Where to Eat in Asheville
Asheville is well known for its vibrant, diverse culinary scene. It boasts extraordinary restaurants serving everything from down-home southern cooking and BBQ to farm-to-table, locally sourced cuisine to vegetarian and vegan delights. Our restaurant scene goes way beyond ordinary, so when people ask us where to eat in Asheville, we love sharing some of our local favorites.
Now, given the pandemic, in-person dining is limited, and some restaurants are still only offering takeout and delivery. Something else to keep in mind when deciding where to eat in Asheville is that at the time of writing this article, restaurants, breweries, wineries, and taprooms close at 10 p.m. and end alcohol service at 9 p.m. If offered, takeout and delivery services may continue after 10 p.m., and some establishments now offer to-go or delivery alcohol cocktails.
Since in-person dining is limited, waits may be longer, and a restaurant may require reservations. Our recommendation is to call the restaurant before you go. And, go with the flow. The local hospitality community is working hard to keep staff and customer safety front and center, so we can all dine out or get takeout safely and responsibly.
Where to eat in Asheville: Downtown
Asheville’s downtown culinary scene is full of fabulous restaurants that hit the spot from quick bites to decadent sit-down dining. Some of our favorites include:
- White Duck Taco Shop: These yummy tacos aren’t just for Tuesdays. The menu includes a global take on ingredients served between two piping hot corn tortillas. Grab some chips and a salsa trio, and if a margarita is on your mind, their house made sour mix makes for a refreshing margi.
- Curaté: Chef and co-owner Katie Button trained under José Andrés and Jean-Georges and Adrià at El Bulli. She’s earned her culinary chops, and this restaurant is a spectacular tribute to Spanish tapas, specialty cocktails and a thoughtful wine list.
- Cucina 24: Farm-to-table Italian is showcased in this delightful spot that includes local ingredients, a daily menu and family style dining. Creative antipasti, pasta, pizza, main courses, and sweet treats are all on the menu.
- Chai Pani: Indian street food with a hint (hint?) of spice and authenticity is front and center at this small downtown restaurant.
- Baba Nahm: This grab-and-go middle eastern take-out joint hit the downtown scene with a falafel pita sandwich that vegetarians sing. Add a side of spicy fries with harrisa sauce, and your belly will be happy all day.
- Red Ginger: Known for its dim sum, patrons can graze through flavortown with a menu of Chinese dim sum staples and modern takes on traditional entrees.
- Little Bee Thai: Locals will tell you they serve the best Pad Thai in Asheville. The menu changes daily, and it includes starters, curries, noodles and a great selection of local beer.
- Buxton Hall BBQ: True North Carolina BBQ and all the sides done well, every time. It’s busy, vibrant and always buzzing with patrons.
- City Bakery: Fresh breads, bagels, biscuits, sandwiches and pastries – oh the pastries – are severed up all morning and throughout the afternoon. Swing by, grab breakfast and a coffee and set off on your AVL adventure.
Where to eat in Asheville: East Asheville
Quiet neighborhoods on the east side of town are home to a few fantastic spots that take comfort food to another level.
- Rendezvous: Spun off from its sister restaurant downtown, this French comfort food joint embraces local ingredients and Lyonaise cookery and French staples. If you’re dining in, get the frites. Trust us.
- Copper Crown: Modern takes on southern comfort food, great burgers and gastropub treats makes this restaurant a bright spot along the Tunnel Road corridor.
- Creekside Taphouse: Located in the Haw Creek neighborhood, it’s a local favorite that features great food, local brews and a huge outside area that includes a volleyball court and a playground. Dogs are welcomed, too.
- Filo Pastries and Coffee: Enjoy an outstanding selection of fresh breads, pastries, quiches and hand-made chocolates, as well as a variety of coffees and teas. Their chocolate cake is a local favorite, as well as their classic Greek treats.
Where to Eat in Asheville: North Asheville
North Asheville is the area of town north of the I-240 bridge that encompasses several historic neighborhoods and even reaches all the up to Weaverville.
- Plant: Trust us on this one. This vegan restaurant will impress. You’ll never miss dairy after one taste of their cashew ricotta. And remember to order the ice cream for dessert. Even if you’re stuffed, it’s not to be missed.
