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40 Unforgettable Asheville Restaurants – From Locals

It’s no secret that the Asheville restaurants are incredible. With so many options, how do you choose? From locals, don’t miss the best restaurants in Asheville for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

When we first moved to AVL, all of the Asheville restaurant guides seemed to have the exact same places to eat:

“You must go to Cúrate, French Broad Chocolate Lounge, White Duck Taco, Tupelo Honey, Jargon, Rhubarb, All Souls Pizza, Buxton Hall, and Biscuit Head.”

Yes! Those are indeed some of the most popular and famous Asheville restaurants. They are delicious. You should go to them.

But, what about dining in a historic neighborhood followed by Shakespeare in the Park?

Or, the best vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Asheville like Laughing Seed Cafe, Gypsy Queen Cuisine, and Plant? We live for Plant’s vegan cheese platter.

Along with Chai Pani, we crave Mela’s spicy Indian sauces.

Jerusalem Garden Cafe is a vibrant must that forces difficult choices against its downtown neighbor, Red Ginger Dimsum. Endless Asian tapas anyone? One word: Dumplings.

Personally, Edison at the Grove Park Inn makes our mountain hearts sing with those jaw-dropping sunsets and seasonal craft cocktails.

Posana is a classic date night downtown Asheville restaurant with a dedicated gluten-free kitchen. And, what about when you need a hole-in-the-wall grinder from Apollo Flame Bistro?

We’ll always be suckers for that giant Saint Bernard at Biltmore’s Cedric’s Tavern. Plus, which Asheville breweries have the best food or food trucks?

Known as Foodtopia, the restaurants in Asheville are plentiful and amazing. So, how do you choose? As Asheville locals, we are sharing our favorite Asheville, NC restaurants.

We’ll let you know the popular, award-winning, and tourist Asheville restaurants that are still musts.

But first, we’ll divulge what we personally think are the lesser-known and best restaurants in Asheville, NC. Many of these won’t break the bank either.

And yes, of course, this list will be highly contentious and also not include every restaurant in Asheville.

What are the unforgettable Asheville restaurants? Let’s get started!

Don’t miss our entire list of guides for where to eat in Asheville, NC.

Best Asheville restaurants with picture of vegan cheese plate with apples, pickled vegetables, and olives from Plant in North Asheville
Welcome to Foodtopia! Asheville has well over one hundred restaurants, making this city a foodie’s dream. What are the best Asheville restaurants from a local’s perspective? Keep on reading!

This post may contain affiliate links that earn us a commission at no extra cost to you.

*Although we update our lists frequently, please double-check all information by visiting each Asheville restaurant’s website or calling. We are also including restaurants in Asheville that we love for dine-in and takeout.

Best Asheville Restaurants

1. Plant

165 Merrimon Avenue, Asheville, NC 28801
Website: https://www.plantisfood.com/
(828) 258-7500

Best vegan restaurant in Asheville, NC, Plant with cheese Plate with olives, vegan cheeses, beets, and bread
You cannot visit Plant, the best vegan restaurant in Asheville, without ordering a cheese plate.

One of the Asheville restaurants we live for, Plant is everything. Plant is food. We are not vegan, but Plant is truly for everyone.

Hands down one of the best vegan restaurants in Asheville, we are obsessed with their cheese plate and desserts.

We love sitting outside on the patio on a breezy spring day with Plant’s fresh cocktails and endless small plates.

Dishes change seasonally and are mostly organic and gluten-free. Beets, curries, veggie lasagna… Need we say more?

Call for a reservation but know that they aren’t required. We’d make one, though, especially if you have your heart set on eating here.

Plant does not have an online reservation system, and sometimes, it may be hard to get through. It’s worth it, though.

Plus, North Asheville has amazing restaurants and stays just a tad quieter than downtown. Plant has its own parking lot — a bonus in this tight city.

2. Thai Pearl Asheville

747 Haywood Road Asheville, NC 28806
Website: https://www.thaipearlasheville.com/
(828) 412-5905

One of the newer Thai food restaurants in Asheville (2020), Thai Pearl is gorgeously decorated and delicious. Thai Pearl is also a great choice if you are looking for more gluten-free options.

If you follow us elsewhere, you know that Tom has Celiac Disease — so gluten-free is extremely important to us.

Sitting between two famous West Asheville restaurants, Nine Mile and Jargon, choose from curries, rice, stir-fry dishes, soups, and Thai salads. Thai Pearl also serves fresh oysters.

Notably, Chef May trained and cooked at The Royal Palace in Bangkok, Thailand. She also worked alongside a Michelin Star Chef in Queensland, Australia.

Chef May’s team originally invited us out for lunch ‘on the house’ since Thai Pearl was a newer Asheville restaurant; we are so glad. Now, we frequent Thai Pearl as much as we can.

Not only did we meet Chef May and learn how much she gives back to the community, but we tried her most popular Thai dishes.

Be sure to order Chef May’s mouthwatering Thai onion rings and a green papaya salad. Tom devours the Pad Thai and Thai Basil.

Thai Pearl’s ginger soup is the perfect fall or winter dish to warm you up. This is definitely our new favorite go-to Asheville Thai restaurant.

Parking in West Asheville gets a little iffy, but we usually find parking on one of the side streets if Thai Pearl’s lot is full.

3. Ukiah Japanese Smokehouse

121 Biltmore Ave, Asheville, NC 28801
Website: https://ukiahrestaurant.com/
(828) 470-7480

For one of the best new Japanese restaurants in Asheville (2021), Ukiah is sure to wow you. Located on Biltmore Ave., choose from Japanese street food and tapas with an American BBQ twist. 

