1. The new Halcyon in the (also new) Mint Museum: "Farmhouse chic," using lots of local foodstuffs and a crafty approach. 500 S. Tryon St.; 704-910-0865
2. Harvest Moon Grille: The chef is also co-owner of Grateful Growers, a farm near Charlotte, and emphasizes local ingredients in her comfortable cooking. 235 N. Tryon St.; 704-342-1193.
3. The King's Kitchen: Some of the best pan-fried chicken around, and a feel-good meal, since proceeds from this not-for-profit venture (by one of Charlotte's top chefs) go to feed the hungry. 129 W. Trade St.; 704-375-1990
4. Siblings Luce and Coco Osteria, both in the Hearst Plaza: Two views of Italian fare, the first more dressy, the second more chatty. 214 N. Tryon St.; Luce: 704-344-9222; Coco: 704-344-8878
5. Mert's Heart and Soul: Reliable soul food in a funky, art-centric setting. 214 N. College St.; 704-342-4222
6. Kalu: An Asian upscale venture that made Esquire's list of the top 20 new restaurants in America; intriguing flavors and cool rice pots. 505 E. 6th St.; 704-910-4877
7. Bentley's on 27 or BLT Steak: For swank, you can't beat the skyline view of the first, or the Ritz-Carlton setting of the second. Expect to pay for it, too. Bentley's: 201 S. College St.; 704-343-9201; BLT Steak: 110 N. College St.; 704-972-4380
(Other national steakhouse options in uptown: Morton's, Capital Grille, Fleming's, Ruth's Chris and Chima; there's also Del Frisco's, Palm and Sullivan's in the area if you're willing to drive a bit.)
8. Vida: Mexican and an array of tequilas, too, in the hopping EpiCentre. (The eclectic Mez is good in that development, too.) 210 E. Trade St.; 704-971-8432
9. Price's Chicken Coop: Takeout only from a Charlotte landmark, where the fried chicken is legendary, and the chicken livers and gizzards should be. 1614 Camden Road; 704-333-9866
10. Amelie's for pastry, breads, coffee, soups and sandwiches. There's one uptown, but venture to the mother ship about 10 minutes away, bordering the artsy neighborhood called NoDa, for 24/7 service and a peek at Charlotte's more diverse clientele. 2424 N. Davidson St.; 704-376-1781
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