Everybody’s gotta eat. But if you’re a foodie like me, you’ve gotta eat something pretty delectable. The pleasures that good food brings are real, and Asheville has such an abundance of food-based bliss offerings that we actually call it “Foodtopia”.
I’ve often said that if you want to really challenge yourself, try to find a bad meal in Asheville. It’s hard to do. So the good news is, while the number of options can be overwhelming, you really can’t go wrong.
Obviously, though, there are the exceptional places to eat that offer a complete experience, the ones you don’t want to miss out on if you can help it- the best places to eat in Asheville. That’s what this list is about.
THE BEST PLACES TO EAT IN ASHEVILLE
I’ve organized the list by meal type- breakfast/brunch, lunch, dinner, and dessert. All of the eateries on this list are downtown and were selected with the idea of a “full experience” in mind, with good food and the energy of a happening location. Each recommendation has a minimum of a 4 out of 5 star rating on TripAdvisor. Some descriptions are taken directly from the establishment’s website.
Best Breakfast Places in Asheville
Early Girl Eatery- Located on cobblestoned Wall Street, Early Girl has a solid breakfast, brunch, and lunch menu featuring southern-inspired comfort food made with locally farmed ingredients and lots of vegetarian and vegan options. Price range: $$-$$$ Address: 8 Wall Street
Over Easy Cafe- This small breakfast, brunch, and lunch cafe in the heart of downtown Asheville serves delicious dishes made from locally farmed foods whenever possible. You can expect hearty portions, beautiful presentations, and options for any diet type. Limited outdoor seating available. Price range: $$-$$$ Address: 32 Broadway Street
Mayfel’s- Enjoy Louisiana-style cuisine anytime of day at Mayfel’s, and bring your pooch- they have dog-friendly outdoor seating overlooking Pritchard Park. They are open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Price range: $$-$$$ Address: 22 College Street
Tupelo Honey- One of the most popular breakfast faves in Asheville,Tupelo Honey serves up traditional southern food made from scratch from responsibly sourced ingredients. Indoor and covered outdoor seating available. Price range: $$-$$$ Address: 12 College Street
Best Lunch Places in Asheville
Isa’s French Bistro- Described as French cuisine with Asheville flare, Isa’s is located in a prime spot wrapping around the corner of Haywood and Battery Park just across from Woolworth Walk Art Gallery and Crafts Emporium. Their invitation is to “fine-dine and unwind”. Indoor and outdoor seating available. Price range: $$-$$$ Address: 1 Battery Park Avenue
Carmel’s Kitchen- For something casual but adequately creative, try Carmel’s on Page St. Located right in the middle of all the action of the Grove Arcade and daily street vendors, Carmel’s is a full experience of food, drink, and people-watching. Price range: $$-$$$ Address: 1 Page Avenue
Pack’s Tavern- Situated right off the edge of Pack Square Park, Pack’s Tavern is a great lunch or dinner spot with both indoor seating and a recently redone outdoor seating area overlooking the park. A full menu of appetizers, sandwiches, pizzas, entrees and desserts is available. Price range: $$-$$$ Address: 20 S Spruce Street
Posana- A contemporary American restaurant on Pack Square serving locally-sourced foods in a chic space. The menu changes regularly and the outdoor veranda is both in the heart of things while also feeling somewhat nestled and private. Price range: $$-$$$ Address: 1 Biltmore Avenue
Mellow Mushroom- A long-time favorite, Mellow Mushroom is the place to cure a pizza longing while also enjoying the electric energy of Asheville. Stop by for pizza, hoagies, salads and more. This location has a large outdoor seating area. Price range: $$-$$$ Address: 50 Broadway Street
Champa- A sushi restaurant in the heart of downtown Asheville with great food and service. Indoor dining only. Price range: $$-$$$ Address: 3 Biltmore Avenue
Jerusalem Garden- Mediterranean Cuisine and tapas in downtown Asheville. Indoor and outdoor seating. Live music and belly dancing on Friday and Saturday nights. Price range: $$-$$$ Address: 78 Patton Avenue
Best Dinner Places in Asheville
Chestnut- New American eatery for seasonal bites & homemade treats in restored 1920s digs with a full bar. Price range: $$-$$$ Address: 48 Biltmore Avenue
Storm- Modern American bistro fare and old-school cocktails served in a polished, rustic room. Indoor and outdoor seating available. Price range: $$-$$$ Address: 125 S Lexington Avenue
Bar Taco- Stylish taqueria serving inventive Mexican street food, wine, beer and cocktails. Indoor and outdoor seating available. Price range: $$-$$$ Address: 121 Biltmore Avenue
Black Bird- Refined Southern choice serving creative upmarket plates in minimalist surrounds with a full bar. Price range: $$-$$$ Address: 47 Biltmore Avenue
The Market Place- Farm-to-table American cuisine, craft cocktails & a robust wine list in an upscale-casual setting. Indoor and outdoor seating available. Price range: $$-$$$ Address: 20 Wall Street
Red Ginger- Trendy, contemporary spot offering modern dim sum, Chinese small plates, beer, wine & cocktails. Indoor and outdoor seating available. Price range: $$-$$$ Address: 82 Patton Avenue
Jack of the Wood- Comfortable Irish public house offering handcrafted ales, locally sourced pub grub & live music. A great social gathering spot. Price range: $$-$$$ Address: 95 Patton Avenue
Buxton Hall BBQ- Whole-hog East Carolina BBQ, Southern sides, & cocktails on tap meet in a soaring industrial space. Price range: $$-$$$ Address: 32 Banks Avenue
Rosetta’s Kitchen- Cozy stop with a casual vibe for vegetarian & vegan comfort foods, with gluten-free options. Price range: $$-$$$ Address: 116 N Lexington Avenue
Mountain Madre- Fresh homemade Mexican Food and Agave cocktails. Outdoor seating along Walnut Street or in the private courtyard for a more peaceful dining experience. Price range: $$-$$$ Address: 13 W Walnut Street
Calypso- St. Lucian eats such as rotis & West Indian curries, plus island cocktails, with weekly DJs/dancing. Price range: $$-$$$ Address: 18 N Lexington Avenue
Best Places for Dessert in Asheville
French Broad Chocolate Lounge- Chocolate specialist using carefully sourced beans to create truffles, bars & other sweets. Coffee, tea, wine and local beer are served. Indoor and outdoor seating available. Price range: $$-$$$ Address: 10 S Pack Square
Old Europe- Old-world coffee shop offering locally roasted brews along with various European-style pastries. Small and cozy spot to get cozy over a shared slice of German Chocolate Cake. Price range: $$-$$$ Address: 13 Broadway Street
World Coffee- Coffee cafe in Asheville’s Historic Flatiron Building offering drinks, tapas, & sweets in a cozy space with sidewalk & balcony seating. Price range: $-$$ Address: 18 Battery Park Avenue
Asheville’s food scene leaves little to nothing to be desired. I hope this list helps you get some good eats and have a full and fun dining experience.