Sounds a bit unique, right? Get ready for an incredible dining experience.

Yes; Ukiah is a bit pricy but also 100 % worth it.  Think meat skewers, shrimp cocktail, ramen, and raw sushi-grade fish. This is an Asheville restaurant to treat yourself.

Most of Ukiah’s dishes are meant for sharing, but you can order an entrée too. They can accommodate dietary restrictions.

Inside, the bar is gorgeously decorated, and the rest of the restaurant will transport you out of the city. Of course, Ukiah Japanese Smokehouse’s cocktails are classy and equally amazing.

Make reservations and bring an extra sweater in the fall and winter, especially if you wish to enjoy their outdoor patio with the beautiful stone fireplace.

We recommend parking at the Biltmore Ave. garage.

Read more about all of Asheville’s top Asian food restaurants.

4. Limones

15 Eagle St, Asheville, NC 28801
Website: https://limonesrestaurant.com/
(828) 252-2327

Limones Restaurant Asheville NC with chicken over rice with thick yellow sauce
One of the best restaurants in downtown Asheville, Limones is utterly charming, warmly inviting, and cozy.

Limones is by far one of the most romantic restaurants in Asheville. This is also our top pick for ambiance. Plus, any place with two enchanting window seats is a bonus for us.

Find candle chandeliers glowing throughout this historic building decorated with mirrors and abstract art.

With two smaller rooms and a bar, enjoy intimate conversations. You’ll also love the Mexican and French-influenced Californian cuisine.

A former Mexico City native, Chef Hugo Ramirez moved to Asheville from San Francisco. His food is simple yet divine.

To start, order tapas with their famous margaritas; you may have trouble choosing from their extensive list. For tapas, we enjoy the fresh and innovative ceviche but they also have lobster nachos…

Then, enjoy fusion-cuisine entrées featuring dishes like BBQ fish, scallops with salsa, ramen short ribs, and enchiladas with vegan cheese.

Don’t forget to save room for a Mexican-inspired dessert such as churros or a Tres Leches cake. Limones has a great cocktail list, Spanish dessert wines, and Mexican coffee.

We could sit here all night. Limones is also our neighbors’ favorite date night restaurant in downtown Asheville.

Personally, we appreciate that Limones sits on a quiet downtown side street. You will want to make advanced reservations.

5. Luella’s Bar-B-Que

North Asheville: 501 Merrimon Avenue, Asheville, NC 28804; (828) 505-7427
South Asheville: 33 Town Square Blvd., Biltmore Park, Asheville, NC 28803; (828) 676-3855
Website: https://luellasbbq.com/

Luellas BBQ Asheville NC with
Hush puppies, pulled pork, and baked beans; oh my! Luella’s is our personal favorite BBQ restaurant in Asheville.

We could never pick out one or two of the best BBQ restaurants in Asheville. North Carolina is famous for its BBQ.

However, we champion North Asheville’s Luella’s Bar-B-Que. Show us the fried okra!

Luella’s doles out huge portions of the best BBQ ribs and pulled pork paired with overflowing sides.

Their North Asheville location is always jumping, and they offer indoor and outdoor seating. This location also has a parking lot.

Nearby, enjoy the free Botanical Gardens At Asheville or take a stroll around Beaver Lake.

Of course, 12 Bones Smokehouse in the River Arts District is especially famous since Former President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle dined here.

12 Bones Smokehouse’s South Asheville location also houses a delicious brewery. You cannot go wrong with their BBQ and hearty sides.

6. Edison at The Omni Grove Park Inn

290 Macon Ave, Asheville, NC 28804
Website: https://www.omnihotels.com/hotels/asheville-grove-park/dining/edison
(800) 438-580

Please don’t stalk us, but as Asheville locals, we probably frequent Edison more than we should. The Omni Grove Park Inn, like Biltmore, is a huge part of Asheville’s history.

You cannot beat those sunset views over the mountains. The Grove Park Inn’s view is also the inspiration for Uncorked Asheville’s logo.

We love to have lunch at Edison with seasonal craft cocktails and local beers.

They serve lighter fare including sandwiches and salads and are cheaper than their other restaurant, Sunset Terrace.

Even though the bars are not quite situated on an actual rooftop, we consider The Omni Grove Park Inn as housing the best rooftop restaurants in Asheville, NC.

More Unforgettable Grove Park Inn Restaurants:

Sunset Terrace is a stellar high-end Asheville restaurant. We daintily annihilate their scallops and steak.

Order snacks and drinks at The Great Hall Bar – a top Asheville bar – and sit outside past Sunset Terrace.

Visiting the Grove Park Inn is one of the ‘must’ Asheville experiences.

Please just remember that the Grove Park Inn is a luxury resort hotel. Most of the year, parking is free for the first few hours in their lots and Vanderbilt parking garage.

For the holidays, you will have to pay a hefty self-park or valet fee. We also recommend Grove’s restaurants to celebrate the perfect Christmas in Asheville.

7. Gypsy Queen Cuisine

807 Patton Ave, Asheville, NC 28806
Website: https://gypsyqueencuisine.com/
(828) 575-2758

One of the best restaurants in Asheville, NC that you rarely find on lists, run to Gyspy Queen Cuisine (GQC). They make delicious Mediterranean & Lebanese street food.

