Are you wondering where to find the best restaurants in Asheville, North Carolina, for an upcoming family vacation, girls’ trip, romantic getaway, or business trip? The food scene is as varied as the landscape.
Choose from local specialties, farm-fresh produce, international cuisine, Southern dishes like okra and chicken and waffles, and that world-famous (or at least in the Southern world) North Carolina BBQ. Our mouths are already watering.
Set in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains and home to the Vanderbilt’s famous 19th-century Biltmore Estate, Asheville sits in western North Carolina about an hour and 45-minute drive from Gatlinburg, Tennessee and the Great Smoky Mountains. Travelers often combine the two destinations into one, getting a full fix of history, outdoor recreation, stunning scenery, and family-friendly attractions.
But what to eat? Yep, our minds went there too. Have no fear. We’ve got you covered on the food front.
Asheville is known for mountain scenery, historic architecture, music, and the galleries, museums, and artists’ studios of the Downtown Art District and River Arts District. Along with the areas of West Asheville, downtown Asheville, North Asheville, and South Slope, you’ll find a wide variety of local restaurants, bars, coffee shops, food trucks, and seasonal farmers’ markets all around town.
We admit it was a tough task to pick out the best restaurants in Asheville, NC. But somebody had to do it. Let’s get started exploring the best Asheville restaurants for fine dining, cheap eats, quick stops, and casual get-togethers.
Show Table of Contents
- Best Restaurants in Asheville, North Carolina
- 1. All Souls Pizza
- 2. Buxton Hall Barbecue
- 3. 12 Bones Smokehouse
- 4. Chai Pani
- 5. Cúrate
- 6. Early Girl Eatery
- 7. Hemingway’s Cuba
- 8. The Hop Ice Creamery
- 9. Jerusalem Garden Café
- 10. Jettie Rae’s Oyster House
- 11. Limones Restaurant
- 12. Moe’s Original BBQ
- 13. OWL Bakery
- 14. Rosetta’s Kitchen & The Buchi Bar
- 15. Smoky Park Supper Club
- 16. Sunset Terrace
- 17. Sunny Point Café
- 18. Tupelo Honey Southern Kitchen and Bar
- 19. Wild Ginger Noodle Bar
- 20. Zambra
Best Restaurants in Asheville, North Carolina
1. All Souls Pizza
Address: 175 Clingman Avenue, Asheville, NC 28801
All Souls Pizza serves a variety of artisanal wood-fired pizza with toppings such as sausages, beets, honey, artichokes, and yes, even pepperoni. Don’t let the word “artisanal” sway you. This place is as cozy and laid-back as you can get.
The popular pizza place uses organic grains and the freshest seasonal ingredients on its pies. Flour and polenta are milled on-site. Bread comes from the nearby Farm & Sparrow Bakery.
Not in the mood for pizza? No worries. Other selections include fried North Carolina catfish, pecorino hush puppies, a roasted chicken pressed sandwich, salads with apples and lemon vinaigrette, and farro soup as well as local craft beer and wine. Vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options are available.
All Souls is located next door to the River Arts District Farmers’ Market. From May through November, the market is open on Wednesday afternoons and weekday evenings. It’s a terrific time to stop by and enjoy live music, local craft beer, and a delicious slice of pizza.
2. Buxton Hall Barbecue
Address: 32 Banks Avenue, Asheville, NC 28801
Buxton Hall Barbecue is one of the best restaurants in Asheville for traditional whole-hog BBQ and Southern side orders. Established in 2015, Buxton Hall smokes all of the local meat in-house. Pasture-raised pork is smoked over cherry, hickory, and oak for 18+ hours.
The historic South Slope building was a roller rink in the 1930s. It’s also seen life as an auto shop and a boat showroom.
These days, it functions as one of the best Asheville restaurants for smoky sweet BBQ. The menu features smoked chicken wings, BBQ mussels, BBQ hash poutine, sliced brisket plates, and Carolina hot chicken sandwiches.
