Last Updated on December 18, 2021
Last Updated on December 18, 2021
Whenever we think about all the restaurants in Asheville, it’s impossible to focus on one dish, chef, or even type of cuisine. That’s a testament to this city in Western North Carolina‘s chefs and restauranteurs who have a knack for cultivating unique experiences.
Sure, barbecue and other North Carolina staples (and famous foods) can easily be found here, but huge varieties of farm-to-table, vegan, and global inspirations are also scattered throughout these amazing Asheville restaurants.
That is what this guide to locally-owned Asheville restaurants is all about—our shared love for the city and its food, and why we’ll all keep coming back for more.
We’ve organized this guide to Asheville restaurants by neighborhood. Here are the sections that await:
- Restaurants in Asheville (Downtown and South Slope)
- Restaurants in Asheville’s River Arts District
- Restaurants in West Asheville
- Restaurants in South Asheville
For each of these restaurants, we’ll indicate whether or not they offer gluten-free options by adding a (GF) after each that qualifies.
Awesome Restaurants in Asheville
Our food guides are always expanding, so if we left something off, it’s because our stomachs are only so big! Kindly let us know if there is a place we missed and we will try it out for our next meal out.
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Restaurants in Asheville (Downtown and South Slope)
Many of these restaurants in Asheville have multiple locations. Our guide features them in the neighborhood where they originated.
For example, Biscuit Head has locations in Downtown and South Asheville. Its first Asheville store opened in West Asheville, which is why we feature it in the “West Asheville” section.
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Benne on Eagle
35 Eagle St
From the Asheville restauranteur that gave us, Rhubarb, Chef John Fleer’s Benne on Eagle is focused on revitalization. Located in a neighborhood known as The Block on Eagle Street, this place is headed by Chef De Cuisine Ashleigh Shanti,
Breakfast meals consist of seared Sunburst Trout and Cateto Grits or an appetizer of Potlikker Braised Wings served with Chow-Chow.
Must-eat entrees include Benne on Eagle’s Oxtail and Cream Peas served over West African Spiced Carolina Gold Rice, and Onion-Braised Rabbit with an apple fritter and roasted carrots.
101 S Lexington Ave
Serving above-average pub food, you can pair one of their delicious brews straight from the tap alongside globally infused dishes. And don’t sleep on the Chicago Deep Dish Pizza!
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Buxton Hall Barbecue
32 Banks Ave
At Buxton Hall Barbecue, pitmaster Elliot Moss and Chai Pani’s Meherwan Irani are serving wood-fired deliciousness out of a former roller rink.
This tasty Asheville restaurant offers a little bit of everything, from wood-smoked whole hog barbecue to delicious fried catfish and many more options.
At the sauce bar, barbecue aficionados can choose from Eastern Vinegar, Lexington Red, Spicy Vinegar, and even Alabama White Sauce. While we 100 percent agree you should be there for the barbecue, don’t skip on the appetizers.
This is a place where everything on the menu is done to perfection, but their “Mussels Cooked Under the Pig” are everything you need in your mouth and more!
22 Battery Park Ave
Looking for tasty street food in a brick-and-mortar shop? That’s one of many things that makes Chai Pani unique among these restaurants in Asheville.
From four-time James Beard-nominated chef Meherwan Irani, Chai Pani is whimsical yet affordable.
You won’t find your standard butter chicken and tikka masala at Chai Pani. Instead, feast your eyes and bellies on delightful little snacks. Featuring a variety of chaat, sandwiches, uttapam, and thali, Chai Pani shows eaters a different side of Indian cuisine not usually found.
What’s just as impressive as their incredible food are the ecological and sustainable food practices.
At Chai Pani, you’ll not only find fresh local ingredients, but spices roasted and ground in-house as well as compostable and eco-friendly to-go containers.
13 Biltmore Ave
“Cure yourself” with Spanish-style tapas, small plates, and gluten-free options at Cúrate (pronounced COO-rah-tay). Renowned scientist-turned chef Katie Button is the mastermind behind Cúrate, creating amazing dishes like jamón Ibérico, vermuterías, and more.
