clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Where to Dine Solo in Charlotte, North Carolina

Traveling for business? Here’s where to eat

View as Map

What brings you to Charlotte? It’s probably business, whether it’s banking or conventions or ordering textiles. If you’re traveling for business, there’s a good chance you’ll end up eating at least one meal on your own.

What makes a great spot for dining alone? As frequent dining travelers, we look for a comfortable bar for watching the action, a deep list of wines by the glass or thoughtful alcohol-free options (if you’re dining alone, you may be driving alone), and small plates that are so good, you wouldn’t want to share them.

We ditched our dining companions and found a mix of new places and longtime favorites that are just the ticket for solo dining.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; the latest data about the delta variant indicates that it may pose a low-to-moderate risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial transmission. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here.

Read More
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Fin & Fino

Copy Link

Charlotte may not have a coast, but North Carolina does, and that makes seafood a big deal around here. Fin, tucked in beside the uptown Mint Museum, does it right. The $65 Treatment, a tasting tour of whatever is fresh, might be tough to handle on your own. But the list of pokes, oysters, and grilled seafood leaves plenty to choose. The wine list includes three- and six-ounce pours; there are no specific non-alcohol specials, but lead bartender Brittany Kellum has a following for her imaginative ideas. She’ll come up with something exciting. 

Oysters on the half shell
Oysters at Fin & Fino.
Fin & Fino

Mariposa

Copy Link

Just opened in the soaring space beside the Mint Museum, the feel of this space is luxe, with deep chairs at the bar and dramatic black-and-white decor right down to the plates. The menu is Spanish/Mediterranean (focaccia, mezzes, and kabobs), but it’s not too stuffy, with playful touches like elote-inspired street corn fritters and the Fish Camp (a fried-fish nod to Southern fish camps). Burnt Basque cheesecake with passionfruit curd is indulgent, but for an eye-popping dessert, go for the Mysterious Mushroom, a bright red fairy-tale creation crafted from fruit gels, mousse, and pistachio cake. 

Flatbread, salmon, corn fritters, and a purple cocktail.
Plates at Mariposa.
The Plaid Penguin

Lincoln Street Kitchen & Cocktails

Copy Link

This bistro has been flying so far below the radar, even a lot of locals haven’t heard of it yet. But Amanda Britton’s cocktails always attract attention (she developed a passionate following at Bardo and the late Orto). Don’t miss her house shrubs and natural sodas. The food is contemporary Southern, with touches like pimento cheese with bacon jam, North Carolina-caught ceviche and deviled eggs, and there’s a creative brunch on weekends. Insider tip: Classic cocktails are $8 all day on Wednesday, and the hunky District Burger is only $9 Tuesday through Thursday. Play your cards right and you can get a dinner deal even your accountant will love. 

The Stanley

Copy Link

Paul Verica’s cozy field-to-table spot has always been a great spot for sitting at the comfortable bar and getting beautifully made cocktails. The menu is always  changing, based on local/seasonal ingredients and Verica’s imagination, but expect an indulgent small-plates selection and tidbits, which are starters that usually include imaginative touches of foie gras or single vegetables made several ways. 

Para Charlotte

Copy Link

Executive chef Alex Verica cut his teeth working with his father, renowned Charlotte chef Paul Verica, and now he’s steering this new Asian-influenced hot spot in South End. A young crowd packs in for dishes like Verica’s popular deviled eggs (the filling here is shrimp with miso), short rib dumplings, and takes on sashimi. Don’t miss the lobster shooter, a small but tasty bowl of bisque — the low price ($6) includes $1 for @Its4TheKids, a foundation that provides school supplies. There are zero-alcohol cocktails (but sadly, no sakes or sojus yet). For dessert, shaved-ice kakigori, especially one topped with Fernet Branca and cold brew, are fluffy, not stuffy. 

Warehouse dining room.
Para interiors.
Peter Taylor

Flour Shop

Copy Link

Sit outside on the comfortable patio or grab a small table. But the bar is the best perch to watch the action at Trey Wilson’s live-fire/Italian-inspired spot. Any of the house-made pastas are filling, but you could also make a meal out of starters, like buffalo-milk burrata with pistachio pesto and charred bread, or fluffy-crisp chorizo croquettes with peppercorn aioli. The wine list has Italian choices, and there are two zero-proof glasses ready to go, a simple lavender and honey concoction, or the Thorny For You (grapefruit, rose water, and peach puree). 

Good Food on Montford

Copy Link

Chef Bruce Moffett’s California-mod spot has been a favorite since 2009, and now that it takes reservations (even for one), so you don’t have to brave long waits anymore. The globally influenced small plates walk the line between trendy and satisfying, with favorites like Larry’s buns (steamed buns with fat slices of pork belly), Korean beef (juicy strips of steak on crispy/tender rice) and smoky beets (the crunchy bits of candied olives are a standout). The single-glass wine list is particularly deep. While there’s no list of zero-proof cocktails, bartenders are ready with creations like the Roger Rabbit, a zesty carrot juice/ginger beer mix.