3. 12 Bones Smokehouse
Address: 5 Foundy Street, Ste. 10, Asheville, NC 28801
With a clever slogan of “tender butts and sweet racks,” 12 Bones Smokehouse uses time-honored family recipes and creative improv to infuse smoky flavor into everything they roast, grill, and smoke. Speaking of clever and creative, there’s a rib sauce made from chipotle and blueberries.
All menu items at the laid-back and quirky eatery are made from scratch. Meats are slow-roasted over rich oak and cherry wood. Sandwiches are piled high with hardwood smoked brisket, pulled pork, homemade bratwurst, and pulled chicken. Select from a menu of smoked meats, baby back ribs, mac and cheese, corn pudding, and more.
12 Bones Smokehouse is located in the River Arts District just minutes from downtown Asheville. It has another location in Arden, with a brewery, so if you’re ever south of Asheville, check it out.
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4. Chai Pani
Address: 22 Battery Park Avenue, Asheville, NC 28801
Translated literally as “tea and water,” the words Chai Pani are an Indian slang term for “going out for a cup of tea or a small bite to eat.” The Asheville restaurant known as Chai Pani is one of the best places to do just that. Billed as innovative, fun, and affordable, it specializes in chaat, crunchy Indian street food, and traditional home-cooked family meals.
Choose from selections like crispy Indian potato fritters, okra fries, gluten-friendly kale fritters, puffed potato flour crisps, chicken tikka rolls, masala fish rolls, and much more. All have the bright colors, textures, and fragrant spices of authentic Indian cuisine.
Chai Pani is located near Tupelo Honey Southern Kitchen and Bar in downtown Asheville. It’s a winner of a 2022 James Beard Foundation award for Outstanding Restaurant. There’s a second Chai Pani location in Decatur, Georgia.
Address: 13 Biltmore Avenue, Asheville, NC 28801
Cúrate, located in a former 1927 bus depot in downtown Asheville, has been serving authentic Spanish cuisine for more than a decade. A James Beard Foundation 2022 award winner, Chef Katie Button has created a menu filled with charcuterie and cheese plates, charcoal grilled trout, marinated lamb skewers, a paper-thin crunchy fried calamari sandwich, and tapas such as cerdo iberico, patatas bravas, and gambas al ajillo.
Other culinary endeavors in the Button family include La Bodega by Cúrate (a café, Spanish market, and wine bar around the corner from Cúrate, which offers Sunday brunch), Cúrate Trips (adventures in Spain led by industry professionals and sometimes Chef Katie and her husband, Felix), and Cúrate at Home (a web-based marketplace that sells Spanish food, wine, and cookware).
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6. Early Girl Eatery
Address: 8 Wall Street, Asheville, NC 28801
With a focus on farm-to-table food, Early Girl Eatery is one of the best restaurants in Asheville. It’s one of those wonderful places that serve breakfast all day (Really, can you ever have enough breakfast?).
Choose from multi-grain pancakes, chicken and waffles, shrimp and grits, omelets, and sausage and sweet potato scrambles. You can also go with salads, sandwiches, burgers, and meatloaf plates. Vegan and gluten-free options are available.
Using local, organic, and seasonal ingredients, Early Girl Eatery has been in business in the North Carolina mountains since 2001 and uses the assistance of 32 local farmers, bakeries, and other vendors. Staying true to its farm-fresh attitude, the Early Girl name comes from a variety of tomatoes. There are two other Early Girl restaurants in Asheville as well as one in Charlotte.
7. Hemingway’s Cuba
Address: 15 Page Avenue, 4th Floor, Asheville, NC 28801
If there’s a Cuban restaurant in town, you’re sure to find us there. Even better if it’s on a rooftop overlooking the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. Hemingway’s Cuba is one of the best restaurants in Asheville for authentic Cuban cuisine.
Owner Tony Fraga created the restaurant after a trip to Havana in 2016 (after being away from his native Havana for 56 years). Memories of his father and the country inspired him to bring the country’s flavors and fragrances to the mountains of North Carolina. The restaurant is located on the 4th-floor rooftop at the Cambria Hotel in downtown Asheville.
