19 Best Restaurants In Asheville From Locals (2024)

Pinterest Hidden Image

From locals, dine at the best restaurants in Asheville, including tourist hot spots, favorite local haunts, cafes, wine bars, and more. Enjoy James Beard-awarding restaurants alongside budget-friendly, casual eats perfect for the family or Fido.

Best Asheville Restaurants featured image with Plant cheese plate

This post may contain affiliate links that earn us a commission at no extra cost to you. If you love these free guides, support Uncorked Asheville with a small tip.

Best Asheville Restaurants You Won’t Forget

Living in Asheville for 5 years, we eat out multiple times a week, including takeout and delivery. We are foodie pros – think hundreds of Western North Carolina restaurants – and are a half-Celiac household. We’ve eaten at all of these restaurants and update this guide frequently. All photos are our own and what we ordered. Be sure to read our articles for where to eat in Asheville, NC, broken down by cuisine, neighborhood, and more.

RosaBees

  • Off-the-beaten-path Polynesian
  • Reservations: Recommended; Resy
  • Neighborhood: River Arts District
  • Price Range: $15 – $30
  • Cuisine: Hawaiian
  • Contact: 27 Foundy Street, Suite #20, Asheville, NC 28801 | (828) 417-7212

RosaBees, an unforgettable dining choice nestled in the River Arts District, is one of the best places to eat in Asheville if you crave poke and Polynesian cuisine. This Hawaiian gem features delicious fish, rice, noodle dishes, and Indonesian and Filipino-inspired specials. Devour octopus and spicy seafood entrees complemented by tropical desserts and cocktails.

I live for the scallops, coconut rice, and coconut-infused Four Roses bourbon. Even better, brunch is back on the menu, and I crave their banana bread French toast. Fall in love with the vibrant interior. Afterward, explore the hipster arts scene, and visit one of the coolest Asheville-area wineries, pleb urban winery. Marquee is right there too.

Plant

Cheese Plate at PlantPin
  • Date night, dedicated vegan restaurant
  • Reservations: Highly recommended; Resy
  • Neighborhood: North Asheville
  • Price Range: $14 – $30
  • Cuisine: Vegan
  • Contact: 165 Merrimon Avenue, Asheville, NC 28801 | (828) 258-7500

Plant is our top choice for special occasions and date nights, renowned as one of the best vegan restaurants in Asheville – and now a James Beard Award semifinalist. Their menu features seasonal and organic options like beets, ramen, ravioli, veggie lasagna, Brussels, curries, and nachos. We love sitting on the outside patio with fresh cocktails and endless small plates. I live for their cheese plate and roasted beets, and Tom will order anything with that melty vegan queso. Discover even more dairy-free spots across Asheville.

ELDR

  • Charming ambiance perfect for lunch or weekend brunch
  • Reservations: Recommended; OpenTable
  • Neighborhood: North Asheville/Grove
  • Price Range: $14 – $38
  • Cuisine: American
  • Contact: 111 Grovewood Rd, Asheville, NC 28804 | (828) 407-1400

One of the best Asheville restaurants across from the Grove Park Inn, ELDR promises a fairy-tale dining experience with indoor and outdoor seating and a small bar. Enjoy breakfast, weekend brunch, lunch, and dinner, featuring marinated olives, charcuterie, burgers, pasta, sandwiches, and more. Dinner includes hearty pasta dishes, duck, pork chops, and fish. I love to meet up with friends for coffee, salads, cocktails, and brunch. Tom especially appreciates the Oban whisky for his Old Fashioneds paired with a burger with GF bread.

