There is no shortage of fantastic restaurants in Charlotte. And it seems more are opening by the day. Many of these high-profile spots are delicious and we’ve told you about plenty of them. But now it’s time to delve into some different restaurants. Not necessarily the newest or the trendiest, but definitely some of the best. Many of these places you’ve probably driven past hundreds of times and maybe never given a second thought. Or perhaps you’ve thought “We should try that sometime” and just never have. These are what we like to call hidden gem restaurants and there are numerous in Charlotte and the surrounding area. Some are Charlotte institutions, some are on the newer side.

To create this list, I added some of my personal favorites as well as consulted with friends and family on some places they thought fit this description. These hidden gem restaurants in Charlotte offer a wide variety of cuisine from Italian, the Mexican, to Greek, Asian, and just good ole homestyle cooking. A few things are for certain after looking at all these restaurants, I’m now hungry, and it will be a while before I say “I don’t know where I want to eat”. And if you know me, that’s my daily struggle if I don’t pack a lunch. So enjoy browsing through these hidden gems and let us know if you think they are indeed underrated. Have a favorite you think we should have included on this list? Let us know and who knows maybe we will do round two!

  • The Mad Greek

    Located on South Blvd, The Mad Greek is your go to for authentic Greek Cuisine including pitas, salads, platters, and speaking from personal experience those fries are to die for.

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  • Johnny Tomatos


    When you want authentic New York style pizza served at the highest quality look no further than Johnny Tomatoes in Indian Trail. And while you should absolutely get the pizza, calzones, pasta, salads, and sandwiches are also on the menu.

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  • The Degenerate

    Bring your friends when you visit this not talked about enough tapas restaurant in NoDa. Small plates include duck, steak, lettuce wrap tacos, mussels, and more. Make sure to save room for the churros for dessert.

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  • Sir Edmond Halley's

    You may not even know Sir Edmond Halley’s is at the back of Park Road Shopping Center. But when a British friend takes you there you know this British Pub is good. Obviously, try the fish and chips, there’s also shepherd’s pie, or more American favorites as well.

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  • Lupie's Cafe

    Burgers, southern favorites, wings, and soups including some incredible chili are some of what you’ll find on this true hidden gem’s website. Lupie’s may not look like much on the outside, but there’s a reason locals love it and keep returning.

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  • Maxwells Tavern

    Elevated tavern food, an inviting atmosphere and incredible cocktails come highly recommended to me at Maxwell’s Tavern in historic downtown Waxhaw. I’ve been told it’s well worth the drive!

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  • New Zealand Cafe

    Consistently ranked some of the best sushi in Charlotte, you may wonder how New Zealand Cafe can be a hidden gem. There are still so many people who don’t know about this affordable, small family-owned restaurant. Not a sushi fan? Everything on the menu is delicious! Get there early though as it’s a small place and usually has a wait.

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  • Johnny Burrito

    This quick-service Mexican spot is located beneath the Two Wells Fargo building. While people say the lunch lines get long, they move quickly. But if you’re not apart of the uptown office crowd chances are you didn’t know it existed. Try the “best burrito in Charlotte” or the tamales.

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  • The Roasting Company

    One of the only hidden gems with multiple locations, The Roasting Company or RoCo does comfort food right. Rotisserie Chicken, classic southern sides, salads, wraps, and Tex Mex favorites make up the menu.

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  • Greens Lunch

    Despite recent false rumors they were closing their doors Green’s Lunch, Charlotte’s oldest restaurant is still alive and well. I’m told it’s some of the best hot dogs in the city, though I’m more of a burger person. If you don’t work uptown try to catch them on a Panther’s game day!

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  • Main Street Bistro

    This downtown Monroe staple comes highly recommended and after looking at photos on their website, I’ll be visiting soon. They often host wine-pairing dinners and after a quick glance at the menu the blackened chicken alfredo and crab stuffed shrimp appear to be standouts!

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  • Lang Van

    At what point does the most commonly labeled underrated restaurant or other similar titles, no longer fall into that category? Lang Van a longstanding authentic Vietnamese restaurant on Shamrock Drive is often raved about but still somehow considered “hidden”. Maybe it shouldn’t be on this list, but it also felt like a crime to exclude it.

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  • Azteca

    Azteca has a few Charlotte area locations but I’m focusing on the Woodlawn location. Connected to a Days Inn, it probably isn’t the first place you’d stumble upon and think to visit. But once you do, you’ll realize it’s some of the best, most authentic Mexican food in the area. And they even focus on the ambiance with a mariachi band frequently playing around the restaurant.

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