Located just two miles north of Uptown Charlotte, North Davidson (affectionately known as NoDa) has been going through a sort of transitional makeover these past two decades. The transformation from milltown to vibrant arts community is home to locally-owned live performance venues, restaurants, breweries, galleries, and kitschy shops.

Naturally, when I set out to find the best places to eat, I turned my query to the locals. Nine times outta ten, they’ll send you to places that don’t make the blogger “Top 10” lists – but you can bet they’re the best places to go. So off I went to check ’em out.

As I strolled down Davidson Street trying to decide where to eat, I got a of whiff of something flavorful in the air. What was that delicious smell? You could literally pick out the seasonings being used as the wind carried the savory aroma through the corridors. When I looked up, I was greeted by a bright-yellow brick building, with a sign that read “MANGOS.”

MANGOS

Mangos is that under-the-radar gem that you can’t wait to write home about. Specializing in Caribbean fusion made from scratch, they intricately meld authentic Jamaican flavors with a fresh modern style. Savory dishes are roasted to perfection while their sauces are simmered with the time and patience required of true Caribbean culinary heritage.

My hostess was kind enough to bring me their”locals only” dish, prepared by their cook, whose recipes are made with the love and passion of a true Islander.

Next, I was presented with the main course: classic jerk chicken with yellow rice, peas, and sweet candied plantains with a crunchy brown sugar coating.

It was one of the best dishes I had during my stay in Charlotte. But wait. I wasn’t finished. My meal was completed with their famous Rum Cake. The alcohol content is so high that you must be 21 years or older to order it and it has to be eaten inside . . no lie! When I prodded for the recipe, I was told it was a chef’s secret.

I literally wiped that plate clean. It was soooo delicious.

MANGOS: 3112 N. Davidson St, Charlotte, NC 28205

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