Fair warning, too: you will have trouble deciding what to eat here. You will most likely over-order and want to eat it all. We always have leftovers.

Gypsy Queen, along with Plant and Laughing Seed, is also one of the best Asheville restaurants for both vegan and gluten-free food.

For Mezze, order grape leaves, hummus, and a mixture of fried Brussels sprouts and cauliflower. For entrees, choose from rice bowls, gyros, platters, and wraps.

We recommend dining at Gyspy Queen for lunch. Order at the counter and grab a seat — inside or out.

Gypsy Queen is located near Green Tea Sushi, just on the outskirts of downtown Asheville over the bridge that passes by the Asheville silo.

Don’t let the not so pretty area of buildings — some closed down — scare you away. We promise: the food is delicious and the staff is incredibly accommodating and friendly.

Find plenty of parking. You might also catch GQC’s food truck around town. Read more about Asheville’s best lunch restaurants.

8. Nine Mile

233 Montford Ave, Asheville, NC 28804 | (828) 505-3121
751 Haywood Rd, Asheville, NC 28806 | (828) 575-9903
Biltmore Town Park Square, Town Square Blvd, Asheville, NC 28803 | (828) 676-1807
Website: https://ninemileasheville.com/

Best Restaurants In Asheville Nine Mile Montford with bowl of pasta with dairy free pesto, shrimp, veggies, and glass of white wine
Nine Mile is one of the best restaurants in Asheville if you have food intolerances, preferences, and allergies. Pictured above is their delicious dairy-free pesto with shrimp and pasta.

We love Nine Mile’s Montford-Asheville location. Nine Mile is a vegetarian-friendly restaurant with Caribbean-inspired pasta and rice dishes.

For Asheville restaurants, Nine Mile has one of the largest menu keys for gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, nuts, dairy-free, and honey.

Nine Mile does not take reservations, and they will grow extremely busy no matter what time you arrive. With some luck, you might catch them at the right time, and we promise: the wait is worth it.

Still, it doesn’t hurt to arrive as soon as Nine Mile opens; you’ll probably catch us in line.

Nine Mile runs on the spicier side, but they can accommodate dishes. Their pasta and seafood are delicious. Nine Mile also only serves wine and beer.

If you visit Nine Mile’s Historic Montford location, spend some time walking the neighborhood. You’ll pass gorgeous old houses, Free Little Libraries, Montford’s famous B&B’s, and Montford Park.

Montford is also one of the most unique Asheville neighborhoods for architecture, Riverside Cemetery, and Shakespeare in the Park.

For Montford and West Asheville, especially, find street parking or a pay-by-space lot (W. AVL).

9. Posana Restaurant

1 Biltmore Ave, Asheville, NC 28801
Website: https://posanarestaurant.com/
(828) 505-3969

One of the first fancier restaurants in downtown Asheville that we ate at before moving to AVL, Posana is always jumping.

Unique to Asheville, Posana has a dedicated gluten-free kitchen. This is perfect for our Celiac husband.

Almost all of their menu is gluten-free with the exception of a few labeled cocktails and drinks (those bitters, man).

Posana is the absolute best restaurant in Asheville for celebrations. They serve local and contemporary American cuisine.

Think gluten-free desserts, appetizers, and meaty entrees. The executive chef and co-owner graduated from The Culinary Institute of America.

Posana has a large patio and looks out over Pack Square, which is full of interesting happenings. This is Asheville, after all.

Recently, the owners also started nearby District 42, a lounge, and Bargello, casual fine dining at Kimpton Hotel Arras.

Read more about all of Asheville’s best gluten-free restaurants.

10. Bouchon

62 N Lexington Ave, Asheville, NC 28801
Website: https://www.ashevillebouchon.com/
(828) 350-1140

If you are looking for one of the best restaurants in downtown Asheville serving up French comfort food, head to Bouchon.

We have to thank our dedicated readers for putting Bouchon on our radar.

One of our newsletter subscribers mentioned that she reserves dinner at Bouchon for every single one of her Asheville visits. We can see why.

Of course, French cuisine isn’t super friendly if you are lactose-intolerant, but we found delicious beef stew and duck entrees.

One of the coziest fine dining Asheville restaurants, sit inside their intimate, warm, and dimly lit space or enjoy the outdoor patio.

Bouchon has some of the strongest and most delicious cocktails in town, and of course, you have to order classy French wine with dinner.

Afterward, head to Crave Dessert Bar for more cocktails, hookah, and dessert.

11. Wicked Weed Brewpub

91 Biltmore Ave., Asheville, NC 28801
Website: https://www.wickedweedbrewing.com/
(828) 575-9599

Breweries with food in Asheville, Wicked Weed Brewpub grinder filled with chicken salad and side of fries
Grab lunch and a pint at Wicked Weed Brewing.

Here at Uncorked Asheville, we always get asked for the best Asheville restaurants near or at breweries. Although Wicked Weed is indeed a tourist spot, you still have to go here.

As one of Asheville’s best brewpubs, Wicked Weed serves up delicious sandwiches, burgers, and entrees to pair with their wide beer selection.

When we have friends in town who want to see Asheville’s most famous breweries while getting food, we take them here.

Of course, you can go the delicious food truck route, too.

Don’t miss Zillicoah’s stationary Mexican food truck, Taqueria Munoz. Ginger’s Revenge loves to host the tasty Trashy Vegan and The Smokin’ Onion.

Biltmore Ave. Garage is where we tend to park for this area.

