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Asheville, NC

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Has anyone been to Tupelo Honey or Rosetta's Kitchen?

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  1. Tupelo Honey. It's OK, I went there once, did not bother to return. Many people seem to like it more than I did. If you want a "southern" fix, try it.

    Rosetta's Kitchen. Freaky little vegetarian place. The food is not that bad. BBQ tempeh, peanut butter tofu, french fries cooked to order, that sort of thing. Lots of street kids. Smokey on the outside terrace.

    These are two very different restaurants.

    11 Replies
    1. re: danna

      Haven't been to Tupelo Honey in ages...always too crowded now - that's what we get for letting Southern Living and other mags brag about it! What are you looking for and I'll give you suggestions

      1. re: leah

        Rosetta's Kitchen was on our list a few weeks ago as we passed through Asheville. We finally found the entrance for the upper flat and found it was not open for breakfast. The surroundings did not leave much of a desire to return. I read a recent review that praised the food. Quite puzzled by the place from the exterior...to say the least.

        1. re: Windsor

          I don't see what's puzzling. It has an entrance on both of the streets that it lies between. It's location is amidst tattoo parlors, head shops, used CD stores, and vintage clothing shops...which is exactly perfect for it's clientel.

        2. re: leah

          Hi Leah! We will be in Asheville for one night while on a road trip and would like to go to someplace downtown so we can check out the galleries there after dinner on a Saturday. Can you reccommend something there?We don't care about price as much as we like quality--which most often for us means a chef owned restaurant with a commitment to local produce.

          1. re: Kathryn

            make sure you check and make sure the galleries will all be open late...
            Restaurants downtown - casual and inexpensive - pizza - Barley's
            asian/thai - Doc Chey's
            Jamaican/island - Anntony's
            seafood/American - Magnolia - has outside/covered dining
            vegetarian - Laughing Seed

            more expensive but worth it - Limones, Left Bank, Market Place ( of the three I'd do Limones)

          2. re: leah

            We're looking for something distinctly Asheville...have been to Early Girl and Laughing Seed and enjoyed both. Partner is semi-vegaterian -- will eat fish & seafood

            1. re: Carol

              "distinctly Asheville"? now, that's really puzzling as there are so many sorts of restaurants here...I'd say Salsa's, Limones or Zambra then if you want to stay downtown.

              1. re: leah

                Thanks.."distinctly Asheville" was meant to convey locally owned.

                1. re: Carol

                  I second Salsa's. I've been there about a dozen times and have never had a bad meal there. Early Girl, which you already know, is hard to beat for breakfast and coffee. Just my two cents.


                  1. re: Douglas

                    I'm not such a big Early Girl fan. I've tried it for lunch 2 or 3 times so that may be the problem. I'm just not crazy about it - always seems like there is something missing to me. If you're looking for locally owned...lots of options, but my fav's are Limones and Salsa downtown. Outside of downtown I really like Sunnypoint Bakery and Cocina Latina in West Asheville and Stony Knob between Asheville and Weaverville.

                    1. re: leah

                      all good recs.

                      fyi... tomato (aka cocina latino) has a real sign now, so maybe it'll be a little easier to find. says "tomato" on it and everything.

        3. I hate to be a "stick in the mud" but I have found Asheville restaurants to be either "tree hugger, 60's Berkley wanna be's" havens or pretentious 80's tiny food amounts, nose in the air expensive, we won't be here next week places.

          I travel quite a bit and to go to downtown Asheville during the day is like going back in time to the sixties. I take a number of classes (on weekends under the sustainable ag program, we even buy our piglets from them) at Warren Wilson College and must struggle to keep from laughing at the women in their Carrhart's. A set of Carrhart's is about as flattering as being dragged by a tractor. The "no make up" thing I happen to like however.

          Lunch is always a treat..."We have a tofu burger so you won't have to cause animal suffering" What about the poor soybean?

          "Animal is already dead...otherwise he wouldn't be in the pan, now would he?"

          Oh, anyway...when I am in Asheville I eat at Asiana Chinese Buffet. One at the Enka exit and another (and better) near Fletcher on hwy 25.

          Again I will now step off my soapbox.

          11 Replies
          1. re: michael b

            You have GOT to be kidding me. Mr. high-end-Japanese eats at a Chinese buffet?

