The 27 Best Asheville Restaurants to Try in 2024

Last Updated on February 22, 2024 | 0 Comments
the best Asheville restaurants

Looking to check out Asheville’s restaurant scene? Nestled amid the Blue Ridge Mountains and one of the largest cities in North Carolina, Asheville is one of the most thriving Southern cities when it comes to art, culture and a dynamic food scene. Embracing both traditional Southern cooking, Atlantic seafood from the coast and the flavors of the populations that have flocked to this picturesque city, it has much to offer when it comes to gourmet fare, American classics and bakery fresh goods.

We’ve rounded up a few of the most renowned Asheville restaurants and eateries, which range from casual and laid-back to upscale and elevated. Each offers a distinctive Asheville dining experience flavored by the city’s culinary roots. 


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25 Best Restaurants in Asheville

1. The Admiral

Open since 2007, The Admiral’s unassuming cinder block exterior gives way to one of the most upscale dining experiences you can find in an Asheville restaurant. They specialize in full-service dining of American fare that pushes various culinary boundaries. 

The Vibe

If you're looking for the perfect setting for an Asheville date idea, look no further. The eclectic interior filled with booths makes this Asheville restaurant a delightfully cozy spot perfect for a date night, while the outdoor patio filled with twinkle lights is a perfect spot for warmer nights.

What to Order

Try one of their famous charcuterie boards filled with terrines, cheeses and house-made sausages. Follow it up with steak tartare, flat iron steak, duck breast or one of many house-made pastas.

The Admiral | 400 Haywood Road, Asheville, NC 28806 | $$$

The Admiral is an elevated restaurant in Asheville.
via The Admiral

2. Rosetta's Kitchen & The Buchi Bar

Specializing in a plant-based menu and its signature kombucha, this Asheville restaurant, open since 2002, is now in a new location on Lexington Avenue, where it’s a favorite for low-priced vegan and vegetarian fare. 

The Vibe

Laid-back and mellow with a hippy vibe, Rosetta’s new location has a spacious tiled and brick dining area as well as extensive grab-and-go drinks and bites. They also have an outdoor patio that is a popular gathering spot. 

What to Order

Try a veggie burger and the famous peanut butter-baked tofu at this iconic Asheville restaurant. Regulars love the tempeh Reuben or Buddha Bowl, which mixes rice, smoky tofu, avocado, greens and more. If you like kombucha, order some of their signature beverages at the Buchi Bar.

Rosetta’s Kitchen & Buchi Bar | 68 N. Lexington Ave., Asheville, NC 28801 | $$

3. Jetta Rae’s Oyster House

Located just north of downtown, this Asheville restaurant specializes in Atlantic and Carolina coastal specialties mixed with Mediterranean and Spanish influences.

The Vibe

Upscale, yet breezy and casual, Jetta Rae’s has an indoor dining room as well as a covered patio with picnic tables, where you can grab a drink at their bar, the Pearl, located in an Airstream trailer. 

What to Order

Offerings at this Asheville restaurant include a raw bar, a changing ceviche menu and caviar service. Try the oysters Bienville, the Gullah-inspired crab rice or the octopus a la planxa. They also have various non-food options like burgers and steaks.

Jetta Rae’s Oyster House | 143 Charlotte St., Asheville, NC 28801 | $$$

Spanish octopus dish
via Jetta Rae's Oyster House

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4. Chai Pani

A favorite with tourists, this 2022 James Beard Award-winning Asheville restaurant is steeped in the varied and distinctive flavors of Indian street food.

The Vibe

While you may have a short wait to dine at Chai Pani due to its popularity, this fun and casual eatery is a great Asheville restaurant for a lively lunch or dinner, managing to be both an elevated take on street food and an accessible way to enjoy new dishes. 

What to Order

Try their lime-kissed matchstick okra fries or the crispy kale pakoras. Followed it up with one of their famous curries, butter chicken or Indian wraps with names like Sloppy Jai, featuring spiced lamp, green chutney and sweet yogurt. 

