I recommend staying in downtown Asheville so you can easily walk to some of the city’s best restaurants. There are other good choices at the Biltmore Estate, in the River Arts District and on the west side also, but a car is required.
Table: A farm-to-table restaurant featuring locally sustainable food in a Southern tradition. I enjoyed the service, the casual atmosphere. I enjoyed a strawberry and cheese salad served on Japanese type mustard greens and a chicken cassoulet. They need, however, to watch the butter! 48 College St. They also have a fun bar upstairs, The Imperial Life Bar, serving small plates to a hipster crowd.
The Admiral: I loved having dinner with family at this restaurant with a creative, gourmet menu. It is located in an old building from the 1950’s with a warm, cozy supper club, dive bar atmosphere. It is at 400 Haywood Rd. Don’t miss it!
Double D’s Coffee & Desserts, at 41 Biltmore, this is a London double decker bus that has been converted into a coffee shop with outdoor as well as indoor seating. I really love the concept!! Also good for coffee and a snack are City Bakery Cafe, 60 Biltmore Ave., and Green Sage Coffee House and Cafe at 5 Broadway. The Soda Fountain at the Woolworth Walk, which was the old Woolworth’s soda fountain, is retro and fun.
Laurey’s Café: A café serving locally sourced products for breakfast, lunch and dinner. 67 Biltmore Ave.
Cucina 24: At 24 Wall St., the restaurant features local and seasonal ingredients from the farms of Western North Carolina. I had a really wonderful meal and experience sitting at the bar in the kitchen watching the chefs work. The menu features Crudo (raw), Verdure (veggies), Pesce (fish), Carne (meat) and Pizze items. I enjoyed the roasted beets with smoked honey, citrus chevre in a spring onion vinaigrette plus wonderful NC red grouper and scallops with faro, snap peas, asparagus and spring onion. So fresh and well-prepared!
Early Girl Eatery: At 8 Wall Street, this is a spot focusing on farm-t0-table, Appalachian food stressing local ingredients. It is perfect for breakfast. I recommend the Early Girl Benny consisting of grit cakes and country ham topped with tomato, spinach, poached eggs, tomato gravy and avocado, served with toast or a homemade biscuit. The chef is the brother of the chef who works at the well-known Hominy Grill in Charleston SC which is one of my favorite places there.
Curate Bar de Tapas: At 11 Biltmore Ave., one of my favorite meals was at this downtown Bar de Tapas. Co-owner Kate Button has received great reviews for her traditional Spanish tapas. According to the NY Times, “she opted out of a neuroscience doctoral program to learn the culinary trade with stints at El Bulli in Spain, Jean-Georges in New York and two José Andrés restaurants.” Make sure to add it to your list of places to eat in Asheville.
Battery Park Book Exchange & Champagne Bar: Located at 1 Page Ave., downtown, this is for oenophiles, bibliophiles and definitely Globalphiles. This is a used book store serving wines by the glass and coffee drinks. It is one of the most unique bookstores I have ever been in and probably the one with the best design and décor. What a great experience. I even bought a great book on the Art of Black Mountain College.
When visiting the Biltmore Estate there are several dining options. I enjoyed the Bistro which is an upscale restaurant located in the Antler Hill Village. The restaurant places a strong emphasis on a farm-to-table philosophy. Dishes include locally farmed mountain trout, locally sourced meats, local farmstead cheeses, and local honey. They also grow some ingredients in their own Kitchen Garden. There is also the Smokehouse, the Creamery and Cederic’s, which is more pub food, as other options while visiting the Estate.
Other restaurants downtown you might consider include Chestnut at 48 Biltmore and Posana at 1 Biltmore Ave., featuring American cuisine, and Sante Wine Bar and Tap Room in the Grove Arcade at 1 Page Ave. #152. Owned by the same group is Salsa’s at 6 Patton Avenue, Bomba at 1 SW Pack Square, Modesto Trattoria at 1 Page Ave. #138B and Chorizo Latin Fare next door at 1 Page Ave. #139. A friend loved Chorizo.
In the River Arts District there are several restaurants in the area where you can break for lunch while visiting the many studios and galleries:
Clingman Café: Stop in for coffee or tea at this River Arts District spot at 242 Clingman Ave.
12 Bones Smokehouse: At 5 Riverside Dr., this is a well-known BBQ restaurant featuring a large menu of salads, soups, plates and sides.
White Duck Taco Shop: Located in the Hatchery at #1 Roberts St., this is a casual taco spot that is great for lunch.
The Wedge Brewing Company: Known for its craft beers, it is located in the large Wedge Building at 37 Paynes Way. In the same building it the popular Bull and Beggar for European inspired Appalachian cuisine.
For my next trip, I want to definitely try Buxton Hall Barbecue, at 32 Banks Ave., South Slope in Asheville. It was one of Bon Appetit’s 10 Best New Restaurants 2016 and also One of the South’s Best New Restaurants by Southern Living Magazine.
Also one of the South’s Best New Restaurants by Southern Living is Local Provisions, featuring the cuisine of Appalachia.