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Plates of pasta and cocktails.
The Italian spread at Figo36.
Figo36

15 Hottest Restaurants in Charlotte, North Carolina

From housemade pastas to big fish sandwiches, here’s what’s hot in Charlotte

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The Italian spread at Figo36.
| Figo36

More often than not, tipsters, readers, friends, and family of Eater have one question: Where should I eat right now? What are the new restaurants? What’s everyone talking about? Enter the Eater Heatmap, which will change continually to highlight the spots crowds are flocking to at the moment or generating a big buzz. Folks are asking, “Have you been yet?” Try one of these new spots in Charlotte today.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Milkbread

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Davidson cafe Milkbread is a spinoff of the pandemic project from Joe and Katy Kindred of acclaimed restaurant Kindred. To make takeout easy during COVID, Kindred offered items like fried chicken sandwiches, doughnuts, and salads — the idea was so popular that the owners decided to make it a permanent menu at Milkbread. Another location is already planned for Plaza Midwood.

Glazed doughnuts in a box.
Doughnuts at Milkbread.
Kenty Chung

Figo36 Modern Italian + Wine Bar

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The group behind the Vintage Whiskey and Cigar Bar and the Wine Loft brings a new Italian experience to NoDa. Figo36 offers a wide selection of burrata setups, housemade pastas, and pizzas made to order.

Pizza on a white plate.
Margherita pizza at Figo36.
Figo36

Bar à Vins

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Caviar, potato chips, and a killer natural wine list? What more do you need? Bar à Vins is the hip new NoDa wine bar from sommeliers Natalie Stewart and Jeff Kellogg with a little help from Katy Kindred (of Davidson’s Kindred) who designed the interiors. All the cool kids in Charlotte will be there.

Ever Andalo

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Ever Andalo is pleasing palates with Italian comfort. Owners Jeff Tonidandel and Jamie Brown have spent extensive amounts of time in Italian and wanted to share those experiences with Charlotte. They import many of the ingredients to offer items like Calabrian chilie parpadelle, fresh focaccia, and fettuccine all’Amatriciana.

Bird Pizzeria

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Kerrel and Nkem Thompson used their at-home time during the pandemic to perfect the East Coast-style pizzas they ate while living in Chicago. After hosting a series of pizza pop-ups in their home and a residency at Bond Street Wine Company, they opened a permanent location with a pick-up window in December 2021. Crowds now regularly gather on the street in front of Bird Pizzeria, with lines forming even before it opens. 

Pizza with pepperoni and basil.
Pizza from Bird.
Kenty Chung

Jimmy Pearls

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Chefs Oscar Johnson and Daryl Cooper opened Jimmy Pearls in 2020, but went on to pursue the food truck life in 2021, but now they are back at Uptown’s Market at 7th Street to bring their famous Uncle Gene’s fish sandwich, shrimp rolls, and other Virginia tidewater cuisine to the masses.

The Royal Tot

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The Royal Tot is a two-story tropical oasis soaked in beach cocktails. Claiming the largest rum collection in Charlotte, the Royal Tot features over 100 different types of rum with almost two dozen lush creations on the drink menu. Food includes lomi lomi, coffee-rubbed pork shoulder with pineapple salsa, champagne ice cream, and more.

Mariposa

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Located inside the Mint Museum, Mariposa offer mezze of international influences for lunch and dinner. Examples of menu items include lamb belly bulgogi lettuce wraps, ceviche aguachile, piri piri chicken, tomato and burrata tart, Gullah paella, and more.

Elegant dining room
Mariposa
The Plaid Penguin

Burial Beer

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Asheville favorite Burial Beer is officially in Charlotte with the opening of the House of Relics. The Plaza Midwood newcomer features a taproom full of Burial offerings, a beer garden, and a rooftop deck. In addition to brews, natural wines and cider are also available from Burial’s sister project Visuals.

Vinyl (as in record; there’s an entire wall of them behind the bar) embodies the notion that music brings the people all together. To be sure, it is the rare bar in South End that attracts more than just the recent college graduate crowd that has come to define the neighborhood, and it has been standing-room only nearly from the moment it opened for business. One might chalk that up to Vinyl’s prime location, nestled between Vana and Wooden Robot Brewery on the corner of Tryon and Summit, but to do so would be to discount entirely the assured hands of the industry veterans who have converged to create something so thoroughly of the moment that connects almost immediately with anyone who visits. (In point of fact, when have banker bros, Tinder dates, influencers, and LGBTQ friends of a certain age ever been able to sit down, have a drink, and acknowledge that they have so much in common?) On the food menu, the garlic fries in particular are delicious, even startlingly so, and no that’s not the “You Only Get One Shot” talking. Served straight from the tap, that drink is Frenet Branca infused with coffee from local favorite Pepperbox Doughnuts, and despite the name, it is perfectly OK to have two.  — Timothy DePeugh

Salted Melon Market & Eatery

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From the team behind gourmet market Reid’s Fine Foods, Salted Melon Market & Eatery is a cheery all-day cafe in South End. The shop offers specialty grocery items as well as a full menu of grilled tofu and quinoa bowls, steak and truffle mayo sandwiches, bone broth, and more.

