Category: Charlotte: Dilworth

Fiamma Restaurant (Dinner) – Charlotte, NC »

The Basics

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Cuisine: Italian
Ambiance: Cozy Traditional
Address: 2418 Park Rd, Charlotte, NC 28263
Neighborhood: DIlworth
Phone: 704.333.3062
Web Site: no website – Fiamma Restaurant on Yelp
Must Taste (Dinner):

  • Salad: Blood Orange Salad – beautiful presentation and great flavors.
  • Pasta: Homemade ravioli – they change their flavors often, but the spinach is delish. The fresh-made pasta makes the ravioli extra tasty.
  • Dessert: Chocolate Tart – served hot – this is so yum. Great taste and lovely texture. Save room for dessert.

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Best For
: Romantic Date (call ahead to reserve the window-seat), Group Outing (with friends or co-workers)
What to Wear: casual-dressy (no tennis shoes) to dressy
Good to Know: Almost everything on the menu is made from scratch, which is apparent in their delicious dishes.
Fave Points: Nice selection and especially how they make almost everything from scratch, even the limoncello.
My Fave Dish: The homemade ravioli was my favorite. I absolutely love fresh pasta. The delicate pasta pockets with spinach and cheese tasted so great with the tomato sauce and cheese on top.

Menu pricing and availability subject to change.

My Dish

I had a business meeting with my friend (and event co-organizer) about an event we had just executed, in preparation of next year’s event.

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Wanting to stay in the Dilworth area, we decided to meet up at Fiamma Restaurant.

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Fiamma may easily be written off by those who don’t know better because the restaurant is located in a strip mall (same one as Ru San’s) and therefore has a simple, easy-to-pass exterior.

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Inside, the ambiance was quite traditional with dark wood and white linens.

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We were promptly greeted and served a bread basket with an herb-olive oil for dipping.

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I started with a glass of the Vermentino, Sella & Mosca (Delicious apple and pear flavors with a fresh, crisp finish).

The restaurant had some delicious-sounding specials, but for eats, we went with the special 3-course meal I had read about from a note on the front door. The meal featured 3 courses with a couple options for each of the courses. My friend also got the 3-course meal and we ended up splitting a bit of each course to get a better taste of the restaurant’s dishes.

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For my first course, I ordered the Blood Orange Salad. I loved the presentation and the flavors of the orange, fennel, frisee lettuce, and dressing went quite well together. The large piece of shaved cheese on top really made the salad.

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My friend ordered the Vegetable Croquettes, which were served with a bit of salad and were also quite tasty.

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After our first course and just before our second, we were served a palate-cleansing sorbet. I thought the sorbet was a nice touch.

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For his main course, my friend got the veal with spinach and mashed potatoes.

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For my main course, I got the homemade spinach ravioli, which was served with a nice tomato sauce and topping of fresh grated cheese. It was so good, and the pasta just melted in your mouth. I’m such a huge fan of fresh pasta and this dish was simply delicious.

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For our last course, my friend got the chocolate tart.

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I ordered the tiramisu. They were both delicious, but I think I actually liked the chocolate tart better. The tart was just such a nice concoction with a great texture of chewy, crispy, and gooey all together with yummy chocolate – served hot. Yum.

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Coffee went perfectly with dessert.

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To end the meal, we were even served some complimentary samples of the restaurant’s homemade limoncello. It was so good I may just order some of it to go with my meal in lieu of wine.

Final Dish

Fiamma Restaurant is a hidden gem in the wonderful world of Charlotte eats. Hidden in a strip mall facade, this place offers up some pretty fantastic eats. But, don’t be fooled by the outside appearance. Would you rather a restaurant have a great outside appearance or great food? If you chose the latter, give Fiamma a try.

The waiters and the rest of the staff are quite knowledgeable in regards to the wine list and food, so feel free to ask them any questions about selections, etc. because you’ll get some good answers. They helped me make a nice wine selection on this particular dining adventure.

You’d have a hard time ordering the wrong thing here since the restaurant offers so many delicious dishes. The fact that they make almost everything from scratch is a big plus. Try the 3-course special menu (offered Monday-Wednesday) while it lasts to get a nice variety of Fiamma flavors, and be sure to save room for dessert.

Ru San’s Japanese Sushi + Cuisine (Dinner) »

The Basics

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Cuisine: Sushi + Japanese
Ambiance: Fun + A Bit Rowdy
Address: 2440 Park Rd, Charlotte, NC 28203
Neighborhood: Dilworth
Phone: 704.374.0008
Web Site: http://rusans.com/
Must Taste (Dinner):

  • Sushi: Like shrimp tempura (or maybe just new to sushi, in general)? Try the Crunchy Mui Bueno. Like tuna? Try the Olympic Five Ring. There are many, many more great options…so hard to pick favorites.
  • Appetizer: Tiger Shrimp – so yummy, firm, and spicy and served over a chopped “salsa” – these are some of the best shrimp I think I’ve ever had.
  • Drink: Like sake? Try one of their flavored sakes (like Asian Pear) or go for a saketini like the Sake Pomegranate.
  • Dessert: Baked Mochi – If you either 1. like red bean-based desserts or 2. like experimenting with new flavors, then check out the Baked Mochi – chewy, fried dough with a sticky-sweet adzuki bean sauce.

