Charlotte · Cramerton · Hickory · Huntersville · Lincolnton · Miramar Beach · Mooresville · Myrtle Beach · Raleigh · Restaurants

The Best of Restaurants: Soups

Soups are a wonderful judge of a cook.  I love a restaurant that serves a homemade soup packed with flavor.  Here are some of the best I’ve tried.

Clam Chowder from Fresh Chef in Mooresville.  Creamy and clearly made with love.  The best clam chowder I’ve ever eaten.

Lobster Bisque at Fourk in Hickory, NC

Broccoli Cheese Soup from Croissants Bakery in Myrtle Beach.  Clearly homemade, creamy and cheesy.

Chicken Salad Croissant, Broccoli Cheddar Soup & Ambrosia Salad

Tomato Basil Soup from Fatz in Lincolnton, NC

Whiskey Chicken Gumbo at Citrus Diner in Denver, NC

 Miso Soup at Shan Kishi in Miramar Beach, FL

Curry Kick Soup Noodles from Kung Foo Noodle in Huntersville

Chef-Foraged Cream of Mushroom Bisque with pine needle gremolata and a slice of truffled grilled cheese at Heirloom in Charlotte, NC

Hot and Sour Soup at Asian Garden in Cramerton, NC

Tom Kha Chicken Soup from Sushi O in Raleigh

French Onion Soup from WiseGuys in Hilton Head, SC

French onion soup from Choplin’s

Pho from Pho NC in Cornelius, NC

Artichoke Soup from the McNinch House in Charlotte, NC

Tomato Basil Bisque from Mi Amiche in Mooresville, NC

Charlotte · Cornelius · Hickory · Mooresville · Morganton · Statesville

Best of Restaurants: Italian

Is there anything more comforting that good Italian food?  So many offerings, but so few get it right.  These do.

Pollo Rosa Maria at Carrabba’s in Hickory (I know it’s a chain, but it is awesome!)

Veal Ossubuco from Fiamma’s in Charlotte

Parmesan Chicken from Alton’s Kitchen & Cocktails in Cornelius, NC

Pollo Florentine at Caruso’s in Mooresville

Gnocchi from Root and Vine in Morganton

Arancini from Novanta 90 Pizzeria Napoletana in Mooresville

Chicken Parmesan at Fin & Fino in Charlotte

Joyce Farms 24-month aged country ham gnocchi with collards, peanuts, and pear vinegar from The Noble Grille in Winston-Salem.

Carmela with Spaghetti at Sorrento in Statesville, NC

Charlotte · Davidson · Mooresville · Restaurants · Statesville · Wilmington

Best of Restaurants: Pasta

God bless carbs.

Pappardelle at Kindred in Davidson

Peirogies at Twisted Oak Bar and Grill in Statesville

Fussili Al Toscanaccio at Fiamma’s in Charlotte, NC

(sautéed with chicken, mushrooms, served in a vodka pink sauce with sundried tomatoes)

Tagliatelle at Kindred in Davidson

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Beef Stroganoff at Queen City Craft & Gourmet in Charlotte

Creamy Mushroom Ravioli from Olive Garden in Mooresville, NC.  I KNOW!

Black Truffle Pappardelle from Circa 1922 in Wilmington, NC
 
 
SPRING PEA RAVIOLI Beurre Monte, sweet peas, mint, serrano chips at Stoke in Charlotte

Maltagliotti from the Goodyear House in Charlotte

Charlotte · Cornelius · Denver · Gastonia · Huntersville · Mooresville · Sherrills Ford

Best of Restaurants: Mexican Food

Mexican food is my all time favorite.  It’s my deserted island food, my last meal food and my go-to when working late.  Here are the best dishes I’ve found.

Shredded Beef Chimichanga at Margaritas in Denver, NC

Quesadilla Mexicana at La Unica in Huntersville, NC

Table-side Guacamole at Paco’s Tacos in Charlotte, NC

Pollo Loco at El Patron in Gastonia, NC

Pelusa at Los Mezquites Grill in Sherrills Ford, NC

Lobster Quesadilla at Cousins Maine Lobster Food Truck in Charlotte, NC

Fish and Chips Taco at Velvet Taco in Charlotte

Street Corn from Cantina 1511 in Mooresville, NC

Shrimp Tacos from Village TapHouse in Mooresville, NC

Barbacoa Beef Burrito from Juan Loco in Cornelius, NC

Churros from Las Margaritas in Charlotte

Belmont · Charlotte · Gainesville · Hickory · Lincolnton · Mooresville · Myrtle Beach · Restaurants · Rock Hill SC

Best of Restaurants: Cocktails

I’m not a big drinker, I’ll normally have one cocktail when I go out with friends for dinner.  So, if I say something’s good, you can take it to the bank.

