise a stellar experience and a taste of the city that you just can't miss.

You don't have to stick to Uptown if cutting edge cuisine is what you seek. No, tremendous places like Upstream are proof positive that venturing out is its own reward. Here, "dayboat seafood" reigns supreme, and the kitchen rarely fails to impress with its impeccible preparations of miso-marinated Hawaiian monchong and chestnut-crusted wild Scottish salmon with sweet potato gnocchi. Sushi lovers will adore their specialty rolls, and the jumbo shrimp and mango ceviche is a spicy experience worth trying; meanwhile, those with more terrene palates find solace in dishes like brick oven-roasted Carolina quail. (704-556-7730)

Lovely Murano glass and original artwork enhance this restaurant, located in the base of the Hearst tower, and an outdoor patio provides additional dining. From luscious starters such as mozzarella layered between fresh tomatoes, basil and olive oil to flavorful meats, fish, and pastas, the kitchen boasts satisfying Tuscan cuisine. Try the agnolotti alla piemontese (ravioli stuffed with roasted veal, braised Swiss chard and parmesan). Wine list available. (704-344-9222)

In a small shopping center near South Park Mall you'll find this dynamic American bistro that's tiny size (it seats under 50) and smartly appointed dining room make for a cozy yet elegant night out. Owner-chef Bruce Moffett privileges local and organic ingredients, and he has earned a sterling reputation in Charlotte's culinary circles thanks to well-conceived dishes like organic chicken with creamy mashed potatoes, herb-rubbed veal with potato-bacon dumpling, and pancetta-wrapped rabbit tenderloin. Seating on the patio is available when the weather cooperates. (704-364-5755)

Nikko entered Charlotte's restaurant scene with a bang and has continued to make waves in the years since with its stylish yet personable approach to the sushi experience. Choose from a dynamic selection of rolls, each of them prepared before your very eyes. As you wait, fill up on tempura and teriyaki ... perhaps even a glass of beer or wine. As the crowds of devotees who pack the dining room each weekend no doubt attest, few places in the Queen City can deliver sushi quite like Nikko. (704-370-0100)

Blue Restaurant & Bar
Sophisticated and stylish, this restaurant in Hearst Tower has caused a stir with its provocative Mediterranean-inspired cookery. Indeed, the distinctive flavors of France, Greece, Italy, Spain and even Morocco are on showcase here each night, and patrons dive willingly into dishes of lamb tagine, whole-roasted Mediterranean sea bass and duo of wild boar. A favorite of the "expense account set," Blue promises an impeccible evening out, complete with fine wine, amazing food and even live jazz (Wednesday-Saturday). (704-927-2583)

Bistro La Bon
Flawlessly blending texture, flavor and presentation, Bistro La Bon's "edible art" is a must for discerning diners. The seasonally changing menu features farmers market fresh fare, as well as made-from-scratch breads, gnocchi and pastries. The perfect meal begins with starters such as black risotto with calamari fusilli or curry red lentil hummus and continues with entrees like caraway crusted Scottish salmon with warm Mediterranean vegetables or filet mignon with russet and sweet potato gratin. (704-333-4646)

Good Food on Montford
A mainstay for Charlotte foodies, this tapas restaurant serves simply perfect plates within an atmosphere that is warm, elegant and relaxing with striking industrial touches, contributing a contemporary edge. Start with small plates like the American farmhouse cheeses with truffle chutney or scallop butternut squash risotto. Then, move on to the pork tenderloin, served with fried macaroni and cheese, or flounder accompanied by a tasty root vegetable cake. Decadent seasonal desserts ensure a satisfying finish. (704-525-0881)

Basil Thai
Celebrated by many and considered the best Thai restaurant in Charlotte by most, Basil Thai is an Uptown favorite with an alluring cosmopolitan atmosphere. Dine in for lunch or dinner for consistently fresh and outstandingly flavorful fare. Specialties include the traditional Pad Thai, Crispy Red Curry Duck and Volcano Shrimp topped with the signature three-flavor sauce. Noodle and rice dishes and delightful salads also receive rave reviews, while exotic cocktails provide the perfect accompaniment. (704-332-7212)

Halcyon, Flavors from the Earth
Named for the Greek goddess turned bird whose Winter Solstice mating ritual inspires harmony across the oceans, Halcyon, Flavors from the Earth inspires similar feelings of satisfaction among guests. A proud part of the Mint Museum, this inspiring eatery transforms seasonal local ingredients into exquisite dishes like the Filet of Frivolity, grass-fed filet mignon served with a "Farmers' Market Basket" and pommes de terre, and Vegetable Tagine, Moroccan spiced chickpeas, saffron couscous and roasted asparagus. (704-910-0865)

Maps and Directions

Upstream 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: American, New American, Seafood, Sushi
Neighborhood: Southpark
Cost: $$$
Luce 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: European, Italian
Neighborhood: Uptown
Cost: $$
Barrington's 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: American, New American
Neighborhood: Southpark
Cost: $$
Nikko 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: Asian, Japanese, Sushi
Neighborhood: South End
Cost: $$
Blue Restaurant & Bar 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: European, Mediterranean, Seafood
Neighborhood: First Ward
Cost: $$
Bistro La Bon 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: European, Mediterranean
Neighborhood: Plaza Midwood
Cost: $$$
Good Food on Montford 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: American, New American
Cost: $$
Basil Thai 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: Asian, Thai
Neighborhood: Fourth Ward
Halcyon, Flavors from the Earth 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: American, Fusion, Regional
Neighborhood: Uptown
Cost: $$$
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