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Blue table with plates of Indian food.
Indian snacks at Chai Pani.
Chai Pani

18 Essential Restaurants in Asheville, North Carolina

From crispy kale pakoras to barbecue plates

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Indian snacks at Chai Pani.
| Chai Pani

Asheville’s creative vibe and collaborative spirit have fueled the rapid growth of a thriving, eclectic restaurant scene. The small mountain city has a remarkably large pool of talented chefs who source inspiration — as well as market-fresh ingredients — from Western North Carolina’s tight-knit network of innovative farmers, foragers, and food artisans. Appalachian fare, Southern comfort food, and whole-hog barbecue mingle with flavors from Asia, Europe, the Americas, the Middle East, and beyond, making for a riot of restaurant choices at meal time.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; the latest data about the delta variant indicates that it may pose a low-to-moderate risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial transmission. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Nine Mile

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233 Montford Ave
Asheville, NC 28801
(828) 505-3121
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Laid-back vibes, bountiful portions, and zesty, veggie-forward dishes define the Caribbean-inspired Nine Mile, named after the place in Jamaica where Bob Marley was born. Chicken, locally raised trout, and wild-caught tuna, mahi mahi and other seafood ground the rambling menu of massive salads and pasta- and rice-based offerings. But fresh vegetables and flavor-packed dressings and sauces are the real stars. Almost everything on the menu can be made vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and/or dairy-free. For some gingery heat, try the signature Nine Mile with a rainbow of vegetables and either jerk chicken or tofu over linguini or basmati rice. The original location in Asheville’s Montford neighborhood is loaded with wonky charm, but the West and South Asheville restaurants share the same menu and have more ample seating.

Jamaican food on a table
Plates at Nine Mile
Nine Mile/Facebook

2. Sovereign Remedies

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29 N Market St #105
Asheville, NC 28801
(828) 919-9518
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With its stately arched windows, refined hodgepodge of vintage furnishings, and pleasant tangle of potted plants, Sovereign Remedies feels simultaneously posh and convivial. The imaginative, seasonal cocktails often leverage local fruit and herbs, and the food menus wander playfully around the globe, showcasing whatever’s currently being harvested at nearby farms or brought in fresh from the North Carolina coast. Try a local grass-fed beef tartare, white anchovy Caesar, hand-cut pasta with local mushrooms or the popular Make Space Frites topped either with duck poutine or guajillo ketchup, fermented peppers, and chive aioli.

Plates at Sovereign Remedies
Plates at Sovereign Remedies
Sovereign Remedies/Facebook

3. Chai Pani

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22 Battery Park Ave
Asheville, NC 28801
(828) 254-4003
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Chef Meherwan Irani’s lighthearted homage to Indian street food has long been beloved by locals, but it also draws steady crowds of tourists with its vivid flavors. On the chaat menu, the crispy kale pakoras and lime-kissed matchstick okra fries have deservedly earned wide acclaim, as have the curries. But consider checking out the selection of Indian wraps and sandwiches, such as the Sloppy Jai with spiced lamb, green chutney, and sweet yogurt served on a griddled bun.

Table of Indian food.
Table at Chai Pani.
Chai Pani

4. Rhubarb

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7 SW, N Pack Square
Asheville, NC 28801
(828) 785-1503
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Strong ties with Western North Carolina’s farmers, foragers, and food artisans are the cornerstone for the simple yet elegant Southern fare five-time James Beard Award finalist John Fleer crafts at Rhubarb. Count on the pimento cheese hush puppies as a fool-proof starter for the ever-changing menu of small plates and entrees. Current choices include sumac-cured South Carolina king mackerel, roasted acorn squash with farro and black-eyed peas, and cider-braised pork osso buco.

5. Cucina 24

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24 Wall St
Asheville, NC 28801
(828) 254-6170
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High-end Italian fare meets Southern Appalachian ingredients in chef Brian Canipelli’s gorgeous, Instagram-worthy offerings at Cucina 24. Featuring meats, cheeses, vegetables, edible flowers, fungi, and herbs sourced fresh from local farmers and foragers, the antipasti, house-made pasta, and wood-fired pizzas are consistently impressive. But for a truly memorable Asheville culinary adventure, opt for the chef’s tasting menu, which changes daily based on Canipelli’s market finds and inspiration.