Bourbon Peach Smash at Crafted Southern Speakeasy in Lincolnton, NC

and the Feelin’ Fineapple!

Bloody Beast at Standard Oyster Company in Hickory

L’eveilleur from Aix en Provence in Charlotte

Watermelon Margarita from Margaritaville in Myrtle Beach

Watermelon Margarita

D.S.L. from Aria Tuscan Grill

Old York Sour at The Pump House in Rock Hill, SC

Blood Orange Old Fashioned from Paramount Grill in Gainesville, FL

I’ll Have Another at Highland Avenue in Hickory

Bahama Mama at the Buoy Bar on Hilton Head Island

Watermelon Sangria at 158 on Main in Mooresville

Hibiscus Margarita from Supperland in Charlotte

FLOWER IN THE BRAMBLE Cocktail Social House vodka, blackberry, lavender, lemon: from Stoke in Charlotte

Regatta Colada at Mariposa in Charlotte and below is the Aix en Provence

Aviation from The Crunkleton in Charlotte

Supernova and Passion Fraise from La Belle Helene in Charlotte

Pina Colada from Drift in Belmont, NC

Charlotte · Cornelius · Denver · Hickory · Lincolnton · Micanopy FL · Mooresville · Morganton · Myrtle Beach · Shelby · Winston-Salem

Best of Restaurants: Sandwiches

Not your girlfriend’s sandwich.

Chicken Salad Croissant from Croissant’s Bakery in Myrtle Beach

Chicken Salad Croissant, Broccoli Cheddar Soup & Ambrosia Salad

Club Sandwich and Pulled Pork Ban Mi from Hatch in Hickory

Club Sandwich at Village Tavern in Winston Salem

Smoked Turkey Club Sandwich at Crepe Cellar

The Cuban at Sports Page in Denver, NC

Chicken Salad Sandwich from Harvest Moon Grille in Lincolnton, NC

Basil Grilled Chicken Sandwich at The Crispy Crepe in Charlotte

Hot Fried Chicken at Root & Vine in Morganton, NC

Cuban Sandwich at Root and Vine in Morganton, NC

The Cuban at Old Florida Cafe in Micanopy, FL

Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich from Moyers Lakeside Eatery in Mooresville, NC

Wagyu Meatloaf Sandwich from Barrel and Fork in Cornelius

Turkey and Ham Sub from Heavenly Hoagie in Mooresville, NC

Philly Cheesesteak from JackBeagles in Mount Holly

Chicken Katsu Banh Mi from CO in Charlotte

Cuban Sandwich from J Bird’s Deli in Shelby, NC

Chicken Salad Club Sandwich from Common Market in Charlotte

Asheville · Charlotte · Cornelius · Davidson · Denver · Destin · Hickory · Lincolnton · Mooresville · Panama City Beach FL · Restaurants · Santa Rosa Beach · Wilmington

Best of Restaurants: Seafood

Seafood dishes remind me of vacation.  We always go somewhere near a beach and the first thing we do is hit our favorite seafood places.  Here are my favorite dishes, some are even inland!

Seafood Risotto from Standard Oyster Company in Hickory, NC

Bouillabaisse Marseillaise at Aix en Provence in Charlotte

Fried Soft Shell Crab from WP Kitchen + Bar in Charlotte

Crispy Oysters at Kindred in Davidson, NC

Raw Oysters at Steamboat Grill 30A

Rock Shrimp at Wasabi in Asheville, NC

Buffalo Shrimp at Big Daddy’s in Mooresville, NC

Fried Crab Claws at The Back Porch in Destin, FL

The Lobster Roll at Lobster Dogs Food Truck in Mooresville

Snapper with summer vegetables and roasted red pepper vinaigrette from Halcyon in Charlotte

Shrimp with Cornbread from Bistro La Bon in Charlotte, NC

Cast Iron NC Trout from Haberdish in Charlotte

Broiled Flounder from Capt’n Pete’s in Lincolnton, NC

Crispy-Skin Organic Salmon by Circa 1922 in Wilmington, NC

Crispy Calamari from Jeffrey’s in Mooresville

Chicken Fried Oysters from Table 31 in Mooresville

Scallops from Barrel and Fork in Cornelius

Scallops and a Crabcake from the McNinch House in Charlotte, NC

Halibut from Choplin’s

Baked oysters with chorizo from Dogwood: A Southern Table in Charlotte

Spatchcocked Branzino and Steamed Oysters from Supperland in Charlotte

HEARTH ROASTED WHOLE TROUT from The Foundry in Denver

Blackened Redfish Oscar from Chillfire Grill in Denver, NC

Charred Oysters from The Crunkleton in Charlotte

Fried Catfish filets and Fried Crab Claws at Bright Star in Bessemer, AL

Grilled Grouper with Crab Argula Salad atop Parmesan Risotto from Firefly in Panama City Beach

