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Charlotte - United States
You will find everything that a city center should have in this longtime on-the-go district. Indulge in food from around the world at Blue.
Be swept into vibrant cafés and a bustling nightlife when visiting this fringe district. Galleries, unique boutiques, and cafes abound, providing passersby with colorful streets to accompany their stroll. Local art lovers frequent The Evening Muse for the creative atmosphere that stems from live music, artwork and stiff cups of Joe. With eateries named the Mellow Mushroom and the Smelly Cat Coffee House, there is no wonder why the sidewalks are full of people on a sunny day. If you have already had a busy day, a number of inexpensive lunch spots like Boudreaux's Louisiana Kitchen and Cabo Fish Taco will give you a chance to rest your feet.
It is worth a drive through this neighborhood just to admire the beautiful homes that line the curved streets. Park your car and enjoy a walk below the aged oak trees. If you decide to see a show at one of the local theaters, have dinner at Volare, a homey Italian restaurant that uses grade-A products. Most of Myers Park's nightspots double as restaurants. For a nice British breakfast and evening Guinness try Big Ben, while Jackalope Jacks serves up sweet cocktails like the Bikini and Chocolate Martinis.
While people thought this eastside neighborhood would mature into Myers Park's sister district, it never developed in the same way. Instead, it acts as a bohemian alter ego catering to the international tongue. For both veggies and carnivores, Dish serves up inexpensive southern comfort food in a funky, local-influenced atmosphere. In such a transition neighborhood, you will have little trouble finding a creative bar or lounge to enjoy after-dinner drinks. For a sweet treat try the Fire and Ice lounge, while the Thomas Street Tavern is always brimming with locals who stop in for a beer.
Taking its name from the SouthPark Mall, this upscale area boasts history and class. Since it is home to the historic trolley, take a ride on an age-old artifact before indulging in a fine dining experience. Zebra, serving up French cuisine, is popular for its delicious, contemporary dishes and a wine list that extends several hundred bottles. With a rustic décor and African wall adornment, make sure to book a table early and avoid the long wait. For Seafood dishes with a high-society crowd, there are an abundance of choices. Upstream offers an always-changing menu, while The Palm is known for its oversized lobster dishes. You can find both wine bars and movie theaters, but this district is generally known for its A-list shops and dainty dining.
Home to the University of North Carolina, this area is dominated by cheap eats and neighborhood hangouts. The Old Hickory House is a longtime favorite, filling empty stomachs with BBQ ribs, and making sure that everyone is enjoying a Western, finger-licking good time. Enjoy the hot sauce that will surely light your mouth afire at Monterrey Restaurante Mexicano. A university district would not be the same without the businesses that allow young adults to let some steam off. Check out JB'z Beach Club for billiards, blues and cheep beer, or swing by The Wine Vault to share a bottle of wine with someone special.
Developed in 1890, this was Charlotte's first streetcar suburb. Now, unique architecture and a thriving, youthful neighborhood make Dilworth the perfect place to stroll through shops and choose from dozens of international eateries. For a daytime break eat at Thai Taste, one of the oldest Thai places around. If you want something lighter, grab a quick treat to keep your momentum going at Dilworth Coffeehouse. With an atmosphere that resembles that of the beat generation, and an unforgettable aroma, it's the perfect side stop. Another hip and delicious eatery is a converted house called 300 East. Expect a diverse clientele, menu and plenty of liquor to keep conversations running long. For other eclectic international menus dine at Nikko and Bonterra. With almost as many nightspots as restaurants you will have an easy time finding somewhere to let loose. For Beer, BBQ and bikes, stop at Mac's Speed Shop and be taken in by the motorbike relics that cover the walls. The Tremont Music Hall boasts live entertainment.
In addition to the grits, cornbread, and chitlins that are staples in southern cuisine, Elizabeth is host to some of the finest restaurants in Charlotte. Deriving its name from the local university, Elizabeth College, which has since been incorporated into the local Roanoke College, this area has long been a residence of choice for the local elite. However, these days you don't have to break the bank just to fill your stomach. Southern fare is still alive and well at the The Cajun Queen, where barbeque shrimp, oysters, and the famous Dixie beer can all be enjoyed with live jazz seven nights a week. If you decide to expand your borders, Cuisine Malaya, a short distance from Independence Park, serves up spicy and flavorful curries, sushi, and other dishes from across the Asian continent. Like many of the restaurants in the area, La-tea-da's teahouse is located in a historic home, and offers traditional catering and event hosting. Also capturing the classical limelight is Carpe Diem, where exquisitely presented, time-honored local cuisine is served in a romantic setting.
Springing from the creative minds of Charlotte city planners, the Ballantyne area accommodates the acclaimed Ballantyne Resort and Golf Course as well as the accompanying Ballantyne Village. As a result, most of the dining options Ballantyne has to offer are in these two areas. Villa Antonio located within the village, seeks to transport you back to Northern Italy with an authentic Italian menu, a traveling guitarist and candlelit tables offering the perfect ambiance. Starving after a round of golf? Relax your feet with a glass of wine within the lodge at the Ballantyne Resort, where acclaimed dining choices include the Gallery Restaurant, renowned for its exquisite presentation and service.
South End is a historic part of town that has grown out of the ignominy of its industrial past, into a stylish, bustling new identity. That means that there are plenty of new restaurants and bars to try out, running the gamut from cheap and dingy to pricey and highbrow. Most of the food can be found along a stretch of South Boulevard that starts with Carabbas Italian Grill, which is part of an upscale Sicilian-American chain. For somewhat cheaper fare, go a block further to Pike's Old Fashioned Soda Shop where you can get a BLT and, obviously, a tall soda. Pike's is neighbors with the Tyber Creek Pub, an Irish bar perfect for a late night drink. The Villa Antonio Restaurant brings fine Italian cuisine and an atmosphere that ensures a long stay. You won't find as much off of South Boulevard. Quaint but hip Camden Road runs parallel for part of its length, and features the beautifully cheap Price's Chicken Coop, where you can fill up for a fiver but won't find a place to sit.