Cute Trendy Restaurants in Charlotte NC

Charlotte, North Carolina, is a vibrant city known for its diverse culinary scene, offering a tantalizing array of dining options that cater to every palate and preference. From the rich and bold flavors of African cuisine to the sophisticated delicacies of French bistros, the spicy and colorful dishes of Mexican eateries, the comforting and hearty meals of Italian trattorias, and so much more, Charlotte’s restaurants promise a delicious journey. Charlotte NC has a lot of cute, trendy restaurants that are perfect if you’re looking for good food served with nice aesthetics. 

Whether you’re seeking traditional Ethiopian injera, decadent French pastries, authentic Mexican tacos, or handmade Italian pizza, Charlotte’s dining landscape offers a feast for the senses that celebrates the city’s cultural diversity and culinary creativity. So next time you’re in Charlotte and it’s date night, be sure to bookmark this list of restaurants so that you can find the best places to eat.

Cutest Places to Eat in Charlotte North Carolina

Milkbread: Charlotte’s Breakfast Haven

Milkbread is a local cafe that serves breakfast all day. The cafe became famous from Kindred who created a welcome bread called milk bread and then made it into donuts. Milk bread is a Japanese brioche-style dough that is milk-based, fluffy and light, so it has better density than your average donut. For a sweeter start to the day, try a homemade cinnamon roll or glazed donut.

Savory items include avocado toast, smoked ham toast with gruyere and a crispy chicken biscuit. Milkbread’s gluten-free, vegetarian Morning Bowl is topped with labneh yogurt with blueberries, citrus, nut crunch, mint and local honey. We  also enjoyed trying the petit warm Milkbread beignets and the hot dip chicken sandwich.

  • Location: 1431 Central Ave, Charlotte, NC 28205
  • Cuisine: American
  • Milkbread Menu
  • Contact: (704) 684-1882

Optimist Hall: Where Food Meets Art and Community

Optimist Hall is one of Charlotte’s premiere food halls with a wide variety of food and bar stands plus art, indoor-outdoor seating, and events like run clubs, embroidery workshops, happy hours, and more. All of the windows let in natural light and the thoughtful designs of each food stall made this place really special. One thing that really stood out to me was all of the incredible stories of the owners of each restaurant.

The hall features 20+ food stalls, three dine-in restaurants, a craft cocktail lounge, and a brewery all on-site. This is the perfect spot to go when you want a little bit of everything. Check and access the Optimist Hall full guide here.

  • Location: 1115 N Brevard St, Charlotte, NC 28206
  • Cuisine: Varied
  • Optimist Hall Map
  • Contact: (980) 701-0040
a building with a sign and plants

We tried to try a little bit of everything as much as possible so here are some of the places we got to try!

Enat Ethiopian Restaurant: A Taste of Tradition, Spiced with Innovation

Enat Ethiopian Restaurant is a woman-owned gem run by Tina Tedla, who brought her mother’s treasured recipes from Ethiopia to the USA. This charming spot specializes in traditional East African and Ethiopian dishes with a modern twist, offering authentic flavors in a contemporary setting. For a little bit of everything, try the meat platter, featuring lamb, beef, and chicken with three delectable sides. It’s a divine and fun way to sample various flavors.

Vegetarians will love the vegan platter, a diverse selection that includes ground chickpea stew, spicy red lentil stew, collard greens, carrots and string beans, cabbage and potato, yellow split peas, potato and beet salad, injera pieces mixed with olive oil, tomatoes, chopped jalapeno peppers, and onions, and brown lentils. Each dish is served with injera, a traditional thin bread perfect for scooping up the vibrant and delicious food.

  • Locations: Optimist Hall: 1115 N. Brevard St, Charlotte, NC 28206 and 4450 The Plaza, Suite D, Charlotte, NC 28215
  • Cuisine: Ethiopian
  • Enat Ethiopian Restaurant Menu
  • Contact: 980-237-0716
a plate of food with a person holding it

Honeysuckle Gelato: Sweetness with Purpose

Honeysuckle Gelato started as the passion project of three friends – Jackson Smith, Wes Jones, and Khatera Ballard, with a simple mission to “Be Sweet”. 50% of all profits go to a Food Bank, so you can indulge completely guilt-free. They even have half scoops if you’re like us and want to try as many things as possible on little stomachs. Some of our favorites were the butter pecan, banana pudding, and chocolate caramel.