Chef Button is a six-time James Beard nominee who works with nearby growers to produce ingredients that are typically found in Spain.
Don’t forget to grab Katie Button’s cookbook, one of our favorites!
Early Girl Eatery (GF)
8 Wall St, 444 Haywood Rd #101, & 1020 Merrimon Ave #106
Early Girl Eatery has also grown beyond its original Wall St location and after eating there, we can see why.
Amazing Southern food and a screen door are the first markers that make this one of the best restaurants in Asheville.
All-day breakfast favorites include their Porky Breakfast Bowl and Vegan Tofu Scramble. But honestly, I’m just dreaming of those shrimp and grits and when I’m going to see it arrive on a plate in front of me again.
Farm Burger (GF)
10 Patton Square & 1831 Hendersonville Rd
Steps away from Pack Square, Farm Burger is one the most popular restaurants in Asheville’s downtown. While its footprint is spread between four states, we think it’s worthy of this guide.
Using only organic and locally purveyed ingredients, the burgers are cooked in beef tallow to maintain their juicy flavor.
And if you’re not downtown, check out their South Asheville location!
French Broad Chocolate (GF)
10 S Pack Square (Lounge) & 821 Riverside Dr (Factory)
French Broad Chocolate is now what I consider the gold standard of chocolate. Whether it’s a slice of their decadent chocolate cake, truffle, or drinking chocolate, the level of commitment to highlighting the cocoa bean comes first.
From bean to bar, and back into the community, French Broad Chocolate is deeply committed to sustainability and minimizing its environmental footprint while still producing the best chocolate and desserts in the world.
Jerusalem Garden Cafe
78 Patton Ave
Jerusalem Garden Cafe is one of the first restaurants in Asheville that we visited. We happened upon it when searching for a place to eat downtown and came away thankful for the discovery.
The colorful and well-decorated interior drew us in and the rest is history.
And beyond the decor, Jerusalem Garden’s menu and dishes will take your tastebuds far away from the mountains of North Carolina. Their hummus and Babaganoush excellently pair with lunch favorites Eggplant Moussaka and dinner delights like Lamb Shwarma.
But for me, I could eat that hummus all day long.
7 SW Pack Square
Rhubarb straddles the line between fancy and familiar. Chef John Fleer kicks his Southern dishes up a notch by braising them in peanuts alongside pork bottarga, kimchi, and topped with a peanut chili crumble.
The James Beard-nominated chef serves Appalachian classics such as Roasted Trout and Hoppin’ John and of course the namesake vegetable, Rhubarb, makes a frequent appearance on the menu.
Rhubarb is not a place where you want to pass on dessert! Pastry Chef Kaley Laird is an accomplished and award-winning pastry chef whose flavor-forward approach will have you begging for more!
56 Patton Ave
The S&W Market is one of the most photographed places in Downtown Asheville. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, 1920s architecture is just part of it.
As it did in its beginnings, the S&W Market offers local counter service with causal bites. Not only that, but one of our favorite Asheville breweries (Highland Brewing Company) has both a first-floor bar space and a mezzanine tasting room.
There are five food stalls located inside of this Asheville restaurant space. We highly recommend trying a little bit from each one!
32 Banks Ave
Carefully crafted doughnuts with local ingredients at play, Vortex Doughnuts is a funky donut shop that is tucked away with photogenic murals all around.
Offering vegan donuts as well as the delicious cake vs. yeast debate that I often start. Get one of each because it’s not uncommon for Vortex Doughnuts to sell out!
Restaurants in Asheville’s River Arts District
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All Souls Pizza
175 Clingman Ave
The first of our restaurants in Asheville is where you go for a fancy yet delicious slice of pizza. The geniuses at All Souls Pizza keep things locally focused, highlighting local growers and makers.
They use self-milled flour and polenta in all of their pizzas, too.
But the vibe at All Souls is very chill. Sit inside or on the beautifully green patio and enjoy the best pizza in Asheville!