Thai Pearl

Ginger soup at Thai PearlPin
  • Delicious neighborhood restaurant
  • Reservations: None
  • Neighborhood: West Asheville
  • Price Range: $8 – $19
  • Cuisine: Asian
  • Contact: 747 Haywood Road Asheville, NC 28806 | (828) 412-5905

A favorite of Tom’s, Thai Pearl serves up the best Thai food in Asheville. Located between two popular West Asheville restaurants, Nine Mile and Jargon, select from curries, rice dishes, stir-fries, soups, Thai salads, and fresh oysters. We enjoy Chef May’s Thai onion rings, ginger soup, green papaya salad, Pad Thai, and Thai Basil dishes. Chef May, who trained at The Royal Palace in Bangkok and alongside a Michelin Star Chef in Australia, brings a unique touch to the cuisine. Takeout from Thai Pearl is never a bad idea either.

Leo’s House Of Thirst

  • Cozy wine bar with deliciously paired tapas under the trees
  • Reservations: None
  • Neighborhood: West Asheville
  • Price Range: $12 – $34
  • Cuisine: Wine & Tapas
  • Contact: 1055 Haywood Rd, Asheville, NC 28806 | (828) 505-8017

A fantastic wine bar serving up some of the best food in Asheville, Leo’s House of Thirst is our go-to for casual date nights, especially to satiate our tapas cravings. Peruse an impressive wine selection by the glass, half carafe, or bottle, including unique orange and pink wines. The menu features handhelds, pasta, beets, fish, and charcuterie. Sit outside on the garden patio with your dog or enjoy their charming indoor bar and tables. I need their olives, vegan soup, and anything raw from the sea.

Bone & Broth

Christine with mussels at Bone & BrothPin
  • Elevated Southern classics
  • Reservations: Highly recommended; Resy
  • Neighborhood: North Asheville
  • Price Range: $15 – $54
  • Cuisine: Meat lovers
  • Contact: 94 Charlotte St, Asheville, NC 28801 | (828) 505-2849

North Asheville houses some of the best restaurants like Bone & Broth. This classy tavern is for meat lovers, sourcing from local butchery, The Chop Shop. It’s one of my favorite soup spots for bone broth. Choose from casual handhelds like burgers and grilled chicken sandwiches or go all out with pork belly, steaks, and roasted chicken.

We celebrate anniversaries/milestones here and appreciate the locally supported partners. I usually go for a burger, mussels, and salmon on fresh salad paired with a bottle of wine or house-infused liquor cocktail. Walk off your meal in the gorgeous historic Chestnut Street area filled with Little Free Libraries.

Gypsy Queen Cuisine

Rice Bowl at Gypsy Queen CuisinePin
  • Lebanese street food with plentiful vegan, veggie, and GF options
  • Reservations: None
  • Neighborhood: West Asheville
  • Price Range: $7 – $17
  • Cuisine: Mediterranean/Lebanese
  • Contact: 807 Patton Ave, Asheville, NC 28806 | (828) 575-2758

One of the best restaurants in Asheville that rarely makes others’ lists, Gypsy Queen Cuisine (GQC) is the city’s best-kept secret for delicious Mediterranean & Lebanese street food. Find mezze options, including grape leaves, hummus, and our favorite, fried Brussels sprouts and cauliflower. For entrees, savor rice bowls, gyros, platters, and wraps. GQC is perfect for lunch and our go-to for takeout.

Edison (Grove Park Inn)

  • Historic rooftop restaurant with stunning sunset mountain views
  • Reservations: Recommended; OpenTable
  • Neighborhood: North Asheville/Grove Park
  • Price Range: $12 – $32
  • Cuisine: American
  • Contact: 290 Macon Ave, Asheville, NC 28804 | (800) 438-580

We frequent Edison at The Omni Grove Park Inn for its stunning sunset views over the Blue Ridge Mountains. This is a must-visit Asheville experience. It’s also one of our favorite rooftop restaurants. While we suggest making reservations for sunset (check times!), you could also opt for a delicious lunch with seasonal craft cocktails, local beers, and a menu featuring sandwiches, charcuterie, soups, wings, Thai lettuce wraps, and salads. For a high-end dining experience, try Sunset Terrace for delectable scallops and steak. In the winter, don’t miss the gingerbread house exhibition.