A room with colorful wallpaper and paintings.
The dining room at Salted Melon.
Salted Melon

Para Charlotte

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Buzzy new restaurant Para sits in the South End neighborhood with a hip dining room and a small plate menu leaning heavily on seafood and Asian influences. Chef Alex Verica, formerly of Dot Dot Dot and the Stanley, says that he wanted the menu to incorporate as many local farmers as possible, while focusing on “a more global approach to the overall menu.” Items range from lobster toast with caviar to wagyu beef tartare with caviar to milk bread with foie gras, peanut butter, and jam. It’s an indulgent menu that’s sure to make a few rounds with the flashy Instagram crowds and folks looking to make it rain for a lobster shooter.

Warehouse dining room.
Para Charlotte.
Peter Taylor

Yunta offers Nikkei cuisine in a hip, modern setting. Nikkei food is Peruvian ingredients — tropical fish, quinoa, aji amarillo peppers — molded by Japanese techniques. Multiple chefs cite the modern preparation for ceviche as particularly indicative of the Nikkei style. And Yunta offers plenty of ceviche, along with pisco sours, shrimp croquettes, tostones, and more.

Ceviche at Yunta.
Yunta

Omakase by Prime Fish

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Prime Fish chef Robin Anthony recently added an extension to his sushi business with Omakase Experience, and it’s been booking up nightly. With only six seats in the dining room, reservations go fast. For $300, customers receive 16 courses of Edomae-style omakase — Anthony claims he is perhaps the only chef offering this style in North Carolina. Edomae style involves treating the fish (whether it be brined, cured, or aged) to bring out extra umami flavors.

Raw fish sitting on a wooden board.
Chef Robin Anthony only uses fish from Tokyo.
Omkase by Prime Fish

El Puro Cuban Restaurant

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The owners of Havana Carolina Restaurant & Bar in Concord have a new fine dining Cuba restaurant in Charlotte named El Puro. The space is fun and energetic with live music and plenty of neon lights. The menu has all the classics, from paella to ropa vieja to croquetas.

Milkbread

Glazed doughnuts in a box.
Doughnuts at Milkbread.
Kenty Chung

Davidson cafe Milkbread is a spinoff of the pandemic project from Joe and Katy Kindred of acclaimed restaurant Kindred. To make takeout easy during COVID, Kindred offered items like fried chicken sandwiches, doughnuts, and salads — the idea was so popular that the owners decided to make it a permanent menu at Milkbread. Another location is already planned for Plaza Midwood.

Glazed doughnuts in a box.
Doughnuts at Milkbread.
Kenty Chung

Figo36 Modern Italian + Wine Bar

Pizza on a white plate.
Margherita pizza at Figo36.
Figo36

The group behind the Vintage Whiskey and Cigar Bar and the Wine Loft brings a new Italian experience to NoDa. Figo36 offers a wide selection of burrata setups, housemade pastas, and pizzas made to order.

Pizza on a white plate.
Margherita pizza at Figo36.
Figo36

Bar à Vins

Caviar, potato chips, and a killer natural wine list? What more do you need? Bar à Vins is the hip new NoDa wine bar from sommeliers Natalie Stewart and Jeff Kellogg with a little help from Katy Kindred (of Davidson’s Kindred) who designed the interiors. All the cool kids in Charlotte will be there.

Ever Andalo

Ever Andalo is pleasing palates with Italian comfort. Owners Jeff Tonidandel and Jamie Brown have spent extensive amounts of time in Italian and wanted to share those experiences with Charlotte. They import many of the ingredients to offer items like Calabrian chilie parpadelle, fresh focaccia, and fettuccine all’Amatriciana.

Bird Pizzeria

Pizza with pepperoni and basil.
Pizza from Bird.
Kenty Chung

Kerrel and Nkem Thompson used their at-home time during the pandemic to perfect the East Coast-style pizzas they ate while living in Chicago. After hosting a series of pizza pop-ups in their home and a residency at Bond Street Wine Company, they opened a permanent location with a pick-up window in December 2021. Crowds now regularly gather on the street in front of Bird Pizzeria, with lines forming even before it opens. 

Pizza with pepperoni and basil.
Pizza from Bird.
Kenty Chung

Jimmy Pearls

Chefs Oscar Johnson and Daryl Cooper opened Jimmy Pearls in 2020, but went on to pursue the food truck life in 2021, but now they are back at Uptown’s Market at 7th Street to bring their famous Uncle Gene’s fish sandwich, shrimp rolls, and other Virginia tidewater cuisine to the masses.