White Duck Taco
388 Riverside Dr & 12 Biltmore Ave
They’ve expanded as well to include two more Asheville spots and across state lines in Tennessee and South Carolina.
We’ve bounced around the menu a bit at White Duck Taco, but know their Pork Belly Taco and Fish Taco are worth it for first-timers. And if you’re partial to the exotic and creative, order a Korean Beef Bulgogi or Bangkok Shrimp.
No matter what you choose, just take your number and prepare for the most deliciously crafted tacos to come out and greet you.
West Asheville Restaurants
Along with these great West Asheville restaurants, there are also Early Girl Eatery and Rocky’s Hot Chicken Shack locations in this fun part of town.
Asheville Sandwich Company (GF)
794 Haywood Rd
Asheville is filled with so many incredible outdoor activities, especially hikes. But, if you’re like us, you get a hankering on the trails for something beyond jerky and trail mix.
Enter Asheville Sandwich Company! This Asheville restaurant features Trail Box Lunches which are perfectly packed to survive even the toughest hike.
The menu is packed with gourmet sandwiches that are bursting with flavor. That’s why there really is no wrong order at Asheville Sandwich Company!
Oh, and did we mention that they have drool-worthy milkshakes too?
Biscuit Head (GF)
417 Biltmore Ave, 4F, 733 Haywood Rd, & 1994 Hendersonville Rd
Before you stop by any of their shops, just be prepared to wait in line, especially if you’re around during breakfast time. You won’t hear grumbling in the line but really eager anticipation for what’s coming—a cathead biscuit-powered southern food adventure.
Order your biscuit with meat to stuff inside or don’t. Just remember that you’ve got a variety of delicious jams and butter waiting at the bar for you after ordering.
168 Haywood Rd
At Hole, dig into fresh made-to-order yeasty doughnuts as you’ve never had them before! This place serves up four flavors of donuts, but we guarantee that there is always a line for them.
These pillows of heaven on crispy on the outside but warm and buttery on the inside.
Make sure to grab a cup of coffee, roasted by their neighbors PennyCup Coffee and snap a photo with their baby blue bus!
Sunny Point Cafe
626 Haywood Rd
There aren’t very many places left where you can order a meal any time of the day- but Sunny Point Cafe changes that. Doing the best at Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner, expect elevated comfort food with plenty of outdoor seating at Sunny Point Cafe.
And if you are ready to brunch hard, Sunny Point Cafe has an award-winning Bloody Mary mix and a Mega Mimosa!
201 Haywood Rd
What’s more Asheville than street tacos and margaritas?
At TacoBilly, the recipes are collected from the owners’ previous life in Mexico. Hunter and Beth Berry have made TacoBilly a place where you can taste adventure.
Using local produce and sustainable meat sources, the tacos from this Asheville restaurant are sure to please!
Restaurants in Asheville (South Asheville)
Rocky’s Hot Chicken Shack is the only South Asheville eatery that we’ll feature, but many of the best restaurants in Asheville have locations here. They include Farm Burger, Biscuit Head, White Duck Taco, and Early Girl Eatery.
Rocky’s Hot Chicken Shack
3749 Sweeten Creek Rd & 1455 Patton Ave
When Nashville-style hot chicken is involved, you know we’ll be talking about one of the spiciest restaurants in Asheville! In the case of Rocky’s Hot Chicken Shack, this place delivers that spice.
Dare I say that the hot chicken at Rocky’s is better than some of the best that I’ve had in Nashville? This Asheville restaurant isn’t just a place for vacationers.
No, Rocky’s is also where the locals line up!
The queue to order food is always moving as more and more people discover Rocky’s awesome hot chicken. We suggest you stop by, choose your spice level, grab a cold pint, and get ready to chow down!
Hungry for More Restaurants in Asheville?
Putting this guide together has made me hungry. We hope our guide helps you find a new spot to eat in Asheville.
If you’re familiar with the area, what are your favorite restaurants in Asheville?
Also, if there are any that we need to add, please let us know here in the comments or by email.