Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > General South Archive >
Jan 17, 2006 12:38 PM

Asheville, NC weekend

  • s

Hi All,

I'm going to Asheville for a nice weekend and have a few questions. I go to Zambra's often (probably too often!) and have also had brunch at Tupelo Honeys.I'm looking for some new places to try.

First, is the Bistro at the Biltmore any good? Does anyone know roughly how expensive the entrees are? We're planning on spending the afternoon there in any case and it might be nice to eat on the property. Also, are there any good moderately priced french bistros in asheville proper? I just want a good steak frites, some escargots and a nice moderately priced bottle of red.

Second, what are some good brunch places for Saturday? I like Tupelo Honey's a lot but want to try some place different. Just the regular stuff-- pancakes, grits, eggs benedict, though any place with mimosas would be a definite plus.

I'm open to any other dining suggestions as well!

Thanks so much!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. i believe, and leah & danna can correct me if wrong, that the concensus on zambras is that they've slipped a bit. still good, but not as good as they once were.

    i haven't tried the bistro, it gets a few good reviews, but not yet from anybody i trust. my general dining experience on the estate has been poor. i am no longer willing to shell out the $$s to eat there.

    sunny point (in west asheville on haywood) is a good alternative to tupelo. stoney knob (weaverville) is good as well, although i think they only offer their fancier brunch offerings on sunday; saturday would be basic breakfast foods.

    you absolutely cannot go wrong with salsa (downtown). limones (downtown) & tomato (westside) are both good as well. sorrentos (near asheville mall) is good for homestyle italian. lobster trap (downtown) is about the best you'll find for seafood (although it's not a great seafood restaurant by coastal standards). wasabi (downtown) & zen sushi (merrimon) for sushi. doc chey (downtown) for asian/noodles. thai basil (downtown) has improved recently.

    there are plenty of others, but i'm blanking right now.

    1. I think Bistro is probably on the high end - have you checked on-line to see if their menu is posted. Have mostly heard good things on it though some think it is overpriced.
      I am lukewarm on Zambra's...
      There is a new French Bistro but have heard less than good reports on it.
      For dinner (or brunch) I'd do Limones on Eagle Street. The owner is from Pacific coast of Mexico and uses very good quality organic products in most of recipes - we love it. Not mexi-cali mexican but more high end with lots of seafood and awesome steaks.
      Near the Biltmore Estate and probably just as pricey as the Bistro is Fig. Small so make sure you have reservation. Danna wrote a review on it recently. I really enjoyed a dinner there a couple of months ago. Other options downtown for dinner: Flying Frog and Market Place.
      For brunch - besides Tupelo Honey
      Laughing Seed - vegetarian - some really interesting options
      Limones - another vote - awesome Bloody Mary's and who can pass up chocolate and churros?
      Early Girl Eatery - many people seem to like this place - I can't figure out the attraction - whatever
      Stony Knob - about 10min north of Asheville near WEaverville - get in line by 9:30am - great brunch

      11 Replies
      1. re: leah
        The Blissful Glutton

        I like early girl for breakfast...get there early.

        Caterina Trattoria is good too...great food...they make all their own cheese, bread, pasta, smoked meats, etc.
        I had a very good meal there...the antipasti was amazing.

        1. re: The Blissful Glutton

          I'm going to put in a "no" vote for Caterina. We've been there about 3 or 4 times since they moved from downtown and along with some of our friends - all locals- have been disappointed in the service and quality of the food. They should have stayed downtown.

          1. re: leah
            The Blissful Glutton

            When did they move? I was just there in August and it was great.

            1. re: The Blissful Glutton

              They haven't been downtown - on the square - by the Vance monument in more than a year. They have been in their sister location at Il Paradiso (formerly a Steak house) right off 240.

              1. re: leah
                The Blissful Glutton

                I have only been there once when I went to Asheville for a weekend trip from Atlanta. I still had a great meal eventhough it appears it is not as good as it used to be.

                1. re: The Blissful Glutton

                  thanks everyone! i'll look into salsa's, limones and early girl. what about table? decent? great?

