This is the first of three post I’m doing for the #DesignCharlotte program, an influencer campaign for the Marriott Charlotte City hotel. The hotel is currently undergoing a major transformation and  encouraging guests and influencers to show off our amazing city by featuring  some of our favorite hot spots of Charlotte.

Over the past few years the food scene in Charlotte has started to explode as it moves away from the typical chain restaurants into an energetic dining scene. Chefs are focusing on using locally sourced ingredients and planning a seasonal menu accordingly. This creates lots of excitement and variety for the dining customers. I get asked all the time where’s a good place to go for a nice dinner out. Specifically, whats a good restaurant to go to since we have a sitter and want to take advantage of a quiet evening with good food and good company. While there are other restaurants that surely fit this bill here are my top 5 favorite restaurants in Charlotte.

1. Barrington’s– This is my number one suggestion for anyone celebrating something special like an anniversary or birthday. It’s a small intimate restaurant with a cozy atmosphere and with space limited in this 45-seat restaurant reservations are a must. Barrington’s is the first of Bruce Moffett’s restaurant, offering upscale American cuisine and a hand-selected wine list. A seasonal menu features the areas best organic produce, meats and cheeses. Since the menu changes often my husband and I like to make it at least twice a year to see what all the new menu has to offer. I can’t seem to stray from ordering one of the fish entrees because they are always amazing but eventually I will have to get the organic chicken, which never come off the menu.

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2. Good Food on Montford– This restaurant certainly lives up to its name. Good Food on Montford is another Bruce Moffett restaurant, where he took his experience from Barrington’s and created this tapas-style restaurant. I love ordering tapas out because it gives you a nice variety of food and it’s the perfect way to sample different things from the menu. Two of my favorites include the steamed bun and the mussels. Unlike Barrigton’s, Good Food does not take reservations so be prepared to wait, especially on the weekends. No need to fear though, grab a seat at the cozy bar or outdoor patio for a drink.

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 3. Stagioni – Ironically enough, this is yet another Bruce Moffett restaurant and the last in this collection of restaurants. Unintentionally all of his restaurants made my list so I guess you can say I am a big fan of his style and cuisines. Stagioni’s offers Italian cuisine with a fresh modern twist. Again, this restaurant offers a seasonal menu with fresh local ingredients to create hand-made pastas, wood-fired pizzas and slow-roasted meats. At the back of the restaurant the large open kitchen allows you to see the cooks preparing the food and our favorite thing to do is sit at the bar in the back so we can watch the chefs work their magic.

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4. Customshop– This restaurant has a rustic yet cozy atmosphere offering a mix of traditional and innovative American dishes inspired by Italian, French and Spanish cuisine. Customshop supports local and organic farms by adding fresh foods from the area to its seasonal menu. I can’t help but feel like I just stepped off the streets of Paris when I enter this restaurant with its wooden tables and exposed brick from the buildings original structure. To keep the feeling of Paris alive we always order the cheese and charcuterie board to start with.

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5. The Wine Shop at Foxcroft- We have been to this wine bar for pre-dinner drinks, appetizers and dinner. This wine bar and retail shop features small plate appetizers and entrees to accompany their comprehensive wine selection. If you choose you can select one of the bottles of wine from the shelf at normal price to take back to your table. The staff is very knowledgeable and they have always been very helpful in helping me choose the perfect wine based on my preference that evening. With its casual atmosphere, good wine and good food it’s the perfect setting to sit back and relax with friends or a loved one. The lamb sliders are my favorite and if you want to end the night with something sweet I highly recommend ordering the doughnuts.

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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of #DesignCharlotte. The opinions and text are all mine.

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