Nine Mile

Pasta at Nine MilePin
  • Best food intolerance-friendly restaurant
  • Reservations: None
  • Neighborhoods: Montford; West & South AVL
  • Price Range: $12 – $32
  • Cuisine: Caribbean-inspired
  • Contact: Multiple Asheville locations; see their website

We adore Nine Mile’s Montford location, a Caribbean-inspired Asheville restaurant, which recently started brewing beer. Find Cajun chicken, salmon over pasta, and coconut curry shrimp. I almost always order the Irie Ites, and Tom leans towards their Back-A-Yard Bowl. Nine Mile is another one of our top date-night restaurants around.

Make it a romantic date night: If you visit Nine Mile’s Historic Montford location, walk the neighborhood. Pass gorgeous historic homes, Little Free Libraries, Montford’s famous B&Bs, and Montford Park. Then, if it is May through October, watch free Shakespeare in the Park.

Posana Restaurant

Grilled octopus at PosanaPin
  • Dedicated gluten-free kitchen and fine dining; pet menu
  • Reservations: Recommended; OpenTable
  • Neighborhood: Downtown AVL
  • Price Range: $12 – $48
  • Cuisine: Contemporary American
  • Contact: 1 Biltmore Ave, Asheville, NC 28801 | (828) 505-3969

Posana stands out as one of Asheville’s best restaurants for gluten-free diners, promising a dedicated gluten-free kitchen for Celiacs (Tom!) with a menu featuring local and contemporary American cuisine. Enjoy roasted beets, grilled chicken, octopus, gnocchi, pork loin, and steak. Menus change seasonally, and they even have one for your pooch, who is welcome on the outdoor patio overlooking Downtown’s Pack Square. Discover more delicious restaurants in Downtown Asheville.

Haywood Common

  • Pet & family-friendly healthy eats with a shared patio/beer bar
  • Reservations: None
  • Neighborhood: West Asheville
  • Price Range: $12 – $18
  • Cuisine: American
  • Contact: 507 Haywood Rd, Asheville, NC 28806 | (828) 575-2542

Haywood Common is one of the best places to eat in Asheville for families, pet-friendly dining, and casual meals, especially with that shared The Whale patio (beer!). We dine here more than anywhere else. Enjoy a healthy menu featuring bowls, salads, sandwiches, and the best cocktails in town. Don’t miss the fantastic weekend brunch with options like chicken biscuits, avocado toast, and breakfast hash. I always need a handcrafted cocktail and cold brew with tators and poke. Sorry, not sorry

Gemelli Restaurant

Tom with egg dish at GemelliPin
  • Casual Italian eatery perfect for gluten-sensitive diners
  • Reservations: Recommended for dinner; Resy
  • Neighborhood: West/North Asheville
  • Price Range: $12 – $25
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Contact: 70 Westgate Pkwy, Asheville, NC 28806 | (828) 565-6111

Diners cannot go wrong at any of Chef Cerrato’s delicious restaurants in Asheville, including Gemelli, Strada, and Social Lounge. Gemelli’s menu caters to breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner, filled with Italian treats. I love the vegan risotto, calamari, and pasta, almost always ordering a London Fog latte. It’s the perfect place to meet up with friends over coffee and pastries. We shop at Earth Fare afterward.

Baby Bull

Tom with burger at Baby BullPin
  • Local burger joint in town next to the Asheville silo
  • Reservations: None
  • Neighborhood: River Arts District
  • Price Range: $13 – $20
  • Cuisine: American/Burgers
  • Contact: 1 Roberts St, Asheville, NC 28801 | No phone number

Owned by the famous Bull and Beggar and overlooking the Asheville silo (no fun slogan for a while now, boooo), Baby Bull is a low-key, affordable burger joint in the River Arts District. Serving up the best burgers in Asheville, catch “Burger Monday” deals for a burger, fries, and a drink. Specials may include lobster rolls and a pork cutlet or pressed pork sandwich. I love Baby Bull on a gorgeous spring day and hope they have a fried fish sandwich special.

