Asheville, North Carolina is the perfect destination for food lovers of all kinds. The city has been dubbed "Foodtopia" due to its amazing restaurants and culinary scene. From James Beard finalists to fresh produce and local beef, Asheville has something for everyone. And with its amazing scenery and outdoor activities, you'll never have a dull moment.
Let's take a look at a sample of some of the good restaurants that Asheville has to offer.
1. Tupelo Honey
Founded in 2000, Tupelo Honey has been serving up Asheville's best for over two decades. This Asheville staple is known for its Southern comfort food with a twist.
Tupelo Cafe focuses on fresh food and sources its ingredients from local purveyors when possible. With a focus on farm-to-table, conscious animal welfare matters to Tupelo Cafe. They work with partners who respect the animals they are providing.
Menu items at Tupelo Cafe are a brunch lover's dream. From cathead biscuits on the appetizer menu to their famous fried chicken and buttermilk waffles, you'll find true Southern comfort food on the Tupelo Cafe menu.
At the end of your meal, there are a couple of dessert options: Heavenly Banana Pudding or Brown Butter Pecan Pie. If you can't choose between the two, you can order the Mini Dessert Duo and have them both!
Tupelo Cafe is located at 12 College Street and is open Sunday - Thursday: 9 AM- 9 PM and Friday and Saturday 9 AM - 10 PM.
2. White Duck Taco
Don't let the strange name fool you - White Duck Taco makes some seriously delicious tacos in Asheville. Out of 57 locations selling tacos, they're #1 and #2 according to TripAdvisor.com.
The items on the menu at White Duck Taco are sold a la carte to help keep costs down.
The items aren't what you will find at your basic taco stand. No - these are gourmet tacos with a wide range of flavors. Some of the tacos on the menu include Steak and Cheese, Banh Mi Tofu, Jerk Chicken, Thai Peanut Chicken, and Chicken Tikka Masala.
In addition to the delicious tacos, White Duck Taco also has sides to go with them like Street Corn Salad with Cotija Cheese and Green Chile Black Beans. And their housemade queso and fresh chips do not disappoint.
To wash it all down, you'll want to glass of something nice and wet, like their White Peach Sangria or Frozen Cheerwine. Either way, you can't go wrong. (They also have soda, iced tea, Tecate, margaritas, draft beer, and wine.)
White Duck Taco Shop is located at 12 Biltmore (downtown location) and 388 Riverside. The Riverside location is by the French Broad River and has outdoor dining. Hours are from 11:30 AM until 9:00 PM at both locations.
3. Blue Ridge Restaurant at Grove Park Inn
For some of the best views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, head to Blue Ridge Restaurant at the Omni Grove Park Inn. Located on the main level of the historic hotel, the farm-to-table artisanal buffet has all that you desire in a gourmet Sunday brunch - including complimentary mimosas!
Blue Ridge Restaurant is located at 290 Macon Avenue. Demand is high so be sure to make reservations. The restaurant is open for Breakfast Buffet Daily: 7:00 AM – 10:30 AM, Dinner Buffet Friday and Saturday: 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM, and Sunday Brunch Buffet: Noon – 2:30 PM.
4. French Broad Chocolate Lounge
A trip to Asheville would not be complete without a stop at the French Broad Chocolate Lounge. Asheville's only bean-to-bar chocolate shop, French Broad Chocolate Lounge is the perfect place to indulge your sweet tooth.
They offer a variety of chocolate-based desserts, as well as hot chocolate and truffles. The salted caramel brownies are pure heaven in chocolate form.
The lounge is located downtown at 10 S Pack Square and is open 11 AM until 10 PM every day.
Rhubarb is a warm and inviting restaurant where you can enjoy quality food with your friends or family. The menu features dishes that are inspired by seasons, local ingredients, and American cooking traditions to create one of the most magical dining experiences.
John Fleer, Chef and Owner of Rhubarb, is a father of three sons and three-time finalist for the James Beard Best Chef in the Southeast award. Following graduation from the Culinary Institute of America, John joined Blackberry Farm, where he served as Executive Chef from 1992 until 2007. During that time Fleer and Blackberry received many honors, most notably international status as Relais’ Gourmand.
