Last Updated on September 15, 2020
Last Updated on September 15, 2020
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Whenever I think about all the restaurants in Asheville that we’ve visited, it’s impossible to focus on one dish, restaurant, or even type of cuisine. That’s a testament to the city’s chefs and restauranteurs who have a knack for cultivating unique experiences.
That, in a sense, 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.
These unique places to stay near Asheville perfectly pair with the city’s restaurants.
This article about part of our series on Western North Carolina, with a specific focus on Asheville. Honestly, we think these restaurants would make for a nice meal after one of these hikes near Asheville, too!
Awesome Asheville Restaurants
Note: Our food guides are always expanding, so if we left something off, it’s because our stomachs are only so big! Let us know if there is a place we missed and we will try it out for our next meal in Asheville.
Finally, we are so grateful to those who contributed their words and images to this article. Please go check out their awesome work!
All Souls Pizza
Website | 175 Clingman Ave
Using self-milled flour and polenta in all of their pizzas, All Souls Pizza is where you go for a boujee yet delicious slice of ‘za. Locally focused, the menu of gourmet pizza highlights Asheville growers and makers. But the vibe at All Souls is very chill. Sit inside or on the beautifully green patio and enjoy the best pizza in Asheville!
Asheville Sandwich Company
Website | 794 Haywood Rd
Asheville is filled with so many incredible outdoor activities. 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.
Gourmet sandwiches that are bursting with flavor, there really is no wrong order at Asheville Sandwich Company! Oh, and did we mention that they have instagramable drool-worthy milkshakes too!?
Website | 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.
Benne on Eagle
Website | 35 Eagle Street
From the Asheville restauranteur that gave us, Rhubard, Chef John Fleer’s Benne on Eagle is focused on revitalization. Located in a neighborhood known as The Block on Eagle Street, the businesses surrounding Benne on Eagle used to be the areas more vibrant area in the 1960s and 1970s.
The neighborhood started to decline in the 1980s and now, thanks to many businesses like Benne on Eagle, the area is starting to breathe life again. Head by Chef De Cuisine Ashleigh Shanti, Benne on Eagle is steeped in soul and heritage of the area.
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.
Website | 101 S Lexington Ave
Is there anything better than a cold beer and delicious food? Bhramari Brewing is the only Asheville brewery that we’re featuring on this list, and after a visit you’ll see why!
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!
Button & Co. Bagels
Website | 32 S Lexington Ave
Not just bagels. Okay, yes- there are a lot of bagels. But at Katie Button’s newest restaurant she takes her childhood memories of New Jersey bagels and brings sustainable practices and flavor. Every bagel is made with a house-made sourdough starter with single variety flour from Asheville’s Carolina Ground.
Open for breakfast and lunch and serving Counter Culture Coffee, grab a bagel from Button & Co and it will fuel you for the rest of the day!
Buxton Hall Barbecue
Website | 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!
You can call them unorthodox or whatever, but we still decided to include Buxton Hall in our guide to North Carolina barbecue.
Website | 22 Battery Park Ave
Looking for authentic street food? Chai Pani is a must when in AVL! 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.
Website | 13 Biltmore Ave
“Cure yourself” with Spanish style tapas from renowned scientist turned chef, Katie Button’s Cúrate (pronounced COO-rah-tay). Cúrate is an explosion in your mouth featuring the best jamón Ibérico, vermuterías, and shareable tapas.
The six-time James Beard nominee, Chef Katie Button works with nearby growers to produce ingredients that are typically found in Spain. Must-order Croquetas de Pollo, but we’d like to hear what you like.
And just so you know, Cúrate was listed as one of America’s 100 Best Wine Restaurants by Wine Enthusiast in 2018.
Early Girl Eatery
Website | 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. Step inside this amazing Asheville restaurant via the screen door and get ready to find some familiar faces if you know good Southern food.
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.
Website | 10 Patton Square & 1831 Hendersonville Rd
Steps away from Pack Square, Farm Burger is one of downtown Asheville’s most popular restaurants. Not downtown? Check out their South Asheville location! Using only organic and locally purveyed ingredients, the burgers are cooked in beef tallow to maintain their juicy flavor.
If you’re looking for an affordable meal in Asheville then the Farm Burger lunch special is your ticket for $9!
French Broad Chocolate
Website | Lounge: 10 S Pack Square Factory: 821 Riverside Dr
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 their environmental footprint while still producing the best chocolate and desserts in the world.
Website | 168 Haywood Rd
Fresh made to order yeasty doughnuts like you’ve never had them before! Hole only 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!
Jerusalem Garden Cafe
Website | 78 Patton Ave
We happened upon Jerusalem Garden Cafe when searching for a place to eat Downtown and came away thankful for the discovery. This Asheville restaurant’s colorful and well-decorated interior encourages relaxation and focusing your imagination on faraway places.
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.
Website | 7 SW Pack Square
Rhubarb straddles the line of fancy and familiar. Every Southern meal needs some collards, but at Rhubarb, Chef John Fleer kicks it 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!
Website | 201 Haywood Rd
Street tacos and margaritas- what’s more Asheville than that!? Recipes collected from the owner’s 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!
Website | 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 make. Get one of each because it’s not uncommon for Vortex Doughnuts to sell out!
Well Played Board Game Cafe
Website | 58 Wall St
You might be wondering why we’ve included Well Played, Asheville’s first board game cafe among some of the city’s best restaurants. While visiting and playing a few of their 600-plus games, we also dug into the cafe’s delicious menu.
Along with a variety of beers, wine, and champagne, you can order sandwiches, snacks, salads, and flatbreads. The Pepperoni Party flatbread is a nice, not-too-heavy pizza to go along with whatever games you’re playing.
And to balance things out, go with their Chexmate. That’s a caesar-like salad that substitutes Chex Mix in place of croutons, which is genius in my book!
White Duck Taco
Website | 388 Riverside Dr & 12 Biltmore Ave
White Duck Taco got its start in the River Arts District and has proven itself among the best of Asheville’s food scene. 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.
Hungry for More Asheville Restaurants
We know that you don’t just eat when you travel, so please check our guide to a weekend in Asheville for more things to do. Putting this together has made me even hungrier for Asheville’s awesome restaurant scene.
If you’ve never been out in Asheville, which of these restaurants would you like to visit first? And if you have been lucky enough to stop by any of them, which ones did you like?