Feast Your Way Through This Destination’s Delicious, Thriving Culinary Scene

From Afro-Southern seafood to chicken-and-waffle tacos, taste globally influenced cuisine and more in Charlotte.

A selection of the delicious dishes offered at Optimist Hall

A selection of the delicious dishes offered at Optimist Hall

Courtesy of CRVA

With nearly 200 restaurants serving a variety of cuisines from around the world, food is where Charlotte, North Carolina truly flourishes. Plan a four-day trip to immerse yourself in its vibrant culinary scene between visits to museums, green spaces, and local shops. With this itinerary as your guide, you’ll experience cultures, heritage, and cuisine, all blending beautifully to create a food lover’s paradise against an urban backdrop. Whether you enjoy steak and potatoes or Italian and Peruvian flavors, you can find those and more on this ultimate culinary adventure.


Trip Highlight

Optimist Hall

As a bustling culinary hub where you can find gastronomic inspiration from around the globe, Optimist Hall is a must-see destination for food fans. Satiate your appetite at this textile mill-turned-food hall, which mixes an abundance of eateries with boutiques where you can find meaningful souvenirs.

Trip Designer

Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority

Charlotte is magnetic, with an undeniable energy ready to greet you as you discover a city that’s come into its own. Find yourself awestruck by unforgettable experiences, its ever-evolving cityscape, and the diverse people who call the Queen City home.


Courtesy of CRVA

Days 1 and 2Celebrate Good Eating and Sip Craft Cocktails

On a food-focused trip, staying at accommodations with a quality restaurant is paramount. The Dunhill Hotel offers award-winning boutique accommodations in the heart of the city, close to several urban parks well-suited for morning walks. Its on-site restaurant, The Asbury, is named for architect Louis Asbury, Sr., who designed the building in 1929, and serves breakfast, brunch, and dinner.

Dine in a Midcentury Modern setting at Good Food on Montford, which puts an eclectic spin on small-plate dining with its philosophy of “taste without borders.” This creative approach makes for a diverse meal, with dishes such as falafel with pickled cucumber and tzatziki and Korean beef over crispy rice. Or, if you want to relax and stay in, order the Warm Kale Salad and the Pan Roasted Salmon via room service at The Dunhill.

If you time your trip right, curate flavors for your palate during Savor Charlotte in March. This event involves the city’s most notable chefs, mixologists, and restauranteurs, each bringing out their best for culinary experiences that you can enjoy at a single establishment or by restaurant-hopping from course to course.

For dinner, head to a renovated Dairy Queen to sample the cuisine at Milkbread. Conceptualized by James Beard nominee Joe Kindred, the restaurant is open from 7 a.m.-11 p.m.—so you could also try one of their famous Milkbread Cinny Rolls to start your day. For an evening meal, opt for the Hot Dip, an Eastern Carolina crispy chicken sandwich (also available as a plant-based version), or the Momo Salad with bacon, breadcrumbs, and buttermilk dressing.

And save room for innovative after-dinner drinks (which often come with a floral garnish) at Haberdish. Toast to your trip with a house-made craft cocktail like the Cup of Kindness, featuring pineapple, lemon, sesame-macadamia orgeat, and nutmeg.

Lang Van

Lang Van

Courtesy of CRVA

Day 3Create Your Own Food Tour

Sleep in and order Banana Pudding Pancakes via room service for breakfast, or simply have a cup of coffee before heading out on a self-guided food tour. Charlotte boasts many options, depending on your palate, and a few spots are essential places to go to experience the city’s true flavor. (Pro tip: A single stop doesn’t need to comprise a complete meal, and you can order plates to share to pace yourself.)

For authentic Vietnamese cuisine, go to the family-owned restaurant Lang Van to sample dishes like Yellow Pancakes and Pineapple Fried Rice. Afterward, head to the nearby Charlotte Museum of History, where you can learn about the city’s early days via an interactive journey.

Another option is Pinky’s, whose location is hard to miss with the patriotic Volkswagen on the roof. With first come, first serve seating, it’s best to head to the grill during off-peak hours to ensure you get a table. Beyond comfort cuisine—be sure to order their famous fries or the homemade chili—Bryant Neighborhood Park, a charming green space affording a lovely skyline view, is across the street.

When dinnertime arrives, meat lovers will thrive at Midwood Smokehouse, which offers classic Southern BBQ and sides like Brunswick Stew and Classic Mac & Cheese. Vegetarians will appreciate entrees like the Midwood Chopped Salad and the Midwood Grilled Cheese.

If you’re in the mood for fresh seafood, try the extensive menu at Jimmy Pearls, where Uncle Gene’s Fish Sandwich and the Good ‘ol Crab Cake showcase the restaurant’s Afro-Southern cuisine. Make plans to head to the Discovery Place Science museum to take in the IMAX movie or peruse the exhibits beforehand.
Mama Ricotta’s Italian Restaurant

Mama Ricotta’s Italian Restaurant

Courtesy of CRVA

Day 4Feast at a Historic Food Hall

Begin your final day at the historic Optimist Hall, a former 1892 textile mill that’s now a curated food hall. Plan to be at its Suárez Bakery & Barra when they open at 10 a.m. to order a Cinnamon Twist donut and coffee.

Stick around for lunch and try the Beer Battered Cauliflower taco at Velvet Taco, tempt your tastebuds at Papi Queso Grilled Cheese Co., and satiate your sweet tooth with dessert at Honeysuckle Gelato. Shops like Archer Paper Goodsand Paradiso Plant Shop are pleasant to browse in between bites at Optimist Hall as you select a memento to take home. You could also view the gorgeous blooms at the nearby McGill Rose Garden or ride the LYNX to NoDa for vintage shopping or Pineville to walk around at President James K. Polk State Historic Site.

End the day with Italian and an extensive wine list at Mama Ricotta’s Italian Restaurant. The family recipes hail from founder Frank Scibelli and include specialties like House Radiatore with Meat Sauce and Amma’s Cheese Ravioli. After dinner, sip Peruvian Pisco drinks at Yunta where you can also sample light bites by ordering Tostones or Classico Ceviche with a Chilcano or Pisco Sour.

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