                  1. re: smeechow

                    I'm ambivalent about Table. I've been there for dinner once, shortly after they opened and the 4 of us were less than impressed. Once for dessert which was diffent - little cups of homemade ice cream - and once for brunch - which was my favorite. I had a ricotta and walnut pancake which was scrumptious.

                    1. re: leah

                      good to know about table. does anyone know if limones or salsas has a website? i'd like to see a menu. google's being unfriendly today!

                      1. re: smeechow

                        see link for limones.

                        couldn't find one for salsa's, but here's their contact info; they may be able to fax you something.

                        Salsa's Mexican-Caribbean Restaurant
                        6 Patton Avenue
                        Asheville NC 28801


                        1. re: smeechow

                          Salsa has a basic menu and a daily specials menu. Although everything is good, I always order something from the specials menu and recommend you do the same. I don't think there's a website.

                          A typical salsa's menu item will go something like: Quesadilla w/ shredded quava-BBQ pork, sweet potatoes, kale, and goat cheese , toasted coconut/mango/habenero salsa, rice, beans and plantain. It will be around $7.95 at lunch. I can't remember if dinner is higher or not, as I usually go for lunch. OTher common meat choices will be lamb, flank steak, hot smoked salmon.

                          There are appetizers lately, but as much as you want one, you better be a BIG eater to order an app and still have room for even half your food. (I always take half home and eat it the next day when it is even better)

                          There is very limited wine, but 3 quality levels of Margueritas + Mojitos + Caipirihnas (sp?). Also a flavored tea which I recommend.

                          I hope that is somewhat helpful.

                          1. re: danna

                            Try the habenero margarita at Salsa's. Amazing!

        2. Since you asked about the Bistro at Biltmore: I have never heard anything good enough about the food on teh estate to make me want to go. However, my parents went to the Dining Room at the Biltmore Inn. FWIW, they liked it better than Gabrielle's at Richmond Hill, I think it's in the same price range.

          I'm not aware of another french bistro except for Bouchon downtown which I would advise you against.

          Perhaps you could get that French bistro feeling at the bar above Flying Frog. It used to be called The New French Bar, and the outdoor cafe has that aura. I have not had any good food there, but perhaps they can make fries. I know they have a reasonable wine list.

          If you like Zambra, you'll love Salsa's.

          For brunch, I don't think you can beat Sunny Point. I like it much better than Tupelo Honey. Failing Sunny Point, I would probably go to Early Girl. Avoid Mayfel's. Not aware of mimosa's either place, though.

          1 Reply
          1. re: danna

            The New French Bar is now on Biltmore ave close to and on the same side of the street as the Fine Arts Theater.

          2. Hi smeechow --

            I don't know if "Asheville Proper" includes all of Buncombe county. However, if it does, then you should head to Black Mountain for several wonderful dining experiences. I don't know about Saturday brunch, but on Sunday there are several options sure to please the most discriminating palette while offering a dining experience for every mood! We'll start with my favorite -- (1) Que Sera -- a country french restaurant where both dinner and Sunday brunch will leave you wanting to go back immediately....don't let the outside view fool you. (2) Sunday Brunch at the Highlands Oyster bar offers very satisfying mimosas and everything from oysters on the half shell to grits and gravy. The piano player offers a cross between old timey Southern and NYC. (3) No mimosas here, but next door to the H. O. B -- you will find the Morning Glory offering bountiful and tasty servings of all breakfast favorites -- with a true mountain cafe atmosphere. Patience is required, however, as the servers are all on a very "mellow hippie-coolness" schedule. (4) And a truly unique landmark, The Monte Vista hotel is a famed landmark in Black Mountain. It's one of the true old country mountain inns -- offering a true time warp experience (close your eyes and you will think you are in the hotel from Dirty Dancing at Lake Lure). It has reopened the family dining room and serves a true old fashioned southern lunch buffet. It reminds me of the "good ole days", where hotels were a grand affair in all the small towns. Enjoy:)