Plates of Italian food
Plates from Cucina 24
Cucina 24/Facebook

6. Cúrate

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13 Biltmore Ave
Asheville, NC 28801
(828) 239-2946
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When chef Katie Button opened Cúrate in 2011, she set a high bar for Asheville’s then nascent restaurant scene. A decade later, the Spanish tapas concept still charms adoring crowds in its friendly, yet refined, historic downtown space with shareable classics like jamon iberico, Galician-style octopus, and crispy fried eggplant drizzled with honey. The bar stocks an impressive list of Spanish and Basque vermouths, sherries, and wines.

Spanish snacks at Cúrate
Spanish snacks at Cúrate
Cúrate/Facebook

7. Benne On Eagle

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35 Eagle St
Asheville, NC 28801
(828) 552-8833
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A Miami native with a passion for history, chef de cuisine Cleophus Hethington has crafted a menu that uses local and regional ingredients to follow the culinary journey of the African diaspora to the kitchen at Benne on Eagle, located in Asheville’s historic Black business district the Block. Ghanaian red-red and conch, Haitian griot, and the popular pepperpot stew share the menu with baked macaroni and cheese and the Daisy Mae sweet potato pie, a tribute to Hethington’s grandmother. Open for dinner and Sunday brunch. Takeout available.

8. Limones Restaurant

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15 Eagle St
Asheville, NC 28801
(828) 252-2327
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Since it opened in the early 2000s, Limones has steadfastly remained a darling of Asheville locals with chef and owner Hugo Ramirez’s bright, inventive takes on the cuisine of his native Mexico City. The menu, including a selection of ceviches and generous vegetarian options, shifts weekly depending on what’s available at local farms and tailgate markets. Recent entree choices include a lamb ragout chile relleno and butternut squash ravioli with fava beans and fried capers. There are usually about a dozen margarita variations on the bar menu, with the dreamy Patron Reposado peach-chipotle standing out as an enduring local favorite.

9. Sawhorse

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101 New Leicester Hwy
Asheville, NC 28806
(828) 575-2316
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Chef Dan Silo’s menu at Sawhorse channels the family lore of his great-grandmother, who was a lumber camp cook, as well as his own memories of the country diner food of his youth in the Adirondack Mountains. With a focus on whole-animal butchery and in-house preservation, the kitchen cranks out masterful takes on stick-to-your-ribs French Canadian classics. Go savory with the meat pie, poutine, or buckwheat pancake with cheddar, duck confit, and fingerling potato. Or try the plate-sized buttermilk pancake with maple syrup or a maple doughnut or eclair for something sweet. The fact that the space is a lovingly renovated old diner (the Leicester Family Restaurant sign now hangs in the dining room) adds to the comforting, homey experience.

a little roasted bird
Whole-roasted poussin at Sawhorse
Sawhorse/Facebook

10. Buxton Hall Barbecue

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32 Banks Ave
Asheville, NC 28801
(828) 232-7216
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This labor of love from pitmaster Elliott Moss and Chai Pani founder Meherwan Irani deftly conjures the Eastern Carolina ‘cue of Moss’s childhood in Florence, South Carolina. In the high-ceilinged historic South Slope space (an artfully renovated 1930’s-era roller-skating rink), Moss wood-smokes locally sourced whole hogs for hours, seasoning with vinegar mop, so the pulled pork plates and sandwiches are an obvious draw. But the smoky fried catfish and buttermilk fried chicken sandwiches have deservedly developed their own cult followings, as have the sides, many of which are cooked in the coals under the pig where they soak up intense smoke flavor and decadent drippings.

