Where to Eat and Drink in Asheville

Where to eat and drink in Asheville – a definitive guide! 

WHERE TO EAT AND DRINK IN ASHEVILLE

OKAY. This post has been a LONG time coming. Like – I’ve had it saved in my drafts for a year now. Oops.  

In all honesty, if I had a dollar for every time I’ve received a message or text along the lines of “Hey Clara!! Me and ______ are coming to Asheville for a weekend trip and wanted to know the best places to eat and where to go!”, I could probably quit work. I’m not complaining though, because after receiving so many requests over the last two years, I’ve come to greatly appreciate how fortunate I am to live in such a quirky destination town. 

So, after about the 10th request, I finally decided to create a note on my phone that I could effortlessly copy and paste into each new message that streamed in. Efficiency at its finest! Now, I’m taking it one step further and finally transferring the contents of that note into a full-fledged blog post for an even more efficient and comprehensive list.

Without further adieu, I present to you my definitive guide on “Where to Eat and Drink in Asheville”, along with additional links to a couple more lists and recommendations that I think are useful. Below are spots that I’ve either personally visited, or places that I’ve heard rave reviews about that I hope to visit soon. I included additional comments and/or recommendations for some as well!  The whole food scene in Asheville is kinda sorta booming right now, so I’ll come back and edit/update as things change! Seriously, new restaurants open weekly. It’s cray.

Note: places denoted with **** indicate my top six favorite spots, and in parenthesis you’ll find the general area of town where each is located!

BRUNCH:
Biscuit Head**** – I take EVERYONE here. The coconut curry collards are my favorite side (along with the moon fries), and I LOVE the sweet potato chai butter from the jam + jelly bar. I usually opt for the half or full breakfast with scrambled eggs with 1 or 2 sides, but their specialty sandwiches are no joke! Be prepared to wait (potentially in the cold), but rest assured it’s worth it. I prefer the one on Haywood Road – better atmosphere, in my opinion! (West Asheville, Biltmore Ave)
Where to Eat and Drink in Asheville

Sunny Point Cafe – I’ve lived here two years and JUST recently made it here! You’ll hear locals and tourists alike rave about it, with good reason. Like Biscuit Head, there will be a wait. Also like Biscuit Head, it is worth it! I’ve actually only gotten lunch food here, but the omelettes sound amazing, the banana oatmeal pancakes are packed with flavor, and you’re even able to order a coffee or drink while you wait! They’re also open for lunch and dinner! (West Asheville)

Taco Billy**** – My favorite tacos in Asheville, hands down. The tacos are PACKED with food, making them probably the best taco deal in town. My top picks: the Support Group (cumin sweet potatoes, pecan and black bean hummus, roasted pepitas, avocado, spinach, and coconut crema on a plantain tortilla) and the Lunch Lady (shredded chicken bathed in traditional Mexican mole, topped with pickled onions and queso fresco, served on a corn tortilla). Only open until 3! (West Asheville)

Green Sage Cafe – this is a place that I usually take my guests if we are looking for a more relaxed, low key breakfast or brunch without the large crowds. Still super yummy! They’ve got super fresh juices and smoothies as well. 3 different locations. (Downtown, West Asheville, South Asheville)

Over Easy Cafe – located downtown with a quirky vibe in a small space, making it feel a little extra cozy and personal. (Downtown)
Where to Eat and Drink in Asheville

Vortex Doughnuts – Okay disclaimer, I actually don’t like doughnuts at all, but I know I’ll get asked, and this is the only doughnut place I’ve been to. They’ve got seasonal flavors as well as the classics, along with a handful of coffee drinks. (Downtown).
Early Girl Eatery
 (Downtown)
OWL Bakery (West Asheville)
Corner Kitchen (Biltmore Village)
Well Bred (Biltmore Village)
Liberty House Cafe (North Asheville)

LUNCH/CASUAL DINNER
Laughing Seed Cafe**** – This place is vegetarian/vegan, but don’t knock it out just yet – it is a perfect spot downtown for a light and refreshing lunch! I frequent it, and I almost always get the Dragon Bowl (arugula, cauliflower “rice,” seasonal raw veggies, house made purple kraut and kimchee, avocado, and sunflower-beet pâté, topped with pumpkin and sunflower seeds). (Downtown)