Fin & Fino

Oysters on the half shell
Oysters at Fin & Fino.
Fin & Fino

Charlotte may not have a coast, but North Carolina does, and that makes seafood a big deal around here. Fin, tucked in beside the uptown Mint Museum, does it right. The $65 Treatment, a tasting tour of whatever is fresh, might be tough to handle on your own. But the list of pokes, oysters, and grilled seafood leaves plenty to choose. The wine list includes three- and six-ounce pours; there are no specific non-alcohol specials, but lead bartender Brittany Kellum has a following for her imaginative ideas. She’ll come up with something exciting. 

Oysters on the half shell
Oysters at Fin & Fino.
Fin & Fino

Mariposa

Flatbread, salmon, corn fritters, and a purple cocktail.
Plates at Mariposa.
The Plaid Penguin

Just opened in the soaring space beside the Mint Museum, the feel of this space is luxe, with deep chairs at the bar and dramatic black-and-white decor right down to the plates. The menu is Spanish/Mediterranean (focaccia, mezzes, and kabobs), but it’s not too stuffy, with playful touches like elote-inspired street corn fritters and the Fish Camp (a fried-fish nod to Southern fish camps). Burnt Basque cheesecake with passionfruit curd is indulgent, but for an eye-popping dessert, go for the Mysterious Mushroom, a bright red fairy-tale creation crafted from fruit gels, mousse, and pistachio cake. 

Flatbread, salmon, corn fritters, and a purple cocktail.
Plates at Mariposa.
The Plaid Penguin

Lincoln Street Kitchen & Cocktails

This bistro has been flying so far below the radar, even a lot of locals haven’t heard of it yet. But Amanda Britton’s cocktails always attract attention (she developed a passionate following at Bardo and the late Orto). Don’t miss her house shrubs and natural sodas. The food is contemporary Southern, with touches like pimento cheese with bacon jam, North Carolina-caught ceviche and deviled eggs, and there’s a creative brunch on weekends. Insider tip: Classic cocktails are $8 all day on Wednesday, and the hunky District Burger is only $9 Tuesday through Thursday. Play your cards right and you can get a dinner deal even your accountant will love. 

The Stanley

Paul Verica’s cozy field-to-table spot has always been a great spot for sitting at the comfortable bar and getting beautifully made cocktails. The menu is always  changing, based on local/seasonal ingredients and Verica’s imagination, but expect an indulgent small-plates selection and tidbits, which are starters that usually include imaginative touches of foie gras or single vegetables made several ways. 

Para Charlotte

Warehouse dining room.
Para interiors.
Peter Taylor

Executive chef Alex Verica cut his teeth working with his father, renowned Charlotte chef Paul Verica, and now he’s steering this new Asian-influenced hot spot in South End. A young crowd packs in for dishes like Verica’s popular deviled eggs (the filling here is shrimp with miso), short rib dumplings, and takes on sashimi. Don’t miss the lobster shooter, a small but tasty bowl of bisque — the low price ($6) includes $1 for @Its4TheKids, a foundation that provides school supplies. There are zero-alcohol cocktails (but sadly, no sakes or sojus yet). For dessert, shaved-ice kakigori, especially one topped with Fernet Branca and cold brew, are fluffy, not stuffy. 

Warehouse dining room.
Para interiors.
Peter Taylor

Flour Shop

Sit outside on the comfortable patio or grab a small table. But the bar is the best perch to watch the action at Trey Wilson’s live-fire/Italian-inspired spot. Any of the house-made pastas are filling, but you could also make a meal out of starters, like buffalo-milk burrata with pistachio pesto and charred bread, or fluffy-crisp chorizo croquettes with peppercorn aioli. The wine list has Italian choices, and there are two zero-proof glasses ready to go, a simple lavender and honey concoction, or the Thorny For You (grapefruit, rose water, and peach puree). 

Good Food on Montford

Chef Bruce Moffett’s California-mod spot has been a favorite since 2009, and now that it takes reservations (even for one), so you don’t have to brave long waits anymore. The globally influenced small plates walk the line between trendy and satisfying, with favorites like Larry’s buns (steamed buns with fat slices of pork belly), Korean beef (juicy strips of steak on crispy/tender rice) and smoky beets (the crunchy bits of candied olives are a standout). The single-glass wine list is particularly deep. While there’s no list of zero-proof cocktails, bartenders are ready with creations like the Roger Rabbit, a zesty carrot juice/ginger beer mix.

Related Maps