The Royal Tot

The Royal Tot is a two-story tropical oasis soaked in beach cocktails. Claiming the largest rum collection in Charlotte, the Royal Tot features over 100 different types of rum with almost two dozen lush creations on the drink menu. Food includes lomi lomi, coffee-rubbed pork shoulder with pineapple salsa, champagne ice cream, and more.

Mariposa

Elegant dining room
Mariposa
The Plaid Penguin

Located inside the Mint Museum, Mariposa offer mezze of international influences for lunch and dinner. Examples of menu items include lamb belly bulgogi lettuce wraps, ceviche aguachile, piri piri chicken, tomato and burrata tart, Gullah paella, and more.

Elegant dining room
Mariposa
The Plaid Penguin

Burial Beer

Asheville favorite Burial Beer is officially in Charlotte with the opening of the House of Relics. The Plaza Midwood newcomer features a taproom full of Burial offerings, a beer garden, and a rooftop deck. In addition to brews, natural wines and cider are also available from Burial’s sister project Visuals.

Vinyl

Vinyl (as in record; there’s an entire wall of them behind the bar) embodies the notion that music brings the people all together. To be sure, it is the rare bar in South End that attracts more than just the recent college graduate crowd that has come to define the neighborhood, and it has been standing-room only nearly from the moment it opened for business. One might chalk that up to Vinyl’s prime location, nestled between Vana and Wooden Robot Brewery on the corner of Tryon and Summit, but to do so would be to discount entirely the assured hands of the industry veterans who have converged to create something so thoroughly of the moment that connects almost immediately with anyone who visits. (In point of fact, when have banker bros, Tinder dates, influencers, and LGBTQ friends of a certain age ever been able to sit down, have a drink, and acknowledge that they have so much in common?) On the food menu, the garlic fries in particular are delicious, even startlingly so, and no that’s not the “You Only Get One Shot” talking. Served straight from the tap, that drink is Frenet Branca infused with coffee from local favorite Pepperbox Doughnuts, and despite the name, it is perfectly OK to have two.  — Timothy DePeugh

Salted Melon Market & Eatery

A room with colorful wallpaper and paintings.
The dining room at Salted Melon.
Salted Melon

From the team behind gourmet market Reid’s Fine Foods, Salted Melon Market & Eatery is a cheery all-day cafe in South End. The shop offers specialty grocery items as well as a full menu of grilled tofu and quinoa bowls, steak and truffle mayo sandwiches, bone broth, and more.

A room with colorful wallpaper and paintings.
The dining room at Salted Melon.
Salted Melon

Para Charlotte

Warehouse dining room.
Para Charlotte.
Peter Taylor

Buzzy new restaurant Para sits in the South End neighborhood with a hip dining room and a small plate menu leaning heavily on seafood and Asian influences. Chef Alex Verica, formerly of Dot Dot Dot and the Stanley, says that he wanted the menu to incorporate as many local farmers as possible, while focusing on “a more global approach to the overall menu.” Items range from lobster toast with caviar to wagyu beef tartare with caviar to milk bread with foie gras, peanut butter, and jam. It’s an indulgent menu that’s sure to make a few rounds with the flashy Instagram crowds and folks looking to make it rain for a lobster shooter.

Warehouse dining room.
Para Charlotte.
Peter Taylor

Yunta

Ceviche at Yunta.
Yunta

Yunta offers Nikkei cuisine in a hip, modern setting. Nikkei food is Peruvian ingredients — tropical fish, quinoa, aji amarillo peppers — molded by Japanese techniques. Multiple chefs cite the modern preparation for ceviche as particularly indicative of the Nikkei style. And Yunta offers plenty of ceviche, along with pisco sours, shrimp croquettes, tostones, and more.

Ceviche at Yunta.
Yunta

Omakase by Prime Fish

Raw fish sitting on a wooden board.
Chef Robin Anthony only uses fish from Tokyo.
Omkase by Prime Fish

Prime Fish chef Robin Anthony recently added an extension to his sushi business with Omakase Experience, and it’s been booking up nightly. With only six seats in the dining room, reservations go fast. For $300, customers receive 16 courses of Edomae-style omakase — Anthony claims he is perhaps the only chef offering this style in North Carolina. Edomae style involves treating the fish (whether it be brined, cured, or aged) to bring out extra umami flavors.

Raw fish sitting on a wooden board.
Chef Robin Anthony only uses fish from Tokyo.
Omkase by Prime Fish

El Puro Cuban Restaurant

The owners of Havana Carolina Restaurant & Bar in Concord have a new fine dining Cuba restaurant in Charlotte named El Puro. The space is fun and energetic with live music and plenty of neon lights. The menu has all the classics, from paella to ropa vieja to croquetas.

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