Asheville, North Carolina is known for being home to the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, eclectic art districts, and the historic Biltmore Estate.
Asheville is also known for its thriving food scene, which is constantly evolving to combine the latest trends with the steady heart of the deep south.
If you’ve never traveled to Asheville, or if you’re planning your return, you’ll want to be caught up on the best places to experience the colorful food culture of the city.
Brian Canipelli, the owner and head chef at Cucina 24, has brought “farm-to-table” to the next level. The menu at Cucina 24 is a creative blend of authentic Italian cuisine and fresh, local ingredients from the Blue Ridge Mountains. The atmosphere is classy but welcoming, and you’ll feel right at home in this swanky environment.
Their menu is always changing based on local farms and current foods in season, but pizza, pasta, and salads are all consistent staples. Their drink menu consists of carefully crafted yet affordable cocktails, wine, and beer. If you have a chance to try Cucina 24, definitely try their Tagliatelle Bolognese pasta and the Karma Isn’t Real cocktail.
Copper Crown is a must-try spot for fans of New Orleans style cuisine. They chose a unique and mid-century modern design, and their bar is built to resemble something you’d see at a jazz bar in the 1960’s. Their menu blends New Orleans dishes with more general American cuisine, and their bar offers a huge variety of cocktails and local beer.
Like many of the other local Asheville restaurants, Copper Crown sources their ingredients from nearby farms. They also provide an array of beers from Asheville-owned breweries. Copper Crown is open for lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch. If you go for dinner, make sure you try the Blackened North Carolina Catfish or the Louisiana Crawfish Risotto.
You’ll find the best tacos in Asheville at White Duck, hands down. Their tacos are not only delicious, but every ingredient is fresh and affordable. According to their website, White Duck is “committed to buying 99% American products.”
There are three White Duck locations throughout Asheville, and each one is unique from the others. Their taco menu changes throughout the year because of the local in-season ingredients they use, but you can guarantee that you’ll find something amazing every time. There are fresh soups and vegetarian taco options, as well as seasonal sangria and house-made margaritas.
It would be blasphemous to visit Asheville without eating at Biscuit Head. The southern style restaurant was started by a husband and wife duo who wanted to bridge local food with southern comfort food. When you walk into Biscuit Head, you’ll see a whole menu full of different types of biscuits, breakfast sandwiches, and other awesome brunch items. The best part of Biscuit Head is the enormous selection of house-made jams and butters. You’ll also find options for vegan or gluten free biscuits at all of the Asheville locations.
Red Ginger Dimsum is the perfect place to experience classic Chinese food with a romantic, trendy atmosphere. They locally source their ingredients and believe fully in “farm-to-table” as the best way to deliver food to their customers. Red Ginger specializes in Chinese tapas, so their plate options are small and meant to be ordered for sharing.
Red Ginger is also awesome because they open their kitchen for customers to see the authentic kitchen environment. Along with food from local farms, they also provide an extensive menu of wine that they make from their own local vineyard!
Capella on 9 offers carefully crafted food and a peaceful mountain atmosphere. Their tagline is “Small Plates, Big Views” because of their locally-sourced tapas menu and mountainous location. Capella encourages their customers to sit, relax, and savor each moment while they eat delicious food and watch the sunset over the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Capella on 9 offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Their menu is minimal but innovative, and it changes with each season. If you need a recommendation, try the Chorizo Hush Puppies or the Capella Burger.
Jerusalem Garden Cafe is by far the best place in Asheville to get Middle Eastern cuisine. They’re known for their lamb dinner dishes, but they also offer vegan and vegetarian meals. You can enjoy their food for lunch or dinner 7 days a week, and you can try their brunch on the weekends. If you want to experience Middle Eastern culture beyond just their cuisine, you can find professional belly dancing performances on Friday and Saturday nights!
