The Queen City's skyline isn't the only thing lighting up—so is its dining scene.

Beef Carpaccio at Good Food on Montford
Photo: Jennifer Lover

This growing city, named after the Queen of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, is a place for foodies. From farm-to-table fare to classic Southern down-home cooking, the city lives up to its slogan—it has a lot. We’re sure you know all about the city’s legendary barbecue (this is the Carolinas, after all). So we’ve scouted out a few new stops for your 2016 food tour.

1. Downsize your plate.
Good Food on Montford, the sophomore effort from award-winning chef Bruce Moffett, serves some of the best small plates in the city. Try the Beef Carpaccio with fried pickles and pimiento cheese.

Nellie's Southern Kitchen
Courtesy of Nellie's Southern Kitchen

2. Dine like a boy band.
Nestled in downtown Belmont just twenty minutes west of Charlotte, Nellie’s Southern Kitchen is the brainchild of the Jonas Brothers’ dad, Kevin. The down-home Southern menu features recipes perfected by Jonas’ maternal grandmother, Nellie, for whom the restaurant is named. Since the June opening, fans of the JoBros—and of comfort food—have been flocking here for good cooking and live music.

Heirloom Restaurant
Photo: Kyo H Nam Photography

3. Revisit that 70s restaurant.
Heirloom Restaurant’s
Chef-Owner Clark Barlowe uses his extensive training and travels to create a menu that features vegetables, fruit, seafood, meat, and beverages produced in North Carolina. With that, he revived a 1970s-era family restaurant into a farm-to-table wonder.

Kindred
Photo: Kyo H Nam Photography

4. Be kind to your soul food.
At Kindred, the experienced owners craft handmade pasta and small, rotating plates, all locally and seasonally focused.

Krenz Ranch Burger at The Asbury
Charles Umberger/Courtesy of The Asbury

5. Order pimiento cheese, topped with a burger.
The Krenz Ranch Burger with Pimiento Cheese at The Asbury takes the classic Carolinian topping to a whole new level. Not only is Executive Chef Matthew Krenz generous with the heaping pimiento, but he believes in sustainable practices, using beef from his family’s own ranch.