Looking for 85 Top Asheville Restaurants? You've come to the right place. As a native Ashevillian and former cafe' owner, my list includes the tasty spots locals love to visit!
The ABC's of Asheville Eateries
A is for Asheville
All Day Darling - created by the same owners as Tod's Tasties in the Montford area, this little gem is sure to be a hit like its big brother. Give it a whirl for fresh baked goods, bowls, smoothies and hearty salads.
Aloha Cafe' - this little spot features a Poke Bowl, Banh Mi and Spring Roll Cafe in downtown Asheville. Fresh fish with rice and spicy-sweet sauce makes me happy. Go there. Try something new. It's delightful.
Avenue M - you'll have a hard time finding a larger brunch menu in Asheville than the one they offer at Avenue M. Order their LumberJack entree which is a healthy serving of fried chicken, biscuits, sausage gravy, eggs, bacon, and home fries. Can you say 'waddle back to the car?'
B is for Bold
Baked Pie Company - so, this restaurant only serves baked pie. You got a problem with that? Enjoy their Pie Flight - your choice of 3 flavors of pie and a scoop of ice cream. They even have a pie named Sugar Crack. Need I say more?
Barley's Taproom - local pizza joint that stays open until at least 2 am so you can wander there after a night on the town. They have pool tables upstairs and a fun Trivia Night every week. You can't go wrong with their New York style pizza. Our favorite pie is the Barley's All American.
Benne on Eagle - rich in history, this new restaurant on Eagle Street serves soul food the way it was meant to be. Try their fried Catfish and Waffles as an appetizer, then move on to their Steak and Gravy entree for dinner. They serve hearty soul food here...including sides like grilled cabbage, collard greens, sweet potatoes, and mac and cheese.
Bistro Biltmore Estate - casual restaurant on the grounds of Biltmore that serves fare in a French bistro style. Order the Local Trout or Seared Scallops. Note: your party must purchase tickets to the Biltmore Estate or be annual pass holders to visit.
Blue Dream Curry House - I've never met a curry I didn't like, and Blue Dream knows how to do it up right. Basically, order the curry you're craving and choose from several different proteins if you wish. I go crazy for the Rogan Josh, and dream about Masala with Chicken.
Blackbird- delicious weekend brunch. I'm kinda crazy about their Eggs Benedict with Sunday potatoes. Dinner is a treat if you order the Goat Cheese Corn Pie or Beef Tenderloin Trio. Ask for a window seat with a cool view of downtown's eclectic foot traffic.
Bomba - the first of three restaurants by Hector Diaz who tosses the flavor in the Asheville area. Bomba shares its Latin influences with customers visiting Pack Square for a cup of amazing coffee, or a lovely handmade pastry. Check out their famous Bomba Roll for breakfast or their Chicken al Carbon for dinner.
12 Bones Smokehouse - authentic and outrageous Western NC BBQ. In my opinion, it's the real deal. Their sides are the best in town, hands down. Order the Corn Pudding and Collard Greens to go with your barbecue or ribs. Their most requested sauce is made from blueberries. No kidding.
Bouchon - eating here may be addictive and cause you to whisper French nothings to your loved one. Take a chance and order something you've never heard of before. Or take my word for it and get the Paris-Born Redneck Mussels (Moules Frites) with a side of Famous French Fries and a Roasted Garlic Bulb. Make sure your loved one eats the garlic bulb too.
Bull and Beggar - gorgeous restaurant in the heart of the River Arts District. You may have to jump off a bridge to find it, but eventually you'll get there. By all means, make a reservation or you'll have a long wait. The oysters are delicious, but the $10 Double Cheeseburger during Monday Happy Hour is insane. Caramelized onions on a Happy Hour burger? Stellar. They have a nice selection of bourbons too.
Buxton Hall Barbecue- two James Beard nominees created this upscale BBQ joint that smokes whole hogs in the Eastern NC style. Go there early and hang out next door at Catawba Brewing until your name comes up. Once seated, check out the name of the pig you're eating on the back wall. Someone at your table needs to order the Fried Chicken Sandwich and prepare to go into a food coma shortly afterwards. This place is killer.