12. Sunny Point Cafe

626 Haywood Rd, Asheville, NC 28806
Website: https://sunnypointcafe.com/
(828) 252-0055

One of the absolute best restaurants for breakfast in West Asheville, Sunny Point Cafe is both a visitor and local favorite.

The weekends will see lines around West Asheville, and the weekdays tend to be just as busy. Sunny Point posts wait times near where you order.

Sunny Point Cafe serves all three meals on most days, but we especially love them for breakfast and lunch.

Eat outside on Sunny Point Cafe’s patio filled with murals or dine indoors. Choose from Southern classics like chicken and waffles, fried green tomatoes, and shrimp and grits.

Sunny Point Cafe also has French toast, hotcakes, avocado toast, candied bacon, and breakfast burritos. They offer gluten-free bread and vegan options and serve up large portions with local libations.

We enjoy their local beer selections and craft cocktails. Mimosas included!

West AVL is also known for its shops, bars, vibrant murals, and shopping scene. Be sure to read our complete West Asheville guide before going.

13. Taco Temple

132 Charlotte St, Asheville, NC 28801
Website: https://www.mamacitastacotemple.com/
(828) 255-8098

The northern part of the city houses many of the best restaurants in Asheville, NC, and Taco Temple proves it. They feature the most delicious tacos around.

Head toward historic Charlotte Street to dine in a former 1930s gas station – although the interior resembles a temple/church. And let’s face it: this is certainly a religion we can get behind.

Mamacita’s Taco Temple is always busy with a local crowd, and you may find a fast-moving line of customers.

Taco Temple is your go-to for milled corn tortillas, tortas, and tamales – with gluten-free and vegan options.

Devour overflowing tacos; we suggest ordering at least 2 per person. You know you want the chips and guacamole too.

Did we mention those breakfast tacos and avocado crema sauce?

Plus, nurse Mexican hot chocolate and find tater tots along with a small children’s menu and a salad option. They even serve margaritas and cocktails.

Order at the small window first. Then, sit inside the “temple” or outside on the covered patio. They’ll deliver food to your table.

If you are looking for the most local and budget-friendly places to eat in Asheville, Taco Temple is it.

14. Jettie Rae’s Oyster House

143 Charlotte St, Asheville, NC 28801
Website: https://jettieraes.com/
(828) 505-4499

If you love New England-style fish, Jettie Rae’s is a must. One of the best seafood restaurants in Asheville, choose from oysters, shrimp cocktail, mussels, and clams.

Of course, Jettie Rae’s has a raw bar, and their cocktail list is inventive and full of heat. Find twists on classic drinks.

Jettie Rae’s has non-seafood options, including burgers and salads. We highly suggest making advanced reservations here.

Most uniquely, Jettie Rae’s sits in a renovated Gulf Gas Station that “Steamer” Edmonds opened in North Asheville. We enjoy sitting outside on the covered patio.

Jettie Rae’s has its own parking lot.

15. Yum Poké Spot

45 Asheland Ave. Unit 101, Asheville, NC 28801 | (828) 505-2277
100 Julian Shoals Dr.Arden, NC 28704 | (828) 676-3800
Website: https://yumpokespot.com/

Sushi In Asheville Yum Poke Spot sushi bowls, rolls, and takeout
If you crave poké bowls, don’t miss Yum Poké Spot. Photo provided to us by Nick Levine Photography — a fantastic local business, engagement, and wedding photographer.

For the best poké restaurant in downtown Asheville, Yum has both build-your-own sushi burritos and poké bowls. What’s not to love?

Pick your protein along with rice or salad. Load up with the goods.

Our favorite mix-ins with tuna and salmon proteins include carrots, mango, roe, cucumber, avocado, seaweed salad, fried garlic, and scallion.

Add some ginger sauce, and get ready to dig in.

Yum Sushi is also one of the fastest places to eat in Asheville on this list and makes for great takeout.

Green Tea Sushi is another one of the best sushi restaurants in Asheville. Our other favorite is Umi in Hendersonville, NC, about 40 minutes south of AVL.

16. Glass Onion

18 N Main St, Weaverville, NC 28787
Website: https://glassonionasheville.com/
(828) 645-8866

Glass Onion Weaverville Restaurant Near Asheville with chicken on plate in sauce with flower garnish and glass of red wine
A favorite upscale Italian restaurant in the Asheville area, Glass Onion is our fine dining choice to beat the downtown AVL crowds.

We are being a tad sneaky here, but one of the best restaurants in the Asheville area, don’t miss Glass Onion.

Technically, Glass Onion is in Weaverville, NC — which is under a 10-minute drive from downtown Asheville.

Glass Onion is a classy but still more casual Asheville fine dining option. We highly suggest making reservations, especially for an evening out.

A tad more expensive, order delicious beet appetizers and plentiful-portioned meat and seafood entrées. Considered ‘global Italian,’ you’ll love the atmosphere and blown-glass decor.

Glass Onion is incredibly accomodating to food intolerance and allergies. They have a plethora of GF options, too.

You can read more about Weaverville’s delicious restaurants here. Weaverville is a great option to beat the bustle of downtown Asheville.

Head to Twisted Laurel for cocktails after dinner or WagBar for craft beer with the pooches.

Instead of Weaverville, you could also drive 30-minutes east of Asheville to some of our favorite Black Mountain restaurants. Black Mountain has breweries, a meadery, and a distillery.