Enjoy small plates such as sliders, empanadas de pollo, and cevice mixto as well as traditional Cuban sandwiches, arroz con pollo, vaca frita, and desserts like flan, cinnamon-dusted churros, and rum-soaked pound cake. Breakfast and weekend brunch selections include a pressed Cuban breakfast sandwich, buttermilk pancakes, and vaca frita hash con huevos.
Don’t forget beverages such as strawberry sangria, daiquiris, craft beer and cider, Cuban coffee, sparkling wine, and mimosas. Seriously, we think the beverages could just be the driving force behind the best restaurants in Asheville. Maybe that’s the sangria talking.
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8. The Hop Ice Creamery
Address: 640 Merrimon Ave Ste 103, Asheville, NC 28804
Should an ice cream shop be part of a best restaurant list? You better believe it should! Serving Asheville’s need for sweets since 1978, The Hop Ice Creamery serves a variety of seasonal, rotating, and creative flavors such as mint, coffee, lavender vanilla, blueberry kale, and salted caramel ice cream. There’s also made-from-scratch vegan ice cream and sorbet. Enjoy this deliciousness in a cone, in a milkshake, or in a pint (or two or three) to take home for later. Other treats include sundaes, banana splits, floats, and ice cream cakes.
Owners Greg and Ashley Garrison created the shop with the belief that ice cream brings happiness. We’d have to agree with that philosophy. The Hop has several other locations around the Asheville area to get your ice cream fix.
They even have ice cream for dogs. Prepackaged cups of all-natural peanut butter and banana frozen yogurt (with no sugar added for the weight-watchers in the pack) are available. This makes the perfect treat for the pups (or cats, you never know).
9. Jerusalem Garden Café
Address: 78 Patton Avenue, Asheville, NC 28801
Jerusalem Garden Café brings a flavorful array of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern fare and flair to downtown Asheville. Family-owned and operated for more than 20 years, Jerusalem Garden Cafe is decorated with stained glass décor for a stylish and intimate ambiance. Enjoy live music and belly dancing on select dates.
Jerusalem Garden Cafe started out as a sandwich shop in 1993 and has merged into a full-fledged restaurant offering made-from-scratch recipes like roasted lamb, rosemary-infused spinach pie, stuffed grape leaves, and fresh hummus.
For nearby activities either before or after your meal, the restaurant is near the Asheville Art Museum, Pritchard Park, the Asheville Museum of Science, and The Hop Ice Creamery.
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10. Jettie Rae’s Oyster House
Address: 143 Charlotte Street, Asheville, NC 28801
Jettie Rae’s Oyster House infuses a sense of community and tradition in its coastal seafood. With backgrounds in Charleston, Asheville, and New Orleans, executive chef Will Cisa, co-owner and chef Eric Scheffer, and co-owner Jim Diaz are inspired by French, Native American, and Spanish cuisine and techniques.
You’ll find those influences in menu selections like Lowcountry shrimp and grits, blackened redfish, lobster and shrimp rolls, and crab cakes. Oysters, scallops, mussels, clams, and more are found in the fresh-from-the-boat oyster bar.
Located in a renovated Gulf gas station, in North Asheville, Jettie Rae’s has been a staple in the Asheville culinary scene for nearly 70 years. Outdoors, there’s patio space with an Airstream food truck trailer named The Pearl.
Diners can sit outside while waiting for a table or just enjoy the outdoor scene with a drink and a plate of oysters and appetizers. There’s also an enclosed outdoor patio area where the full dining room menu is available.
11. Limones Restaurant
Address: 15 Eagle Street, Asheville, NC 28801
Colorful and low-key, Limones Restaurant is one of the best fine dining and most popular restaurants in Asheville. Located in downtown Asheville, it’s the place to go to enjoy good friends and great food. Owner and chef Hugo Ramirez blends a love of French Californian cuisine with his Mexican roots to create recipes bursting with color, flavor, and fragrance.
Just try to choose from selections like ceviche samplers, bouillabaisse, fish asado with fennel, three cheese chile rellenos, soba noodles, rice dishes, North Carolina pork tenderloin, and short rib adobado tacos. Yeah, it’s a tough one.