Jettie Rae’s Oyster House

  • New England-style seafood
  • Reservations: Recommend; Resy
  • Neighborhood: North Asheville
  • Price Range: $12 – $36
  • Cuisine: Seafood
  • Contact: 143 Charlotte St, Asheville, NC 28801 | (828) 505-4499

For New England-style fish lovers in a renovated Gulf Gas Station, Jettie Rae’s is a must-visit among the best restaurants in Asheville for seafood. Find a menu filled with oysters, shrimp cocktail, mussels, and clams, complemented by a creative and spicy cocktail list. They boast a raw bar and find non-seafood options like burgers and salads. I go here when I need my fried clam fix.

The Bush Farmhouse (Black Mountain)

  • Unique restaurant with farm animals
  • Reservations: Suggested for dinner; Resy
  • Neighborhood: Black Mountain
  • Price Range: $12 – $48
  • Cuisine: South African
  • Contact: 151 S Ridgeway Ave, Black Mountain, NC 28711 | (828) 357-5367

Explore Black Mountain’s delicious restaurants, just 25 minutes from Asheville, offering a quieter yet equally exceptional dining experience. The Bush Farmhouse has the most unique setting with farm animals, a fantastic South African wine list, and a diverse menu featuring oxtail soup (my favorite!), fish (Tom’s pick), spare ribs, sausage rolls, curries, and wings.

Chai Pani

We didn’t want to have a list of the best Asheville restaurants without naming a few of the big ones. They are also top Asheville tourist attractions.

  • James Beard-award winning Indian street food
  • Reservations: None
  • Neighborhood: Downtown Asheville/South Slope
  • Price Range: $10 – $18
  • Cuisine: Indian
  • Contact: 32 Banks Ave, Asheville, NC 28801 | (828) 254-4003

It’s no secret that Chai Pani is one of the best Downtown Indian restaurants in Asheville, with Chef Meherwan Irani winning a James Beard Award. Featured in The New York Times, GQ Magazine, and New York Magazine, with a visit from Samantha Brown, Chai Pani offers an array of Indian snacks. Tom and I most enjoy their okra fries, chicken pakoras, rice, daal, bhel puri, and corn bhel. The new South Slope space is on fire (it’s an experience!), along with its handcrafted cocktails and unique, tasty dishes.

12 Bones Smokehouse

Christine’s dad with BBQ platter at 12 BonesPin
  • Dine like the Obamas with Southern comfort food
  • Reservations: None
  • Neighborhood: South Asheville (brewery) & RAD
  • Price Range: $9 – $35
  • Cuisine: BBQ
  • Contact: See their website

North Carolina is famous for its BBQ, and we have multiple favorite BBQ restaurants in Asheville, including Luella’s Bar-B-Que and 12 Bones. 12 Bones River is famous because the Obamas dined here, and their South location houses their brewery with a gorgeous Anthony Bourdain mural painted by Gus Cutty. We always order 12 Bones pulled pork sandwiches, huge BBQ platters, and ribs. Their “just a taste” option is perfect for kids. Discover even more of the best breweries the city has to offer. We take all of our out-of-town guests here, including my parents.

Cúrate

  • James Beard-award winning Spanish tapas & wine bar in a former 1927 bus depot
  • Reservations: Strongly recommended; Resy
  • Neighborhood: Downtown Asheville
  • Price Range: $18 – $50
  • Cuisine: Spanish
  • Contact: 3 Biltmore Ave, Asheville, NC 28801 | (828) 239-2946

Dine at Cúrate, Asheville’s most famous restaurant where both Anthony Bourdain and Gordon Ramsay ate. Chef Katie Button and owner Felix Meana, former José Andrés associates, manage this spot. Enjoy decadent Spanish tapas and sherry. I love charcuterie with a shoulder cut of the jamon iberico, anything octopus, and delicious skewered meats. Ask about a vegan/GF dessert that isn’t always listed on the menu. La Bodega, their wine bar, also offers a more casual and budget-friendly experience, if you can’t get into Cúrate.