17. Mela

70 North Lexington Ave., Asheville, NC 28801
Website: https://www.melaasheville.com/
(828) 225-8880

Asheville takeout Mela Indian food containers with curries, tandoori dishes, and white rice
Indian food takeout anyone? Mela is a delicious choice.

One of our favorite Asheville Indian restaurants, Mela offers large portions of North and South Indian-inspired cuisine. You can find vegan and gluten-free options, too.

Mela boasts of fresh and local ingredients, and their sauces are to die for.

We love Mela’s chicken curry and lamb Chettinad, which may set your mouth on fire. For us, Mela is one of the absolute best Indian restaurants in Asheville, NC. We tend to order takeout from Mela.

A second fabulous Indian and Pakistani Asheville takeout option, we devour Biryani Express (their menu is listed on the takeout apps like Takeout Central).

18. Red Ginger Dimsum & Tapas

82 Patton Avenue Suite 100, Asheville, NC 28801
Website: http://www.redgingerasheville.com/
(828) 505-8688

One of our all-time favorite Asian fusion restaurants in Asheville, Red Ginger Dimsum and Tapas is home to dumplings and sushi. We ate here long before we moved to Asheville and can’t get enough.

Choose from fried rice, every type of delicious dumpling, Asian pancakes, bento boxes, summer rolls, and vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options.

You will want to order 2-3 plates per person and because they are Asian tapas, you may also share across the table.

For downtown Asheville restaurants, Red Ginger is at the heart of it all. We usually park behind this area in the Coxe Ave. garage or pay lots.

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19. RosaBees

27 Foundy Street, Suite #20, Asheville, NC 28801
Website: https://www.rosabees.com/
(828) 417-7212

We stumbled upon RosaBees in the River Arts District (RAD) after enjoying the street art, RAD Riverwalk, and Wedge Brewing.

A Hawaiian restaurant, Rosabees cooks up delicious poke, rice, and noodle dishes. If you are lucky, you might catch an Indonesian-inspired dish or Filipino lumpia.

Dine on delicacies like octopus, and pick from spicy seafood dishes. RosaBees also labels items containing gluten.

Pair your tropical meal with an equally refreshing dessert or cocktail. This is a great off-the-beaten-path RAD Asheville dining option, but we still recommend making reservations.

Along with dinner, RosaBees hosts a mouthwatering Sunday brunch.

After dining at RosaBees, head to one of Asheville’s hippest wineries, pleb urban winery. Or, drive a few minutes away to Bottle Riot, a gorgeous Asheville wine bar.

Lastly, you could catch an indie film at the Grail Moviehouse or shop at one of the artist’s studios.

20. Jerusalem Garden Cafe

78 Patton Ave, Asheville, NC 28801
Website: https://www.jerusalemgardencafe.com/
(828) 254-0255

Jerusalem Garden Cafe Downtown Asheville NC with grape leaves and salmon with hummus, meatballs, and pita
Grape leaves, hummus, and pita await the hungry foodie at Jerusalem Garden Cafe.

When the other downtown Asheville restaurants get slammed, it’s refreshing to sneak into Jerusalem Garden Cafe. The atmosphere is colorful, serene, and delicious.

Jerusalem Garden Cafe specializes in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine.

We actually love their Saturday and Sunday brunch, and they are also one of our favorite Asheville lunch spots.

Think falafels, hummus, salads, and gyros. They even serve brunch mimosas.

21. Asheville Proper

1 Page Ave #151, Asheville, NC 28801
Website: http://www.ashevilleproper.com/
(828) 505-0909

Asheville Proper Steak restaurant with white brunette male wearing a mask
Asheville Proper tomatoes side dish
Asheville Proper Restaurant downtown Asheville with green chairs, blue pillows, mirrors and hanging lights

One of the new downtown Asheville restaurants that opened in 2020, Asheville Proper is your proper steakhouse.

Located in the historic Grove Arcade, they invited us out for a pre-opening, media night dinner.

Um, speakeasy cocktails and delicious steaks with fresh sides?! Yes, please. You’ll love the trendy atmosphere and live-fire dining experience.

Afterward, head to one of Asheville’s coolest distilleries, Cultivated Cocktails. Similar to the nearby Battery Park Book Exchange, they serve literary cocktails.

22. Cedric’s Tavern or Stable Cafe

Biltmore Estate | 1 Lodge St, Asheville, NC 28803
Antler Hill Village & Winery or Biltmore House
Website: https://www.biltmore.com/things-to-do/dining/restaurants/
(828) 225-1320

We make no promises to be the ‘best’ Asheville locals. We love Biltmore in all its touristy glory.

Biltmore Estate’s history is captivating, and its food is delicious. In fact, we are annual passholders.

For fantastic Asheville restaurants, Cedric’s Tavern is a go-to. You will need a pass/ticket to enter Biltmore grounds, and we suggest reservations.

Cedric was the Vanderbilts’ beloved St. Bernard. The restaurant is an homage to him.

We devour their in-house pickles, Lusty Monk mustard, seasonal cocktails, fish and chips, and sandwiches.

Another delicious Biltmore property restaurant, Stable Cafe is also a must. When else can you say that you dined in George Vanderbilt’s horse stables?

We love Stable Cafe’s chicken and tuna salad paired with a cocktail. This is the perfect stop if you are spending all day touring Biltmore or looking for a fun kid-friendly Asheville restaurant.

Typically, you would want to visit the Biltmore House first, peruse the gardens, and then grab lunch at Stable Cafe.

Afterward, beeline it for the Biltmore Winery. Grab our suggested Biltmore itinerary here. You can learn more about Biltmore’s special winery tours here.

