Food & DrinkThe Best in Charlotte - Best in the Nest

Food & Drink Readers’ Pick Winners: Best in the Nest 2023

Best of Charlotte's food scene chosen by Queen City Nerve readers

Best in the Nest Readers’ Picks were chosen exclusively by readers through a one-month nomination process followed by a one-month voting process. The nominations were not tampered with by Queen City Nerve staff at all — save for removing ourselves from a few categories to proactively dispel any notions of favoritism. In other words, if you disagree with these ones, that’s on your fellow reader, not us. 2023 saw more than 25,000 ballots cast between the nomination and final rounds of voting.

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Winners: Download your award graphics here


BY NEIGHBORHOOD

BEST BALLANTYNE RESTAURANT

Winner: Midwood Smokehouse
Runner Up: Ma Ma Wok

 

BEST BELMONT/MT. HOLLY RESTAURANT

Winner: Nellie’s Southern Kitchen
Runner Up: The Bottle Tree

 

BEST EAST CHARLOTTE RESTAURANT

Winner: Lang Van
Runner Up: Customshop

 

BEST MATTHEWS/MINT HILL RESTAURANT

Winner: New Zealand Cafe
Runner Up: Que Onda Tacos + Tequila Matthews

 

BEST NODA RESTAURANT

Winner: Haberdish
Runner Up: Salud Cerveceria

 

BEST NORTH END RESTAURANT

Winner: The Dumpling Lady
Runner Up: Leah & Louise

 

BEST NORTH MECKLENBURG RESTAURANT (HUNTERSVILLE, CORNELIUS, DAVIDSON)

Winner: Kindred
Runner Up: 131 MAIN Restaurant

 

BEST PINEVILLE RESTAURANT

Winner: Nakato Japanese Steakhouse
Runner Up: Waldhorn Restaurant

 

BEST PLAZA MIDWOOD RESTAURANT

Winner: Calle Sol Latin Café & Cevicheria
Runner Up: Supperland

Calle Sol
Calle Sol’s pasta huancaína. (Photo by Timothy DePeugh)

BEST SOUTH END RESTAURANT

Winner: Yunta
Runner Up: Dilworth Tasting Room

 

BEST SOUTHPARK RESTAURANT

Winner: Little Mama’s Italian
Runner Up: Steak 48

 

BEST STEELE CREEK RESTAURANT

Winner: Midwood Smokehouse
Runner Up: Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q

 

BEST UNIVERSITY CITY RESTAURANT

Winner: Banh Mi Brothers
Runner Up: Thai House – University

 

BEST UPTOWN RESTAURANT

Winner: Fin & Fino
Runner Up: Mariposa

 

BEST WEST CHARLOTTE RESTAURANT

Winner: Pinky’s Westside Grill
Runner Up: Restaurant Constance

Pinky's Westside Grill
Pinky’s Westside Grill (Photo by Grant Baldwin)

BY CONCEPT

BEST BAKERY

Winner: Suárez Bakery
Runner Up: Villani’s Bakery

 

BEST BARBEQUE

Winner: Midwood Smokehouse
Runner Up: Jon G’s Barbecue

 

BEST COFFEE SHOP

Winner: The Giddy Goat Coffee Roasters
Runner Up: Summit Coffee Co.

The Giddy Goat coffee shop in Charlotte
A breakfast empanada and a dirty chai latte sit on an outdoor table at The Giddy Goat Coffee Roasters in Charlotte. (Photo by Taylor McKenzie Gerlach)

BEST DELI

Winner: Common Market
Runner Up: Rhino Market & Deli

 

BEST FARM-TO-TABLE RESTAURANT

Winner: The Artisan’s Palate
Runner Up: Restaurant Constance

 

BEST FARMERS MARKET

Winner: Charlotte Regional Farmers Market
Runner Up: Matthews Community Farmers’ Market

 

BEST FOOD TRUCK

Winner: Halal Food Cart
Runner Up: Katsu Kart

 

BEST GOURMET/SPECIALTY FOOD STORE

Winner: Pasta & Provisions
Runner Up: Reid’s Fine Foods

 

BEST HEALTH FOOD STORE

Winner: The Fresh Market
Runner Up: Berrybrook Farm Natural Foods

 

BEST ICE CREAM SHOP

Winner: Two Scoops Creamery
Runner Up: Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams

Two Scoops Creamery
Two Scoops Creamery (Photo by Grant Baldwin)

BEST INTERNATIONAL FOOD STORE

Winner: Super G Mart Charlotte
Runner Up: Asian Market

 

BEST JUICE BAR

Winner: Green Brothers Juice & Smoothie Co.
Runner Up: Smooth Monkey

 

BEST SEAFOOD

Winner: Sea Level NC
Runner Up: Fin & Fino

 

BEST SOUL FOOD

Winner: Leah & Louise
Runner Up: Mert’s Heart & Soul

Leah & Louise
Leah & Louise (Photo by Aerin Spruill)

BEST STEAKHOUSE

Winner: Beef ‘N Bottle Steakhouse
Runner Up: Steak 48

 