In May of 2009, John took his first step back across the Blue Ridge from Tennessee, opening Canyon Kitchen at Lonesome Valley in Cashiers, NC. Rhubarb is the next step in Fleer’s journey; he hopes to bring the relaxed atmosphere of his previous pastoral posts to Pack Square, broadening his approach with freestyle American cuisine well-suited for its location at Asheville’s vibrant crossroad.
Rhubarb is located at 7 SW Pack Square and is open Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 5 PM until 9:30 PM, and Friday and Saturday from 5 PM until 10 PM.
Located in a remodeled 1920's-ear building in the heart of downtown, Chestnut is co-owned by friends Joe Scully and Kevin Westmoreland.
Joe graduated from the Culinary Institute of America with Honors. He has worked at The Waldorf Astoria, the United Nations, Cherokee Town and Country Club in Atlanta, and is also the owner of the Corner Kitchen in Historic Biltmore Village. The food and cocktails are created with an eye toward authenticity, local ingredients, and handcrafted goodness.
The menu is always changing, but you can expect to find locally sourced produce and meat on the board.
Some of the mouth-watering options include:
- Scratch-made Lobster Bisque (Troy & Sons Oak Reserve Cream, Chives),
- Peppercorn-Crusted Ribeye (10 oz Hand-cut, Cheesy Herbed Hasselback Potatoes, Grilled Asparagus, Tomato Mushroom Ragout, Red Wine Demi Glace),
- Pork Barbacoa (Mole Braised Pork Shoulder, Blue Corn Fried Sope, Chipotle Black Bean Puree, Tomatillo Corn Verde, Cotija, Micro Cilantro), and
- Crow's Own Shrimp and Grits (NC Tail-on Shrimp, Blue Corn Grits, Benton's Bacon, Cherry Tomatoes, Arugula, Serrano Peppers, Peppercorn Cream Sauce).
Chestnut is located at 48 Biltmore Avenue. Chestnut is open daily from 5 PM until 9:30 PM.
7. The Lobster Trap
The Lobster Trap only features fresh seafood caught by trusted domestic purveyors and prepared in ways that showcase the delicate flavors and textures of fish, lobster, crabs, shrimp, oysters, and clams.
Located in a beautifully renovated historic building in the heart of downtown Asheville, The Lobster Trap features live entertainment from local musicians every night. To that, add locally brewed Oyster House beers, craft cocktails, seafood-friendly wines, and southern hospitality and you have The Lobster Trap’s formula for success.
Chef Mike McCarty’s work begins when the doors to the restaurant have closed for the evening. He is on the phone with purveyors until the early morning hours making sure that we have the freshest fish delivered before we re-open the next afternoon.
Chef Mike has spent the last 10 years carefully cultivating his relationships with fishermen, distributors, and local farmers so The Lobster Trap receives only the freshest fish and ingredients. He and his team are the area’s specialists when it comes to the delicate preparation and pairing of seafood.
Zambra is a tapas and small plate restaurant located in the heart of Downtown Asheville. They use global and regional influences, as well as local purveyors and farmers to shape their evolving menu. Their extensive wine list focuses on Spanish and new world wines.
Adam Bannasch has been the chef of Zambra since 2005. After working in restaurants through high school and graduating from New England Culinary Institute in 2000, Adam spent three-plus years honing his skills in New Orleans. There he worked at some of the city’s best restaurants, including, Stella, Peristyle, and August.
One way to experience a little bit of this and a little bit of that is to take a food tour. I learned about some of the places on this because of a tour that I took with Eating Asheville. I took The Classic tour and sampled beer from a local brewer, sangria, falafel, gourmet potato chips, the brownie above, a taco from White Duck Taco, and more.
If you're looking for a unique dining experience, Asheville is the place to be. With its farm-to-table philosophy and commitment to local ingredients, Asheville's restaurants are sure to please. Bon appetit!