Stable Cafe is also perfect if you are looking for family-friendly things to do at Biltmore.

23. The Bull And Beggar

37 Paynes Way #007, Asheville, NC 28801
Website: http://www.thebullandbeggar.com/
(828) 575-9443

Head to the River Arts District for one of the absolute best Asheville restaurants and coziest ambiances. The Bull And Beggar is perfect for special occasions and fine dining.

If you are a meat lover, this RAD restaurant will speak volumes to you — pun intended with the book bar upfront. If you are a vegan or veggie, though, this might not be the absolute best choice for you.

The Bull & Beggar’s menu changes weekly, and Monday through Thursday, choose from hors d’oeuvres like charcuterie, oysters, and beef tartare.

Entrées tend to run seasonally with delicious pasta, duck, and steak served with gourmet veggie sides.

Parking is plentiful as The Bull And Beggar shares space with Bottle Riot — serving wine in glasses as big as your face — and one of Wedge Brewing’s locations.

We highly recommend making advanced dining reservations. The Bull And Beggar also has (heated) outdoor seating.

Plus, The Bull And Beggar also owns a juicy and curated burger joint in RAD, Baby Bull — keep reading…

24. Asheville Pizza and Brewing Company

675 Merrimon Ave, Asheville, NC 28804 | (828) 254-1281
77 Coxe Avenue, Asheville, NC 28801 | (828) 255-4077
1850 Hendersonville Road Suite A, Asheville, NC 28803 | (828) 277-5775
Website: https://www.ashevillebrewing.com/

Our go-to for pizza restaurants in Asheville, Asheville Pizza and Brewing is the best. They have multiple locations across North, South, and downtown Asheville.

If you are vegan and/or gluten-free, they offer vegan cheese and gluten-free pizza crust.

Along with pizza, don’t miss their delicious craft beer. We love their stout coconut blends and ambers.

Asheville Brewing has more bar food items like tater tots, sandwiches, and burgers.

The Merrimon location boasts of a movie theater where they play the oldies but goodies and now brand new movies. Find an arcade and play area for the littles too.

The Merrimon location has two free parking lots. For Coxe Ave., we either park across the street in the pay-lot or at the Coxe Ave. Garage.

25. Laughing Seed Cafe

40 Wall St, Asheville, NC 28801
Website: https://laughingseed.com/
(828) 252-3445

One of the first Asheville restaurants that we ever ate at before moving here, Laughing Seed Cafe is a delicious vegan and vegetarian downtown Asheville restaurant. They also have fantastic gluten-free options.

We enjoy Laughing Seed Cafe’s veggie burger, ‘Reuben,’ and vegan manicotti along with craft cocktails.

Laughing Seed Cafe is also the perfect Asheville takeout spot for the holidays — think pies, sauces, and meals for the entire family.

26. Chestnut

48 Biltmore Ave, Asheville, NC 28801
Website: https://www.chestnutasheville.com/
(828) 575-2667

For one of the more popular downtown Asheville restaurants on the fancier side — and where people go before concerts or for brunch — Chestnut is sleek and trendy.

Although they make delicious meals, nothing beats charcuterie and drinks at the bar. In fact, they feature one of the best charcuterie boards in Asheville.

Chestnut also serves Southern dishes with large portions of the meats. They use fresh, locally sourced ingredients and their food is simple yet delicious.

27. Chai Pani

22 Battery Park Avenue, Asheville, NC 28801
Website: http://www.chaipaniasheville.com/
(828) 254-4003

One of the best downtown Indian restaurants in Asheville and also a popular tourist spot, don’t miss Chai Pani. Chai Pani is best known for its Indian street snacks.

The New York TimesGQ Magazine, and New York Magazine have all featured this Asheville restaurant. Samantha Brown stopped by in 2022. You’ll immediately see why.

“Chai Pani” translates to “tea and water.” True to its namesake, you’ll find endless Indian snacks here. It’s impossible not to over-order, especially when you want to try it all.

We love Chai Pani’s okra fries, chicken pakoras, and simple rice and daal plate. The bhel puri and corn bhel will light up your tastebuds.

Chai Pani offers vegan and gluten-intolerance-friendly options along with delicious seasonal cocktails. Imagine a cardamon Old Fashioned or lavender lemonade with a splash of gin — yes; please!

To beat the crowds, we recommend visiting on non-peak days and seasons. Otherwise, you might be greeted by lines out the door. It’s worth it, though.

28. Tupelo Honey Cafe

12 College St, Asheville, NC 28801 | (828) 255-4863
1829 Hendersonville Rd, Asheville, NC 28803 | (828) 505-7676
Website: https://tupelohoneycafe.com/

Tupelo Honey Cafe in downtown Asheville with brunette white woman sitting in front of plate of eggs and avocado toast with a cup of coffee and  mimosa
Tupelo Honey Cafe in downtown Asheville is a fantastic option for boozy brunch with friends. Photo by Sarah Resta Photography.

Full disclosure that Tupelo Honey Cafe is certainly one of the most touristy downtown Asheville restaurants on this list (and a franchise), especially for brunch and lunch; we still love them. Make reservations…

Known for locally sourced ingredients, Tupelo Honey offers southern cuisine, brunch all day, and incredible cocktails. People love their chicken, and they are food-intolerance friendly.

Tupelo Honey is also super supportive of their local blogger community.

