Asheville has become an incredibly popular foodie destination, thanks to its unique take on traditional Southern cuisine. The city has embraced its regional farmland and local produce has become a standout feature of the city’s restaurant scene.

    You can find top eateries across the city from the commercial centre of Downtown to the historic Biltmore Village. Even so, West Asheville has emerged as one of the city’s newest culinary centres, home to local favourites such as The Admiral and Sunny Point Café. You won’t just find Southern-style cuisine either – expect a variety of international options, from Asian fusion to Spanish. No matter your tastes, there’s no shortage of great local restaurants to try in Asheville.

    1

    Sunny Point Café

    A farm-to-table favourite serving American comfort food

    • Food

    Sunny Point Café is a popular American restaurant serving classic comfort food in West Asheville. It’s become a local institution that’s best known for its all-day breakfast menu.

    The family-owned café serves up Southern-inspired meals, like shrimps and grits, as well as healthier options like breakfast salads. If you find yourself here later in the day, you can enjoy something from its extensive drinks list with cocktails, beer and wine available. Choose to sit indoors or out under a covered patio, though it can be hard to find a spare seat in the mornings.

    Location: 626 Haywood Rd, Asheville, NC 28806, USA

    Open: Wednesday–Saturday from 9 am to 8 pm, Sunday–Tuesday from 9 am to 2 pm

    Phone: +1 828-252-0055

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    2

    12 Bones Smokehouse

    One of the best barbeque restaurants in the city

    • Food

    12 Bones Smokehouse is one of the best restaurants in the River Arts District of Asheville. It has more recently gained national attention after serving the Obamas several times, but locals have raved about this barbeque eatery for years.

    It’s a no-frills establishment surrounded by warehouses and artist studios, making it a perfect casual dining option. Its meat is slowly smoked for hours over selected hardwoods before being served up with delicious sauces. Whether you’re craving pulled pork to baby back ribs, all are best paired with your choice of sides. The queues can be lengthy from 11 am onwards but the food is worth the wait.

    Location: 5 Foundy St Ste 10, Asheville, NC 28801, USA

    Open: Monday–Friday from 11.30 am to 6.30 pm (closed on Saturdays and Sundays)

    Phone: +1 828-253-4499

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    photo by Ron Cogswell (CC BY 2.0) modified

    3

    Cúrate

    Taste the Spanish tapas at this much-celebrated downtown restaurant

    • Food

    Cúrate is a Spanish restaurant and bar housed in a former 1927 bus depot in the city centre. Led by Chef Katie Button, who has trained in Catalonia and New York, the restaurant is one of the most celebrated culinary ventures in Asheville.

    Cúrate’s menu is dominated by tapas of cured meats and cheeses, as well as Spanish favourites like paella and cochinillo (suckling pig). The drinks menu is also worth a mention, offering a curated list of sherry, vermouth, cider and all-Spanish wines. Seats fill quickly at peak times so it’s worth booking ahead for this wildly popular place.

    Location: 13 Biltmore Ave, Asheville, NC 28801, USA

    Open: Tuesday–Friday from 5 pm to 10 pm, Saturday–Sunday from 11 am to 3 pm and from 5 pm to 10 pm

    Phone: +1 828-239-2946

    Map
    4

    Cucina 24

    A romantic Italian restaurant with a Southern touch

    • Food

    Cucina 24 is an upscale Italian restaurant in the commercial heart of Downtown Asheville. The polished modern interior and Mediterranean-inspired menu have made it a local's top choice for romantic date nights. 

    The ever-changing menu features classic Italian dishes and innovative fusion meals based on regional produce. The real highlight is the homemade pasta, which you can watch being made as you sit at the glass-front bar. Cucina 24 is also a popular place to sit for a drink, with a great mixologist serving outstanding cocktails. The place usually fills up fast from around 5 pm, so it’s best to arrive early.

    Location: 24 Wall St, Asheville, NC 28801, USA

    Open: Tuesday–Saturday from 4 pm to 8 pm (closed on Sundays and Mondays)

    Phone: +1 828-254-6170

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    5

    The Market Place

    A long-standing favourite for locally sourced cuisine

    • Food

    The Market Place has been a favourite among locals since it opened in Downtown Asheville in 1979. It’s recognised for its farm-to-table approach, serving seasonal produce grown within a hundred-mile radius of the city.

    The menu changes with the seasons, though you can find a contemporary mix of European and American inspired cuisine. As well as the fine food, the Market Place offers an extensive wine and cocktail list. It’s a great option for a casual dinner or weekend lunch with a reasonably priced menu, though reservations are recommended.