Plate of barbecue at Buxton Hall
Plate of barbecue at Buxton Hall
Leslie Ryann McKellar

11. Vivian

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348 Depot St Ste 190
Asheville, NC 28801
(828) 225-3497
Visit Website

Vivian was born as a humble tabletop pop-up inside Burial Beer in 2015. But with its move four years ago to a River Arts District brick-and-mortar, it has matured into a celebrated anchor of Asheville’s restaurant scene. Owners Shannon and Josiah McGaughey offer an agile cross-pollination of European food traditions with Appalachian ingredients and flavors. Lyonnaise scallop quenelle and Nordic deviled eggs with smoked fish and caviar are signature dishes, but other options rotate with the seasons. Sunday brunch is a special treat, with recent offerings ranging from lobster parfait to a deep-fried chicken biscuit with sausage gravy and eggs.

12. Biscuit Head

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417 Biltmore Ave #4f
Asheville, NC 28801
(828) 505-3449
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At its three Asheville locations (and one in Greenville, S.C.), this breakfast and lunch spot invites diners to “put some South in your mouth” with its huge, fluffy biscuits. Choose from the selection of house-made jams or gravies ranging from classic red-eye to vegan sweet potato-coconut, or pile the biscuits high with toppings like eggs, country ham, fried chicken, pulled pork, jalapeno pimento cheese, Sriracha slaw, and fried green tomatoes. Biscuits are available vegan and gluten-free as well.

Biscuit sandwich at Biscuit Head
Biscuit sandwich at Biscuit Head
Leslie Ryann McKellar

13. Taqueria Muñoz

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1438 Patton Ave
Asheville, NC 28806
(828) 412-3331
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Easily overlooked in its unassuming strip mall space on Patton Avenue, Taqueria Muñoz has become an obsessed-over local culinary treasure for its lush and flavorful sopes, tortas, tacos, burritos, tamales, and quesadillas as well as specialties like birria, pupusas, pollo con mole, and caldo de res. The dominant language is Spanish, the dining experience is no-frills, the portions are hearty, and the prices are pleasantly affordable. Most dishes feature choices of pork pastor, carnitas, steak asada, chicharron, cabeza and tongue, but vegetarians can ask for an off-menu mushroom (and occasionally huitlacoche) version of some offerings. A satellite location at Zillicoah Beer Co. in Woodfin provides a pared-down menu with outdoor dining options.

Tacos on a plate with a Mexican Coke.
Tacos at Taqueria Muñoz.
Erin Perkins

14. Sunny Point Cafe

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626 Haywood Rd
Asheville, NC 28806
(828) 252-0055
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A West Asheville comfort food institution, Sunny Point serves breakfast all day along with lunch and dinner options, sourcing seasonal ingredients from its on-site production garden. It’s worth waiting in the omnipresent long line on weekend mornings for a crack at the sausage and cheese-stuffed French toast, carrot hotcakes, or locally lauded shrimp and grits. Dishes can be paired with anything from espresso to sweet tea to cocktails. Eat in the small indoor dining room or opt for covered, heated outdoor seating on the patio near the restaurant’s expansive kitchen garden — an especially nice treat when its numerous sunflowers are in bloom.

15. The Admiral

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400 Haywood Rd
Asheville, NC 28806
(828) 252-2541
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Since it first started delivering its boundary-pushing American fare in a homely cinderblock building on the then-scruffy west side of town in 2007, the Admiral has remained one of Asheville’s flagship upscale dining experiences. Innovative, skillfully executed dishes and the dining room’s rough, eclectic charm make it a go-to spot for a memorable date night. The hearty charcuterie boards loaded with house-made sausages, terrines, and ferments are a must for meat lovers. Full-service dining is available indoors or on the heated patio by reservation only.

