Our Favorite Asheville Eats

Our staff talk about some of their favorite restaurants, bars, breweries and sweet treats in Asheville, North Carolina.

By: Jacquelyn McGilvray
Related To:
Beautiful Downtown Asheville

Beautiful Downtown Asheville

Beautiful downtown Asheville, a North Carolina town that blends big city shopping and art with back-to-nature and garden attractions. Image courtesy of ExploreAsheville.com

Photo by: Image courtesy of ExploreAsheville.com.

Image courtesy of ExploreAsheville.com.

úOur TravelChannel.com offices are located just a couple of hours drive from Asheville, so many of us are frequent visitors to Western North Carolina’s biggest and hippest city. The vibrant arts scene, gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains and Biltmore Mansion are big attractions to the area, but the phenomenal choice of dining establishments in this small city also make it worth a visit. If you haven’t been to Asheville, put it on your list and take note of these cool places to eat and drink.

Photo by: Bren Photography ©Asheville Pizza & Brewing Company

Bren Photography, Asheville Pizza & Brewing Company

Asheville Pizza & Brewing Company: The building is an old movie theater that’s been adapted for brewing and eating, so you can eat the handmade pizza and drink craft beer while watching a movie. The staff is excellent – while we waited for our pizza, they gave us a tour of the old reel room and showed us how to work the reel! – Chelsea, Assistant Editor

Cheap movies every night, brewing their own beer, and amazing food!  – Sarah, Director Business and Legal Affairs

©The Corner Kitchen

The Corner Kitchen

The Corner Kitchen: I agree with the Obamas that the unique menu of the Corner Kitchen is not to be missed. It’s located in colorful Biltmore Village. – Julia, Director Search Marketing

Photo by: Stephan Pruitt Photography ©Urban Orchard Brewery

Stephan Pruitt Photography, Urban Orchard Brewery

Urban Orchard Cider Company: In the artsy/boho/historic neighborhood of West Asheville (i.e., West Asheville is roughly analogous to East Nashville, and well worth a side trip). Billed as “one of only a handful of True Cider Bars in the nation”, they serve up craft ciders in a fascinating range of flavors – dry, sweet or sour, and brewed or infused with the likes of peach, lemongrass, blueberry, ginger and habanero. If you’re intimidated by the range choices, try a flight. And take heed that hard cider can be pretty high-gravity, so check the ABV content. – David, Editor

Photo by: Carrie Turner ©Early Girl Eatery

Carrie Turner, Early Girl Eatery

Early Girl Eatery: This place has been a downtown staple for years, maybe because they serve breakfast all day.  Great place to go with a mixed group because they’re both vegetarian- and carnivore-friendly. – Jackie, Editor

Ditto on Early Girl Eatery. The place for hipster breakfasting in Asheville. – David, Editor

Rocky's Hot Chicken Shack: It may be a little lower on an Asheville foodie’s list, but the fried chicken and Southern soul sides combined with “funky industrial” decor rivals any establishment from the Nashville hot chicken scene. Tread carefully, as even the entry-level “mild” spice will have you beading sweat. Fortunately, nine local breweries are well represented here to cool your palate.  –  Watson, New Media Programming Manager

Photo by: Evan Sung ©Curate

Evan Sung, Curate

Cúrate: This Spanish tapas restaurant near downtown’s Pack Square sources their menu either from Spain or locally. Particular kudos go to the delicious cured meat selection and the wine list, both presenting choices directly from Spain. – Julia, Director Search Marketing

I especially second Cúrate, that place is incredible. (You should get the grilled octopus, it’s insane.) – Liz, Special Projects Senior Editor

Sunny Point Cafe: This restaurant sources a lot of its ingredients from the adjacent Sunny Point Garden. I had the organic carrot hotcakes for breakfast, and they were delicious. It gets pretty busy on weekend mornings, but there’s plenty of shaded seating and you can order a house-made soda while you wait. – Shannon, Managing Editor Programming

Biscuit Head: The mushroom medley gravy is so good it’s almost psychedelic.  The owners are super nice too. We were at the Biltmore Avenue location just before they were closing for the day, and they gave my always-hungry teenage boys a bunch of their leftover biscuits. – Jackie, Editor

Agreed on Biscuit Head! Goodness gracious I could drink their mocha latte every single day for the rest of my life. – Chelsea, Assistant Editor

HomeGrown is, in my opinion, “new Southern” done right. I would be a regular here if I lived in Asheville. Their meals are priced fairly, substantial and made from local ingredients. It tasted like food I make at home, but better, which I loved. The trout sells out really fast, so try to get there before dinner if you’re craving fresh North Carolina fish. A must-visit, for sure. I highly recommend the sautéed sesame greens and blackened okra as sides. You can’t go wrong with anything you order here. – Molly, Assistant Editor

Wicked Weed Pub, Asheville, North Carolina

Wicked Weed Pub, Asheville, North Carolina

Asheville has quickly evolved into an astonishing trendsetter for artisanal beverages and food with an estimated 25 breweries which locals claim is more per capita than any U.S. city. High on the buzz list is Wicked Weed Brewery with two locations (the original downtown Brewpub/Bottle Shop and the Funkatorium which specializes in tart farmhouse and barrel aged sour beers like the Black Angel Cherry Sour).

