Asheville is known for so many wonderful things, chief among them is the dining choices. As a foodie town with so many excellent options, it can feel a bit daunting trying to decide which of the many restaurants is worth a visit. Over the course of many visits to this mountain town, I have compiled a list of our favorite restaurants for when you visit beautiful Asheville.
In the River Arts District, this funky BBQ joint received the Presidential Seal of Approval when President Barak Obama stopped by. But once was not enough for our former Commander-in-Chief. President Obama liked it so much, he came back three times! 12 Bones’ culinary team makes everything from scratch and their meats are slow cooked over select hardwoods – oak and cherry. So, regardless of your politics, you don’t want to miss 12 Bones.
In their casual atmosphere, you order at the counter, and then a server delivers your food to the table. You don’t have to reach far to wipe away all the barbeque sauce – a roll of paper towels sits on every table. Plan accordingly, because they are only open for lunch and are closed on Saturdays and Sundays. That they don’t need to open on weekends speaks volumes about how awesome 12 Bones is.
Biscuit Head is a crazy popular breakfast spot. You will usually find a line of fellow biscuit lovers, but it is so worth the wait, and by far the best biscuits you’ll ever taste – no offense to Grandma! Don’t miss the delicious jam bar and choose a few to add to your biscuit – some of the flavors include peach rosemary, sweet potato chai, mango plus a variety of honeys.
Husband and wife team Jason and Carolyn Roy opened Biscuit Head to share their love of southern cooking and commitment to local foods. Their restaurant has grown in popularity resulting in three more locations in Asheville and one in Greenville, South Carolina.
In downtown, you will have an authentic Spanish dining experience at Cúrate. The restaurant’s interior looks to be straight out of Europe – perfectly refurbished from its former life as a 1927 bus depot. Known for their lively tapas culture, Cúrate is one of a couple of America’s restaurants featuring a Spanish specialty, jamon iberico debellota (ham).
Order small plates of jamon, variety of quesos, and toast points. Pair with a drink from their wide selections of sherry, vermouth and all-Spanish wine list. Outstanding service, food, and atmosphere make Cúrate a popular dining spot. Reservations are recommended or try to grab a seat at their bar.
Double D’s Coffee and Desserts
Inside a bright red double decker bus in downtown, Double D’s offers coffee from around the world and a variety of delicious desserts. Not in the mood for coffee, then select a fruit smoothie, milkshake, or delicious cup of tea. Once you receive your order, either head upstairs to the top deck or an outside table. A yummy snack at this cheery place will definitely put you in a good mood.
Early Girl Eatery
Their motto – a farm to table Southern comfort food experience – is exactly what this restaurant has created for their guests. Early Girl Eatery is a local favorite is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with breakfast served all day. A sampling of their menu includes vegan tofu scramble, sausage & sweet potato scramble, meatloaf, catfish, and fried chicken. The restaurant has become so popular, so they have grown to three locations throughout Asheville.
French Broad Chocolate Lounge
A dessert restaurant is more than just a sugar fix. It is a source to satisfy sweet cravings with a variety of delectable flavors, some stand-alone stars and others perfectly paired. For all of the above – and more, look no further than French Broad Chocolate. Using chocolate made in their own chocolate factory, many of their selections are centered on chocolate – artisan truffles, cakes, cookies, brownies, and even house made ice cream. If chocolate is not part of your favorite things to eat, there are plenty of other non-chocolate treats along with vegan and gluten-free options.
In the cutest little building on Haywood Road, Hole is the place where fried-to-order doughnuts rein supreme on the menu. Vanilla glazed, toasted almond sesame, and cinnamon sugar are flavors always on the menu with seasonal choices like lemon rosemary or Mexican chocolate showing up on a weekly basis. For that jolt of java, pair your hot donut with a nitro cold brew coffee. Find a cozy spot to sip on your coffee and enjoy melt in your mouth doughnuts in this lively local hotspot.