C is for Colorful
Cantina - this place has over 50 tequilas and Tequila Tuesday is coming up any day now. Add that to their excellent tacos, fajitas and quesadillas, and what more could you want? Order the Stuffed Avocado. All the locals agree.
Carmel's Kitchen & Bar - casual plates with an awesome outdoor patio. You'll feel like you're in Europe if you choose outdoor seating. They serve a nice selection of sandwiches, grilled pizza and salads all day long. Try their Breakfast Poutine on the brunch menu, or their Southern Benny which has pulled pork, collard greens, and smoked tomato hollandaise. Heavens to Betsy!
Chai Pani - this restaurant describes their Indian cuisine as "mindblasting." Locals agree their brightly flavored Indian street snacks are as good as it gets. Start with their Bhel Puri and move to the Aloo Tiki Chaat. If you're in the mood for an amazing meal, order the Butter Chicken Thali and eat your heart out. Chai Pani doesn't take reservations, so get there early 'cause it's a popular downtown spot.
Chestnut - one of the most popular restaurants in Asheville with great food and even better cocktails. Carbon Waffles are on the menu for brunch. At dinner try their English Beet Salad and Duck Wellington. Order a carafe of Mimosas and sit in the window watching Asheville walk by.
Chiesa - located in the hip Montford community, Chiesa is an Italian restaurant to love in the Asheville area. If you're looking for homemade pasta with a choice of six different sauces, this is your place. Actually, if you're looking for anything Italian, just go here! Try their Beet Salad, Spinach Ravioli, and Eggplant Parmesan. Like they say, it's food for the soul!
City Bakery - a destination in itself! We love this hip little bakery on the cool side of town. Their artisan breads and pastries are to die for. Many of Asheville's restaurants use their breads and rolls for sandwiches on their menus. The Avocado Toast is scrumptious.
Copper Crown - east Asheville neighborhood Bistro with New Orleans influences. Copper Crown consistently has high ratings amongst it's patrons. On my first visit, the customer service was superb. So was the food. Order a few small plates like Risotto or Gnocchi, then graduate to their North Carolina Trout entree. You won't be disappointed.
Corner Kitchen - the sister restaurant to Chestnut, this lovely cafe' has some of the most delicious food in the city. Be sure to make reservations and ask where Michelle and Barack Obama sat when they ate there. If you go for brunch, order their Biscuits and Gravy with a side of Stone-Ground Grits. They do it up right.
Cucina 24- there are Italian restaurants, and then there's Cucina 24. This is our son and daughter-in-law's favorite eatery. If you go, splurge for the Tasting Menu and their James Beard Nominated Chef will serve a variety of his most authentic creations. Perfect spot for anniversaries or special occasions.
Curate - award winning Spanish tapas created by a Master Chef. Katie Button has made a name for herself amongst Asheville restaurants and it's well deserved. Curate means 'cure yourself' in Spanish and that's exactly what you'll do in this space. It's not just a restaurant, it's an experience. Start with any of the small plates on their menu and don't forget to order a pitcher of Sangria Rojo, or share Parron with the table.
E is for Eclectic
Early Girl Eatery - southern comfort food made from scratch. If you're craving farm to table, this is your place. Early Girl serves breakfast all day and it's the bomb-diggity. They have lots of vegan, vegetarian and gluten--free options. Try their Vegetarian Herb Cream Gravy on a homemade biscuit. Or, splurge with their Fried Green Tomato Napoleon which is one of my favorite dishes. Lovely view of Pritchard Park below the restaurant.
East Village Grille - a staple on the East side for over 20 years, EVG is owned by Nicholas Papanastasiou, who has a passion for serving the perfect meal. The Grille is known for its Tiger Wings, Reuben Sandwich and Chicken Gyro dinner.
Edison Omni Grove Park Inn - a lounge with breathtaking views of the Blue Ridge mountains and surrounding towns. Their menu features starters such as Chicken Lollipops and larger plates like a Wild Mushroom Tart or Shrimp and Grits. It's a nice location to relax with friends while watching the big game.
F is for Funky
French Broad Chocolate Lounge - very popular dessert spot with tourists. You gotta try their Salted Caramel Liquid Truffle. Don't leave until you do. I'm not kidding...it's over the top! Their chocolate cake is also sinful. We always get a few truffles to go, but they never make it very far. Go early in the day to avoid the lines.