Crawfish Etoufee Mac at The Perfect Pig in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida

Alabama · Black Mountain · Charlotte · Cornelius · Denver · Gastonia · Huntersville · Mooresville · Panama City Beach FL · Raleigh

Best of Restaurants: Asian

Mary Ashley makes sure I get plenty of opportunities to eat Asian food.  She wears me out on it.  Upside is that I know where all of the good spots are 🙂

Pink Volcano Roll at Joe’s Asian Grill in Mooresville, NC

Crunchy Roll from Jia Asian Fusion in Gastonia, NC

The “Prime Time” Filet and Lobster Roll at The Cowfish in Charlotte, NC

Dumplings & Tom Yum Noodle Bowl at Kung Foo Noodle in Huntersville, NC

&

Spicy Crab Roll from Sake Sushi

Pad Krapraw & Chu Chee at Thai House in Cornelius

&

Ginger and Garlic Miso Ramen at Ramen Soul in Mooresville, NC

Chicken Hibachi at Hasaki Grill in Charlotte, NC

Crab Rangoon Roll at Monsoon in Mooresville

Thai Tea at the Thai House in Cornelius, NC

Hot & Sour Soup at Kung Foo Noodle in Huntersville, NC

Sushi Salad at Japan in Denver

Lil Bastard Roll from Pisces Sushi Bar and Lounge-Lake Norman in Mooresville

Bang Bang Shrimp Roll at Sushi O in Raleigh

Veggie Spring Rolls at Barrel and Fork in Cornelius

Kei Krob at Phoenix Thai in Mooresville

Crab Fried Rice from The Goodyear House in Charlotte

Basil Chicken from Rai Lay Thai in Charlotte

Crunchy California Poke Bowl at Be Em Asian in Charlotte

Taro Bubble Tea from Pho NC in Cornelius

Soy-Glazed Spare Ribs from Seoul Food Meat Company in Charlotte

Pork Belly Bun at CO in Charlotte

Chicken with lemongrass (Com Ga Nuong Xa), Com Bo Nuong Xa (Beef Skewers) & Spring Rolls at Lang Van in Charlotte

Orange Chicken from The Cheesecake Factory in Charlotte, NC

Dim Sum from Surin West in Birmingham, Alabama

Crispy Fish from Oishi in Panama City Beach, FL

Asheville · Belmont · Boone · Charlotte · Davidson · Denver · Gaffney SC · Hickory · Huntersville · Lincolnton · Mooresville · Myrtle Beach · Panama City Beach FL · Savannah · Statesville · Troutman

Best of Restaurant Desserts

Chocolate Souffle’ at Aix en Provence in Charlotte

Creme Brulee at Baron’s Steakhouse in Myrtle Beach

Roasted Apple Galette at Kindred in Davidson

Chocolate Layer Cake at Twisted Oak Bar and Grill in Statesville, NC

Rolled Ice Cream at Below Zero in Savannah, GA

Apple Pie Wontons at The Cowfish in Charlotte, NC

S’Mores Trifle at 5 Church in Charlotte, NC

Brownie Sundae at Carolina Cones in Davidson, NC

Crepe Suzette from Crepe Cellar

Milk Chocolate Liquid Truffle from French Broad Chocolate Lounge in Asheville, NC

Pecan Pie a la mode at Alton’s Kitchen and Cocktails in Cornelius, NC

Coconut Cake from Chillfire in Denver, NC

Nutella and Strawberry Crepe from The Crispy Crepe in Charlotte

Apple Cobbler a la mode at Carolina Cafe in Gaffney, SC

Milk Bread Cinnamon Rolls at Kindred in Davidson

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Strawberry Basil Shortbread from Crafted Southern Speakeasy in Lincolnton, NC

Doughnuts from Reigning Doughnuts in Charlotte, NC

Bourbon Brioche Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce & Vanilla Ice Cream from Bistro La Bon in Charlotte

Bread Pudding from The Gamekeeper in Boone, NC

Fritti (dessert calzone) from Salty Caper in Mooresville

Coconut Cake from Highland Avenue in Hickory

Brownie Sundae from Whit’s Custard in Davidson

Triple Chocolate Cake at Pelligrino’s Trattoria in Troutman

Bread Pudding from Bricktop’s in Charlotte

Thicc Pie (Buttermilk Peach Custard) from The Goodyear House in Charlotte

Carrot Cake from Fin & Fino in Charlotte

Salted Caramel Truffle from Flock. Bistro in Mooresville

Nutella Budino from Link and Pin in Huntersville

Pumpkin Mousse from the McNinch House in Charlotte, NC

Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake from 204 North Kitchen + Cocktails in Charlotte

