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Good Eats 

Our critics' guide to recommended restaurants in Charlotte

All Around Town

Anntony's Caribbean, 400 S. Tryon St., 704-339-0303; 2001 E. 7th St., 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. $$

Azteca, 116 Woodlawn Rd., 704-525-5110; 9709 Independence Blvd., 704-814-9877; 1863 W. Franklin Blvd. (Gastonia), 704-866-7574. A favorite of many, Azteca offers a lengthy roster of flavorful dishes. $$

Brixx Wood-Fired Pizza, 1801 Scott Avenue, 704-376-1000; 225 E. 6th St., 704-347-2749; 16915 Birkdale Commons Pkwy. (Huntersville), 704-894-0044. Home of the MBA program, and the "B" stands for beer. Late night noshing on goat cheese and shrimp pizzas has become a standard. Not complicated, but consistently good. Open late. L, D $$

Fuel Pizza Cafe, 1501 Central Ave., 704-376-3835; 1801 South Blvd., 704-335-7375; 319 W. Trade St., 704-344-1767; 404 S. Main St. (Davidson), 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; 15201-A John J. Delaney Dr., Ballantyne Commons East, 704-542-0727; 8046-D Providence Rd., Arboretum, 704-752-9665; 19330 W. Catawba Rd. (Cornelius), 704-896-3354. 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 Rd., 704-341-8236; 5814 Prosperity Church Rd., 704-875-2418; 1225-A East Blvd., 704-371-4732. An Atlanta-based franchise with a local twist: a large selection of domestic and imported beers. The relaxed atmosphere and variety of pizzas attract all ages. $$

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

Restaurant Y Taqueria La Unica, 2801 Central Ave., 704-347-5115; 140 Eastway Dr., 704-597-1699; 1621 Walkup Ave. (Monroe), 704-282-2369. A hybrid offering fast food as well as entrees and most items feature the flavors of Mexico City. Try the sensational al pastor taco. $$

Salsa's Mexican Restaurant, Galleria Village Shopping Center, 1640 N. Sardis Rd., 704-846-3374; Carmel Commons Shopping Center, 6676 Carmel Rd., 704-759-9886. Singles and families crowd this vibrant, friendly dining room to feast on a mix of standard dishes (chimichangas, enchiladas, burritos, fajitas) with a smattering of homemade tastes. $$

The Graduate, 911 E. Morehead St., 704-377-3808; 8334 Pineville-Matthews Rd., 704-543-4020; 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; 142 E John St. (Matthews), 704-849-0202; 643 Williamson Rd. (Mooresville), 704-799-2090. You won't find sardines, but at this lively place the after-work crowd gathers to chow down on raw oysters, wings and more. L, D $$

Wolfman Pizza, 10620-A Providence Rd., 704-845-9888; McMullen Creek Market, 704-543-9653; Cotswold Mall, 704-366-3666; 1039-A Providence Rd; 8662 J.W. Clay Blvd., 704-503-3999. 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). $$

Elizabeth/Plaza-Midwood

Cajun Queen, 1800 E. 7th St., 704-377-9017. Friendly atmosphere, jazz, and terrific service highlight the complete New Orleans-style menu. D $$$

Cuisine Malaya, Malaysian Cuisine & Japanese Sushi Bar, 1411 Elizabeth Ave., 704-372-0766. Charlotte's only Malaysian restaurant serving first rate Roti Canai, Satay, Char Kway Teow and Beef Rendang. Sultry, yet sophisticated ambience and fine service. L, D $$$

Diamond Restaurant, 1901 Commonwealth Ave., 704-375-8959. Established in 1945, this is one of Charlotte's oldest restaurants. Good, solid homecooking with a down-home, almost small town touch. $

Dish, 1220 Thomas Ave., 704-344-0343. With an easygoing, yet retro, atmosphere and simple, but satisfying Southern including Low Country, Cajun and Tex-Mex fare this is the perfect neighborhood joint. $$

Ethan's of Elizabeth American Bistro, 366 N. Caswell Rd., 704-375-3007. Located in a charming old house in one of Charlotte's quaint neighborhoods, this comfortable bistro features the creative abilities of chef and owner Mark Martin who produces well-executed New American cuisine. $$$

John's Country Kitchen, 1518 Central Ave., 704-333-9551. A reminder of a culinary tradition we're quickly leaving behind. Brains and eggs, country ham, grits and gravy. Open for lunch too. Cash only. B, L $

Matthews/Southeast Charlotte

Boardwalk Billy's, Crown Point, 1636 Sardis Rd. North, 704-841-8688. This beach-styled place may look like a bar, but offers much more. Their Billy's Steam Party (enough for two) is filled with steamed shrimp, oysters, clams, crab legs, potatoes and corn on the cob. Serves food late. $$

The Fish Farm, 1200 Sam Newell Rd., 704-847-8578. Traditional fish camp food mixed with Southern country, steaks, and ribs. Set in a barn. $$$

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