Nine Mile**** – Please go here, please!! Easily ranks in my top 4 places. Caribbean inspired cuisine that is packed with flavor – I’ve never gotten a dish I didn’t like. My favorite is the Mayfield Falls (grilled wild caught Mahi Mahi topped with mango jicama mint salsa with sautéed bell peppers, & carrots in a creamy, dairy-free, ginger, coconut sauce. Tossed with linguine & spring onions or with basmati rice.) And bonus!! You can sub in zucchini noodles in place of the usual pasta!! I can stuff my face and leave without feeling like I need to be wheeled out. I prefer the Haywood Road (West Asheville) location. (West Asheville, North Asheville)

Wicked Weed – I always, ALWAYS bring my friends here. The black bean burger with pimento cheese and pickled okra is my standard, but they always have awesome salad options, like below. It’s a good mix of locals and tourists, but a little heavier on the tourists. (Downtown)Where to Eat and Drink in Asheville

Salsa’s **** – Definitely one of my top 4 picks. this little Jamaican-Caribbean spot might appear a little unsuspecting, but the dishes are packed with flavor and the portions are huge! A lot of times I’ll go and split a full meal with someone, or take half to-go for lunch the next day. I mean – LOOK AT THIS BOWL OF FOOD!!??? (Downtown)Where to Eat and Drink in Asheville

 
Rosetta’s Kitchen & Buchi Bar – Kombucha bar & vegan food. I get a flight of locally-brewed kombucha every time I go, and the Tempeh Reuben was surprisingly very good (I subbed in avocado). (Downtown)
Buxton Hall BBQ – voted 9th best new restaurant in America by Bon Appetit, I’ve been twice and loved it both times. Truly some of the best BBQ I’ve ever had, and the sides are just as noteworthy as the BBQ. Crispy brussels, tangy and spicy collards, and even a kale/apple/avocado salad! Not to mention the atmosphere – it almost feels like you’ve been transported somewhere completely different. (Downtown)
Bonfire BBQ – I’d argue their BBQ is just as good, but the atmosphere and setting are a little more relaxed/local. (West Asheville)
Blue Dream Curry House – loved this place for a good ol authentic curry dish! Great price, great flavor. Not super big on the atmosphere, but you win some, you lose some. (Downtown)
Pizzamind – a relatively new pizza place in West Asheville. I’m not one to crave pizza, but every time I pass it during my runs, I’m tempted to detour and grab a pizza for the way home. It always smells amazing, and the pizza truly is great (and they’ve got gluten-free crust!). (West Asheville)
White Duck Taco Shop – Tacos! White duck has nailed down some great flavor combinations. My favorites are the fish, duck, and jerk chicken tacos. I prefer the River Arts District location to the one downtown. (West Asheville, South Asheville, Downtown) 
Lexington Avenue Brewery (LAB) – standard bar food, but for some reason I am drawn to LAB over any other. I love the covered outdoor seating area for some people-watching and burger-eating downtown. (Downtown)
WALK – a pretty cool spot in West Asheville for a relaxed lunch or dinner. Not a place I visit often, but I love the open garage doors in warmer months. (West Asheville)
Creperie Bouchon – Sit on the patio if the weather is good, and you’ll automatically feel like you are transported to a French bistro. Great crepes, and great atmosphere downtown. (Downtown)
Cantina – one of the first places that I went to when I moved to the area. Located in Biltmore Village, we sat on the patio. I loved the grilled romaine salad! (Biltmore Village)
Taco Temple – such a cute little restaurant situated just a bit above downtown with both patio and indoor seating. I’ve had a few of the tacos and the salad, and loved both! (North Asheville)
Tod’s Tasties (North Asheville)

FANCIER DINNER SPOTS: 
Limones**** – If you know you’ll be making a trip to Asheville, go ahead and book a reservation to Limones, months in advance. Thank me later. I just went here for the first time a little over a month ago, and it was one of the dreamiest meals and experiences I’ve had since moving here. My friend and I shared the lobster nachos (below) as an appetizer before we both got some of the most flavorful enchiladas. I also love that everything was so colorful! Not to mention you get a complimentary truffle at the end of the meal. (Downtown)
Posana – certified completely gluten-free, locally sourced, and AMAZING food. I’ve only been once, and I’m itching to go back soon. They’ve also got what looks like a stacked brunch menu — and, judging by what my coworker says, it’s amazing! (Downtown)
Where to Eat and Drink in Asheville
En La Calle – creative and flavorful tapas bar with one of the coolest vibes in Asheville. I always fear I’m going to drop serious bucks at a tapas bar, but walked away with a very reasonable check at the end of the night! My first experience with Mexican street corn was not a let down! (Downtown)
Curate – I’m a sucker for good decor and interior design, and this spot has it – along with great food! Tapas inspired, you’ll want to order multiples and share with the table. This is an Asheville hot spot, so reservations will likely be needed!! (Downtown)


Nightbell – described as “innovative New American” cuisine focused on local ingredients. Served “small plate” style, aka it’s essentially American-style tapas. Trust me, you will WANT to get the deviled egg. I hate deviled eggs, but this isn’t your typical deviled egg!!! I equate it to “eating a cloud”. (Downtown)
The Bull and Beggar – if you’re looking for a nicer, date night spot, this might just be it. Nestled by the Wedge brewery in the River Arts District, you’ll feel like a certified local. (West Asheville/RAD)
Zambra: great place for farm to table tapas. I’ve been one and had about 4 or 5 things on the menu and loved it all! Apparently deemed Asheville’s “Most Romantic Dinner”, but I went with my 2 coworkers, so….. (Downtown)


The Market Kitchen – truffle fries. Just do it. They also have half-price wine on Wednesday! (Downtown)
Rhubarb (Downtown)
Storm (Downtown)

DESSERT:
Sunshine Sammies: if you’re in the mood for a handmade ice cream sandwich, this is your stop! They’ve got a great range of ice cream flavors, and 9 different cookie flavors to choose from. Gluten free, dairy free and vegan options are available!! Choose from sammies like the funky monkey (caramelized banana ice cream between chocolate cookies spread with peanut butter OMG) or the s’mores (marshmallow ice cream between graham cracker cookies with hot fudge), OR you can create your own mashup! They’ve also got sundaes and waffle tacos.  (Downtown)

The Hop: a local ice cream shop with dairy free, vegan, and traditional ice cream with classic and creative flavors. They even do things like espresso floats, and oftentimes have fun events like ice cream taco night or doughnuts and ice cream night. My go-to flavor is salted caramel! (West Asheville)
French Broad Chocolate Lounge: if you go at night on a weekend after 8 or 9 PM, expect to wait in line. I’ve had ice cream and the drinking chocolate, but it’s a great place to go for a post-dinner coffee (if you’re into that) with some chocolate. I expected it to be a little more intimate, but when it’s so packed on the weekends, it feels more like a bar (minus the bar tar and loud music…) (Downtown)

BREWERIES:
Let me give a disclaimer for this category – I’m not a huge/knowledgeable beer fanatic. I either go for the company I’m with, or the atmosphere. I’m not going to touch on the types of beers they offer, because quite honestly I know next to nothing about them. Each brewery has its own personality and quirks that draw people to it. Explore and find which is your favorite! 
Burial – a more intimate, smaller-scale brewery located on the South Slope; they also have a built-in food truck Salt & Smoke which can produce a MEAN meat + cheese board. Mainly outdoor seating, so if it’s chilly, bring a coat! (Downtown)
Bhramari Brewhouse – they brew their own kombucha – ask them to make a Moscow Mule with it and prepare to be amazed. Also have beer, cocktails and wine. Great patio/outdoor area, but I’m actually partial to their indoor decor. (Downtown)
Green Man – both the older, smaller, much more local location, and the bigger “Mansion” located right beside it; both on the South Slope. I prefer the Mansion, which is more tourist-heavy. (Downtown)
Twin Leaf – board games, life-size jenga, foosball, and a few other tabletop games make this a fun group outing; located on the South Slope. (Downtown)
Funkatorium & Wicked Weed – I’ve already touched on Wicked Weed for the food, but the beer is great too, if you’re into that (they also do mixed drinks and wine). Wicked Weed is always my go-to, and I love the downstairs patio. They’ve even got space heaters for chilly months. Funkatorium is their sister brewery that focuses solely on sour beers – it’s located more on the South Slope, while Wicked is right by the Orange Peel. (Downtown)
Catawba – I honestly love their location, I don’t know why (they’re on the South Slope as well). It’s a big open indoor area, and one of the only places that will have football games playing (if I remember correctly). Located right by Buxton Hall BBQ, so if you get a little hungry, you’re right by one of the best restaurants in town! They’ve also got a spot with outdoor seating. (Downtown)
Banks Ave – a fun get-together place complete with corn hole, darts and pool. More of a “bar” feel. (Downtown)
Wedge – located in the River Arts District. Not a whole lot of seating, but it’s located right by the French Broad River for a fun vibe. (West Asheville/RAD)
New Belgium – relatively new to the area, and it’s one of the bigger breweries here! It’s also located right on the French Broad, and has great indoor and outdoor seating – they’ve got a pretty large grassy area where people can hang out. Pretty sure they also do brewery tours! And, since it’s located right on the river, it provides great entertainment watching people float. (West Asheville/RAD) 
Sierra Nevada – otherwise referred to as “the Biltmore of breweries”, it. is. HUGE. Awesome food, awesome atmosphere, and well…I guess awesome beer? Again, not a huge beer fan. BUT, there’s a garden, mini amphitheater, fire pit, and relaxing patio. It’s a little out of the way in South Asheville, but you could easily make it worth the extra drive by making a whole day/afternoon out of it. (South Asheville)
Ben’s Tune Up – great outdoor eating area, often with live music and turns into more of a “bar” at night. (Downtown)
*And, because I know I’ll get asked, there are a handful of “bars” in Asheville, but they all kinda remind me of that token sketchy bar you had in your college town that you would never step foot in with a ten foot pole. But, my top recommendations are Ben’s Tune Up, Banks Avenue Bar, and Tiger Mountain…in that order. 

COCKTAILS: 
Sante Wine Bar and Tap Room: my favorite, hands down. I love that its situated on the back side of downtown, outside of the hustle and bustle. They’ve got both patio and indoor seating. I split a flight of wine with a friend, and it was perfect! And it’s Asheville, so you know they also have beer. (Downtown)


5 Walnut Wine Bar
– I like to go here when I want to get away from all the beer and just have a glass of wine. And, I’m a sucker for anywhere with garage windows. Oftentimes they’ve got some really talented artists with live music, and attached is a meat + cheese kitchen! (Downtown)
Sovereign Remedies – another great stop for a slightly sophisticated, upscale bar menu. (Downtown)
The Montford – this is the rooftop bar of the Hyatt hotel, but it has a GREAT view of the mountains, especially at sunset. It will be packed, so get there well in advance of the sunset, order an appetizer, and just enjoy it! (Downtown)
Top of the Monk – located on the top floor of Thirsty Monk downtown, you have to have a “membership” to get in, and only a select number of people are allowed up at one time – something around 25-30, and it’s a relatively large space, so it makes for a nice, relaxed setting. You get a key with every handmade cocktail you order and it goes to a “snack box”, where you can choose a small snack to pair with your drink. One of my favorite concepts! (Downtown)

FOOD TRUCKS:
El Kimchi

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Melt Your Heart
Gypsy Queen Cuisine

COFFEE/TEA SHOPS:
Odd’s Cafe – probably my favorite, but it might be because it’s closest in vicinity to me. They’ve got everything from plain black coffee, to cold brew, matcha, and even specialty drinks like a honey and lavender latte. They also have a fresh line up of pastries and baked goods. Indoor seating, back patio seating, and two great garage doors they have opened up when weather is nice. (West Asheville)

Ultra Coffee Bar: a clean-cut, bright and minimalist coffee shop nestled in the River Arts District. My go-to is the nitro cold brew! They also have some snacks and breakfast/lunch sandwiches on the menu as well. (River Arts District/West Asheville)
High Five (Downtown)
OWL Bakery (West Asheville)
Dobra Tea (West Asheville, Downtown)
Trade and Lore (Downtown)

ADDITIONAL LISTS: 
Beer, Biscuits, and Burgers: How to Eat and Drink Your Way Through Asheville, NC via bon appetit
49 BEST PLACES TO EAT IN ASHEVILLE NC – A FOOD BUCKET LIST via Local Adventurer
ASHEVILLE CITY GUIDE: 10 BEST DINNER DATE NIGHT SPOTS via Mary Frances Flowers
ASHEVILLE CITY GUIDE: BEST PLACES TO DRINK A CUP OF JOE via Mary Frances Flowers
ASHEVILLE CITY GUIDE: WHERE TO EAT LUNCH via Mary Frances Flowers
ASHEVILLE CITY GUIDE: WHERE TO BRUNCH via Mary Frances Flowers

 There you have it, my definitive guide on where to eat and drink in Asheville! Again, with such a changing atmosphere around food here, I’ll be sure to keep coming back to edit and update this list with any changes! 🙂