            You must have formed your opinion of the Asheville dining scene 20 years ago. Break out of that buffet line and give it some more effort ;-)

            1. re: michael b

              YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING!!! Aren't you the same one who writes so glowingly about Sushi Koji in Greenville - the attention to detail, the customer service, the good quality and then you prefer an anonymous, glistening with oil, jostle others to get food, quantity vs quality -buffet...oh, golly I am thunderstruck, stunned, disappointed...
              You need to get downtown and experience some of the other restaurants in ASheville - you've described some of the clientele and menu at Rosetta's and Laughing Seed and sometimes Salsa's but what about Table, Market Place, Zambra's ?? Not to mention Fig, Gabrielle's, Savoy....We eat downtown at least once/week and aren't tree hugging, no shaving, anti-anti-persperant, dreadlock wearing, "trustafarians" - neither are our friends - but none of us would opt for a buffet (be it J &S, Twin Dragon, China, Asia etc) over ANY of our favorites in Asheville - (whew!) I feel better now

              1. re: leah

                Heh. I was at Salsa a couple of weeks ago and got to see a couple of trustafarians having lunch with their upper middle class, somewhat uneasy parents. It was hilarious.

                1. re: leah

                  I'm sorry folks but I consider Asheville on the same restaurant level as Kinston, NC or Goldsboro, NC. I can usually be found cooking in the parking lot of the Hampton Inn at the Biltmore exit off 26. I'm just not been happy w/ anything I've had in Asheville. I only eat lunch at Asianna but dinner in Asheville hasn't been so good.

                  A grade school friend is probably the leading attorney in Asheville and feels the same way. He lives there!!

                  When I visit him and his family we cook at his home because he doesn't want to go out. He comes to Charlotte, we eat out most of the time.

                  I've traveled the Carolinas and E. Tn for thirty years. The area is fantastic, the weather wonderful but the restaurants just don't compare w/ where I will be the next week.

                  I also cook in the parking lots in Greensboro and Columbia, so don't feel too bad.

                  1. re: michael b

                    I don't feel bad, but you should. You're really missing out. I'd really like to hear where you've been eating in Asheville to have this opinion. Asheville is a dining oasis in the midst of nothingness.

                    Of course, if all you want is sushi, then feel free to dine in, otherwise...you need to do a little more homework.

                    1. re: danna

                      Since I travel in a 4 state area...TN, SC, GA, and NC ...I can say that Asheville has restaurants that are as good or better than those that can be found in Atlanta or Charlotte....try some of the ones we've recommended on this site like Limones, Salsa, Gabrielle's, Savoy, Fig, Table....

                      1. re: leah

                        I shall try these places once more...only on Danna's and Leah's suggestion. I am sorry to repeat this but most road warriors consider Asheville to be a culinary wasteland. I will put my judgement on hold until another round of dinner and lunches...probably mostly lunches as I,IMHO, have already been burned once.

                        I eat sushi or sashimi about once or twice a month...never at Asianna in Asheville. I am very picky about sushi and sashimi. I usually eat sashimi as I don't think white rice is all that good for you.

                        To be honest I don't think there is any place in Asheville that compares w/ the top five places on East Blvd. in Charlotte. Sole, Brixx, the Chinese place behind East Blvd Sundries (used to trade them live chickens for lunch), Taste of Thai, Price's Chicken Coop or Phatt Burritto (last two aren't on East Blvd but within a stone's throw)...ok I've got six but didn't even bring up Southside Brewery (pizza or nachos), Mr. K's or Mantis (a standard meat and two Greek place).

                        I'll give Asheville another chance but I have been traveling the area for thirty years and have two friends from grade school that live there that agree Asheville is not so good for food.

                        I now have to go shovel pig manure to our trees...makes them grow so well.

                        1. re: michael b

                          Michael...one nite take your friends into downtown and get them away from Tunnel Road and Hendersonville Road(even though there are a some bright spots there)...start at Limones and have ceviche and a margarita...go up to Salsa's and sample one of their day's specials...burrito maybe and a high gravity beer - but just one - plates are huge....then walk around for a while and sit at the bar at Zambra's for a glass of Spanish wine and some small tapas plates....we don't do desserts too well downtown except at restaurants so maybe try the ice cream place over on Tunnel Road. Alternatively try Cocina Latina for ensalada gringo and paella and a dos equis or two and then go to Sweet Heaven in Montford for ice cream...
                          you just need to hang out with the folks who know.

                          1. re: leah

                            I shall do so. I'll follow your plan as closely as possible. I'll even include my preacher who was "run out" of China Grove to Asheville but I still see every time I'm in Asheville.