16. RosaBees

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27 Foundy St #20
Asheville, NC 28801
(828) 417-7212
Visit Website

Pastry maven Melissa Gray’s partnership with long-time Asheville chef Cookie Hadley has introduced a refreshing new concept to the mountain restaurant scene. Tucked away on Foundy Street in the River Arts District, RosaBees specializes in thoughtful, gorgeously plated interpretations of Hawaiian classics, including saimin noodle soup, poke, musubi with house-made Spam, and tako su. But it’s crucial at RosaBees to save room for dessert. Gray’s playful, inventive sweets — popular offerings include cinnamon-sugar banana lumpia and a soursop Japanese cotton cheesecake with black sesame shortbread — are reason enough to visit.

pork belly with lettuce and rice in a bowl
Spicy pork belly bowl at RosaBees
RosaBees/Facebook

17. Baby Bull

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1 Roberts St
Asheville, NC 28801

Keeping things simple — and incredibly delicious — is the name of the game at Baby Bull, a small, speedy, no-nonsense River Arts District burger concept from the owners of the nearby Bull & Beggar. Order at the counter from the handful of items on the exceedingly streamlined but well conceived menu, then savor a basket of food under an umbrella at one of the outdoor picnic tables. Depending on the mood, try the locally beloved double cheeseburger, beer-battered fried cod sandwich with mushy peas or vegetarian Bombay-style vada pav on a King’s Hawaiian roll. But don’t get picky as there are no substitutions. No one should skip the tallow-cooked french fries with aioli dipping sauce — go ahead and splurge on the large order of fries. For in-person diners, Baby Bull has adopted the locally adored old Bull & Beggar tradition of Burger Mondays — burger and fries plus a beer or soda for $9.99.

18. Rosetta's Kitchen & The Buchi Bar

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116 N Lexington Ave
Asheville, NC 28801
(828) 232-0738
Visit Website

The last two decades have seen much of downtown’s Lexington Avenue morph from a funky, rough-edged hive of artists, hippies, and punks to a restaurant-studded tourist magnet. But Rosetta’s Kitchen has stuck to its roots since it opened in 2002, serving affordably priced vegan and vegetarian soul food to a loyal following of locals and inquisitive visitors out of its colorful, mellow-vibed dining room. The veggie burger and peanut butter-baked tofu are legendary, or try the Buddha Bowl, which manages to feel both healthy and indulgent with its tumble of rice, smoky tofu, avocado, greens, and more (add the house-cultured kimchi for kick). Rosetta’s downstairs sister business, Buchi Bar, has locally made Buchi kombucha on draft plus cocktails, mocktails, local beer, ciders, meads, and house-made sodas.

1. Nine Mile

233 Montford Ave, Asheville, NC 28801
Jamaican food on a table
Plates at Nine Mile
Nine Mile/Facebook

Laid-back vibes, bountiful portions, and zesty, veggie-forward dishes define the Caribbean-inspired Nine Mile, named after the place in Jamaica where Bob Marley was born. Chicken, locally raised trout, and wild-caught tuna, mahi mahi and other seafood ground the rambling menu of massive salads and pasta- and rice-based offerings. But fresh vegetables and flavor-packed dressings and sauces are the real stars. Almost everything on the menu can be made vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and/or dairy-free. For some gingery heat, try the signature Nine Mile with a rainbow of vegetables and either jerk chicken or tofu over linguini or basmati rice. The original location in Asheville’s Montford neighborhood is loaded with wonky charm, but the West and South Asheville restaurants share the same menu and have more ample seating.

233 Montford Ave
Asheville, NC 28801

2. Sovereign Remedies

29 N Market St #105, Asheville, NC 28801
Plates at Sovereign Remedies
Plates at Sovereign Remedies
Sovereign Remedies/Facebook

With its stately arched windows, refined hodgepodge of vintage furnishings, and pleasant tangle of potted plants, Sovereign Remedies feels simultaneously posh and convivial. The imaginative, seasonal cocktails often leverage local fruit and herbs, and the food menus wander playfully around the globe, showcasing whatever’s currently being harvested at nearby farms or brought in fresh from the North Carolina coast. Try a local grass-fed beef tartare, white anchovy Caesar, hand-cut pasta with local mushrooms or the popular Make Space Frites topped either with duck poutine or guajillo ketchup, fermented peppers, and chive aioli.