Neng Jr.’s

  • James Beard finalist, intimate Filipinx restaurant
  • Reservations: Highly recommended; Resy
  • Neighborhood: West Asheville
  • Price Range: $15 – $30
  • Cuisine: Filipinx & Southern fusion
  • Contact: 701 Haywood Rd Ste 102, Asheville, NC 28806 (Entrance in the back alley) | (828) 552-3880

For the best food in Asheville, Neng Jr.’s is making quite the splash. Head to the back alley for Filipinx cuisine with a Southern twist in this limited-seating West Asheville restaurant. Staff will explain the menu to you, and choose from sharables and larger entrees. With a frequently changing menu, we enjoy their salty oysters with quail eggs, duck simmering in a rich gravy, and veggies covered in peanut butter and coconut sauce. Discover more mouthwatering Asian restaurants across Asheville.

Our Top 5 Places To Eat As Locals

If we had to pick our top 5 places to eat in Asheville as locals, we’d start with:

  • Nine Mile
  • Plant
  • Haywood Common
  • Bone & Broth
  • Gemelli
Christine with soup at Bone and BrothPin

More Famous Places To Eat In Asheville

Of course, you may have also heard these names…

A few more notable restaurants in Asheville that everyone talks about include:

  • Biscuit Head – Multiple locations across AVL – Everything Southern biscuits.
  • Benne On Eagle – 35 Eagle St, Asheville, NC 28801 – Appalachian fare in Asheville’s historic neighborhood, The Block. Go for Sunday brunch.
  • Sunny Point Cafe – 626 Haywood Rd, Asheville, NC 28806 – One of the top restaurants for breakfast in West Asheville (shrimp and grits) and casual eats through lunchtime.
  • White Duck Taco – Multiple locations across AVL – Eclectic flavors and wildly popular tacos.
  • French Broad Chocolates – Lounge Downtown & RAD Chocolate Factory – Delicious handcrafted bonbons, vegan hot chocolate, and chocolate tours at the factory.
  • Early Girl Eatery – Multiple locations – Casual but busy cafe serving all-day breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
  • Tupelo Honey Cafe – Multiple locations – One of the most touristy Downtown Asheville restaurants, come for the fried chicken and waffles, famous fried green tomatoes, and locally sourced ingredients.
  • Corner Kitchen – 3 Boston Way, Asheville, NC 28803 – A popular Biltmore Village restaurant perfect for weekend brunch, lunch, or dinner, featuring farm-to-table American and Southern cuisine.
  • Jerusalem Garden Cafe – 78 Patton Ave, Asheville, NC 28801 – Serene spot with a colorful ambiance and delicious Mediterranean/Middle Eastern cuisine.
Christine and Tom selfiePin

Christine Frascarelli

Christine (pronouns: she/her) is the owner and lead writer of Uncorked Asheville. After falling in love with those gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains, Christine and her husband Tom decided to call Asheville, North Carolina home. When her pointy Italian nose isn’t stuck in a book, Christine is adopting all of the kitties, getting lost in the forest, and drinking an ESB. She has a BA in English and History from Smith College, her MLIS from USF-Tampa, and is a former U.S. Fulbright Scholar - Indonesia. Christine also owns The Uncorked Librarian LLC with books and movies to inspire travel.

33 Comments

  1. I thought Thai Pearl was closing. I dearly love the place. can you update us?

  2. I purchased gift certificates to Deep South Kitchen
    707 Merrimon Ave
    They are “temporarily closed”.
    Do you have any information about them reopening or folding?
    Thank you.