G is for Groovy
Gourmet Chip Company - who knew there was an entire place totally devoted to potato chips? Not just any potato chips mind you, but gourmet flavored spuds spiced to perfection. I can't even tell you how many flavors there are, but you should definitely try the Smoked Hops & White Cheddar or Southern BBQ. Stick around and order a sandwich 'cause those rock too.
Green Tea Sushi - favorite sushi restaurant on the west side of town. Green Tea has authentic Japanese decor and delicious sushi. Lunch is a great time to visit because they have a Maki Roll Special with soup or salad. As far as special rolls go, my favorite is the Spicy Tuna Wild Dragon with avocado. They're also known for their Asheville Roll with salmon tempura and cream cheese. Gotta go!
H is for Haven
Hemingway's Cuba - the place we take out-of-town guests to see the sunset over Pisgah mountain. Grab one of their famous daquiris and gather 'round the firepit on their rooftop terrace. The view is incredible, and the Cuban food is hearty. Try their Cuban Sandwich, but order the Seafood Paella if you really want to splurge. They also have some of the best french fries in the city.
I is for Innovative
Isa's Bistro - located in a prime spot on the corner of Battery Park and Haywood Street, Isa's Bistro is a beautiful restaurant, both inside and out. On a recent visit, we tried the Brussels Sprouts with Blue Cheese, Crispy Mushrooms, Sweet Potato Cavatelli, and Cedar Salmon. Each dish was extraordinary, especially the brussels and salmon. Our waiter was knowledgeable and helped us order the perfect cocktail, the El Hombre, which took dinner to the next level.
Ivory Road Cafe - travel south to an old cottage that has been transformed into a lovely cafe. Once you taste Jill Wasilewski's Tomato Pie or Corn Puddin Crabcakes, you'll never recover. Jill is cooking up a storm every day to bring you the best in pastries, sandwiches and southern creations. Ask about Afternoon Tea on the weekends or renting space for your next event. She'll take good care of you.
J is for Joyful
Jerusalem Garden Cafe' - an Asheville landmark, this Mediterranean restaurant is a must visit...especially on Friday and Saturday nights when they feature Belly Dancing. You get a lot for a little here, and the food is unforgettable. If you go for lunch, order the Vegetarian Platter for $10 which includes Hummus, Babaganoush, Falafel, Stuffed Grape Leaves, Tahini Salad, Tabouleh & Pita Bread. Just saying.
L is for Local
Laughing Seed Cafe - if you're a vegetarian, and even if you're not, don't miss this inventive cafe' that describes itself as Vegetarian with an International Flair. Every dish is a work of art. Even their patio is artistic and one of the nicest outdoor spaces in downtown Asheville. The Spinach Pesto Manicotti is art on a plate!
Limones - inventive Mexican cuisine with a large variety of delicious margaritas. Reservations are necessary since this is one of Asheville's coveted hoteaspoonots. The Lobster Nachos are a must, as well as their Bacon Crusted Scallops. Wash it all down with a Margarita Caliente. You really can't go wrong with anything on the menu.
Little Bee Thai - as authentic as it gets. Every dish is made from scratch and known as one of the best Thai restaurants in Asheville. The menu changes from day to day, but if you're lucky enough to order the Pad Thai, start there. Other specialities include Beer Battered Halibut Green Curry and Pad Basil with Shrimp and Scallops.
Lobster Trap - if you're looking for the freshest seafood in town, (flown in from Maine every day), this is where you'll find it. Try the Wicked Good Maine Lobster plate with corn and new potatoes. Or, if you're in the mood to celebrate, order the Triple Seafood Tower which is a mind-blowing tier of King Crab legs, lobster, shrimp, clams, crab and oysters.
Loretta's Cafe - downtown staple offering affordable sandwiches and salads for the lunch crowd. If you dream up a sandwich, it's probably already on their menu. Check out their Big Bad Wolf and Fish on Fire. Or, stick with the classic Tuna or Egg Salad if you're feeling traditional.
M is for Melting-Pot
Mamacitas - this little Mexican Cafe' is crazy-good and a local hangout at all hours of the day. They're open from 8 am to 10 pm, serving 3 meals in a counter-line format. Stop in, order your favorite entree, then request whatever you like from the topping bar. It's local, fresh, and delicious. I'm in love with their Avocado Bacon-dilla and Baja Fish Taco.