29 N Market St #105
Asheville, NC 28801

3. Chai Pani

22 Battery Park Ave, Asheville, NC 28801
Table of Indian food.
Table at Chai Pani.
Chai Pani

Chef Meherwan Irani’s lighthearted homage to Indian street food has long been beloved by locals, but it also draws steady crowds of tourists with its vivid flavors. On the chaat menu, the crispy kale pakoras and lime-kissed matchstick okra fries have deservedly earned wide acclaim, as have the curries. But consider checking out the selection of Indian wraps and sandwiches, such as the Sloppy Jai with spiced lamb, green chutney, and sweet yogurt served on a griddled bun.

22 Battery Park Ave
Asheville, NC 28801

4. Rhubarb

7 SW, N Pack Square, Asheville, NC 28801

Strong ties with Western North Carolina’s farmers, foragers, and food artisans are the cornerstone for the simple yet elegant Southern fare five-time James Beard Award finalist John Fleer crafts at Rhubarb. Count on the pimento cheese hush puppies as a fool-proof starter for the ever-changing menu of small plates and entrees. Current choices include sumac-cured South Carolina king mackerel, roasted acorn squash with farro and black-eyed peas, and cider-braised pork osso buco.

7 SW, N Pack Square
Asheville, NC 28801

5. Cucina 24

24 Wall St, Asheville, NC 28801
Plates of Italian food
Plates from Cucina 24
Cucina 24/Facebook

High-end Italian fare meets Southern Appalachian ingredients in chef Brian Canipelli’s gorgeous, Instagram-worthy offerings at Cucina 24. Featuring meats, cheeses, vegetables, edible flowers, fungi, and herbs sourced fresh from local farmers and foragers, the antipasti, house-made pasta, and wood-fired pizzas are consistently impressive. But for a truly memorable Asheville culinary adventure, opt for the chef’s tasting menu, which changes daily based on Canipelli’s market finds and inspiration.

24 Wall St
Asheville, NC 28801

6. Cúrate

13 Biltmore Ave, Asheville, NC 28801
Spanish snacks at Cúrate
Spanish snacks at Cúrate
Cúrate/Facebook

When chef Katie Button opened Cúrate in 2011, she set a high bar for Asheville’s then nascent restaurant scene. A decade later, the Spanish tapas concept still charms adoring crowds in its friendly, yet refined, historic downtown space with shareable classics like jamon iberico, Galician-style octopus, and crispy fried eggplant drizzled with honey. The bar stocks an impressive list of Spanish and Basque vermouths, sherries, and wines.

13 Biltmore Ave
Asheville, NC 28801

7. Benne On Eagle

35 Eagle St, Asheville, NC 28801

A Miami native with a passion for history, chef de cuisine Cleophus Hethington has crafted a menu that uses local and regional ingredients to follow the culinary journey of the African diaspora to the kitchen at Benne on Eagle, located in Asheville’s historic Black business district the Block. Ghanaian red-red and conch, Haitian griot, and the popular pepperpot stew share the menu with baked macaroni and cheese and the Daisy Mae sweet potato pie, a tribute to Hethington’s grandmother. Open for dinner and Sunday brunch. Takeout available.

35 Eagle St
Asheville, NC 28801

8. Limones Restaurant

15 Eagle St, Asheville, NC 28801

Since it opened in the early 2000s, Limones has steadfastly remained a darling of Asheville locals with chef and owner Hugo Ramirez’s bright, inventive takes on the cuisine of his native Mexico City. The menu, including a selection of ceviches and generous vegetarian options, shifts weekly depending on what’s available at local farms and tailgate markets. Recent entree choices include a lamb ragout chile relleno and butternut squash ravioli with fava beans and fried capers. There are usually about a dozen margarita variations on the bar menu, with the dreamy Patron Reposado peach-chipotle standing out as an enduring local favorite.

