Anyone that lives in Charlotte knows that we have an amazing food scene. New restaurants are bringing trendy flavors to the city each day, and traditional staples serve up old favorites on a regular basis. Whether you are looking for American or international cuisine, fine dining or casual, home cooking or modern dishes, you’re sure to find it somewhere in the city! Take a look at our 11 best dishes you must try in Charlotte. By the time you finish this article, we guarantee your mouth will be watering.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. The Zack's Special
The Zack's Special is a giant double cheeseburger with two all-beef patties, two slices of American cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions, mayo, and a special sauce all on a toasted bun. Served with a large portion of fries, this is the best burger you will find in the QC. Zack's has been serving up delicious burgers and dogs since 1975, so this spot has been a favorite for many generations!
Zack's is located at 4009 South Blvd., Charlotte, NC 28209
2. The Shrimp and Grits from Cajun Queen
The Shrimp and Grits at Cajun Queen will melt in your mouth and make you feel like you're eating deep down in the bayou. Blackened shrimp with creamy stone ground grits and andouille sausage in creole sauce is a spectacular combination. Cajun Queen's atmosphere is bright and festive and you can enjoy live jazz with your meal every night of the week. If you like Cajun food, this Charlotte staple is a must try.
Cajun Queen is located at 1800 E. 7th St., Charlotte, NC 28204
3. Beef Pho from Lang Van
Although it doesn't look like much from the outside, Lang Van has been taking Charlotte Magazine's award for Best Vietnamese Restaurant since 2011. This little spot off Shamrock Drive has Charlotte residents flocking to it on a regular basis.
The Beef Pho is one of the restaurant's most popular dishes and is made up of Vietnamese rice noodles, traditional beef bone broth, and thinly sliced beef to round it all out. Served with a plate full of fresh garnishes like cilantro, lime, jalapeño and bean sprouts, this Pho takes first prize in the QC.
Lang Van is located at 3019 Shamrock Dr., Charlotte, NC 28215
4. The Pork Belly Tacos at Soul Gastrolounge
Soul Gastrolounge is a hip spot in Plaza Midwood that is known for its eclectic atmosphere and unique menu of global tapas, small plates, sushi, and cocktails. Restaurant goers can expect to wait when heading to Soul, but know their meal will be well worth it.
The pork belly tacos are one of the most popular dishes on the menu and it combines the unlikely flavors of cool, crisp watermelon with Asian glazed pork belly. When you go to Soul, you will want to order one of everything on the menu, but make sure the Pork Belly Tacos are a definite.
Soul Gastrolounge is located at 1500-B Central Ave., Charlotte, NC 28205
5. The Wu Boil at Wu's Cajun Seafood
© Carolyn Mulvihill
If you like a good seafood boil then Wu's is the place for you! A newbie to the Charlotte restaurant scene, Wu's Cajun Seafood has been making quite an impact since it opened. Serving up a fusion of Cajun seafood and Asian dishes, Wu's offers creative seafood options, a new twist on traditional Asian delicacies and more.
When you visit Wu's you must try one of the Wu Boils, a low-country boil dish where you can choose your seafood - shrimp, oysters, mussels, snow crab, crawfish, clams or lobster tails - and choose your seasoning - Wu's Seasoning, Kimchi Lemon Butter, Asian, Curry, Chunky Cajun, Chili Garlic, or Fresh Jerk. All Wu Bowls are served with corn, potatoes, and sausage. You're sure to get your hands mess with this one.
Wu's Cajun Seafood is located at 1714 South Blvd., Charlotte, NC 28203
6. The Salted Caramel Brownie at Amelie's French Bakery
If you are looking for a sweet treat, you must head out to Amelie's French Bakery in Noda, Uptown, Ballantyne, or their new location in Park Road Shopping Center. Amelie's is a artsy French bakery that serves delicious pastries, sandwiches, and salads and has tons of plush comfy couches and chairs so visitors can settle in for the day with a good book or their laptop.
The Salted Caramel Brownie at Amelie's is a chocolate lovers dream. A rich, chocolate brownie covered in gooey caramel with flecks of sea salt finishing it off will send your taste buds into overdrive as you enjoy this Charlotte favorite. Once you try this fabulous dessert you'll realize you can never go to Amelie's again without getting one.
Noda: 2424 North Davidson St., Charlotte, NC 28205 Uptown: 380 S. College St., Charlotte, NC 28202
Carmel Commons: 7715 Pineville-Matthews Rd. Space 34 B, Charlotte, NC 28226
Park Rd.: 4321 Park Rd., Charlotte, NC 28209.