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12. Moe’s Original BBQ
Address: 4 Sweeten Creek, Asheville, NC 28801
Located in the Biltmore Village, Moe’s Original BBQ features award-winning Alabama-style BBQ and pulled pork. The menu features a hearty selection of ribs, turkey, and chicken smoked over hardwood and piled high on platters and sandwiches as well as Southern fried catfish and sides like cornbread, mac and cheese, smoked chicken wings, pimento cheese puffs, banana pudding, and marinated cole slaw. Enjoy live entertainment and large-screen TVs for the big game.
On a side note: Biltmore Village was created as a home base for employees of George Vanderbilt’s Biltmore Estate. It was designed by world-class architects (what else would you expect from a Vanderbilt?) and features a charming English-style village setting.
Construction began in the late 1890s and into the early 1900s with the building of a church, cottage homes, a school, shops, and a post office. It’s now home to boutique shops, jewelry stores, restaurants, cafes, a craft brewery, and several hotels.
13. OWL Bakery
Address: 295 Haywood Road, Asheville, NC 28806
Enjoy European-inspired pastries and naturally leavened bread at OWL Bakery. This combination of artisan bakery, coffee shop, and café is not too far from the Biltmore Estate. It’s the perfect place to grab a small bite to eat or an espresso, macchiato, or hyssop mint tea before or after a visit to the famous mansion.
Bread selections range from baguettes, rye, and ciabatta to raisin flax and einkorn wheat, to name just a few. Buns, tarts, croissants, Danishes, and chocolate chip cookies round out the sweet side of this unique Asheville eatery. You can also try a seasonal quiche to give your sweet tooth a rest (wait, is that even a thing?).
You can find another store location in North Asheville as well as at the North Asheville Tailgate Market at the University of North Carolina Asheville (UNCA). The market in North Asheville is located on campus at UNCA on Saturdays and features more than 60 local artisans, bakers, farmers, and craftsmen.
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14. Rosetta’s Kitchen & The Buchi Bar
Address: 68 N. Lexington Avenue, Asheville, NC 28801
For the best vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options in downtown Asheville, head to Rosetta’s Kitchen & The Buchi Bar. Menu items include a coconut curry plate, tempeh Reubens, a veggie burger, and portabello melts.
Open since 2002, Rosetta’s is owned by the Wezeltown family. It’s one of the best Asheville restaurants to hang out, socialize, and enjoy delicious food with family and friends. Rosetta’s is open for lunch and dinner and features a colorful and comfy vibe.
Buchi Bar is located downstairs and has an outdoor patio. It has a full bar and an indoor dining room.
Enjoy craft beer, wine, cider, mead, creative cocktails, and a variety of Buchi Kombucha. You can even get a flight of kombucha to try all of the flavors of this unique beverage.
15. Smoky Park Supper Club
Address: 350 Riverside Drive #3141, Asheville, NC 28801
Asheville’s first shipping container restaurant, the Smoky Park Supper Club is built out of 18 containers. This unique dining experience is located in the River Arts District along the French Broad River.
More personalized than a traditional restaurant, the supper club concept was designed to bring family and friends together. It’s one of the best Asheville restaurants to enjoy good food in a beautiful setting.
Menu items at this River Arts District eatery include wood-grilled pork chops, chicken and dumplings, house empanadas, blueberry chipotle ribs, smoked Carolina shrimp, and braised local scallops. An extensive beverage list offers local craft beer, wine, and creative cocktails.
The River Arts District features a wide array of Asheville restaurants, such as 12 Bones Smokehouse, All Souls Pizza, The Bull and Beggar, French Broad Chocolate Factory and Café, and the Grey Eagle Taqueria. Along with all the amazing food options, you’ll find colorful murals, art galleries, and working artist studios with pottery, glassblowing, jewelry, metalwork, and more.