Market Place - lovely restaurant on historic Wall Street. The Market Place features farm-to-table cuisine with an elegant twist. My favorite entree is their Roasted Mushroom & Goat Cheese Cannelloni. For brunch, try the Banana Bread French Toast with mascarpone and bourbon macerated raspberries. You'll be back.
Manicomio - happening little pizza & sandwich cafe' that is new on the Asheville scene. Their patio is the perfect spot to chill with a New York style pizza on the table. Manicomio's recently received a Stoobie Award for Pizza of the Year featuring their Smoked Artichoke Heart & Fresh Tomato pie.
Mayfel's - Louisiana inspired cuisine overlooking Pritchard Park. This fun cafe' is known for bringing the Bayou to the Blue Ridge with tasty entrees like their Cajun Fried Pork Biscuit, Crawfish Po Boy, or Grilled Swordfish. They're closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays so plan accordingly.
Mela - Indian restaurant that focuses on clean food that's hormone-free and handmade. The meal you experience at Mela will be one to remember. It's been voted the best Place to Eat in Asheville for Indian Food on numerous occasions. Favorites include their Tandoori Chicken and Kerala Fish Curry.
Mellow Mushroom - there are pizza spots all over town, but there's nothing quite like Mellow Mushroom. They have toppings no one has even thought of yet. For a cosmic experience, go with the Holy Shitake Pie. I've never had anything like it and can't get it outta my mind. The eclectic decor and groovy front porch will take you back to the 60's.
Modesto - enjoy Italian dishes such as Fig & Prosciutto Pizza and Eggplant Parmesan Calzone from a wood-fired oven imported from Italy. Modesto has an outdoor patio on Page Avenue in the Grove Arcade. Dining here will make you feel like you're in a European cafe' with food to match!
Moe's Barbecue - favorite BBQ restaurant for a real taste of the south. Their Grilled Wings are some of the best in Asheville. Try a BBQ plate with pulled pork and 2 sides like Mac & Cheese and Baked Beans. Don't forget the Alabama Sauce that goes great with those wings. And the cornbread? It's more like cake, which is fine by me.
O is for Off-beat
Oyster House Brewing Pub – local seafood pub with stellar food (their oysters rock) & potent oyster beer. It’s our favorite ‘Cheers’ neighborhood spot…the place to go where everybody knows your name. Try their Supermoon Stout, a high gravity beer brewed with oyster shells and hints of cocoa and coffee. But, don’t leave without ordering the best burger in town!
P is for Plentiful
Pack's Tavern - laid-back pub conveniently located beside Pack Square. This rustic tavern also packs a punch with really good food. Order their Ultimate Grilled Cheese with a side of Sweet Potato Fries and you'll be set for the night. One of the best spots in Asheville to catch a fun band and dance the night away!
Papas and Beer - Mexican eatery in the California style, Papas and Beer is often busy during prime time, so come prepared for a little wait. They offer an abundance of Mexican dishes, but our favorites include the Steak Fajita Salad and #1 Combo Plate with an Enchilada and Taco. If you like margaritas, this place will make you all warm and fuzzy.
Pisgah Inn - dine at the top of the Blue Ridge Mountains with panoramic mountain views and food to match. Pisgah Inn is open seasonally from April through October and operates on a first come-first served basis. The view on the way to the top is worth every curve and tunnel. When you get there, order the Walnut Crusted Fresh Mountain Trout with Blueberry Butter. Take my word for it.
Plant - totally Vegan restaurant with a focus on choosing ingredients from the earth. Their menu is small and no prep cooks are on staff. Everything is created daily and just hours before dinner service to enhance your dining experience. Try the Lasagna Cruda and you'll be amazed.
Posana Cafe - it's rare to find a totally gluten free restaurant, but Posana creates delicious dishes that will tickle your fancy. Located in a prime downtown location across from Pack Square, Posana serves a lovely brunch Quiche on weekends that will melt in your mouth. Dinner boasts entrees such as Pan Roasted Rack of Lamb and NC Striped Bass. Sit outside in warmer weather if you can snag a table.