    Location: 20 Wall St, Asheville, NC 28801, USA

    Open: Tuesday–Thursday from 5 pm to 9.30 pm, Friday from 5 pm to 10 pm, Saturday from 10.30 am to 2.30 pm and from 5 pm to 10.30 pm, Sunday from 10.30 am to 2.30 pm

    Phone: +1 828-252-4162

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    6

    Gan Shan West

    An Asian fusion restaurant in a casual setting

    • Food

    Gan Shan West provides an Asian-fusion flair to Asheville’s food scene. It’s located in West Asheville and offers a casual dining experience. Chef and owner, Patrick O’Cain is an Asheville native and focuses on locally sourced ingredients for his otherwise Asian-inspired menu.

    Dishes are mostly noodle-based, with ramen being its signature dish. You can also find affordable bites to eat, such as dumplings and chicken wings, making it an excellent place for group meals. If you prefer a night-in, all dishes in Gan Shan West are offered as takeaway options too.

    Location: 285 Haywood Rd, Asheville, NC 28806, USA

    Open: Monday–Saturday from 4 pm to 9 pm (closed on Sundays)

    Phone: +1 828-417-7402

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    7

    The Admiral

    An unassuming yet delicious fine dining establishment

    • Food

    The Admiral in West Asheville is a fine-dining experience that some regard as the best in the city. The restaurant and bar occupy an unassuming cinderblock building. Behind the rough exterior, you’ll find an everchanging global menu of high-class food in a chic interior setting.

    The modern menu changes weekly, but local favourites include the beef tartare, trout fillet, and grilled pork. The Admiral also boasts a long wine list and delightful cocktails. Even if it’s only open for dinner 4 nights a week, it's one of the city's best options for a special occasion.

    Location: 400 Haywood Rd, Asheville, NC 28806, USA

    Open: Thursday–Sunday from 5 pm to 10 pm (closed from Mondays to Wednesdays)

    Phone: +1 828-252-2541

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    8

    White Duck Taco Shop

    A no-frills, local favourite taqueria in the River Arts District

    • Food

    The White Duck Taco Shop is a taqueria outpost in the River Arts District of Asheville. The affordable and yet innovative and delicious taco shop has become a popular local haunt. Since it first opened in 2011, additional branches have been set up in other locations around the city.

    There's often a long queue but you can find plenty of picnic tables in a picturesque waterfront position. There are usually around 12 different tacos on offer, with varieties like Bangkok shrimp and lamb gyros. It also has house-made sangria and local craft beers to pair with your tacos.

    Location: 388 Riverside Dr, Asheville, NC 28801, USA

    Open: Thursday–Tuesday from 11.30 am to 9 pm (closed on Wednesdays)

    Phone: +1 828-254-1398

    Map
    9

    Corner Kitchen

    A modern menu in a historic Victorian cottage

    • Food

    Corner Kitchen occupies a traditional Victorian cottage in the historic Biltmore Village. It’s a cosy restaurant, with warming fireplaces and a patio that’s excellent for any time of the day.

    Its innovative menu changes frequently, but you’ll find staples and local favourites such as pecan-crusted trout, corn beef hash breakfast, and bread pudding. Most of the ingredients are sourced locally and meals are simple yet flavoursome. Since hosting the Obamas in 2010, Corner Kitchen has become one of the most popular venues in Biltmore Village. Reservations are recommended, especially on weekends.

    Location: 3 Boston Way, Asheville, NC 28803, USA

    Open: Monday–Friday from 7.30 am until late, Saturday–Sunday from 9 am to 3 pm

    Phone: +1 828-274-2439

    Map
    10

    Tupelo Honey Cafe

    A brunch institution with Southern comfort food

    • Food

    Tupelo Honey Café is well-known for its authentic Southern dishes that emphasise traditional, home-cooked flavours. It offers an excellent Asheville dining experience right in the middle of Downtown.

    The café has become a local favourite for a lazy weekend brunch. Some of its signature meals include sweet potato pancakes, New Orleans-style French toast, and poached eggs with lemon hollandaise sauce. Due to high demand, Tupelo Honey Café also operates additional branches south of the city and in other cities across the USA. The original restaurant in Downtown Asheville is widely considered the best.

    Location: 12 College St, Asheville, NC 28801, USA

    Open: Monday–Friday from 11 am to 9 pm, Saturday–Sunday from 10 am to 9 pm

    Phone: +1 828-255-4863

    Map
    Elisha Donkin | Contributing Writer

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