                          2. re: michael b

                            tell me you're not talking about Brixx the pizza chain.

                            1. re: danna

                              This IS a chain store. However I was eating in this place thirty years ago when it was a Huddle House. It changed to Tio Montero (WAS the best Spanish place in Charlotte for many years until the owner got greedy) and then Brixx bought the place.

                              Saving grace is a wonderful lady who is the pizza chef. She is about 4'10" so the chain designed oven is too tall for heer. She tosses the pizza into the oven and stands on a stool to get them out. A chain but one local employee makes it a wonderful place.

                              Patou's French bistro took over the old Red Star Bar space kadycorner to Brixx. Wonderful place.

                2. We recently went to Tupelo Honey Cafe after having read about it. We were not disappointed. The service was snappy, and the fried brie appetizer with garlic, figs, and apple was excellent. Nut crusted anything on the menu is great. All the food arrives piping hot. Would definitely return again.

                  1. i crave for Vietnamese food and very picky. The CF Chan tries to be everything and ends in nothing. I miss the chinese or Vietnamese of NY and CA. Anybody knows a scret place to eat vietnamese? there used to be At Luna's???

                    1. sadly, no Vietnamese grub here yet...IMHO Noodle Shop is the best bet in town...

                      1. Why does everyone love Limones? I find it overpriced, fussy and not special. Can someone explain?

                        And DO NOT take a vegetarian friend to Salsa's. They reserve the right to freely swap ingredients - so an "avocado quesadilla" came filled almost entirely with squash (which is a pretty cheap trick, let's face it) and a wrap which lists "roasted red peppers" as the first ingredient came with none. I know Salsa's is an Asheville favorite, but I think it's erratic.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: angelaf

                          I feel rather left out when it comes to Limones, as well. I've not had anything great there yet. Good yes. OH WAIT! I think the Hibiscus (or was it blood orange?) drink I had might be appropriately termed "great". I don't think very highly of the ceviche either. However there are so many glowing reviews, I think I just haven't hit on the right things yet. I MUST do the brunch.

                          ALthough Salsa very freely substitutes vegetables, salsas and the like, I can't imagine they would put meat on a veggie plate. Asheville is chock full of vegetarians and I don't think Salsa's would have built up the grass roots following they have if they were offending the vegetarians.

                          1. re: danna

                            danna, I never said that Salsa's put meat in a veggie dish - I said they served us a squash quesadilla instead of an avocado one. I don't know if you've ever had a quesadilla filled with nothing but squash, but it's barely edible. I think that freely subbing veggies in that way IS offensive to vegetarians. Would you be pleased if you got a turkey quesadilla because they "ran out" of filet mignon? That's the equivalent.

                        2. Wow - we have really different views. I wouldn't say that Limones is overpriced and using the word "fussy" to describe it would never come to mind. I like the fact that they have had the same wait staff since opening more than 2 years ago - that says a lot of the owner, chef/kitchen staff and the clientele. They are consistently good and use fresh, local and organic ingredients. Their drinks are great.
                          As far as Salsa's - they should have told you if they were out of avocado - but that happens in restaurants. Did you bring this to their attention?

                          1. Yeah, we mentioned the "no avocado" problem at Salsa's, but the waitress just said "oh, they do whatever they want in the kitchen". On a previous visit, a salad that I had liked in the past came undressed, and it was the same kind of response: "that's how they do it". All I could say was "it didn't come like this last time, and can you just bring me some kind of dressing for it?"

                            As far as Limones, I see that most people love it on here, but I felt like it was trying to be one of those tiny portion places without the quality to back that up. Sorry, but I thought the ceviche was mediocre. It was mostly shrimp, which I don't like and just nothing special besides. Although the free chocolates with the bill were delicious.

                            I prefer Zambra's.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: angelaf

                              I thought the portions at Limones were more than satisfying...and I eat a lot. And I would never describe it as fussy. No white tablecloths there, that's for sure. The dining area is warm and inviting, loud and eclectic. Fussy to me denotes stuffy....which Limones definitely is not. Not overpriced either...everything is under $20, which to me for a nice meal out is more than reasonable. As for Salsa's, I have never found it to be erratic....consistently delicious, in my opinion. But for the record, I love Zambra too.

                              ps - why would you order ceviche if you don't like shrimp? 99% of the time I've had it or seen it on a menu it always has shrimp in it.

