320 S. Tryon St.; (704) 334-5158; Monday to Friday 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; Closed Saturday and Sunday.
One of Charlotte's best Japanese restaurants is hiding in plain sight uptown. Located in Latta Pavilion, Fujiyama doesn't have an expansive menu or even a place to sit and eat, but its food continues to bring customers back. It has a loyal following of mostly uptown workers, and it's only open for lunch (and is usually closed during bank holidays). Like many restaurants in Latta Pavilion, Fujiyama is to-go only, but there are plenty of tables available on the patio just outside.
THE SCENE: Fujiyama is easy to describe: Simple. A small, standing-room-only waiting area greets you at the door. The entire menu (which consists of less than 10 options) is listed on the wall, along with a few stray paintings. Fujiyama is usually a two-person operation. The chef stands behind a glass enclosure and cooks meals to-order. Once you make your selection, you can peruse the pile of newspapers left behind. Even when many people are waiting for their lunch, the restaurant is typically quiet. Only a few stools are available to sit on. You won't have to wait long – meals are prepared in less than five minutes. If you need a place to sit and eat, there are a few small tables available in the hallway or outside in the courtyard.
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THE MENU: The menu offers great teriyaki and tempura dishes. Most people who visit order the combo (both chicken and beef) teriyaki meal, which includes rice and a salad. The salad comes already tossed in a delicious vinaigrette dressing. There is also a seafood option, which includes shrimp and scallops. The presentation isn't fancy (everything is served in a white Styrofoam to-go box), but the food will surprise you.
THE CROWD: Fujiyama is open for lunch only and caters to uptown workers. Food is usually ready in less than five or 10 minutes. There is sometimes a line during the noon to 1 p.m. lunch rush.
WHAT THEY'RE KNOWN FOR: Speedy service and a great teriyaki combo meal. If you are craving Japanese food uptown, this is your spot.
THE CHECK: Fujiyama will give you a bang for your buck – all menu items are less than $7, and the portions are hearty.
CASH OR CHECK: Cash only.
VEGETARIAN: There is a vegetable dish, mixed mostly with bean sprouts, mushrooms and broccoli, which comes with a side of rice.
KID-FRIENDLY: There isn't a kids menu, but that doesn't mean young children won't enjoy what is available.
FOR HERE OR TO GO? It's to-go only. Call ahead if you're in a rush.
SMOKING, SMOKE-FREE? It's smoke-free.