29. French Broad Chocolate Lounge

10 S. Pack Square, Asheville NC 28801  
Website: https://www.frenchbroadchocolates.com/
(828) 252-4181

Best Things To Do In Asheville French Broad Chocolate Lounge with brunette white female wearing a red hat and vest with a cup of vegan hot chocolate
Nothing beats a vegan hot chocolate and dessert from the French Broad Chocolate Factory.

If you are looking for coffee shops and the best dessert restaurants in Asheville, French Broad Chocolate Lounge is a chocolate lover’s dream.

This is also a big tourist spot but well worth the line out the door.

Find desserts, hot cocoa, truffles, bonbons, cakes, custards, cookies, coffee, brownies, booze, and ice cream. The Chocolate Lounge has lactose-free, gluten-free, and vegan options, too.

Don’t miss the great museums nearby, including the Asheville Art Museum. We also love Old Europe Pastries for treats on the run.

Looking for more dessert cafes and restaurants in Asheville? Explore our favorite AVL Donut Shops and all of the delicious chocolate shops.

30. Baby Bull Asheville

1 Roberts St, Asheville, NC 28801
Website: https://www.babybullavl.com/

Baby Bull Burgers Asheville NC with man in purple coat holding up a burger in gluten-free bun over basket on outdoor picnic table
For the best burger restaurants in Asheville, we love Baby Bull (gluten-free bun pictured).

As mentioned above, The Bull And Beggar also owns a burger joint, Baby Bull, just a few minutes away in the River Arts District.

This is a low-key, unassuming, and affordable burger joint. Like our other favorite, The Malvern in West Asheville, Baby Bull features the absolute best burgers in Asheville.

Baby Bull has a simple but delicious menu painted above the counter.

You cannot make substitutions, but Baby Bull will make dietary accommodations to leave off items (like cheese for those of us who are lactose-intolerant).

Baby Bull also serves up one of the most delicious gluten-free burger buns. Don’t miss “Burger Monday” where you can get a burger, fries, and beer or soda for $9.99.

While ‘special’ selections rotate, you might catch a lobster roll, fried fish, pork cutlet, or pressed pork sandwich. Sides include pork rinds, fries, and hushpuppies. Baby Bull also has a kid’s burger.

Please keep in mind that this isn’t a fancy Asheville restaurant but more of a local neighborhood and casual hub. Your burger comes in a basket with red and white checkered paper.

Even on a chilly day, it’s nice to sit outside on a picnic table on the patio overlooking the Instagrammable Asheville silo.

Baby Bull has a large parking lot along with street parking. Just look for the orange building with the big green “Earle Chesterfield Mill Co. Hatchery” on it, also known as the Hatchery Studios.

31. Apollo Flame Bistro

1025 Brevard Rd., Asheville, NC 28806 | (828) 665-0080
485 Hendersonville Rd., Asheville, NC 28803 | (828) 274-3582
Website: http://www.apolloflamebistro.net/

Apollo Flame Bistro Asheville Lunch tuna Sub with potato chips on white plate
Apollo Flame Bistro is our top stop for grinders, especially after a BRP hike.

One of our bi-weekly, go-to Asheville restaurants is a “hole-in-the-wall” Greek diner.

We are praying Apollo Flame Bistro doesn’t think that’s an insult because we live for their grinders after a visit to The NC Arboretum or Blue Ridge Parkway-Pisgah area for hiking.

It’s our personal tradition to grab grape leaves and grinders (subs) here after a day of exploring the mountains.

There are two Apollo Flame Bistro Asheville locations – one near the outlets and Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP) and one close to Biltmore.

Know that Apollo Flame is one of our most contentious Asheville restaurant recommendations. We get endless ‘thank you’s’ for this gem as well as a few “WTFs?!”

Not-To-Miss Places To Eat In Asheville, NC

We didn’t want to have a list of Asheville restaurants without listing just a few of the big ones that you’ll see on every foodie list.

Because these establishments land on pretty much every bloggers’ and tourism board’s “best restaurants in Asheville, NC” post, we wanted to give you different and sometimes more affordable and more bang for your buck AVL restaurants first.

That’s not to poo-poo on these delicious or even award-winning Foodtopia options, by any means. Do not come for us.

These are some of the literal best restaurants in Asheville. Above, there are quite a few big “tourist” Asheville restaurants, too.

When we say “Asheville,” though, everyone knows the below Asheville restaurants, which are equally fabulous dining options.

Famous Restaurants In Asheville

32. Cúrate – 13 Biltmore Ave, Asheville, NC 28801 – Spanish tapas and wine in a former 1927 bus depot. Anthony Bourdain ate here. Charcuterie and sherry are life.

33. Jargon – 715 Haywood Rd, Asheville, NC 28806 – Fancy American cuisine with a Southern twist in West Asheville. This quirky AVL restaurant is perfect if you love lava lamps.

34. White Duck Taco Shop – Locations across AVL – Unique taco flavors with local brews.

35. Buxton Hall BBQ– 32 Banks Ave, Asheville, NC 28801 – Whole-hog, famous East Carolina BBQ and sides.

36. The Corner Kitchen – 3 Boston Way, Asheville, NC 28803 – Located in Biltmore Village, an Asheville restaurant perfect for weekend brunch, lunch, or dinner, featuring farm-to-table American and Southern cuisine.

36. Biscuit Head – Multiple locations across AVL – Everything Southern biscuits. They also have a gluten-free and vegan biscuit option with gravy.

38. Farm Burger – 10 Patton Ave, Asheville, NC 28801 – Locally-supported burgers and fries with gluten-free and vegan options.