Best For: Casual Date, Group Outing (with friends or co-workers)
What to Wear: casual to dressy (I see a wide range of attire here)
Fave Points: Ru San’s has that “Cheers” feeling for me, not to mention a great assortment of unique sushi combinations.
My Fave Dish: Crunchy Mui Bueno – ok, so many people won’t consider a sushi with shrimp tempura “real” sushi, but what can I say except that I simply love the combination of the crunchy shrimp tempura, crisp cucumber, and smooth avocado. Sometimes you just like what you like, no?

Menu pricing and availability subject to change.

My Dish

Hubby and I went out for a casual weeknight dinner to one of our fave Charlotte spots – Ru San’s, a regional chain restaurant that feels like a one-off.

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We have been going to Ru San’s for a few years now, and we always have a great time visiting this local sushi hot spot.

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I love the ambiance inside Ru San’s – the sushi chefs greet you with cheers/happy-yelling and smiles when you walk in the door.

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They’ve also somewhat recently grown their seating area and sushi bar area and added some chic new decor.

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Normally, when I go to Ru San’s, I get either a flavored sake or just water, but on this night, I decided to try a saketini.

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I got the sake pomegranate, which was really tasty. I didn’t see them make my drink, but it tasted like they used real pomegranate juice because it had that slight tartness to it.

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For starters, we got miso soup and a house salad with ginger dressing. I’m a big fan of miso soup and enjoy the one they serve…except I’ve always found the noodles in the bowl a bit strange. I usually just eat around those. The salad is much like the ones they serve at teppenyaki restaurants, which I love for that delish ginger dressing.

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Hubby wasn’t in the sushi-mood, so he got some of the tiger shrimp appetizer.

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The shrimp were nice and tender and had a really amazing spicy flavor to them that paired well with tangy, fresh-squeezed lime juice. The shrimp were served over a chopped “salsa” with tomatoes, onion, and avocado. I sometimes feel silly ordering non-sushi items at sushi restaurants, but these are just so good…I’ll definitely be getting these again.

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The sushi menu is quite large, but I have my favorites.

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For sushi, we got some pretty Americanized-items: Crunchy Mui Bueno (my fave – shrimp tempura, cucumber, avocado, crunchies) and tempura asparagus.

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The tempura asparagus roll is a great appetizer to get for groups – it’s simple and a steal at right around $2-3.

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The Crunchy Mui Bueno (a Ru San’s specialty roll) is one of my all-time favorites. I realize it’s cooked and not very authentic, but I love the texture of the crunchy tempura with the other ingredients and the overall flavor.

Final Dish

Ru San’s has consistently remained one of my favorite sushi spots in all of Charlotte. I’ve been told that there are restaurants that have fresher fish, but 1. I’m not sure if that’s true and 2. I don’t care. I’ve always found the food at Ru San’s to be quality, and I love going for the fun ambiance, smiling sushi chefs, and upbeat music. I also really enjoy trying their interesting sushi combinations. Though you can get the standards like Spicy Tuna or Ebi, Ru San’s also offers some really intriguing specialty rolls like the Olympic Five Ring or the Godzilla Roll.

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If you’re not sure what to order, check out the sushi rolls on display by the front door – they always put out 4 or 5 different plates so you can see what the sushi actually looks like – I love checking this area out when I’m looking to try a new roll. Those new to sushi will probably also appreciate the display.

If you go on a weekend night, expect to wait. Weekdays are usually pretty light on traffic, but this place is a popular spot with the locals, so they’re usually pretty busy, in general.

Next time you’re craving sushi, check out Ru San’s to see why the locals love it so much.

Sole Spanish Grill (Dinner) »

The Basics

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Cuisine: Spanish + Tapas
Ambiance: Intimate
Address: 1608 East Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28203
Neighborhood: Dilworth
Phone: 704.544.7918
Web Site: http://www.solespanishgrille.com/main.htm
Must Taste (Dinner):