Chai Pani | 22 Battery Park Ave., Asheville, NC 28801 | $$

5.12 Bones Smokehouse

Long a local go-to for barbecue, 12 Bones is rumored to be a favorite Asheville restaurant frequented by none other than the Obamas when in the area.

The Vibe

Laid-back and casual, the dining room of this iconic Asheville restaurant is large, open and bright. The scent of rich barbecue fills every corner of the space. You can also dine in the outdoor tented patio complete with picnic tables and a festive atmosphere. 

What to Order

The simple menu boasts all the usual BBQ-centric favorites like pulled pork, brisket and a large sandwich called the Hogzilla. Order some meat along with sides like baked beans, mashed sweet potatoes and mac and cheese.

12 Bones Smokehouse | 5 Foundy St., Asheville, NC 28801 | $$

ribs on a platter with lots of sauce
via 12 Bones Smokehouse

6. Cucina 24

This Asheville restaurant focuses on Appalachian-inspired cuisine sourced from local farmers and foragers, including meats, cheeses, edible flowers and herbs.

The Vibe

Decked out in lots of dark wood and stylish brick, the vibe at Cucina 24 is upscale yet casual, with a cozy feel that would be perfect for date nights or special occasions.

What to Order

The fare is focused on classic Italian dishes and pizzas, so try the antipasto followed by the cacio e pepe or tagliatelle Bolognese. They also regularly feature a chef-chosen four-course dinner per table.

Cucina 24 | 24 Wall St., Asheville, NC 28801 | $$$

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7. Rhubarb

This farm-to-table Asheville restaurant has a strong tie with local farmers, foragers and food artisans. This connection has gained chef John Fleer multiple nominations for the James Beard Award.

The Vibe

Rustic yet contemporary, Rhubarb’s emphasis on farm-to-table dishes creates a laid-back environment paired with exquisite fare, including a Tuesday Table dinner series that offers rotating family-style three-course meals.

What to Order

Faves at this Asheville restaurant include the pimiento cheese hush puppies or goat cheese burrata to start, followed by the duck confit or whole rabbit with wheat berry risotto or garlic glazed baby beets. Their pie is the essential finish to a sublime meal.

Rhubarb | 7 SW Pack Sq., Asheville, NC 28801 | $$$

Rhubarb is a rustic yet elevate Asheville restaurant.
via Rhubarb

8. Limone’s Restaurant 

Dedicated to the cuisine and flavors of Mexico City, this Asheville restaurant was started in the 2000s by chef and owner Hugo Ramirez, who wanted to capture the food of his native city.

The Vibe

Bright and contemporary, Limone's Restaurant abounds in Mexican art, innovative fixtures and a rustic feel. The atmosphere can get lively with a large bar and free-flowing margaritas.

What to Order

Try their ceviche sampler, which presents a variety of innovative takes on this classic Mexican dish, or order favorites like chicken tacos, lobster enchiladas or chile relleno.

Limone’s Restaurant | 3 Eagle St., Asheville, NC 28801 | $$

9. Cúrate

This Downtown Asheville restaurant specializes in Spanish-style tapas as well as Spanish and Basque vermouths, sherries and wines.

The Vibe

Chic and contemporary with rustic Spanish touches, the interior of Cúrate features an open kitchen and a large 40-seat bar, making it perfect for celebrations large and small. 

What to Order

It’s hard to go wrong at this elevated Asheville restaurant. Order the lamb skewers jamon Iberico, Galician-style octopus and goat cheese-stuffed piquillo peppers. Sample the small plates with their selection of Spanish wines and liquors.

 Cúrate | 13 Biltmore Ave., Asheville, NC 28801 | $$$

Curate is one of the top restaurants in Asheville.
via Cúrate 

10. Ukiah Japanese Smokehouse

This blend of Japanese cuisine and American barbecue is distinctive, making Ukiah one of Asheville’s most popular restaurants for fusion cuisine. Located downtown, Ukiah’s fun menu includes a popular Sunday brunch with breakfast ramen and wagyu steak with eggs.