15 Eagle St
Asheville, NC 28801

9. Sawhorse

101 New Leicester Hwy, Asheville, NC 28806
a little roasted bird
Whole-roasted poussin at Sawhorse
Sawhorse/Facebook

Chef Dan Silo’s menu at Sawhorse channels the family lore of his great-grandmother, who was a lumber camp cook, as well as his own memories of the country diner food of his youth in the Adirondack Mountains. With a focus on whole-animal butchery and in-house preservation, the kitchen cranks out masterful takes on stick-to-your-ribs French Canadian classics. Go savory with the meat pie, poutine, or buckwheat pancake with cheddar, duck confit, and fingerling potato. Or try the plate-sized buttermilk pancake with maple syrup or a maple doughnut or eclair for something sweet. The fact that the space is a lovingly renovated old diner (the Leicester Family Restaurant sign now hangs in the dining room) adds to the comforting, homey experience.

101 New Leicester Hwy
Asheville, NC 28806

10. Buxton Hall Barbecue

32 Banks Ave, Asheville, NC 28801
Plate of barbecue at Buxton Hall
Plate of barbecue at Buxton Hall
Leslie Ryann McKellar

This labor of love from pitmaster Elliott Moss and Chai Pani founder Meherwan Irani deftly conjures the Eastern Carolina ‘cue of Moss’s childhood in Florence, South Carolina. In the high-ceilinged historic South Slope space (an artfully renovated 1930’s-era roller-skating rink), Moss wood-smokes locally sourced whole hogs for hours, seasoning with vinegar mop, so the pulled pork plates and sandwiches are an obvious draw. But the smoky fried catfish and buttermilk fried chicken sandwiches have deservedly developed their own cult followings, as have the sides, many of which are cooked in the coals under the pig where they soak up intense smoke flavor and decadent drippings.

32 Banks Ave
Asheville, NC 28801

11. Vivian

348 Depot St Ste 190, Asheville, NC 28801

Vivian was born as a humble tabletop pop-up inside Burial Beer in 2015. But with its move four years ago to a River Arts District brick-and-mortar, it has matured into a celebrated anchor of Asheville’s restaurant scene. Owners Shannon and Josiah McGaughey offer an agile cross-pollination of European food traditions with Appalachian ingredients and flavors. Lyonnaise scallop quenelle and Nordic deviled eggs with smoked fish and caviar are signature dishes, but other options rotate with the seasons. Sunday brunch is a special treat, with recent offerings ranging from lobster parfait to a deep-fried chicken biscuit with sausage gravy and eggs.

348 Depot St Ste 190
Asheville, NC 28801

12. Biscuit Head

417 Biltmore Ave #4f, Asheville, NC 28801
Biscuit sandwich at Biscuit Head
Biscuit sandwich at Biscuit Head
Leslie Ryann McKellar

At its three Asheville locations (and one in Greenville, S.C.), this breakfast and lunch spot invites diners to “put some South in your mouth” with its huge, fluffy biscuits. Choose from the selection of house-made jams or gravies ranging from classic red-eye to vegan sweet potato-coconut, or pile the biscuits high with toppings like eggs, country ham, fried chicken, pulled pork, jalapeno pimento cheese, Sriracha slaw, and fried green tomatoes. Biscuits are available vegan and gluten-free as well.

417 Biltmore Ave #4f
Asheville, NC 28801

13. Taqueria Muñoz

1438 Patton Ave, Asheville, NC 28806
Tacos on a plate with a Mexican Coke.
Tacos at Taqueria Muñoz.
Erin Perkins

Easily overlooked in its unassuming strip mall space on Patton Avenue, Taqueria Muñoz has become an obsessed-over local culinary treasure for its lush and flavorful sopes, tortas, tacos, burritos, tamales, and quesadillas as well as specialties like birria, pupusas, pollo con mole, and caldo de res. The dominant language is Spanish, the dining experience is no-frills, the portions are hearty, and the prices are pleasantly affordable. Most dishes feature choices of pork pastor, carnitas, steak asada, chicharron, cabeza and tongue, but vegetarians can ask for an off-menu mushroom (and occasionally huitlacoche) version of some offerings. A satellite location at Zillicoah Beer Co. in Woodfin provides a pared-down menu with outdoor dining options.