A lively ambience, attentive staff, and delicious food make Posana a must-dine spot in downtown Asheville. Serving local farm-to-table ingredients, diners are treated to a variety of fresh seasonal flavors on a changing menu that will satisfy every foodie’s dream. Dine on seed crusted tofu, grilled lamb loin, pork shoulder or seared scallops
Red Stag Grill
Inside the Grand Bohemian Hotel, reserve a table at the Red Stag Grill for an excellent dining experience. The bar and restaurant both exude elegance, rustic charm, and a sultry atmosphere. The ambiance is the classiest hunting lodge imaginable. Their menu is eclectic, locally sourced, and changing with the seasons. Meat lovers will find many intriguing entrees – bison rib eye, elk striploin, and roasted pheasant. Fish lovers can choose vegetable quinoa bowls topped with salmon, mountain trout, or scallop entrees. Vegetarians can enjoy heirloom barley risotto and grilled eggplant.
John Fleer, award-winning chef and owner of Rhubarb, found his inspiration in a culture of food. Friends and family gather at Rhubarb for a comfortable atmosphere and to enjoy delicious ways local ingredients are combined in their entrees. Crowd favorites are smoked wild mushroom cassoulet, Kentuckian quail, and whole sunburst trout. In their communal dining experience, you may even make a new friend. Indoor and outdoor seating is available, and they are open for dinner and brunch on Saturdays and Sunday.
Stable Café is a favorite restaurant housed in a 19th century horse stable adjacent to the historic Biltmore House. Request a booth, so you can dine in one of the original iron horse stalls. Contemporary American cuisine is served with a taste of Appalachia mixed into the menu – springer mountain chicken, braised short ribs, and creek trout.
Located in the River Arts District, Summit Coffee has created an atmosphere where locals and visitors can hang out and savor their favorite caffeinated beverage and snack. With indoor and outdoor seating, some locals choose to work here all day. Accompany your coffee beverage with a toasted bagel, hummus board, or house made granola yogurt bowl.
Community focused, Summit Coffee uses food products from local partners – milk from Mills River Creamery, chai tea from Appalachai, and yogurt from Farm to Home. To bring the community together, Summit host trivia nights on Thursdays and live music every Sunday.
In a bright colorful space, Taco Billy is the place to go when you are craving a breakfast taco and a margarita in the afternoon, since breakfast tacos are served all day. Their local’s pleasing favorite is their Migas Taco – eggs, onions, jalapenos, tomatoes, Colby jack cheese on a crispy fried tortilla. Their creative Mexican-style tacos are layered in flavors and very reasonably priced – you just can’t go wrong with a stop here. Dine in a fun atmosphere inside, on the patio, or in the backyard.
The Corner Kitchen
In Historic Biltmore Village, The Corner Kitchen is housed in an 1895 era house. Come here for outstanding service and delicious food in a homey atmosphere. The menu leans towards Southern home-style cuisine with interesting eclectic flavors added in. Crispy skin seared gulf red fish, chili grilled pork chop, and grilled lamb T-bone can be ordered here. Dinner reservations are recommended.
The Soda Fountain
When feeling nostalgic, make your way over to Asheville’s historic Woolworth Walk where you can find The Soda Fountain. Originally built in 1935 and then restored in 2001, at The Soda Fountain grab a seat at the counter to munch on classic sandwiches – BLT, tuna melt, or club sandwich and wash it all down with a milkshake or root beer float. At this 1950s styled soda fountain, a meal here will take you back in time and make your belly happy.
White Duck Taco Shop
Bangkok shrimp, Korean beef, and Thai peanut chicken are but a few of the international flavors you can order at White Duck Taco Shop. Everything is a la carte, so feel free to order a variety of your favorite tacos. Hearty portions of unique tastes at affordable prices have made this restaurant thrive. Eat at one of their three locations throughout Asheville, where all locations have indoor and outdoor seating. If you choose their Riverview Drive restaurant, snag a riverfront table to enhance your dining experience.