fried chicken on a plate, Rocky's Chicken Shack, Asheville

Where Locals Eat in Asheville

I’m a native of Asheville, NC, which means I reside in the most popular city on earth (or so it seems to those of us who live here). My home isn’t a sleepy mountain town anymore. Craft beer and river rafts have changed it forever.

I’m one of the few and far between who like the changes. On any given day, I can go on a staycation and enjoy the cool sites and sounds of this fascinating city. I remember running the streets when I was just a kid, and now I’m seeing them all over again in a new way.

If you’re planning to visit, stay away from the following eating establishments, ’cause they’re for Asheville folks only. (Just kidding, we’ll let you in if you can find a place to park!)


West AVL is as laid back and casual as it gets. Anywhere in town is a local hangout, but here’s where we like to chill:

  • Admiral – 5 star dining in a funky dive
  • Biscuit Head – biscuits as big as a cat’s head with a free condiment bar
  • Bonfire – tangy barbecue with fried honey mustard brussels sprouts
  • Foothills Butcher Shop – Carolina burgers and Cuban sandwiches
  • Gan Shan Station – Asian noodle dishes and dumplings
  • Hole Donuts – handcrafted donuts made to order
  • Itto Ramen Bar & Tapas – ramen noodle bowls and inventive tapas
  • Nine Mile – addictive Caribbean cuisine that’s out-of-this-world
  • Oyster House – awesome seafood and beer brewed with oyster shells
  • Pizza Mind – perfect crust and awesome toppings
  • Rocky’s Hot Chicken Shack – killer spicy chicken with the best sides
  • Smoky Park Supper Club – flavorful dinners with a view of the river
  • Standard Pizza – buy it by the slice, order it how you like
  • Sunny Point – best breakfast in town, hands down
  • Taco Billy’s – slinging some of the coolest tacos in a tiny shack
  • Tastee Diner – doing it the way a diner should
  • Universal Joint – hip restaurant with stellar sandwiches & salads
  • Urban Orchard – delicious turkey reuben with cider on tap
  • Walk – Taco Tuesdays and affordable eats all week long
  • Westville Pub – bar food with a pub style atmosphere
  • Zias – tasty Mexican eatery serving margaritas to sip on the porch
  • 12 Bones – BBQ and sides that will make you slap-happy


Downtown has some fancy restaurants we love to visit on special occasions, but we like these casual spots when dining out:

  • Asheville Pizza & Brewing – pizza, beer & a movie
  • Barley’s Tap Room – cranking out pizza, trivia & billiards
  • Ben’s Tuneup – Asian food in an old garage that’s mighty good
  • Brahmari – giant chicken sandwiches and sour beer on the porch
  • Buxton Hall – best BBQ joint on the block doing it up right
  • Chai Pani – Indian food that locals stand in line to eat
  • City Bakery – bread and pastries you have to see to believe
  • Early Girl – southern food from farm to table
  • French Broad Chocolate – order the salted caramel liquid truffle
  • Little Bee Thai – an authentic Thai experience
  • Mamacitas – counter service ordering up Mexican favorites
  • Manicomio’s – New York style pizza with a fabulous patio
  • Over Easy Cafe – yummy breakfast worth the wait
  • Pack’s Tavern – pub food with great entertainment
  • The Underground Cafe’ – stellar sandwiches & quirky donuts
  • The Vault – one of the best burgers in town
  • Wayside Grill – down the hill in Biltmore Village, but worth the drive
  • White Duck Taco – get the Baja Fish taco and a margarita

Get details about listed restaurants by clicking below…

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  1. Melanie Wood

    Great suggestions!! Can’t wait to try out your recipes!! Congratulations on your new venture!! ????

  2. Debi, great suggestions! You are the best. Just sayin’!

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