1438 Patton Ave
Asheville, NC 28806

14. Sunny Point Cafe

626 Haywood Rd, Asheville, NC 28806

A West Asheville comfort food institution, Sunny Point serves breakfast all day along with lunch and dinner options, sourcing seasonal ingredients from its on-site production garden. It’s worth waiting in the omnipresent long line on weekend mornings for a crack at the sausage and cheese-stuffed French toast, carrot hotcakes, or locally lauded shrimp and grits. Dishes can be paired with anything from espresso to sweet tea to cocktails. Eat in the small indoor dining room or opt for covered, heated outdoor seating on the patio near the restaurant’s expansive kitchen garden — an especially nice treat when its numerous sunflowers are in bloom.

626 Haywood Rd
Asheville, NC 28806

15. The Admiral

400 Haywood Rd, Asheville, NC 28806

Since it first started delivering its boundary-pushing American fare in a homely cinderblock building on the then-scruffy west side of town in 2007, the Admiral has remained one of Asheville’s flagship upscale dining experiences. Innovative, skillfully executed dishes and the dining room’s rough, eclectic charm make it a go-to spot for a memorable date night. The hearty charcuterie boards loaded with house-made sausages, terrines, and ferments are a must for meat lovers. Full-service dining is available indoors or on the heated patio by reservation only.

400 Haywood Rd
Asheville, NC 28806

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16. RosaBees

27 Foundy St #20, Asheville, NC 28801
pork belly with lettuce and rice in a bowl
Spicy pork belly bowl at RosaBees
RosaBees/Facebook

Pastry maven Melissa Gray’s partnership with long-time Asheville chef Cookie Hadley has introduced a refreshing new concept to the mountain restaurant scene. Tucked away on Foundy Street in the River Arts District, RosaBees specializes in thoughtful, gorgeously plated interpretations of Hawaiian classics, including saimin noodle soup, poke, musubi with house-made Spam, and tako su. But it’s crucial at RosaBees to save room for dessert. Gray’s playful, inventive sweets — popular offerings include cinnamon-sugar banana lumpia and a soursop Japanese cotton cheesecake with black sesame shortbread — are reason enough to visit.

27 Foundy St #20
Asheville, NC 28801

17. Baby Bull

1 Roberts St, Asheville, NC 28801

Keeping things simple — and incredibly delicious — is the name of the game at Baby Bull, a small, speedy, no-nonsense River Arts District burger concept from the owners of the nearby Bull & Beggar. Order at the counter from the handful of items on the exceedingly streamlined but well conceived menu, then savor a basket of food under an umbrella at one of the outdoor picnic tables. Depending on the mood, try the locally beloved double cheeseburger, beer-battered fried cod sandwich with mushy peas or vegetarian Bombay-style vada pav on a King’s Hawaiian roll. But don’t get picky as there are no substitutions. No one should skip the tallow-cooked french fries with aioli dipping sauce — go ahead and splurge on the large order of fries. For in-person diners, Baby Bull has adopted the locally adored old Bull & Beggar tradition of Burger Mondays — burger and fries plus a beer or soda for $9.99.

1 Roberts St
Asheville, NC 28801

18. Rosetta's Kitchen & The Buchi Bar

116 N Lexington Ave, Asheville, NC 28801

The last two decades have seen much of downtown’s Lexington Avenue morph from a funky, rough-edged hive of artists, hippies, and punks to a restaurant-studded tourist magnet. But Rosetta’s Kitchen has stuck to its roots since it opened in 2002, serving affordably priced vegan and vegetarian soul food to a loyal following of locals and inquisitive visitors out of its colorful, mellow-vibed dining room. The veggie burger and peanut butter-baked tofu are legendary, or try the Buddha Bowl, which manages to feel both healthy and indulgent with its tumble of rice, smoky tofu, avocado, greens, and more (add the house-cultured kimchi for kick). Rosetta’s downstairs sister business, Buchi Bar, has locally made Buchi kombucha on draft plus cocktails, mocktails, local beer, ciders, meads, and house-made sodas.

116 N Lexington Ave
Asheville, NC 28801

Related Maps