Photo by: courtesy ExploreAsheville.com

courtesy ExploreAsheville.com

Wicked Weed Brewery has unbelievably good food. I was shocked at how delicious it was. We will go back every single time – plus the sour beers make the food taste even better. It’s a long wait most nights, so don’t hesitate to find a spot at the bar. – Chelsea, Assistant Editor

I agree with Chelsea, Wicked Weed is the best spot for unique beers and delicious, creative food. – Molly, Assistant Editor

Photo by: Vortex Doughnuts

Vortex Doughnuts

Vortex Doughnuts: Delicious homemade doughnuts and a coffee shop. They have a daily doughnut/coffee pairing. – Liz, Special Projects Senior Editor

For breakfast, Green Sage Cafe is THE spot if you want a filling, healthy, feel-good meal. It offers tons of gluten-sensitive and vegan options. Their juices and smoothies are incredible and so fresh. I went to the one downtown during prime breakfast hours and there was a significant line out the door (typical of Asheville on Sunday mornings). If you want to skip the crowd, there are two other locations just outside of the city center. – Molly, Assistant Editor

Photo by: Catherine-Wityk ©Mela

Catherine-Wityk, Mela

Mela: Authentic Indian cuisine served in a suitably exotic setting. If you like your Indian food on the fiery side, try the shrimp or lamb vindaloo. You have been warned. On Lexington Avenue, in the heart of downtown. – David, Editor

©Tulepo Honey

Tulepo Honey

Tupelo Honey Cafe: Upscale takes on Southern cuisine is now all the thing, but it wasn’t always so. Tupelo Honey - which now has locations in cities throughout the South but originated and is based in Asheville – was founded in 2000 and was at the trend’s leading edge. They’re known for their scratch-made biscuits and sides like fried green tomatoes and baked mac-and-cheese. Recommended entrees: Low Country Blackened Catfish or their signature Tupelo Shrimp and Grits. Some menu items offered in a “Shoo Mercy!” variant, which usually means topped with pork belly or craft bacon or a runny egg or… you get the idea. The original is located on College St. at Patton, one of the cooler intersections in downtown Asheville. – David, Editor

Ambrozia: Just discovered this place last year. The menu changes almost nightly and I’ve been very impressed every time I’ve gone. – Sarah, Director Business and Legal Affairs

Sierra Nevada has the most beautiful brewery I’ve ever seen. Definitely worth the 30-minute drive outside of downtown Asheville. Absolutely wonderful food, atmosphere, beer and scenery. There is an outdoor amphitheater, sit-down dining, second floor deck, edible garden and game room upstairs. The Sierra Nevada campus is like the Biltmore of breweries.  – Molly, Assistant Editor   

Ditto what Molly said about the brewery! – Sarah, Director Business and Legal Affairs

©White Duck Taco Shop

White Duck Taco Shop

White Duck Taco Shop: It's in River Arts district. Get the pork belly tacos. You know you want to. – Liz, Special Projects Senior Editor

Bull and Beggar: Also in River Arts district. Good for meat lovers. Next door to Wedge Brewing company and some art galleries, too!  – Liz, Special Projects Senior Editor

Mayfel's: Located pretty much right next door to Tupelo Honey, Mayfel’s offers New Orleans/Cajun-inspired fare in a casual setting. Gumbos, Etouffée, muffulettas, crab cakes and some mean po-boy sandwiches. Nice brunch menu as well. – David, Editor

There’s a London-style double-decker bus called Double D's that sells ah-mazing coffee. Sure, it’s kitschy and kind of touristy, but their coffee beverages are quite good. – Molly, Assistant Editor

Yes to the double-decker bus – milkshakes, ice cream, coffee. A local favorite for ages. – Sarah, Director Business and Legal Affairs

©Salsas

Salsas

Salsas: They elevate their Mexican-inspired menu above the norm with fresh and usual ingredients. They also make a mean margarita! – Julia, Director Search Marketing

Zambra: Yummy tapas in a cool space with Spanish and Moorish-inspired accents. – Shannon, Managing Editor Programming

Sunset Terrace at Grove Park Inn: This is where I take people that are in Asheville for the first time. You cannot beat the view, it’s the best there is. The food is also amazing – their lobster salad at lunch is big enough to share. – Sarah, Director Business and Legal Affairs

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