Sit back and relax at these 10 cozy local restaurants.

Time to Unwind

Summertime in the city is coming to an end. You've taken all your weekly trips to the beach, weekends to Asheville, even worked in some day trips to Crowder's Mountain for a hike and spent many of your Saturdays at the Whitewater Center. School is back in session and you're in desperate need of a little relaxation in between seasons because Fall is officially here!

If you didn't get out of town as much as you'd like and are starting to feel restless, I have a few recommendations for you.

Go out and have a nice dinner at any one of these cozy restaurants. All of these spots have a relaxing atmosphere, locally sourced menu and friendly staff. The key ingredients to put your nerves at ease!

These are in no particular order, simply my top 10 favorite restaurants in Charlotte :-)

300 East

Ambiance
You can bet on enjoying not only the food but the atmosphere as well. It's in a cute little two story house converted to a restaurant on East Boulevard. 

Their classic menu has pleased the neighborhood of Dilworth and the rest of Charlotte for over 25 years.

What to Eat
Let me start by recommending the Matilda Wong, their house cocktail. And by cocktail I mean a magic potion guaranteed to take more than just the edge off. It's served in a personal sized pitcher! From then food menu I'd start with their Mushroom & Goat Cheese Flatbread or any of their daily specials.

5Church

Ambiance
This is one of my fancier choices for a relaxing evening. Located uptown on the corner of 5th and Church. A perfect night for the little black dress in the back of your closet and a romantic stroll uptown.

The walls are full of artistic flare, even the ceiling, so look up!

What to Eat
Fresh local ingredients offer a seasonally focused menu. For starters I would go with the Tomato & Compressed Watermelon Salad and the Crispy Szechuan Pork Belly. The Seared Scallops for an entree and then complete your night with a beautifully plated dessert. 

The Cellar at Duckworth's

Ambiance
The Cellar is a member of the Duckworth family and it marks a special era in history. You'll find a speakeasy feel with waiters in suspenders, dark leather benches and bird-cage lighting. Located in the basement of the Duckworth's Bar uptown, it is dimly lit and has the feel of an exclusive club.

It's like one of those secret clubs that need a password at the door.

What to Eat
I crave the Carmelized Brussels Sprouts, Poke Tuna Waffle cones and the Char Grilled Oysters. Their menu is full of interesting options and you can't go wrong with a single one. If that isn't enough to get you in the door, let me tell you that their craft cocktails are some of the best (strongest) in Charlotte.

Soul Gastrolounge

Ambiance
One of my favorite date night spots in the city. Exposed brick walls and romantic golden hues from nearby lamps. They have limited seating so be sure to get there early!  If it's nice out, don't hesitate to sit on the patio so you can see the skyline in the distance. Photo op!

If you like sushi, every roll I've eaten here has been amazing.

What to Eat
I recommend ordering several tapas. Their famous Pork Belly Tacos, Truffle Fries, Sashimi Tuna Tacos and the Herb Cheese Stuffed Piquillo Peppers. For dessert they have a cupcake of the day, or you could go with their Chocolate Brioche Bread Pudding.

The Summit Room

Ambiance
I came here for my birthday once and loved it! Wood and stone walls with a corner fireplace it has the perfect cabin feel in the heart of Dilworth. If you like to dine outside, their patio is super cute and cozy.

Don't feel guilty if you want to order the Mac and Cheese with Bacon as your entree. I know some who have! 

What to Eat
First off you need one of their cocktails, named after each of the 7 summits around the world. They are strong and delicious. You could go with any of their starters like Pimento Cheese Fritters, Beet and Goat Cheese Flatbread or Black Eyed Pea Hummus. 

Kid Cashew

Ambiance
Kid Cashew has been the craze in Dilworth for the past several months. It's a family style menu but perfect for two. The decor is laid back and comfortable, chic. My next dining experience will be on their patio! It's enclosed with hanging plants and short wooden planters.

Their patio has the feel of a neighbors backyard where everyone is happy and enjoying themselves.

What to Eat
I would go with the Beet & Arugula Salad with Whipped Goat Cheese and the Spanish Octopus. With an in-house smoker, any of their meats are fresh and juicy. Finish the night with a gelato masterpiece like you see here.

Good Food on Montford

Ambiance
Located on Montford Drive, this small restaurant is packed almost every night of the week. Get there early in the evening, grab a drink at the bar and chill on the patio until you're table is ready. 

Green Curry Mussels and Pork Belly Steamed Bun, that is all. (drops mic)

What to Eat
Every time I mention Good Food, those two menu items are what people remember most. Their menu is seasonally driven in their entree specials and desserts. Anything you order will be fresh, beautiful and have amazing flavor.

Crepe Cellar Kitchen & Pub

Ambiance
Crepe Cellar is a neighborhood favorite right off the busy street of North Davidson. You could start off nextdoor at Growler's Pourhouse and then walk over for dinner.

A soft, welcoming atmosphere with small tables and fresh flowers.

What to Eat
I've been told the have the best burger in town! Definitely coming by when I'm craving a burger. Their brussels sprouts, savory crepes, desserts and craft cocktails are all fantastic. Everything is made with love here in this tiny spot.

The Workman's Friend

Ambiance
Even though the ambiance is romantic, it's not exactly a place where you can have a quiet conversation. Go on a weeknight early in the evening and get cozy in one of the small tables near the front door or in the fireplace room near the outdoor patio. 

The best brisket sliders in Charlotte are crafted here at Workman's. 

What to Eat
Did I say the sliders already? I've recommended them to just about everyone I know. They are made with house-ground brisket, arugula, oven dried tomatoes, caramelized onion aioli, Irish porter cheddar topped with quail egg. You get 2 for $10. Their 8 cocktails are all delicious or you can go for any of their 15 Irish Whiskey's. Stop by on a Thursday for Irish night, specials on all Irish whiskey!

Bistro La Bon

Ambiance
They offer an extensive small plate menu and a few signature entrees for dinner. The dining room has exposed brick walls and arched windows with a small view of uptown in the distance.

Huge area rugs with wooden tables and chairs make you feel right at home.

What to Eat
I would recommend the Goat Cheese Stuffed Peppadew, Fried Brussels, the NC Shrimp & Chorizo and some craft cocktails. You should come back for their Sunday Brunch buffet. It's one of my favorites in the city. Take a stroll around Plaza Midwood after!

After a crazy day at the office or a busy work week, don't forget to make time for yourself. You deserve it!

Written By:  Jessica Moore | @finickylady
Native Charlottean and good food guru who loves cupcakes, whiskey and Sunday brunch.