Charlotte Magazine recently issued their 50 Best Restaurants in Charlotte North Carolina: 2023 list. Of course, being the food-obsessed person I am, I had to browse to see if my favorites made the list. And, as they point out in the article, these days we view dining out as a luxury. With inflation high and money tight, we really think long and hard when choosing our eating out experiences. So, hopefully by compiling restaurants to try in 2023, you can get some guidance.  There’s nothing more disappointing than taking that hard earned money and spending it on a meal that didn’t measure up. In my opinion, the most important parts of dining out include great food, good service, and atmosphere. The Charlotte Magazine list included quite a few I honestly haven’t tried yet. However, a few that I can actually speak personally about appeared. So, I’ll share my experience with those spots and add a couple of my recently discovered favorites in this list of restaurants to try in 2023 in Charlotte North Carolina.

  • Church & Union Charlotte

    Church & Union has become a huge favorite of mine. Last summer I visited the Church & Union location in Charleston and I loved it. Then, I happened to find that we are lucky enough to have one right here in Charlotte. Apparently, the 5th Street Group dropped the name 5Church and reopened as Church & Union sometime last year. We visited the Charlotte location with friends for brunch on New Year’s Day. And, it was amazing. The spicy bloody Mary’s were a huge hit. The hubby got some incredible pancakes. Another of our friends gobbled up some shrimp and grits. I devoured the most incredible “CU Burger” with truffle cheese, mushroom duxelles, caramelized onions and truffle aioli. Also, as an added bonus they surprised us with a complimentary treat for the table. It was a mouth-watering shortbread with raspberry jam. They called it “Brunch Bread.” Service was great and atmosphere fun. I will definitely return!

  • Bardo

    Bardo is a really unique little spot on Mint Street in Charlotte we tried a couple of years ago.  The most interesting thing about it is just like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get.  The menu is always changing according to what the chef gets fresh to make the intriguing creations.  They might serve anything from Spanish to Japanese cuisine.  When we went, we chose to add the cocktail pairing to our experience.  That was so much fun.  A cocktail accompanied each course.  And, the plating of the food was beautiful.  It’s one of those attention to detail places where everything is precisely put into place with tweezers and sometimes served in bowls that might resemble a beautiful glass planter.  I know it sounds unusual, but it’s fun!

  • Dish

    We tried Dish on Thomas Ave. in Charlotte years ago.  If you like good old fashioned Southern home cooking, chances are you’ll like Dish.  I’m a sucker for Fried Green Tomatoes, a signature item for this spot.  The Pimiento Cheese and Devil Eggs are a must try, of course.  The menu includes those down home staple comfort foods we love like Chicken and Dumplings, Pot Roast, Meatloaf and Country Fried Steak.  There’s also a “Late Night Menu” featuring all the things you crave after a big night out on the town.  We fueled up at Dish before a Sunday Funday brewery hop.  But, I might try it in reverse next time now that I know about the late night eats menu.  It’s a keeper!

  • Steak 48

    Steak 48 on Sharon Road near South Park Mall in Charlotte pops up on lists all the time.  It’s fine dining at its best.  When you want a special night out for delicious steak and seafood, Steak 48 is a solid choice.  They have an in house butcher shop and an amazing selection of wines.  The atmosphere is elegant and the service top notch.  We went there with friends shortly after it opened and we were extremely impressed.  The steaks were quality cuts cooked perfectly.  The sides range from what you’d expect.  There’s delicious potatoes, Alaskan King Crab & Rock Shrimp Mac n Cheese and more, served family style.  Seafood lovers rave about the Seafood Tower from the raw bar.  It’s a must try!

  • Dogwood A Southern Table

    A recent find of ours is not on the Charlotte Magazine list, but I would definitely include it on mine.  It’s Dogwood A Southern Table, located on Ashley Park Lane in the South Park area, Charlotte.  Imagine the best Southern favorites elevated to an epic level.  It’s cornbread in cast iron, mac n cheese,  pimiento cheese, steaks and so much more.  The ingredients are sourced from local farmers and vendors.  So, the menu might change slightly based on what’s available fresh.  We chose to do the Chef’s Counter dinner.  They offer this option on certain days during the week, and it’s an incredible experience.  We had no idea what we’d be served, but each course was so good!  We added the cocktail pairing with the courses.  And, we indulged in dessert.  I had the most amazing carrot cake.  I highly recommend this spot and the Chef’s Counter dinner.

  • The Pump House

    Finally, I move to South Carolina to recommend The Pump House on Herron’s Ferry Road in Rock Hill.  We visited this spot the first time this past summer.  I suggest making a reservation and trying to get seating on the top floor so you have a view.  We were warmly greeted and escorted up the elevator to our table by the window with a peek at the Catawba River.  The soup special that day was a scrumptious tomato that I devoured.  I had a fresh trout they offered as special, and it was incredible.  I say that as someone who is very picky about fish.  The menu features hand-cut steaks, plenty of yummy sides and favorites like shrimp and grits, crab cakes and fried green tomatoes.  The website describes it as locally sourced, Southern inspired.  Check them out for restaurant week this month.  It’s on our list of places for a return visit!

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