  • Location: 1115 N Brevard St, Charlotte, NC 28206
  • Cuisine: Ice cream
  • Honeysuckle Gelato Menu
  • Contact: (404) 228-7825

Botiwalla: A Fusion of History and Flavor

This place is a representation of the Indian/Irani restaurants that sprung up in India in the early 20th century. Irani Cafes were originally tea and kabab houses run by Irani Zoroastrians that emigrated from Persia to India in the late 19th and early 20th century (Meherwan’s great-grandfather Sheriar Irani was one of those immigrants).

After the British left, they changed the food to better suit Indian taste buds creating an Indo-Persian fusion. With a strange and wonderful mash-up of Victorian decor and Indian sensibilities, they catered to the English colonialists’ love of high tea and afternoon snacks.

You’ll also see classic Indian movie posters throughout the restaurant. Botiwalla serves up a mixture of rolls, skewers wrapped in butter naan and desi slaw, lamb burgers, and curry plates. We enjoyed the butter chicken (a classic) and the SPDP (Sev Potato Dahi Puri), savory puffed flour crisps (puris) stuffed with potato, sweet yogurt, tamarind & green chutneys, onion, cilantro, and topped with crunchy chickpea noodles (sev). It’s a flavor bomb as soon as you bite into it. They’re also famous for their boozy slushies.

  • Location: Optimist Hall, 1115 N Brevard St UNIT 203, Charlotte, NC 28206
  • Cuisine: Indian/Irani 
  • Botiwalla Menu
  • Contact: (980) 296-3993
A person holding a plate of food in front of a colorful mural.

Suarez Bakery & Cuban Food: Where Pink Vibes Meet Cuban Delights

This cute Cuban bakeshop immediately stands out with all of the pink vibes and cases that entice you with all of their deserts. You can also get Cuban dishes including Cuban sammies, ropa vieja, Maduros and more. And don’t forget to get café cubano or café con tres leches. We ordered strawberry shortcake, oreo cheesecake and a chocolate chip cookie.

Carlos Suarez (the owner), is the son of a freedom fighter who barely escaped Castro’s Cuba with his wife and children. He began his life in America, starting in Miami and eventually ending up in Charlotte. It was hard, but his perseverance and what he started is amazing. He started out working in kitchens and learning all about classic baking and now at this spot you can find a fun mixture of European bakery classics, Cuban desserts he grew up on, Mexican classics, and modern trending treats thanks to his creative team.

Harriet’s Hamburger: Burgers the Old-School Way

Harriet’s Hamburger is an old-school, retro hamburger spot with a very simple menu! Seriously. There is only one burger option, one side option (fries) and a selection of sodas. It’s meant to be that no-frills burger spot when you want something fresher than fast but not fancy with all the toppings and fluff.

  • Location: Optimist Hall, 1115 N Brevard St Stall #6, Charlotte, NC 28206
  • Cuisine: American
  • Harriet’s Hamburger Menu
  • Contact: (704) 582-4411
a hand holding a burger

El Thrifty Bar & Comida: Playful Vibes & Mexican Bites

This whole spot is a great place to grab a drink and hang out. It’s a Mexican-inspired cantina and mezcal bar in Optimist Hall. They are a good choice for lunch, dinner, late nights, drinks and brunch. In addition to food and drinks they have a whole games room area which includes duckpin bowling, a full-size golf simulator, basketball shot, skeeball, foosball and air hockey.

There’s also an outdoor patio with hanging swing chairs and outdoor seating. They also have indoor seating, a television, they serve alcohol with a full bar including wines and beer.

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Búho Bar at Grand Bohemian: Experience Argentinian Elegance on Charlotte’s Rooftop

Famous for its Argentinian-inspired bohemian-like design and refined flavors, Búho is an alluring, contemporary rooftop lounge located in Uptown Charlotte. Step into an ambiance that transports you to Argentina, with stylish, elegant, interiors, unique tastes, and carefully curated music.

To ensure a premium experience for all, they request business casual attire and do not allow hats in any area of the hotel after 6 PM. Enter via the valet Porte Cochere off Church Street, where parking is discounted for Búho patrons.

  • Location: 201 W Trade St, Charlotte, NC 28202 1622
  • Cuisine: South American, Tapas / Small Plates
  • Búho Bar Menu
  • Contact: (704) 372-1877

MICO at Grand Bohemian Hotel: A Global Culinary Journey with Argentinian Roots

At Mico, discover a world of flavors with their globally inspired, seasonally driven Argentinean menu. Each dish takes you on a culinary adventure, blending diverse cultures and customs for an unparalleled dining experience in Uptown Charlotte. The restaurant should open at 7 am.

I like hotel breakfasts like Mico for weekday breakfasts because it’s really nice upscale dining and most brunch places are only available on weekends. We went there for breakfast and had the delicious smoked salmon terrine as well as churro donuts (which I highly