39. Vinnie’s ItalianMultiple locations across AVL – With lines out the door, Italian, Italian, Italian.

40. S&W Market – 56 Patton Ave, Asheville, NC 28801 – For new 2021 Asheville restaurants, we had to showcase AVL’s food hall. Find Highland Brewing on two floors while you snack on tacos, hot dogs, and fried chicken sandwiches. The Hop even has a stall here (with vegan ice cream options).

Delivery & Apps For These Asheville Restaurants

Highland Brewing Asheville NC with flight of blonde, stout, and amber beers, on a bar in front of Highland Brewing sign
Don’t miss Asheville’s newest food hall, S&W Market. Grab a flight from Highland Brewing.

What are the best ways to get delivery in Asheville if you don’t want to pick up your order or dine out? Of course, you can see if the restaurant has its own delivery service.

We and our friends are also big fans of phone apps like Takeout Central, Kickback AVL, and GrubHub. Grab our favorite Asheville takeout list here.

Looking For A Place To Stay In Asheville?

See our Top Places To Stay in Asheville.

Don’t miss out on these Asheville properties on Booking.com, too.

Save The Best Restaurants in Asheville, NC For Later

Best Asheville NC Restaurants with picture of meat charcuterie from Great Hall Bar at Grove Park Inn
Headed to Foodtopia? Save this list of mouthwatering restaurants in Asheville for later, and eat like a local with Uncorked Asheville.

Are you ready to tour the best Asheville restaurants?

Which of these restaurants in Asheville have you tried? Is there an Asheville restaurant that is your go-to or part of your AVL tradition?

Are there any Asheville restaurants that you don’t love as much? Let us know in the comments!

Foodie Posts You May Also Enjoy:

Complete Asheville Food & Drink Guide

Don’t Forget Coffee & Dessert:

Sugary Donuts
Top Coffee Shops
Dessert Bars
Chocolate Shops
Apple Orchards

Did We Make You Thirsty? Head Here:

Asheville Breweries
Top-Shelf Distilleries
Wineries & Vineyards
Trendy Wine Bars
Rooftop Bars
Cideries & Meaderies

Nearby Asheville Restaurant Guides:

Black Mountain
Weaverville
Hendersonville

Don’t forget to check out our best things to do in Asheville, too→

Linda M

Tuesday 17th of May 2022

Salsa's is our favorite Asheville restaurant! Never had a bad meal there! Delicious Caribbean fusion!

Christine

Wednesday 18th of May 2022

Yes! Thank you for sharing!

Sheryle J Augustine

Sunday 24th of April 2022

Gourmet Chip is one of our favorite lunch spots. Love the paninis and chips.

Christine

Thursday 28th of April 2022

Thanks so much for sharing!

Hannah Baumgardner

Monday 1st of November 2021

Y’all’s list is great! Everywhere we’ve been off of it as been wonderful, and we were struggling to find places we liked as much as our Triangle go-to’s. Thank you!

Christine

Wednesday 3rd of November 2021

Thanks so much, Hannah! I really appreciate the kind and awesome feedback. We still need to tour the Triangle restaurants.

Chris Harmon

Wednesday 27th of October 2021

You are completely wrong about The Madness. Burgers well done no matter how you ask for them, fries COLD. Sushi, gummy rice( I have worked a few rests, in this town including making sushi). This is a poorly operated sports bar at best. Gave the benefit of the doubt but 4 visits and 4 new managers? Yes, I was close, and don't care for Applebee's.

Christine

Tuesday 21st of December 2021

@Chris Harmon, Hey Chris. So, after receiving this comment, we decided to try out their new location -- and we did have a not-so-great experience. We also received more feedback and have decided to take The Madness off of this particular restaurant list for now; we want our readers to have largely positive dining experiences. Thank you for the feedback; we are bummed with their inconsistency and will keep an eye on it for our other posts. When they are on, they are on. When they are off, man, are they off (lately). You are correct, though: we cannot say they are the "best Asheville restaurant" as of today. Sigh. Times are hard right now so hopefully, they will grow and get better.

Christine

Thursday 28th of October 2021

Hey Chris, I am so sorry that you had multiple bad experiences there. We will keep our eye on it and reevaluate if needed as we've had the opposite experience(s) as you. We value our readers' opinions and definitely want to set up visitors for success. We will say that most restaurants are struggling right now (as I am sure you are aware) with staffing and such due to all that has happened in 2020 & 2021 -- including managerial staff changes, frequent closures, canceling of certain meal services, food shortages, etc. We've had some 2+ hour waits, wrong bills, wrong food, etc at our favorite restaurants in Asheville because of the shortages. That certainly doesn't justify your bad experience, but we've personally been more relaxed and empathic in our judgment this year (especially for the website). I appreciate the honest feedback. Thank you.

Sara V

Tuesday 21st of September 2021

I should add I'm looking for something outside of the "chain" restaturants like Texas Roadhouse and Outback :) LOL

Christine

Wednesday 22nd of September 2021

Haha -- I understand! Along with Asheville Proper, we've heard Bone & Broth is good, but we still have yet to go (I better make reservations soon!): https://boneandbrothasheville.com/menu/. They are located more toward North Asheville, outside of the walkable downtown area. They have your go-to fancy steaks and meats. I probably drive by them a few times a week!

We love Brazilian steakhouses, and we've also been meaning to try Brazilia Steakhouse https://brasiliasteakhouse.com/new-menu/. I hope that helps.