Dining & Nightlife
With over 250 independent restaurants, Asheville has earned the respect of food enthusiasts nationwide and its restaurant community is well-known for its ethos of using locally grown, raised, and sourced ingredients.
Whether you venture downtown, to the River Arts District, South Slope, West Asheville, or near Biltmore, there are plenty of fantastic eateries to tempt any palate. From good old southern-style comfort food and exquisite BBQ, to fine dining and hand-made desserts, Asheville has it all.
Showcased here are some of our favorite places to eat in the area, as well as a bit of background for each to help you decide which places fit your dining preferences.
Cúrate – The award-winning restaurant celebrates and serves authentic Spanish cuisine in the form of small plates and tapas, as well as an extensive Spanish wine selection. Reservations are not required, but usually necessary.
Bouchon – Bouchon is billed as “French comfort food” made with fresh local ingredients, as created by its French-born chef. French wines are also on the menu.
Mela – Mela serves Indian food from all regions of that country, using locally sourced fresh, organic ingredients. It’s well-known for a lunchtime buffet that allows diners to sample much of the cuisine on the regular menu.
Mamacita’s Taqueria – A local favorite for fresh Mexican food downtown. It’s locally owned and consistently voted the “Best” of Asheville.
Nine Mile – With three locations, the menu here features pasta and rice dishes inspired by the cuisine of Jamaica.
Strada Italiano – Menu items inspired by the head chef and owner’s family recipes, fresh and made-to-order.
Green Tea Sushi – Fresh sushi with numerous options, as well as hibachi and regular Asian specialties.
Gypsy Queen Cuisine – The home to Eastern Mediterranean food in Asheville, with menu favorites like falafel, hummus, shawarma, and more.
Ghan Shan West – Asian-inspired food with only locally sourced ingredients. Specialties include ramen and small plates.
Addissae – The only Ethiopian restaurant in Asheville features family-style dinners with gluten-friendly injera, and vegan and vegetarian options.
12 Bones Barbecue – Everything at 12 Bones is made from scratch, and the meat is hardwood-smoked. The 2 locations are only open for lunch, so be sure to check the website before going.
Buxton Hall BBQ – The barbecue at Buxton Hall has been named one of “The South’s Best BBQ Joints” by Southern Living magazine, and is often lauded in foodie blogs and national press outlets.
Luella’s Barbecue – Another spot for hand-pulled, scratch-made barbecue, inspired by family recipes.
Plant – All-vegan, multi-cuisine restaurant with fresh and locally sourced, 90 percent organic ingredients.
BimBeriBon – Fresh and local with an emphasis on gluten-free and vegetarian and vegan dishes.
Laughing Seed Cafe – Organic, vegetarian and vegan, local and farm-to-table with an international flair.
Biscuit Head – The biscuits are “as big as your head” and the most local, fresh ingredients are used for southern-inspired breakfasts and lunches.
Sunny Point Cafe – a family owned, independent restaurant serving upscale comfort food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Everything is made from scratch and they take pride in their farm-to-table approach.
Early Girl – with an emphasis on Southern-inspired comfort food and farm-to-table ingredients, Early Girl has been a local favorite for nearly 20 years.
All Day Darling – Although the restaurant’s hours are true to its name, breakfast starts at 7 a.m., and includes traditional fare, as well as a few morning surprises.
Rhubarb – the cuisine at this eatery downtown mixes Appalachian culture with a worldly flair, using local ingredients. The combination has earned the restaurant a place in Southern Living’s list of “100 Best Restaurants in the South”.
Posana – The “Contemporary American” cuisine at this downtown restaurant is sourced from local farms and gardens with an ever-changing menu.
Smoky Park Supper Club – Have you ever eaten in a shipping container? Smoky Park is the largest shipping container restaurant in the country and sits along the French Broad River. Menu items include seafood, pasta, and shareable plates.
The Bull and Beggar – If you crave unique tastes (veal brains or charred octopus, anyone?), this is the restaurant to find it. Lauded by the national and local press.
The Admiral – Often named one of the best restaurants in Asheville, The Admiral’s unassuming exterior hides inventive and creative small plates and entrees.