The Vibe

Modern and industrial, this bright Asheville restaurant is large and spacious enough to accommodate groups, making it a great spot for birthdays. The bar offers sake flights and Japanese whiskeys for a fun night out.

What to Order

Try the selection of sushi or ramen or some of the Japanese-flavored barbecue options like prime rib with shiso chimichurri, or the Carolina pork shoulder with roasted kimchi. 

Ukiah Japanese Smokehouse | 121 Biltmore Ave., Asheville, NC 28801 | $$

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11. Leo's House of Thirst

Created by Admiral owner Drew Wallace, Leo’s House of Thirst specializes in small plates and distinctively clever house cocktails.

The Vibe

Geared toward groups and shareable cuisine, this Asheville restaurant has a casual neighborhood feel, which fits both celebrations and romantic date nights. They also have a cozy outdoor area with fire pits and picnic tables.

What to Order

Try the deviled eggs with smoked honey and bacon or order one of their house-made pastas. They also have a deluxe grilled cheese made with three varieties on a French baguette. 

Leo’s House of Thirst | 1055 Haywood Road, Asheville, NC 28806 | $$

Leo's House of Thirst is a wonderful restaurant in Asheville.
via Leo's House of Thirst

12. Hemingway’s Cuba

A touch of the tropics in the Carolinas, this Asheville Bar and restaurant is a popular spot perched four floors above the city atop the Cambria Hotel, with a view of the mountains. 

The Vibe

Light and bright, Hemingway’s Cuba is a popular nightlife spot as well as a frequent wedding and special event venue. 

What to Order

Try their signature tropical rum-based cocktails before ordering the bistec de palomilla or the ropa vieja followed by an order of churros for dessert. 

Hemingway’s Cuba | 15 Page Ave., Fl. 4, Asheville, NC 28801 | $$

13. Vinnie’s Neighborhood Italian

With two locations in Asheville, this classic Italian restaurant has a cozy family feel with hearty favorites and classic takes on traditional dishes. 

The Vibe

Vinnie’s Neighborhood Italian is casual and laid-back, offering large portions and family-friendly vibes aplenty, making it a great spot for regular dinners or date nights.

What to Order

Try classic Italian dishes like chicken parmigiana, twice-baked lasagna, lobster ravioli or spaghetti with red sauce.

Vinnie’s Neighborhood Italian | Multiple Locations | $$

spaghetti with meatballs
via Vinnie's Neighborhood Italian

14. Baby Bull

Located in the River Arts District, Baby Bull is a burger concept restaurant in Asheville that is an offshoot from another local favorite, The Bull and the Beggar.

The Vibe

Casual and laid-back, this outdoor space and service window is filled with picnic tables outside the Hatchery artist studio.

What to Order

Burgers are the name of the game at Baby Bull, with a variety of baskets with innovative and traditional flavors like a classic double cheeseburger with fries. You can also get other sandwiches like their popular beer-battered cod sandwich or lobster roll. 

Baby Bull | 1 Roberts St., Asheville, NC 28801 | $$

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15. Sunny Point Café

Sunny Point Café, located in West Asheville, specializes in comfort food sourced from their on-site garden growing fresh seasonal produce.

The Vibe

Casual and funky with touches of neon and fun art, this Asheville restaurant often has lines out the door for their breakfast and brunch offerings. They also have a popular garden patio space.

What to Order

Try their cheese-stuffed French toast or shrimp and grits. They also have a large espresso menu and an adjacent bakery, The Rabbit Hole.

Sunny Point Café  | 626 Haywood Road, Asheville, NC 28806 | $$

woman holding bloody mary and salad
via Sunny Point Café 

16. Benne on Eagle 

Located in the Foundry Hotel, Benne on Eagle is regularly named one of the best restaurants in Asheville, NC. They are known for their seasonally changing menu, stylish interior and impeccable service.