Chocolate Layer Cake from Dogwood: A Southern Table in Charlotte

Cherry Pie from Supperland in Charlotte, NC

Sopapillas from Margaritas in Denver, NC

THE DOUGHNUT Diplomat cream, Heath bar crumble from Stoke in Charlotte

Ultimate Warm Vanilla Caramel Cake from Steak 48 in Charlotte, NC

Hot Lava Cake and Mini Apple Pies from Zhay’s in Lincolnton

Cannoli from Rocky’s Pizza in Huntersville, NC

Red Velvet Cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory in Charlotte, NC

Mysterious Mushroom from Mariposa in Charlotte, NC

Cheesecake from Capital Grille in Charlotte

Beignets & Pecan Pie from The Crunkleton in Charlotte

Lemon Cornmeal Cake from Rhubarb in Asheville

White Chocolate and Vanilla Creme Brulee from Firefly in Panama City Beach, FL

La Ricane at La Belle Helene in Charlotte

Chocolate Cheesecake at Drift in Belmont, NC

Asheville · Boone · Charleston SC · Charlotte · Cornelius · Davidson · Denver · Destin · Isle of Palms · Lincolnton · Mooresville · Morganton · Mount Pleasant · Rock Hill SC · Savannah · Wilmington

Best of Restaurants: Appetizers

Appetizers are my very favorite part of the meal.  Not a big commitment, you can be adventurous and not break the bank.  Here is a list of my favorites:

Spinach and Artichoke Crostini from Crafted Southern Speakeasy in Lincolnton, NC

Caramelized Gnocchi from Aria Tuscan Grill

Fried Green Tomatoes at Huey’s Southern Eats in Isle of Palms

Mert’s Soul Rolls at Mert’s Heart and Soul in Charlotte

Homemade Lime Tortilla Chips served with Pineapple Mango Salsa from Caterer extraordinaire Food Junkie

Spinach and Artichoke Dip from Food Junkie

Filipino-style Pork Eggrolls with Spicy Apricot Dipping Sauce from Food Junkie

Funghi Repieni at Caruso’s in Mooresville

Pierogies from Twisted Oak Bar and Grill in Statesville, NC

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Manchego Skillet at Tybee Island Social Club in Tybee Island, GA

Warm Pimento Cheese & Jumbo Lump Crab Cake  from Tupelo Honey in Charlotte, NC

&

Oysters Rockefeller at the Oak Steakhouse in Charleston, SC

Shrimp Flatbread from 5 Church in Charlotte, NC

Stuffed Portabello Mushroom at Chillfire Grill in Denver, NC

Beggar’s Purse with Cream Cheese and Salmon, Rock Shrimp & Fried Calamari with Vegetables from Wasabi in Asheville

Smoked Tuna Dip from Louisiana Lagniappe

Prime Rib Stuffed Mushrooms from Alton’s Kitchen and Cocktails in Cornelius, NC

Escargot with Lemon and Sweet Pea Risotto from Flatiron Kitchen and Taphouse in Davidson

Crispy Pork Rinds with Pimiento Cheese and Valentina Hot Sauce from Root +Vine in Morganton

Shrimp Cocktail at the Pump House in Rock Hill, SC

Escargot at Gamekeeper in Boone, NC

Deviled Eggs and Millionaire’s Bacon from Bricktop’s in Charlotte

Crab Dip from Circa 1922 in Wilmington, NC

Butter Bean Spread, Devilish Toast and Marinated Shrimp from Goodyear House in Charlotte

 

egg salad

marinate

Compressed Spiced Melon with Bluebird Farms Cured meats and shaved cheese from 158 on Main in Mooresville

Baked Brie Bites and Sausage Gravy Croquettes from Supperland in Charlotte

Deviled Eggs with Pickles, Aleppo, herb bacon salad from Stoke in Charlotte

SESAME-CHILI CAULIFLOWER FLORETS from Copper Modern Indian Cuisine in Charlotte

Chicken Empanadas from Havana 33 in Mooresville, NC

Fried Deviled Eggs from Zhay’s in Lincolnton

Mariposa Mezze Board from Mariposa in Charlotte

Spinach and Artichoke Dip from Mi Amiche in Mooresville

Firecracker Shrimp and Sriracha Fries from 73 & Main in Mt. Pleasant

Yuca Frita from Miami Fusion in Denver, NC