- Vinnie’s: A long-time, well-loved Italian spot that’s always hopping. Eating here is much like eating at your Italian grandmother’s table on a Sunday. Classic Italian fare, from Sunday gravy to pizza, lasagna to pasta and ever-changing house specials, is served family style and as individual entrees.
- Asheville Pizza and Brewing: Inventive pizza, sandwiches and burgers with a movie house theme, APB is an Asheville staple. Oh, and they brew their own beer including long-time local favorites Ninja Porter, Rocket Girl and Perfect Day IPA.
- Avenue M: Elevated, eclectic cuisine and an expansive cocktail and beer menu make this NAVL spot a perfect place to unwind with family and friends. The huge back patio is dog friendly, too.
- Green Sage Café: Serving breakfast all day, cold pressed juices, whole fruit smoothies, plant-based rice bowls, grass-fed beef burgers, the menu crafted with local and organic ingredients also includes vegan and gluten free options.
- Luella’s BBQ: Featuring Eastern Carolina BBQ and a mess of tasty sides, Luella’s is a fun local spot located near UNC Asheville.
- The Hop Ice Cream Shop: Sure, you can make a meal out of ice cream. This local spot is an all-time favorite Asheville spot for a cold, sweet treat. Flavors change daily, and they offer dairy-free and sugar-free options.
Where to Eat in Asheville: West Asheville
West Asheville is a hip, thriving area of town with quirky eateries, dive bars and lots of local flare.
- The Admiral: Do not let the cinder block building fool you. Four-star dining awaits inside. The inventive, creative cuisine adheres to no convention, and in truth, years ago it set the direction for outstanding dining experiences in AVL.
- Foothills Butcher Bar: It’s a combination of a neighborhood butcher shop, delicious casual dining and friendly, local bar. They’re known for their focus on local foods and handmade meats, including smokehouse delights. Some locals will tell you they serve up the best burger in town.
- BimBeriBon: An all-day café, this restaurant serves globally inspired, locally sourced menu that is gluten- and refined sugar-free menu. The menu changes frequently. And yes, the owner and chef really did beat Bobby Flay in a cooking throwdown.
- Gan Shan Station: A sweet little casual, counter service spot that serves East Asian cuisines. Their specialty? Ramen. Freshly made noodles in a heavenly broth.
- Sunny Point Café: A bright restaurant in the heart of WAVL well known for Sunday brunch and fantastic breakfast, lunch and dinner fare. Do not skip the angel biscuit. You’ll thank us.
- Biscuit Head: Serving up classic cathead biscuits with a billion twists. Turn your biscuit into a sandwich and pick from jams and hot sauces to enjoy this southern canvas for any flavor.
- Universal Joint: Affectionately known as the UJ, it’s a neighborhood bar and gastropub that offers up an ever-changing draft beer list, solid cocktails and really good bar food. We might be partial to the Steinbeck burger with tots.
- Jargon: Upscale Americana with a modern, delightful southern twist. It’s creative and artistic, even down to the tables, which were once bowling alley lanes.
- Nine Mile: Jamaican meets Caribbean in Asheville. All the spices and flavors of Jamaica inspire a menu full of generous entrees that can accommodate nearly all dietary preferences. This location, and its original location in Montford, are local hotspots.
Where to eat in Asheville: South
South AVL stretches all the way down to Skyland, maybe even Arden in some circles. And the area boasts some great restaurants well worth the drive. And here’s a tip about dining in South Asheville. A number of restaurants with central locations have opened second locations south of town, and you can usually get in either without reservations or a long line.
- 12 Bones: This joint and its sister restaurant in the River Arts District, put AVL on the map for BBQ and smoked meats. Pick your meat and your sides. Order it as a plate or as a sandwich. Or, just order a plate of veggies.
- Stonebowl: Serving authentic Korean cuisine, from classic soups to noodles to is namesake dish, a rice dish served in a searing hot stone bowl.
- Rocky’s Hot Chicken Shack: Next level hot chicken. People who think Nashville has the market cornered on hot chicken have clearly never melted their face at Rocky’s here in Asheville.
- Tupelo Honey Café: THC opened this location to help alleviate the extremely long waits at the downtown location. Sweet potato pancakes, shrimp and grits and homestyle meatloaf are just a few items that show up regularly on this sweet and savory southern menu.
There are so many more restaurants in Asheville to try than we can list here, so we hope you enjoy this brief round-up of some of our favorites. And please remember to call ahead to ensure you can get in or take out.