7. Anything on Heist Brewery's Brunch Buffet
You better be hungry if you head out to Heist Brewery's Sunday Brunch because you are sure to keep going back to the buffet for more. At $19.00 per person, Heist's Brunch Buffet won't disappoint. It starts with a full charcuterie section where you can have your pick of meats, cheeses, and salads to start. Then as you walk through the line you'll come to your traditional brunch fare served with a twist. Scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon, and grits are all there, and you might find anything from stuffed peppers, to gravy and biscuits to mussels, an omelet station, unique flat breads and more.
When you get back to your table, if you're still craving something else, you can ask your server for eggs benedict, chicken and waffles, or other breakfast specials that are included with brunch and come from the kitchen. Finish it all off with an amazing desserts and pastries to satisfy that sweet tooth.
Heist Brewery is located 2909 N. Davidson St., Ste. 200, Charlotte, NC 28205
8. The Miso Hungry Ramen at Futo Buta
Ramen has become a major food trend in the past few years, and luckily Charlotte has a great ramen spot for those seeking a warm broth and noodle dish. With a small, modern interior, Futo Buta has long community-style tables and a long bar where you're guaranteed to be sitting close to your neighbor while you enjoy a large bowl of hot ramen.
The menu has variations for every palette, like the Fire and Ice Ramen, which features hot smoked salmon in a spicy broth, or a seasonal Ramen, like Hiyashi. Our favorite on the menu is the Miso Hungry Ramen, which is pork and chicken broth, noodles, sweet white corn, pecan smoked pork belly, bean sprouts, bok choy, an onsen egg, and sesame in a miso broth. The Fried Brussels Sprouts are also to die for, so when you need a ramen fix, make this a regular.
Futo Buta is located at 222 E. Bland St., Charlotte, NC 28203
9. Bee Sting Wings at Selwyn Pub
Selwyn Pub is another Charlotte favorite that has been providing local sports fans with amazing traditional bar fare and a great place to watch the big game since the 90s. Selwyn Pub is known for its large outdoor patio, complete with multiple flat screen TVs for the ultimate game viewing experience, heated lamps for the fall and winter seasons, and tons of loungey seating options to create the most comfortable outdoor experience.
When you're watching your team at Selwyn Pub ,you must order the Bee Sting Wings, Selwyn's own creation of buffalo sauce, a little bit of honey, and a little bit of spice that makes an amazing chicken wing. Perfectly crispy and served with carrots, celery, and your choice of ranch or bleu cheese, many think Selwyn Pub has the best chicken wings in Charlotte. We tend to agree.
Selwyn Pub is located at 2801 Selwyn Ave., Charlotte, NC 28209
10. The Southern Fried Fish Tacos at Krazy Fish Bar n' Grill
The outside of Krazy Fish Bar n' Grill quickly tells a customer how the restaurant got its name. It's crazy! Despite its unique exterior, Krazy Fish is known for some of the best seafood dishes in Charlotte. Featured on the Food Network's "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives," Krazy Fish prides themselves on serving "soul seafood" and the menu features everything from Ceviche and Green Thai Curry Mussel appetizers to Southern Fried Seafood Platters, Seafood Creole and Seafood Curry, and our favorite: The Southern Fried Fish Tacos.
Served on a crispy, fried tortilla the Southern Fried fish tacos are a major favorite. Flaky white fish, battered and fried, topped with slaw and a pink gold sauce makes an amazing meal that Charlotteans keep coming back for. If you aren't into white fish, you also have the choice of Southern Fried Shrimp Tacos, Southern Pulled Pork Tacos, or the daily taco special which is guaranteed to feature a fresh catch. With a funky, fun atmosphere, Krazy Fish should be on your list this summer.
Krazy Fish Bar n' Grill is located at 2501 Central Ave., Charlotte, NC 28205
11. The Quarter Smoked Chicken at Rooster's Wood-Fired Kitchen
Rooster's Wood Fired Kitchen is renowned for serving fresh, simple dishes made with locally sourced ingredients. Putting time and care into smoking their meats in-house, developing the perfect sauces to complement them, and crafting the perfect sides, Rooster's is a Charlotte favorite and a great place to take family and friends.
With a menu that serves sides family-style and offers various smoked proteins including seafood, beef, and chicken, it's' easy to share and enjoy many flavors while dining here. One of our favorites on the menu is Rooster's Wood-Fired Quarter Smoked Chicken with BBQ Sauce. Perfectly smoked and juicy, this tender chicken will melt in your mouth. The sautéed spinach is a great choice of side, or try the pan-roasted corn and scalloped potatoes. With Uptown and South Park locations, you're bound to have a Rooster's near you.
South Park: 6601 Morrison Blvd., Charlotte, NC 28210 Uptown: 150 N. College St., Charlotte NC 28202
What are your favorite dishes in Charlotte? Add to this list in the comments, and happy eating!