The Vibe

Chic and industrial, the interior is filled with brick walls and innovative art, offering a spacious dining room perfect for group dining. The effect is elevated, yet casual.

What to Order

Order from the seasonal menu or try their daily brunch featuring their famous chicken and waffles and shrimp and grits, as well as innovative dishes like the matcha oatmeal bowl.

Benne on Eagle | 35 Eagle St., Asheville, NC 28801 | $$$

17. The Bull and Beggar

Located in the trendy River Arts District, this French-inspired Asheville restaurant looks unassuming from the exterior but offers some of the best takes on classic French dishes like oysters and steak frites.

The Vibe

The Bull and Beggar’s open space with two levels of seating is elegant, yet rustic. They also have a spacious outdoor patio that is covered in cooler weather.

What to Order

The oysters with onion butter are a crowd favorite. Try the filet mignon, the charred octopus and the lobster roll hors d'oeuvres. Special dishes like the truffled pig's foot also put this rustic Asheville restaurant on the map.

The Bull and Beggar | 37 Paynes Way, Asheville, NC 28801 | $$$

Truffled pig's foot
via The Bull and Beggar

18. ELDR

Located in Grovewood Village, this hidden gem offers a popular brunch as well as lunch and dinner most days, specializing in New American cuisine.

The Vibe

While the outside resembles a fairytale cottage, the interior opens to a bright space where contemporary style meets vintage details, like a large mid-century-inspired sandwich counter.

What to Order

ELDR has a 24-day-aged beef burger as well as pasta, fish and duck. Star with the fresh focaccia with strawberry butter made by a local bakery. 

ELDR | 111 Grovewood Road, Asheville, NC 28804 | $$$

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19. Jargon

Located in West Asheville, Jargon offers a touch of romance to date nights under their courtyard dining patio or interior dining room.

The Vibe

Jargon feels romantic and intimate, with an eclectic interior lined with gilt mirrors and frames and rich touches like leather booths.

What to Order

Their menu changes seasonally but concentrates on great food with beautiful presentation, including steaks, salads and small plates. Try one of their signature cocktails or book early to land a spot at the chef’s table for a distinctive dining experience. 

Jargon | 715 Haywood Road, Asheville, NC 28806 | $$$

Jargon is a romantic and intimate restaurant in Asheville.
via Jargon

20. Plant

Located in North Asheville, this 100% plant-based menu is dedicated to organic practices and products sourced locally. 

The Vibe

Plant is chic and contemporary, filled with greenery and local artwork tucked inside a stained brick exterior. It’s a lively and popular Asheville restaurant for lunch and brunch in particular, offering beautifully plated vegan and vegetarian fare.

What to Order

Try the ravioli, the applewood smoked portabella or the raw lasagna. They also have a variety of vegan baked goods and desserts for something sweet, like their famous Blackout Pie.

Plant | 165 Merrimon Ave., Asheville, NC 28801 | $$

21. Vivian

Located in the River Arts District, this is the spot for a classic steak dinner in a casual environment created by owner Josiah McGaughey, whose grandmother the restaurant is named for. 

The Vibe

Vivian is elegant and upscale while being chic and contemporary, making this a great spot for special occasions and romantic outings in their indoor dining room or spacious patio.

What to Order

Their steak dinners are legendary and accompanied by classic sides like mashed potatoes and large salads. They also have a brunch menu that includes a smoked lamb Benedict and a daily quiche.

Vivian | 348 Depot St., Asheville, NC 28801 | $$$

quiche and a salad
via Vivian

22. Neng Jr’s

This queer-owned Filipinx restaurant is one of the most popular restaurants in Asheville in recent years, recognized by publications like The New York Times and Bon Appetit.

The Vibe

Small and intimate, reservations are in high demand with only 17 seats available, so plan ahead to enjoy this colorful and art-filled eatery.

What to Order

The menu at Neng Jr’s is constantly changing but mixes Filipinx flavors with Southern style, including dishes like crab fried rice, smoked wings and adobo oysters. 