BEST TAPAS AND SHAREABLES

Winner: Barcelona Wine Bar
Runner Up: The Artisan’s Palate

 

BEST VEGAN FOOD

Winner: Oh My Soul
Runner Up: Fern, Flavors from the Garden


BY DISH

BEST BAGELS

Winner: Poppy’s Bagels & More
Runner Up: Good Wurst Company

 

BEST BREAKFAST

Winner: Snooze, an A.M. Eatery
Runner Up: Good Wurst Company

 

BEST BRUNCH

Winner: 300 East
Runner Up: Snooze, an A.M. Eatery

 

BEST BURGER

Winner: ACE No. 3
Runner Up: Pinky’s Westside Grill

Ace No. 3
Ace No. 3 in the Belmont neighborhood (Photo by Grant Baldwin)

BEST DESSERT

Winner: Amélie’s French Bakery & Café
Runner Up: The Batch House

 

BEST DOUGHNUTS

Winner: Pepperbox Doughnuts
Runner Up: Duck Donuts

 

BEST FRIES

Winner: What The Fries
Runner Up: ACE No. 3

What the Fries
The What the Fries team. (Photo courtesy of WTF)

BEST FROZEN TREAT

Winner: Two Scoops Creamery
Runner Up: Golden Cow Creamery

 

BEST HANGOVER FIX

Winner: JackBeagle’s
Runner Up: Moo & Brew’s Large Marge

 

BEST HOT DOG

Winner: JJ’s Red Hots
Runner Up: Good Wurst Company

 

BEST LUNCH

Winner: Rhino Market & Deli
Runner Up: Lupie’s Cafe

 

BEST PHO

Winner: Lang Van
Runner Up: Phở Hoà

 

BEST PIZZA

Winner: Inizio Pizza Napoletana
Runner Up: Sal’s Pizza Factory

 

BEST RAMEN

Winner: Futo Buta
Runner Up: JINYA Ramen Bar

 

BEST SANDWICH

Winner: Common Market
Runner Up: NoDa Bodega

A group poses together inside Common Market Plaza Midwood
Blake Barnes (center) with a mix of staff, patrons, and product reps at the original Common Market in Plaza Midwood. (Photo by Grant Baldwin)

BEST SPECIALTY/SIGNATURE DISH

Winner: Alexander Michael’s – What It Is
Runner Up: Leah & Louise – Leah’s Cabbage

 

BEST SUSHI

Winner: New Zealand Cafe
Runner Up: Ru San’s

 

BEST TACOS

Winner: Sabor Latin Street Grill
Runner Up: Tacos El Nevado

 

BEST WINGS

Winner: Moosehead Grill
Runner Up: Seoul Food Meat Company


BY CUISINE

BEST AFRICAN CUISINE

Winner: Enat Ethiopian Restaurant
Runner Up: Abugida Ethiopian Cafe & Restaurant

 

BEST CARIBBEAN CUISINE

Winner: Mama’s Caribbean Grill & Bar
Runner Up: Irie Nation Restaurant & Bar

 

BEST CHINESE CUISINE

Winner: Lam’s Kitchen
Runner Up: Ma Ma Wok

Authentic Chinese food
The Hong Kong crab at Lam’s Kitchen (Photo by Kenty Chung)

BEST FRENCH CUISINE

Winner: Café Monte French Bakery and Bistro
Runner Up: La Belle Helene

 

BEST INDIAN CUISINE

Winner: CURRY GATE
Runner Up: Copper Modern Indian Cuisine

 

BEST ITALIAN CUISINE

Winner: Mama Ricotta’s
Runner Up: Little Mama’s Italian

 

BEST JAPANESE CUISINE

Winner: O-Ku
Runner Up: Nakato Japanese Steakhouse

 

BEST KOREAN CUISINE

Winner: Let’s Meat KBBQ
Runner Up: MOA Korean BBQ

 

BEST MEXICAN CUISINE

Winner: Three Amigos Mexican Grill & Cantina
Runner Up: La Autentica Mexican Restaurant

 

BEST MIDDLE EASTERN CUISINE

Winner: Yafo Kitchen
Runner Up: Halal Food Truck

Yafo Kitchen
Dish of chicken schnitzel with hummus from Yafo Kitchen. (Photo by Timothy DePeugh)

BEST THAI CUISINE

Winner: Thai Taste
Runner Up: Thai House

 

BEST VIETNAMESE CUISINE

Winner: Lang Van
Runner Up: Phở Hoà


MISCELLANEOUS ACCOLADES

BEST CHEF

Winner: Christa Csoka, The Artisan’s Palate
Runner Up: Sam Diminich, Restaurant Constance

 

BEST LATE-NIGHT EATERY

Winner: Midnight Diner
Runner Up: JackBeagle’s

 

BEST LOCAL RESTAURANT GROUP

Winner: Tonidandel-Brown
Runner Up: 1957 Hospitality Group

 

BEST PASTRY CHEF

Winner: Samantha Ward, Wentworth & Fenn
Runner Up: Ann Marie Stefaney, Restaurant Constance

