10000 Ballantyne Commons Parkway
Charlotte, NC 28277
A member of the prestigious Starwood Luxury Collection and consistent winner of the AAA Four-Diamond award, The Ballantyne Hotel and Lodge on Charlotte’s southern edge is the city’s finest hotel with amenities to match. Guests enjoy a full-service spa, extensive indoor pool area with whirlpool and fitness center and a PGA championship golf course. Meals are provided by the remarkable Gallery Restaurant, one of the city’s most celebrated dining experiences, where breakfast, lunch and dinner are offered daily, along with cocktail service at the bar and on a terrace overlooking the 18th green. A favorite with local families for holiday meals when the ballroom hosts lavish buffets, the Gallery also offers intimate fine dining with artfully prepared farm-to-table seasonal cuisine served in the newly renovated dining room lined with fine art works.
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237 N. Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC 28202
The Dunhill, a member of the Historic Hotels of America, opened in Uptown Charlotte in 1929 as one of the city’s most elegant hotels, and maintains that tradition today. Guests enjoy amenities that range from wine socials and turndown service with signature chocolate crowns to complimentary shuttle service throughout the Center City. Since 2010, the Dunhill has been home to the Harvest Moon Grille, one of the most talked-about restaurants in the city, however founding chef Cassie Parsons has moved on to other projects. The Harvest Moon is replaced by a new restaurant at The Dunhill in 2014, named The Asbury, serving seasonal, locally sourced Southern cuisine created by Chef Chris Coleman, who formerly helmed the kitchen at the renowned McNinch House.
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8629 J.M. Keynes Drive
Charlotte, NC 28262
Situated on the shores of the lake at University Place, this Hilton and its restaurant earned a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence in 2013. Guests enjoy a variety of amenities from complimentary parking and internet access to 24-hour business and fitness centers. The path around the lake is popular for walking and jogging. The hotel’s casual Lakefront Restaurant offers romantic views of the lake along with a well-designed and prepared menu of Southern-tinged American classics, and will prepare vegan dishes on request.
Caffe Sienna Tratorria E Barra
230 N. College St.
Charlotte, NC 28202
The 15-story Holiday Inn in the Center City is topped by a rooftop pool and hot tub area as well as a rotunda that is a favorite for weddings. Stylishly decorated throughout, this hotel is the home of the Caffe Sienna Tratorria e Barra, located on the first floor. Windows and an open-air dining area offer great people-watching opportunities, while the Mediterranean-inspired menu created by Chef Ahmed Azizy, a native of Morocco and winner of first place in the Grand Prix Escoffier Competition, blends Italian, French and North African influences. The menu lists some notable steak and lamb dishes, great seafood specials, crepes and several vegetarian offerings, plus a mezes and tapas section with popular dishes such as lobster mac-n-cheese, a sea bass cake and burgers. The lunch buffet, served weekdays, offers a create-your-own-pasta option.
Savannah Red Restaurant And Wine Bar
100 W. Trade St.
Charlotte, NC 28202
Located on the Square in the heart of Charlotte’s uptown, the Marriott is ideally situated for visits to Charlotte’s cultural attractions. Several restaurants are on-site, including Champions Sports Bar, Cutter’s Cigar Bar and the award-winning Savannah Red. Under the direction of Executive Chef Jean-Pierre Marechal, the cuisine at Savannah Red, named “the boldest food in Charlotte” by the James Beard Foundation, has achieved a reputation for creativity by blending unique flavors with Southern classics (for instance the signature Krispy Kreme bread pudding with Maker’s Mark bourbon). The surroundings are equally bold, with crimson walls, unique chandeliers and works of art. The adjacent wine bar offers a lighter menu of tapas and small plates.
With 15 years of experience covering restaurants in Charlotte and the Carolinas, and two regional guidebooks under her belt, Renee Wright examines the dining scene with enthusiasm plus a deep knowledge of food trends and outstanding local eating ops. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.