Neng Jr’s | 701 Haywood Road, Ste. 102, Asheville, NC 28806 | $$$

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23. Nine Mile

This Caribbean-inspired restaurant in Asheville boasts three locations in the city, each offering up island favorites like poultry, seafood and a large variety of vegetarian dishes.

The Vibe

The style of each Nine Mile restaurant varies according to neighborhood feels, but all offer elevated fare in a casual environment that is lively and colorful with notes of the islands.

What to Order

Their Live and Give appetizer starts the meal off with chips and queso, salsa and hummus. Their entrées boast innovative names like Cool Runnings (Cajun chicken with mushrooms) and Kingston 12 (shrimp with a coconut cream sauce.)

Nine Mile | Multiple Locations  | $$

a spread of dishes at Nine Mile in Asheville
via Nine Mile

24. Little Bee Thai

This relaxed Asheville Thai restaurant is a best-kept secret on the outskirts of the city. This casual spot has a small dining room where you order at the counter.

The Vibe

Little Bee Thai is decidedly laid-back but serves some of the best Thai food in the city for lunch and dinner, scrawled on their changing dry-erase board menu.

What to Order

Try Thai faves like curries, pad thai and fried spring rolls from their small select menu. They also serve Thai beverages, coffees and teas.

Little Bee Thai | 45 S. French Broad Ave., Asheville, NC 28801 | $$

25. OWL Bakery

With a name standing for Old World Levain, this distinctive bakery specializes in leavened Old-World breads like sourdough and European pastries in two restaurant locations in Asheville.

The Vibe

Bright and sunny, the vibes are casual and cozy. While OWL Bakery’s two locations can get packed at times, they are perfect for spending lingering time with a cup of coffee and delicious pastries.

What to Order

Their cardamom rolls are famous, as are their fruit tarts, chocolate croissants and morning buns, served up with great coffee and other beverages. 

OWL Bakery | Multiple Locations | $

OWL Bakery is a delicious Asheville restaurant.
via OWL Bakery

26. Baked Pie Company

This heavenly-scented restaurant near Asheville is the only spot in the area dedicated entirely to pie. 

The Vibe

Eat Baked Pie Company’s famous pie amidst a vintage-inspired rustic and eclectic interior of mismatched chairs and overflowing bookshelves. 

What to Order

Try the best-selling famous honey pecan pie at this sweet Asheville restaurant, or have one of their rich cream pies. You can try three varieties with their Pie Flight menu option. They sell by the slice or whole pies. 

Baked Pie Company | 4 Long Shoals Road, Arden, NC 28704 | $$

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27. White Duck Taco Shop

This Asheville restaurant favorite is devoted to tacos exclusively, mixing a wide variety of flavors and cuisines including Mexican, Asian, American and Indian, all on handmade tortillas.

The Vibe

Located in a spacious metal barn, the vibe at White Duck Taco Shop is fun, colorful and casual, making it a great spot to pick up a to-go order or to linger over tacos and one of their fresh lime margaritas. They also have a large patio for outdoor dining.

What to Order

Try a melding of global flavors with their tikka masala tacos, the Bangkok shrimp tacos, or the lamb gyro tacos.

White Duck Taco Shop | 388 Riverside Drive, Asheville, NC 28801 | $$

tacos in a blue basket
via White Duck Taco Shop

Try Cooking Asheville Foods

While the Asheville restaurant scene is lively, you can also learn how to make some of its favorite dishes in your own home. A cooking class is a great opportunity to learn regional favorites, fresh techniques and elevate your kitchen skills. Cooking classes in Asheville teach everything from lavish brunches and stone-fired pizza to perfect Asian dumplings and Thai dishes.

Whether you are looking for a perfect restaurant in Asheville, NC for your next group outing or romantic dinner or just looking to sample local cuisine, the city’s food scene has a lot to offer ranging from casual to elegant fare.

For even more ways to explore Asheville and beyond, check out other experiences happening on Cozymeal.

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