While Charlotte’s food scene is certainly worth the hype, not every menu item is, even when it comes to some of the city’s most beloved dishes.
Here are a few of those popular items — and some underrated options you should give a try instead.
This Plaza Midwood staple is known as one of the best and coolest restaurants in the Queen City, and offers everything from short ribs to sushi. Because of its popularity, we advise that you go there as early as 5 p.m. to snag a spot or use the NoWait app.
Look past: The Dirty Nachos ($9)
Imagine a load of gas station-like cheese was poured on top of crusty chicken skins. Not what I expected and not worth the hype.
Instead, try: The Flatbread ($10)
The Flatbread — made of truffle whipped goat cheese, pistachio pesto, honey braised garlic and fresh arugula—can be your saving grace, if you’re not impressed with your nacho nibbles. Whenever goat cheese is involved, the competition is over.
Amelie’s has four Charlotte-based locations for a reason: people are obsessed with the French bakery. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are offered, and the NoDa location stays open 24 hours for all of you late-night partiers.
Look past: The Salted Caramel Brownie (insert gasps of horror) ($2.29)
When Amelie’s salted caramel brownie debuted, it was a novelty. But now you can find the flavor in literally anything—even yogurt (WTH?!).
Instead, try: Pecan Sticky Bun ($2.75)
It’s absolutely acceptable to eat this Pecan Sticky Bun as early as 7 a.m. with your morning cup of Joe. Make sure to get it heated up, so the star of the show (the cinnamon glaze) can really shine.
This national build-your-own sandwich chain opened its first location on South Tryon Street in early 2017, and people FREAKED out. Our friend Sarah Crosland even wrote an ode to it, which was extremely strange to me but, whatever, she lives her life how she wants to.
Look past: Any deli sandwich with the standard bread (The Turkey Club, $8.39)
The bread is WAY too thick and reminds me of cardboard. The deli meat and other toppings are fine, but don’t expect to walk away in awe. It’s average. Sorry, Sarah.
Instead, try: Any Skinny Sandwich (The Hammie, $5.41)
Luckily, Potbelly offers a way to just have a mouthful of bread by scooping the inside of the bread out. This way you can actually taste every single ingredient that’s built into the sandwich. I appreciate the healthier options, Potbelly. Swimsuit season, here I come. Then again, I may grab a homemade milkshake…
The rooftop restaurant, serving up “Asian-accented New American plates” (hm?), is one of the hottest spots to take an Instagram picture in Charlotte. Definitely a solid spot to take friends or family you’re looking to impress.
Look past: The Wood Grilled Avocado ($11)
I was excited to try the Wood Grilled Avocado because it came with goat cheese (again, I’m obsessed), Thai sweet soy sauce, lime and sea salt. Unfortunately, I had to cut the unripened avocado with a butter knife, which was much harder than it seemed. After a few sweat bullets ran down my forehead, I simply started using my fork like a barbarian to scrape the avocado out. Honestly, it just wasn’t worth the effort or hard avocado bites.
Instead, try: Crispy Tempura Rock Shrimp ($15)
Seriously, I could have eaten about 50 pieces of this. This creamy honey glaze on top of the shrimp will make you feel like you’re sitting on a sailboat in Charleston.
One of the most unusual places to enjoy both burgers and sushi is none other than The Cowfish, located in SouthPark. Remember when Jordan Spieth was here for the PGA Championship? Yep, he dined at Cowfish. “That place was interesting…It was really good. But I had no idea how to feel going in with the menu,” he said.
Couldn’t agree more myself, Jordan (call me?). The restaurant does have distinctive pairings, and be prepared for a crazy wait time. Seriously, how’s there always a two-hour wait starting at 6 p.m.?
Look past: The All-American Bacon Double Cheeseburgooshi ($16)
All right, we have a lot going on here. The mix of the all-natural beef along with yellow cheddar cheese, white cheddar cheese, applewood bacon all wrapped in soy paper is a very creative dish but too much overall. Let’s just say, I got my check shortly after consuming (TMI).
Instead, try: The Cowfish Bento Box ($14.50)
This is the best combo for anyone’s digestive system. You get the joy of eating a mini-burger and a four-piece sushi roll, separately. More time on celebrity watch, less time with the Pepto.
Featured photo:via Instagram (feedmecharlotte)