    1. Hey Saul, I keep hearing this from folks, but unfortunately, I have no insider information yet. I’m so sorry.

    1. Hey Candice, I know I emailed you since the website was trapped in a redesign for the past two weeks. However, I wanted to post your comment officially now that we are back in case others have the same question. Menus tend to change quite a bit, but you might want to check Bone & Broth, Edison at the Grove Park Inn, The Market Place, Bouchon, and Jettie Rae’s for salmon. Enjoy!

  3. I’m looking for a Chinese restaurant where the chef cooks the meal in front of you and they put on a little show while they are cooking

    1. Thanks for sharing your favorite! We are always changing up our lists – and trying and re-trying places.

  4. I love getting your in-depth research into Asheville food and happenings. As new transplants, we are still exploring. We recently found Mountain Madre downtown on Walnut. They have delicious Mexican food and great Margaritas. It’s convenient for a meal before a show at NC Theater. I haven’t seen that on your list unless i missed it. Keep up the good work!

    1. Thanks, Kate! We really appreciate the kind words and are so glad that you love Mountain Madre! We hope you’ve caught some good shows.

  5. Curate is our number one choice, followed by jettie Ray’s oyster house, posanas, wicked weed.. that’s enough to keep us satisfied and a short trip from home.

  6. Zambra – great atmosphere and great selection of tapas and entrees. A go to for us when in town for a weekend.

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

  8. 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!

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

    1. 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.

  9. Any recommendations for a great steakhouse? We are coming in next month for our 15 year annivesary and trying to pick some MUST TRY places to grab an appetizer and drink and a few nice dinner spots. Your list is super helpful but I didn’t see any steakhouses mentioned. Any suggestions

    1. Hey Sara,

      On this restaurant list, Asheville Proper is somewhat newer and a steakhouse located in the Grove Arcade. I highly suggest making advanced recommendations. They would be my pick: http://www.ashevilleproper.com/. They are small, cozy but modern, and we love that burning fire.

      This is much more expensive, but we also enjoy Sunset Terrace at the Omni Grove Park Inn (catch a brilliant sunset — and definitely make reservations as far out as you can here): https://www.omnihotels.com/hotels/asheville-grove-park/dining/sunset-terrace.

      You can find Sunset Terrace/Edison/Grove Park Inn briefly mentioned on this list with pictures of the sunsets. Sunset Terrace has seafood, steaks, etc. Although a touristy resort, the Grove Park Inn is beautiful. As locals, we frequent it for sunsets, drinks, and food.

  10. Hi Christine! Love this page and your colorful and clear descriptions! As an Asheville restaurant expert, I am wondering if you’d be willing to recommend a spot for a special occasion for a group of 10. While I’m a big fan of the creativity in many of the restaurants above, I’m looking for something with a traditional menu, quiet atmosphere, but not too stuffy or fancy for a family anniversary dinner… private space would be nice but not required and while price is not really an issue, I think our honorees would feel more comfortable in a sub $30 entree space. Any tips you have would be great! Thanks.

    1. Hi Amanda! Thanks so much. Personally, I love celebrations at the Grove Park Inn — and I’d look into Edison. They have a lighter menu than Sunset Terrace, great cocktails, sunset views, and different seating options. That budget would also hit Sunset Terrace, though, which is equally nice and outside on the covered patio. Their menu is more traditional and while fancier, not stuffy.

  11. Hi there! I am travelling to Asheville for New Year’s and I had planned to go to dinner at the Red Stag Grille… Curious if you have been! I haven’t found it on any lists as a must go, but thought it looked like such a neat place! I would love to have your insight!

    1. Hey! The Grand Bohemian is located in a great spot and looks beautiful, but we have yet to eat at The Red Stag Grille. We are actually going to be out that way this coming week. If we need some food, I’ll try to dip in and let you know! The Red Stag has been on my to-try list.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *