Eating Out in Asheville, NC: The 10 Best Restaurants & Diners
For a relatively small town, Asheville has a vibrant cultural and culinary scene. Full of charming Art Deco and Gothic architecture and great cultural events, the city also boasts some of North Carolina’s best foodie experiences, from all-American eats to innovative tapas. In an update to our previous dining guide, we bring you 10 more Asheville restaurants that every discerning foodie has to try.
Cúrate guarantees a culinary trip to the world of tapas. The Spanish–hearted kitchen serves an innovative and delectable selection of tapas that is appreciated by many. The venue, aiming to recreate Spain’s culture, ambience and tastes to the fullest possible level, has become a destination restaurant when it comes to Mediterranean dining in the city. Located in a historical building from 1929, formerly a bus station, Cúrate’s current design was created by local artists. The name derives from the expression ‘cure yourself’, and indeed, the excellent food on offer might just be a cure for all ills.
Deerpark Restaurant, Asheville | Courtesy of Deerpark Restaurant
Nestled in The Biltmore estate, a mansion built for George Vanderbilt and Ashville’s main tourist attraction, Deerpark Restaurant would be worth a visit simply for its location. The venue, nonetheless, enjoys an outstanding culinary reputation among its loyal guests as well as among curious first-time visitors. The restaurant offers an eclectic taste experience through its delectable prepared–to–order specialities, commended classic plates and fulsome weekend buffets. Enjoy the stunning views through the floor-to-ceiling windows and the serene atmosphere created by the original wooden interior.
A stylish boutique restaurant with short but stunningly creative menu, Nightbell Restaurant & Lounge clearly wears a dual hat: being a chic restaurant while also acting as a trendy lounge bar with a mix of indie music and a dance floor. Nightbell got people’s attention very quickly and that is primarily thanks to chef Katie Button’s innovative menu, which includes lobster roll, corn soup, warm vegetable salad and Canadian waffles; it might just sound simple but each dish is created with an expert touch. Expect mouth-watering small plates, juicy burgers, excellent desserts and a wide array of crafted cocktails that are truly tempting. The interior is filled with eclecticism; a little vintage, a little art deco and opulent furniture, creating the perfect setting for a relaxing evening out.
Though located off the beaten track by the River Arts District, The Junction is consistently popular. In fact, the restaurant, owned by passionate foodies Charles and Tanya Triber, is among the top-rated venues in the city. This is no surprise because The Junction fuses everything guests could desire: farm-to-table food with a creative twist, weekly changing menus with a healthy slant, a charming patio and a warm artsy interior. The menu is rather eclectic, featuring everything from oysters and mussels to chicken and pork in a variety of soup, salad and shared-plate options. A perfect gem that takes on community roles, excels in cooking and occasionally offers some great events, such as an exquisite wine dinners with guest wines, or art receptions featuring local painters.
Bar, Diner, Market, Restaurant, American, European, Cocktails, Wine, Beer, $$$
The Market Place, Asheville | Courtesy of The Market Place
Serving since 1979, The Market Place is an iconic venue in the heart of downtown Asheville. Praised by locals and tourists, the restaurant features eclectic European-American farm-to-table cuisine. A warm and laid-back atmosphere welcomes everyone in this gem, where the ambitious chef, William Dissen, uses seasonal ingredients sourced from local farms that fall within a 100 mile radius. Sit at any of the homey tables or at the stone bar, listen to the gentle live music and let the staff take care of the rest.
The latest addition to Asheville’s eclectic venues is the recently debuted Daugherty’s American Kitchen & Drink. What makes Daugherty’s so different? The name gives you a clue: it’s owned by the successful NBA basketball player and Nascar Sprint Cup Series car owner Brad Daugherty, who is also a passionate foodie. Though the cooking is given over to chef Chris Jones, the restaurant’s focus on seafood and vegetable plates was directly influenced by Daugherty himself. Set in a brick building, the interior design is laid-back with some of the owner’s sports trophies on show. Daugherty’s mission is not only to serve innovative and revitalised contemporary American dishes but also to be a gathering place, where guests can enjoy a few free hours of fun together. Since its opening in July 2014 Daugherty’s has taking its first steps flawlessly and looks set to become the next destination spot in the city.
In the heart of Asheville just at the corner of the Fine Arts Theater, this restaurant is a must-visit for all cultured Asheville foodies. Praised equally by visitors and official gourmands, Limones consistently stands for quality, freshness and creativity. A perfect spot for Mexican enthusiasts, chef Hugo Ramirez adds a special French twist to his traditional Mexican recipes, thus placing an exciting combination of flavours on each plate. The casual, rustic interior allows guests to enjoy high quality dining in comfort.
Bar, Restaurant, American, Steakhouse, European, $$$
Located in the Tudor-inspired Grand Bohemian Hotel, dining at Red Stag Grill is like taking a journey back in time to Bohemia in the 19th century. Surrounded by the stunning Blue Ridge Mountains, the venue is naturally gorgeous on the outside; however, the rustic hunting resort designed with an eye to low-key chic makes the atmosphere indoors just as elevated. Red Stag features European–American comfort food made from the freshest local ingredients. To enjoy the setting to the fullest, don’t miss the characterful bar area, where local musicians entertain while guests enjoy one of the house’s crafted cocktails. The martini comes highly recommended.
Sunset Terrace is set in the marvellous 100-year-old Omni Grove Park Resort and offers unbeatable views over Asheville and the Appalachian mountains. The restaurant is an open-air terrace venue that was primarily designed around the magnificent views; however, guests shouldn’t underestimate the kitchen, which features steak, chops, and seafood specialties in excellent guises. Sunset Terrace also boasts for an exceptional wine list that has earned the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence multiple times. Prepare to dress in accordance with the weather and enjoy a rather upscale dining experience, attentively escorted by the well-trained staff.
Tupelo Honey Café is a long-standing Asheville favourite serving healthy Southern fare. Supporting over 25 local farms, at Tupelo ingredients come fresh, local and by season. The menu features a great variety of traditional dishes, such as fried chicken, sweet potato or catfish; however, chef Brian Sonoskus’s masterful hands make sure that a creative Tupelo-twist is given to all menu items. Even gluten-free diners will feel in heaven thanks to the special menu dedicated to them. If your Southern experience beats all expectations, ask for the Tupelo Honey Café Cookbook, which offers a gastronomic tour of the region. An award-winning restaurant with two great locations in Asheville, this is an excellent choice for a Sunday brunch or a casual dinner out.