Bouchon is a special gem of Asheville. It is known as a “french comfort food” restaurant, and it delivers a perfect blend of French cafe and local mountain farm food. You’ll instantly feel cozy and comfortable in this intimate cafe environment. Bouchon pays close attention to every detail and believes in the beauty of the French aesthetic.
You’ll spend about $20-$30 on each dinner dish and around $10-$12 on one of their craft cocktails. The Bouillabaisse Bouchon is one of their most popular dishes, and it pairs well with their selected red wines. You can also try their Escargots if you’re feeling brave!
Hemingway’s Cuba provides some of the best Cuban food in North Carolina. Its name is inspired by Ernest Hemingway’s adoration for Havana, Cuba. As you now know, Asheville is an expert at blending different genres of cuisine with local farm ingredients, and Hemingway’s Cuba successfully combines authentic cuban food with local ingredients from nearby farms.
The atmosphere at Hemingway’s Cuba is lively and sophisticated. You can enjoy sitting inside, outside on the patio, or on the rooftop. After you grab a Hemingway’s Daiquiri or a Cuba Libre, try a classic dish of Ropa Vieja or Arroz con Pollo.
Cedric’s Tavern takes you to the heart of an Irish pub in all of the best ways. Set along the Biltmore Estate Village, you’ll find a quaint and cozy experience in Cedric’s Tavern. Their menu is made to pay tribute to the beloved dishes found in British and Irish pubs, and they source much of their menu from farms located on the Biltmore Estate property. The ingredients not sourced on property can be found in various regions across West Asheville.
There are seven different restaurants to enjoy on the Biltmore Estate property. They all locally source their food and provide wine from the Biltmore Winery. Although the prices are affordable, the only downside is that you’ll need to have an admissions ticket (around $70 per person) to the Biltmore Estate to enjoy Cedric’s Tavern. But spending a day exploring the house, walking through the gardens, tasting at the winery, and stopping by Cedric’s Tavern is well worth the price of admission.
What could possibly be more enjoyable than sipping on champagne and eating cheese while sitting among thousands of books? The Battery Park Book Exchange and Champagne Bar provides a unique space for dining, socializing, and diving into your next book.
When visiting Battery Park, you’ll find an extensive menu full of champagnes, white and red wines, local beer, and small plates. They also offer an assortment of creative champagne cocktails. If you’re feeling a little bit hungry, you can try one of their cultural snacks. They offer shareable platters based on international cuisine, such as the Vegetarian Mediterranean Platter, the Italian Platter, or the French Platter.
The French Broad Chocolate Lounge is a chocolate-lover’s dream come true. The lounge resembles a beautiful, delicate French cafe that you would find in the heart of Paris, and their chocolate is some of the best you’ll ever taste. All of the chocolate is made in-house, so you never have to question the mystery of the ingredients. There are also an abundance of vegan and gluten free choices.
When you visit French Broad, you’ll be able to choose from an extensive menu of cakes, truffles, ice cream, and if you’re visiting Asheville in the winter: their famous sipping chocolate! You can also enjoy some locally-roasted espresso to pair with your chocolate dessert.
Trade and Lore’s charm can be found not only in its quaint, trendy aesthetic but in its deliciously crafted local espresso beverages. This shop works hard to cultivate community in every way by using local ingredients and sourcing from local Asheville businesses. They use Mountain Air Roasters for their coffee beans and also sell goods from a variety of nearby shops.
Trade and Lore also loves to cultivate community by hosting different events in their space. They host a variety of open mic nights, local craft markets, and other local gatherings. As soon as you walk in to Trade and Lore you’ll experience a sense of creativity, hospitality, and a deep love for craft coffee.
We hope you can now see why Asheville, North Carolina is such a crucial location for the growing food culture. Not only do almost all of Asheville’s restaurants provide fresh, locally-sourced ingredients from nearby farms, but they give their customers an experience they’ll never forget.
If you have the opportunity to book a trip to Asheville and try your own food tour of the city, make sure you take the time to eat, sip, and enjoy the local cuisine of the Blue Ridge Mountains.