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Eat Here 

Our critics' guide to recommended restaurants in the Charlotte area.

All Around Town

Anntony's Caribbean, 400 S. Tryon St., 704-339-0303; 2001 E. 7th,, 704-342-0749. All locations have different owners. A hint of the tropics; rotisserie chicken with Jamaican jerk sauce, ribs, Paradise Island fish special, curries, and Caribbean styled greens. $$

Fuel Pizza Cafe, 1501 Central Avenue, 704-376-3835; 319 W. Trade St., 704-344-1767; 404 S. Main Street, 704-896-0200. Hand-tossed New York style pizza with kitschy automobile and gas station memorabilia. Traditional and gourmet style pizzas, calzones, and chicken wings. $$

McAlister's Deli, 4130 Carmel Rd., 704-540-7199; 19330 W. Catawba Rd., 704-896-3354; 8046-D Providence Rd., Arboretum, 704-752-9665; 15201-A John J. Delaney Dr., Ballantyne Commons East, 704-542-0727. Offers over 100 items including sandwiches, salads, appetizers, plus they do more with a baked spud than you can imagine. $$

Mellow Mushroom, 4422 Colwick Rd., 704-362-5335; 4100-A Carmel Road, 704-341-8236; 5814 Prosperity Church Road, 704-875-2418. An Atlanta-based franchise with a local twist: a large selection of domestic and imported beers. The relaxed atmosphere, and variety of pizzas attracts all ages. $$

Midtown 51, 7715 Pineville-Matthews Rd, 704-541-8117; 618 Kenilworth Ave., 704-358-3933; 18626 Harborside Dr., 704-896-9013; 3425 David Cox Rd., 704-597-7413. Very popular, festive spot for burgers or wings or watching a wide screen, playing pool, or listening to live music. $$

Restaurant Y Taqueria La Unica, 2801 Central Ave., 704-347-5115; 1621 Walkup Ave; 140 Eastway Dr., 704-597-1699. A hybrid offering fast food as well as entrees and most items feature the flavors of Mexico City. Try the sensational al pastor taco. $$

The Graduate, 911 E. Morehead St., 704-377-3808; 2014 Sharon Forest Rd., 704-532-2562. Popular hangouts with college crowd, offering good variety of dishes, subs, sandwiches, calzones and pizza. Try the cheese fries. $

Vinnie's Sardine Grill & Raw Bar, 1714 South Blvd., 704-332-0006; 643 Williamson Rd., 704-799-2090; 142 E John St., 704-849-0202. You won't find sardines, but at this lively place the after-work crowd gathers to chow down on raw oysters, wings and more. $$

Wolfman Pizza, 10620-A Providence Road, 704-845-9888; McMullen Creek Market, 704-543-9653; Selwyn Corners Shopping Ctr., 704-377-4695; Cotswold Mall, 704-366-3666. Flashy wide-ranging selection of California-style pizza, with everything from the sweet-tangy Maui, to New Mexico, to Shrimp, Pesto and Goat Cheese. Also home of the Howlzone (calzone). $$

Zapata's Cantina Mexican Restaurant, 8927 J. M. Keynes Drive, Suite 900, 704-503-1979; 1990S NC Hwy 73, 704-987-8890. Extensive, quality Mexican dishes like grilled lamb, along with variety of burritos, enchiladas and more ina rustic, Old Mexico atmosphere. $$Dilworth/Southend

300 East, 300 East Blvd., 704-332-6507. Locals have long gathered at this casual neithborhood bistro in a vintage house featuring an eclectic menu. $$$

Berrybrook Farms Natural Foods, 1257 E. Blvd., 704-334-6528. Homemade soups, herbed tofu sandwiches, bean burritos, and freshly squeezed fruit and vegetable juices found in a natural food shop. $

Bistro East, 1608 East Boulevard, 704-334-6161. Unpretentious American bistro cooking with a Southern twist. $$$

Brixx Wood-Fired Pizza, 801 Scott Avenue, 704-376-1000. Home of the MBA program and the "B" stands for beer. Late night noshing on goat cheese ans shrimp pizzas has become a standard. Not complicated, but consistently good. Open late. $$

Comet Grill, 2224 Park Rd, 704-371-4300. Dependable bar food in a friendly neighborhood joint. Big burgers, great fries, a spicy shrimp app and some vegetarian alternatives, too. $

Mangione's Ristorante, 1524 E. Blvd., 704-334-4417. Opened in 1977. If you can't decide between Northern and Southern Italian, they have it mixed here. All the familiar bases are covered, plus you have Mr. Mangione's personalized service. $$$

McIntosh's Steaks and Seafood, 1812 South Blvd., 704-342-1088. Folks head over to Greg McIntosh's steak and chop house for a round up of straight forward menu selections, gargantuan portions, and man-sized knives and forks. Elegant surroundings and service. $$$$

Mister K's, 2107 South Blvd., 704-375-4318. A South Boulevard institution since 1967, but with a 50s-ish ambience: burgers, dogs ans soft ice cream. Homade onion lovers make this a second home. $

Nikko Japanese Restaurant & Sushi Bar, 1300-F S. Blvd., 704-370-0100. Sushi chef and owner Joanna Nix radiates warmth and hospitality throughout this traditional Japanese cuisine oasis. In addition to sparkling fresh sushi, there's yakimono, teriyaki, tempura and udon, too. $$$

Nirchi's Pizza, 1300-M South Blvd., 704-372-3535. Sicilian pan pizza and upper state New York styled 16 inch pies, exceptional chicken wings, subs, and sandwiches at reasonable prices. $$

Original Pancake House, 1300 South Blvd., 704-372-2929. This is a chain restaurant, but the pancakes are so good. The apple pancake is a huge, puffy affair big enough for at least two people. There are plenty of other flavors too. Expect to wait in line on weekends. $$

Patou, A French Bistro, 2400 Park Rd., 704-376-2233. Well-executed French and Belgian (try the Waterzooi) bistro cuisine. Menu changes seasonally. Patio. $$$

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