R is for Rad
Red Ginger Dimsum - enjoy Chinese dishes of savory dumplings containing various fillings. They have the popular Bento Box on the lunch menu which includes a vegetable spring roll, pork dumpling, California roll, seaweed salad, white rice and your choice of several entrees for less than $10.
Rhubarb - creates world class food with local ingredients. My favorite is their Sunday Brunch. Try the funky Toad in the Hole and you'll love their Sweet Potato Bacon French Toast. The dinner menu is second to none as Chef John Fleer has been a finalist 5 times for the James Beard Best Chef in the Southeast Award.
Red Stag Grill - where hunting lodge meets fine cuisine. For special occasions, the Red Stag is one of the most romantic spots in town. Dark red decor and private booths make this an elegant choice to enjoy Lamb Shank, Texas Antelope, or Elk Rack Chops.
Rocky’s Hot Chicken Shack – spicy fried chicken with yummy sides. I do believe they have the best Mac & Cheese in town. And their Corn Pudding rocks the Casbah (isn’t that a song?) It’s definitely our favorite hang out for all things southern. Try their Chef Salad and prepare to be dazzled.
Rosetta's Kitchen & Buchi Bar - on the edge of downtown sits a little cafe' that's been around since 2002, and for good reason. Their vegetarian cuisine is derived from whole foods with a focus on local sources. They also offer Buchi Kombucha on draft and stay open until the wee hours of the morning for anyone who wants to order their Budda Bowl or Smoky Tofu Wrap.
S is for Sassy
Salsa's Caribbean Cafe - don't leave town without trying the food at this tiny cafe'. They're known for their Mexican-Caribbean bowls and Pom-Pom-Pom which is out-of-this-world good. Salsa's lives up to its name with at least 9 fresh salsas on the menu. Try the pineapple or strawberry. The tacos, quesadillas and burritos are some of the best you'll ever taste.
Salvage Station - Asheville’s coolest riverfront restaurant, full bar, and concert space. They serve Southern-inspired smoked meats and sandwiches to large crowds gathering on the river to listen to music or hang out with friends. This place is huge...I'm talking ginormous...and they stay open really late. Order up their Im'Peached Steak Burger topped with sweet Georgia peach BBQ pork, applewood bacon, garlic aioli, monterrey jack cheese, and fried onion rings. Yeppers.
Smoky Park Supper Club - mellow little spot to watch the tubers floating down the river in the summer. Meet for dinner nightly (except Mondays), and catch a delicious brunch on Sunday. This place is actually made from shipping containers that were brought in on an 18-Wheeler. It's a fun location to snag a drink on the deck and gaze up at the Smoky Park (Bowen) Bridge which towers over the restaurant.
Stone Bowl Korean - on the south side of town. The drive is worth the joy you'll receive when you eat there. Try one of their StoneBowls, which is rice mixed with veggies, then topped with protein and an egg served in a warm stone bowl. It's an old Korean traditional dish which has been served for over 100 years.
Stoney Knob - drive a little north to find one of the most innovative Greek restaurants in the city. I've had just about everything on the menu, but my favorites are still the Chicken Piccata and Big Fat Greek Plate with shish- kabobs, spanakopita, falafel, greek salad, pita bread and tzatziki. It's epic!
Stone Ridge Tavern- over on the west side near the Outlet Mall, you'll find one of the few places in town where you can still order a baked potato and a salad. They have a large selection of fresh seafood including some of the best Mountain Trout around. Try it blackened and add grilled shrimp for a real treat. We're also fans of their Baby Back Ribs and Filet Mignon which is consistently tender.
Storm Rhum Bar & Bistro - beautiful restaurant with cutting edge food located behind the Orange Peel. We've been there several times for special occasions. The Seared Black Grouper is delicious, but the rum drinks are even better.
Strada Italiano - downtown Italian eatery with amazing grilled entrees, pasta, pizza and yummy sides. I'm a big fan of their Grilled Salmon Gremolata. Order the Risotto and Sautéed Broccollini to share. Get a Fig and Goat Cheese Pizza to go.