  • Tapas: Gambas Picantes – Shrimp in a spicy tomato broth. This is no longer on the tapas menu, but they can make it upon special request. I highly recommend it if you like shrimp dishes with a spicy twist. Use the leftover sauce as a dip for your bread.
  • Tapas: Patatas Bravas – $6 – from the menu: “fried potatoes with a mildly spicy alioli sauce.” The sauce was quite creamy (possibly mayonnaise-based) so it’s a little rich, but full of flavor. I love it.
  • Drink: Pitcher of Sangria – though the sangria is a bit on the expensive side when sold by the pitcher, the pitcher contains quite a bit of sangria and no ice or fruit. The fruit is served in a cup with ice which you can fill with the yummy sangria of the restaurant – the flavor is awesome. Should you choose the pitcher, be prepared to drink up! Perhaps I’m a lightweight, but my friend and I struggled just a bit to finish the pitcher between the 2 of us.
  • Dessert: Tres Leches – one of my fave Charlotte desserts. This dessert is deceptively simple in flavors with a milky, almost vanilla-like taste (vanilla as in simple…the cake doesn’t take much like vanilla to me). The first time I had this, I thought the first bites were pretty plain, but if you’re not careful, you’ll unwittingly fall in love with the dessert like I did. Luckily, the other restaurants (Miro, Zen Asian Fusion) under the same owners serve this dessert, too.

Pricing Samples (Dinner):

  • Tapas: $3 – $9
  • Dinner: $11-$22

Best For: Romantic Date, Group Outing (with friends or co-workers)
What to Wear: nice casual (not tennis shoes) to dressy
Fave Points: Cozy patio and the fact that I always have a hard time picking between tapas and full entrees when I go here – too many good options
My Fave Dish: This is a tough choice between the Gambas Picantes and the Tres Leches dessert, but I’m going to have to go Gambas Picantes because it’s the first thing I think of every time I go to Sole.

Menu pricing and availability subject to change.

My Dish

My friend from San Francisco was visiting for the weekend and I wanted to take her somewhere “chill” with a real local feel for her first dinner with us.

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Hubby and I decided on Sole, one of our local faves, so we took our friend on over in search of Spanish tapas. We really wanted to sit out on the patio to take advantage of the warm April night, but there was a bit of a wait, so we headed over to the bar area for some sangria.

My friend and I split a pitcher of sangria while my husband started on some beer. We were a little surprised to find out that the pitcher was almost $30, but we did get a lot of sangria out of it. Seriously, the pitcher was all sangria, no ice or fruit taking up space – our fruit and ice were served in our glasses when the pitcher was delivered, so you get your bang for your buck if you’re ready to drink a fair amount. If you just want a little sangria, you may want to order by the glass.

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As someone who refuses to put their purse on the floor, I was very thankful for the hooks just under the bar where we could hang our purses while we waited for our patio table.

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Soon enough, our table was ready and we headed out to the patio area to enjoy dinner. I thought patio area was really cute – especially the lighting.

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We started dinner with some hot rolls and butter. I thought the (free) bread was nice because I’ve noticed a lot of places seem to want to charge you for bread these days.

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When it came to picking out tapas, I quickly scanned the menu for my personal favorite: the Gambas Picantes tapas. I was sad to see it wasn’t on the tapas menu any more, but more than happy when the owner told me they could still make it. Phew!

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We also got another of our faves: the Patatas Bravas, which have a slighty-spicy alioli sauce – a bit on the creamy side, but I really like it.

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We also went with an order of the ever classic Empanadas (from the menu: “Traditional Spanish turnovers with beef“), which were very good with that yummy, crunchy outside.

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And, to round things out, we also ordered the Croquetas de Pollo – from the menu: “Chicken croquettes.” The croquettes were pretty good, but I thought they were slightly on the bland side along with the accompanying sauce. This tapas was probably my least favorite of the group but probably because everything else was so amazing. Not to mention, it’s hard to compete when you have a tried and true go-to dish, like me and the Gambas Picantes. Regardless, I’d order these chicken croquettes again.

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Though we didn’t order that many tapas for 3 people, I was, personally, saving room for dessert. When we decided to go to Sole for dinner I had 2 things in mind: 1. that shrimp tapas and 2. the Tres Leches. The Tres Leches cake is one of my favorite desserts in all of Charlotte. I remember the first time I ordered it, I got it because the menu touted that the dessert had won a “Best of” award. I thought the first couple bites were rather simple and wondered what the big deal was. However, as I continued to work my way through the cake, I fell more and more in love with it with each bite. Nowadays, I have a hard time resisting this dessert whenever I see it on the menu at Sole and its sister restaurants – Miro, Zen Asian Fusion. I’ve even actually ordered this cake (and this cake alone) for take out a couple times.

Final Dish

I highly recommend Sole Spanish Grill for a near-future restaurant experience for you. I love the intimate, welcoming environment, their sangria, and their menu. I’ve dined at Sole several times before enjoying both the tapas and the entrees. I always have a hard time choosing between the 2…especially when I’m already trying to save room for dessert. To me, Sole is a great restaurant no matter your occasion – whether you’re on a romantic date or catching up with a friend. Relax into your conversation over a variety of Spanish flavors and check out the patio if the weather is nice.