 

BEST PATIO SPACE

Winner: NoDa Company Store
Runner Up: The Goodyear House

 

BEST PLACE FOR A BUSINESS LUNCH

Winner: The Artisan’s Palate
Runner Up: Que Onda Tacos + Tequila Uptown

 

BEST WAIT STAFF/SERVICE

Winner: Lang Van
Runner Up: Supperland

Dan Nguyen stands with three other staff members inside Lang Van Vietnamese Restaurant, their arms interlocked.
Nguyen with staff members from Lang Van Vietnamese. (Photo by Grant Baldwin)

FOR THE LOVE OF ALCOHOL

BEST BEER SELECTION (NON-BREWERY)

Winner: Salud Beer Shop
Runner Up: Common Market

 

BEST BLOODY MARY

Winner: Moo & Brew
Runner Up: The Artisan’s Palate

 

BEST BOTTLE SHOP

Winner: Salud Beer Shop
Runner Up: Common Market

 

BEST BREWERY

Winner: Resident Culture Brewing Company
Runner Up: Birdsong Brewing Company

 

BEST COCKTAILS

Winner: Idlewild
Runner Up: Dot Dot Dot

 

BEST DISTILLERY

Winner: Great Wagon Road Distilling
Runner Up: Muddy River Distillery

 

BEST MOCKTAILS

Winner: Restaurant Constance
Runner Up: Supperland

Sam Diminich in Restaurant Constance. (Photo by Rico Marcelo)

BEST NEW BREWERY (LAST TWO YEARS)

Winner: Monday Night Brewing
Runner Up: HopFly Brewing Company

 

BEST NON-ALCOHOLIC MENU

Winner: Restaurant Constance
Runner Up: Free Range Brewing

 

BEST WINE SELECTION

Winner: Foxcroft Wine Co
Runner Up: Dilworth Tasting Room


BY THE BREW

BEST BLONDE ALE

Winner: Wooden Robot Good Morning Vietnam
Runner Up: Triple C Golden Boy

Fall beer from Wooden Robot Brewery in Charlotte
Samoa Donut Good Morning Vietnam (Photo Courtesy of Wooden Robot)

BEST BROWN ALE

Winner: Birdsong Brewing Lazy Bird Brown Ale
Runner Up: Armored Cow Brewing Co. Bitchin Betty Brown Ale

 

BEST CIDER

Winner: Red Clay Ciderworks Bramblin’ Blackberry
Runner Up: Botanist & Barrel

 

BEST GOSE

Winner: Free Range Brewing All You Knead Is Love
Runner Up: Pilot Brewing Raspberry Rose Gose

 

BEST HIGH-GRAVITY BEER

Winner: Triple C Baby Maker
Runner Up: NoDa Brewing Company NoDaRyeZ’d

 

BEST IPA

Winner: Legion Brewing Juicy Jay
Runner Up: Free Range Brewing Therapy Session

 

BEST KOLSCH

Winner: Devil’s Logic Brewing Kommunity Kolsch
Runner Up: Pilot Brewing Kölsch Me If You Can

 

BEST LAGER

Winner: Birdsong Brewing Rewind Lager
Runner Up: Heist Brewery Crispy Kitty

Tara Goulet, Mikala Pratt and Andrea Frohlich pose behind the bar at Birdsong Brewing
From left: Birdsong Brewing co-owner Tara Goulet, with brewers Mikala Pratt and Andrea Frohlich. (Photo by Grant Baldwin)

 

BEST MARZEN/OKTOBERFEST-STYLE BEER

Winner: Olde Mecklenburg Brewery Mecktoberfest
Runner Up: Gilde Oktoberfest

BEST PALE ALE

Winner: NoDa Brewing Company Jam Session
Runner Up: Vaulted Oak Brewing DeLorean Fuel

 

 

BEST PILSNER

Winner: Legion Brewing Penguin Pilsner
Runner Up: Free Range Brewing Barracuda Bill’s

 

BEST PORTER

Winner: NoDa Brewing Company Coco Loco
Runner Up: Sugar Creek Brewing Company Mocha Java Porter

 

BEST PUMPKIN BEER

Winner: NoDa Brewing Company Gordgeous
Runner Up: Southern Tier Brewing Company Pumking

 

BEST SAISON

Winner: Free Range Brewing Jenny Bought A Farm
Runner Up: Divine Barrel Brewing In Bloom

 

BEST SELTZER

Winner: Fonta Flora Brewery Topsy Boozy Seltzer
Runner Up: The Bevery Toast To Charlotte

 

BEST SOUR

Winner: Free Range Brewing All Your Knead Is Love

 

BEST SPECIALTY/ONE-OFF BEER

Winner: Noda Brewing Company Cheerwine Ale
Runner Up: Vaulted Oak Brewing Vanilla Coffee Blonde

 

BEST STOUT

Winner: Free Range Brewing Sea Of Companions
Runner Up: Fonta Flora Brewery Double Barrel-Aged Decoy


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