Sunset Terrace Omni Grove Park Inn - visit this restaurant when you're in Asheville just so you can see the sunset while you eat dinner. It's one of the few locations in town with sweeping views. It's expensive, so be sure to check out the menu before you go. We've enjoyed Mother's Day on the terrace as well as Easter Brunch. Order the Center Cut Filet Mignon or Roasted Petite Chicken.
Sunshine Sammies - located at the beginning of the South Slope on Lexington Avenue, this adorable pastry and ice cream shoppe will satisfy every craving. Their 'sammies' are actually cookies with ice cream in the middle. You know...like we had growing up. Only better...and bigger...and Omgosh. I mean, they have Chicken & Waffle ice cream. No kidding!
T is for Tourist
Tupelo Honey Cafe - southern soul food the way Elvis would have wanted. Wait. Has Elvis left the building? You gotta get the Shoo Mercy Sweet Potato Pancakes with buttermilk fried chicken. Be sure to get there early 'cause there's always a line at their downtown location.
Twisted Laurel - unique Mediterranean food featuring music and dancing on weekends. It's a fun place to take a big crowd or host a birthday party with friends. They have a lovely Turmeric Roasted Chicken at dinner and traditional Greek Platters for lunch.
U is for Unforgettable
Underground Cafe' with DoughP Donuts - this little underground gem was recently awarded the Stoobie Award for Best Sandwich of the Year featuring Ma! Meatloaf. It's owned and operated by Chef Jay who was born and raised in Asheville. You can't get more local than that. His yeast donuts are DoughP y'all. My favorite is the Dill Pickle. Yep, it's quirky...yet awesomely yum. Go check it out!
Urban Orchard – who knew this snazzy little cider house had some of the best sandwiches in Asheville? Go for their Turkey Reuben or Grilled Caprese. Their salads are great too. Wednesday is wiener day! Get a hot dog for a crazy price!
V is for Vibes
Vinnie's Italian - neighborhood Italian restaurant that will make you think twice about eating Italian food anywhere else. It consistently receives 5* reviews from locals and visitors alike. There's nothing on the menu you won't enjoy. Vinnie's creates all the classic dishes, but they do it with flair. Try the Chicken Marsala, Veal Saltimbocca, and their Famous Garlic Knots. Make a point to visit on Wednesdays 'cause it's Homemade Gnocchi Night.
Vivian - American food with a French slant. This new restaurant in the River Arts District is being touted as one of the best in the city and it just opened. I can't get past their French Onion Soup Dip or the Smoked Oysters on the small plates menu. The Truffle Flight is also an amazing dessert. Brunch is just as delightful as dinner. Try the Croque Madame with a Kentucky Cappuccino. Cheers!
W is for Wow
Wasabi - there are several sushi restaurants in Asheville, but Wasabi is the most popular due to its great location in the heart of downtown. On a recent visit, we enjoyed their Wild Mushroom Cheese Roll and Godzilla Roll with tempura spicy tuna and spicy mayo. Oh my.
White Duck Tacos - a River Arts & downtown favorite. White Duck was one of the first taco stands to pop up in the Asheville area and nobody does it better. I love their chalkboard where all the magic happens. Feeling lucky? Order the Bangkok Shrimp taco and another one of your choice. Make sure you get a Margarita on the side. Find a seat outside and enjoy.
White Lab Kitchen & Tap - go there if you're a beer enthusiast and love to talk about fermentation and pure liquid yeast. Or, just stop by for a pizza that is wood-fired and delicious. They've got wings and burgers too. And yeah, lots of fermentation.
Z is for Zesty
Zambra - romantic date spot featuring tapas and paella. The name Zambra means 'gypsy dance of celebration' and you'll see their concept come alive when you walk through the door. The vivid colors and Mediterranean decor transports you to another destination. Take a large group of friends and pass the tapas 'round the table, or snuggle with your loved one in a romantic corner. Be sure to order the Seared Scallops.
Check out More Asheville Fun!
Where to Eat
- Where Locals Eat in Asheville
- 85 Top Asheville Restaurants
- Cheap Eats under $10 in Asheville
- Best West Asheville Restaurants
Things to Do
- Asheville Breweries & Lounges
- 12 Rooftop Views in Asheville
- Where to Relax in Asheville
- Asheville's Best Views
- Local Guide to Biltmore at Christmas
- Top Things to Do in Asheville
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