Best Restaurants in Asheville, 2014

Filed under: "Ten Best" Lists, Carolina Bed and Breakfast, Restaurants

King James Public house

King James Public house

One of the enviable facets of an innkeeper’s job is the need to visit and revisit restaurants in town so that we can give visitors to our Asheville Bed and Breakfast, the Carolina Bed & Breakfast, up-to-date information. In a town such as Asheville with so many choices, it is difficult to come up with a definitive “Best Restaurant” list, but nevertheless we are willing to try!

Every year, James and I make an effort to sample new restaurants. It’s not always easy.  More than 38 independent restaurants opened in 2013 and there are already another 11 slated to open in the early part of 2014.  In addition to this, there are always some which guests tell us need to be revisited, either because they have improved or because they have slipped.  We used to try to keep this to a tidy “Ten Best Restaurants in Asheville” list but this year it wasn’t possible. After arguing round and round about who should be included, in no particular order, here is our list.

Rezaz.  In Biltmore Village. Says it is Mediterranean, but more southern French. Sort of a “smart, casual” place.

Cucina 24. Great Northern Italian restaurant. Elegant without being pretentious. The Chef there has lately changed the menu to meet the current demand for small plates but the wood-fire pizza oven is still working its miracles.

Limones. California Mexican, but this is not Tex-Mex. More California fusion. This is up market and the real thing. Reservations suggested.

Zambra. Very funky, calls itself a tapas place, but is really local small dishes. There is a couch in the back that if you sit there, you may never leave.

Table. Nominated for a James Beard Award, this is an excellent choice, and again, not pretentious. Food is local, menu changes daily and and includes some interesting choices. Reserve in advance. 

Corner Kitchen. Another Biltmore Village choice. Originally a comfortable coffee and sandwich shop, this is now a trendy restaurant. Certainly worth considering if you are in the Village. (Obama liked it)

Early Girl Eatery. Southern home cooking. Very Chill. Great for lunch but also good for an informal dinner.

Nine Mile. Only a few blocks from our inn, this is an excellent choice if you just want to relax and eat close by. Jamaican cuisine. Basically fresh pasta with an extensive choice of foods to put on top.Always busy because the locals love it.

12 Bones. We have to include a BBQ place. This is the real thing.The line may well stretch out the door but it moves fast and gives you time to make up your mind about how much you can eat! Only problem is that it is only open for lunch (11:00am-4:00pm) and closed on weekends. Shows you how good it is.

The Junction. This restaurant is in the River Arts District which is the large working artist area of Asheville. The food here is imaginative, and based on a non-scientific study, has the best burger in town (but is not a burger joint). 

The Junction

The Junction

Plant. This is a completely vegan restaurant with award winning food.  It is not strictly in the downtown area but is worth the trip. Even carnivores have been found happily eating here!

Admiral. Located in West Asheville Admiral likes to think of itself as a local’s place but it manages to attract a good sized out-of-town following.  It looks like a dive but the food begs to differ.  Chefs from the Admiral have moved on to open many other successful Asheville restaurants and have had a real impact on local cuisine.  Expect the unexpected. Reservations a must.

Wicked Weed Brewing.  Asheville’s hottest new microbrewery.  The food is good but go for the beer. As proclaimed on their website, they push the boundaries!

A Beer Flight at Wicked Weed

A Beer Flight at Wicked Weed

Curate Tapas Bar.  Created by Chef Katie Button, this authentic Spanish tapas bar has gained renown far outside of Asheville.  It will be busy and you won’t be disappointed. Reserve.

Roasted peppers and Spanish goat cheese at Curate

Roasted peppers and Spanish goat cheese at Curate

King James Public House.   The new kid on block, the King James opened in January 2014.  Chef Steve Goff and Peter Slamp (part owner of Zambra) have been playing to packed houses.  It’s more bar than restaurant but the food is a step far above bar-food! It’s not strictly in the downtown but you can walk there from here.  No website yet!

There’s more, lots more.  We invite you to come and share your experiences with us!



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