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16. Sunset Terrace
Address: 290 Macon Avenue, Asheville, NC 28804
Located at the Omni Grove Park Inn, Sunset Terrace is open seasonally and features stunning mountain views from its outdoor seating area. There’s a varied menu of hand-cut steaks, fresh seafood, premier chops, and more. The Asheville restaurant partners with local farmers to acquire the best organic produce and other ingredients.
Other dining options at the Omni Grove Park Inn include Cabana Grill and Bar, Vue 1913 (the Omni was built in 1913), Blue Ridge, and Edison Craft Ales + Kitchen. In fact, the Omni Grove Park Inn is an excellent choice for accommodations in Asheville. The Omni Grove Park Inn has a sports complex with tennis courts and swimming pools, spacious guest rooms with walk-in showers, a golf course, and more in a gorgeous mountain setting.
17. Sunny Point Café
Address: 626 Haywood Road, Asheville, NC 28806
Sunny Point Cafe in west Asheville is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner as well as Sunday brunch. Biscuits and gravy, a breakfast burrito, a Southern omelet, praline French toast, shrimp and grits, maple pepper bacon, and cornmeal hot cakes round out the Southern comfort food menu. Sunny Point Cafe sources from local farms, and they even grow some of their own ingredients on-site.
This Asheville restaurant has a covered and heated patio if you’re one of those people who must be outside in any type of weather. It’s one of the best Asheville restaurants for delicious meals and the weekend brunch crew.
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18. Tupelo Honey Southern Kitchen and Bar
Address: 12 College Street, Asheville, NC 28801
If you’re searching for a taste of down-home Southern, punch that Tupelo Honey address into your GPS. In business for more than 20 years, the South Asheville location was the first in a family of several across the U.S. Tupelo Honey Cafe is considered a pioneer in Asheville’s farm-to-table and sustainable food movement.
Simple and made-from-scratch recipes reflect the roots of the Carolina mountains in every entrée, app, side, and dessert. Tupelo Honey Cafe is a favorite of travelers and Asheville locals alike.
Chef Eric Gabrynowicz – a four-time James Beard Foundation award semi-finalist – delivers a fresh spin on traditional Southern food with a menu consisting of Southern biscuits, fried green tomatoes, gigantic salads, country-style chicken and waffles, blackened mahi-mahi, fried chicken, Tupelo shrimp and grits, and pimento grilled cheese.
All-day brunch items at Tupelo Honey include blueberry buttermilk waffles, breakfast bowls, and Southern-style bennies served over a buttermilk biscuit with a side of parmesan rosemary potato cracklins’. Can you get much more Southern than something called a cracklin’? We think not.
19. Wild Ginger Noodle Bar
Address: 1950 Hendersonville Road, Ste 12, Asheville, NC 28803
Looking for a vegetarian restaurant? You’ll find Wild Ginger Noodle Bar in south Asheville in the SkylandCrest Shopping Center. It’s one of the best pho restaurants in Asheville.
Order a variety of traditional Vietnamese pho, banh mi, or noodle and rice entrées like a tempura fish banh mi, yakisoba noodles, or beef, seafood, and outstanding chicken pho. Smoothies, bubble tea, Thai tea, Vietnamese coffee, wine, and beer round out the beverage side of the meal at this South Asheville restaurant.
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Address: 85 W. Walnut Street, Asheville, NC 28801
With Spanish-Moorish architecture, small plates, and a romantic ambiance, Zambra is one of the best downtown Asheville restaurants for an anniversary, birthday, or other special occasion. Share a selection of tapas and fine wine within this setting of amber candlelight and rustic décor.
While it’s billed as a tapas restaurant, the menu features a western Mediterranean array of pan-seared local trout, grilled shrimp with mojo sauce, chicken mole chimichanga, house gnocchi, pomegranate-braised pork rolls, and a large selection of Spanish wines and delicious cocktails. The menu does change regularly, so be prepared for new and delicious choices every time.
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Sandy is a freelance writer based in Richmond, Virginia. Her specialties range from hotels, dining, beaches, and yacht charters to theme parks, urban settings, mountain getaways, and other fun spots. In addition to Via Travelers, her work appears at AFAR, PierShare, Cozymeal, and more.