                            2. If you were a regular at Limones you would know that they use the freshest possible fish in their ceviche - that's why sometime I've had it with shrimp, scallops, ... white fish...They usually tell you that. Also think the portions are more than adequate. If you are looking at portions so much then I would guess you don't order the tapas at Zambra as those are tiny portions - intentionally - you must go for the big plates? And Zambras I have found to be very uneven in terms of quality and service. Sometimes we have a great night and like everything and other times we have one good plate and the rest mediocre.

                              1. miss piggy: I just moved from a latino neighborhood in New York with great Peruvian restaurants. Ceviche is one of my favorite foods and I can promise you that it's not 99% shrimp. Maybe it is at Limones, but I'm just saying I don't like it that way - to me that's not great ceviche. I gave it a try and I didn't like it. Or the other food I had there.

                                leahinsc: I ordered tapas at Zambra because tapas are supposed to be small plates - that's understood. I only tried Zambras twice, so you may be right that it's uneven, I can't speak to that.

                                My apologies to all of you who love these restaurants so much. When I was back In New York City a friend told me she'd visited asheville and been taken to Salsa's and she also didn't like it and didn't understand the fuss. Maybe it's a regional taste...

                                1. I've had brunch at Limones four times and dinner there probably three times. While some of the menu items may be less successful than others, I have never had a disappointing much less bad dish, and the service has never been less than exemplary. My own personal tastes in restaurant decor tend toward casual elegance with just a hint of funk, and Limones is just about perfect in that regard. It is the antithesis of "fussy," in my humble opinion. Full disclosure: I have never tried the ceviche. (But will make it a point to next time I visit.)

                                  Haven't been to Salsa as often because the wait tends to be longer and there's no indoor waiting area, but while the service can be slow on busy nights, the food more than compensates. The freshness of the ingredients and the masterful blending of flavors (particularly sweet and hot) is unrivalled in our neck of the woods. Also: The "Spliff Roll" is the best appetizer I've had anywhere.

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: Jeff C.

                                    I had Salsa's for lunch today and they have changed the menu. It was still great, but their menu has become much more limited. They took off my favorite dish...boo whoo.

                                    1. re: miss piggy

                                      Hmmm...wonder what's going on? (Wouldn't want to speculate or anything!) BTW, what is/was your favorite dish?

                                      1. re: Jeff C.

                                        My fave was a grilled chicken quesadilla with sweet potatoes, a smoked cheese, avocado and a sweet/spicy salsa. Seems like there might have been a few more things thrown in there too that I am forgetting. Anyway, this time there were only 2 or three quesadillas on the menu and the closest thing to mine was a plain grilled chicken with a plain cheese...still avocado and the salsa and the beans and rice. OK, not too different....but the yams were a nice, unusual touch. It seemes like they had really pared down their menu as far as choices. But the specials list was long, and there was still a lot to choose from. And it was still yummy.

                                        1. re: miss piggy

                                          In all the years I've been going to Salsa, I have never ONCE ordered off the regular menu. I'm sorry they nixed your favorite, but think of it as an opportunity to order from the specials menu, where the real goodies are!!

                                  2. Re: Salsa and the hype....I've gotta say I haven't been in over a year as he last time I was there (shortly after their remodel)we had the rudest server and, in fact - canceled our order and left - it was really that bad.

                                    As a vegetarian, I had noticed the vege options were more or less variations on the same theme and I have heard...and I am not being nasty here or would ever say this except it was told to me from a friend who used to work there...that they will use meat stock in their beans/sauces and pass it off as Vege....


                                    I'll go to Mamacitas for 6 bucks and eat just as well thanks!

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: jbyoga

                                      Haven't been to Mamacitas. What's good there?

                                    2. Mamacitas is a burrito joint so what's good there is whatever you like in your burrito!

                                      I like it because the food is very fresh and is has a very nice vibe...if they ever have their special pinto beans (rather than the black, which are just fine) get them!

                                      They also have a few daily specials and great horchata! (Rice milk/vanilla/cinnamon drink)

                                      I really don't think you can go wrong with anything there.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. I'd like to weigh in on Salsa for vegetarians too. My partner and I have had bad experiences there, with vegetarian items seeming like an afterthought. In general, Asheville has great options for vegetarian diners, with non-vegetarian restaurants taking real care to provide creative choices, but I think the "Hector" restaurants, which include Salsa and a few others are noticeable for a lack of interest in feeding vegetarians. My meat-eating friends seem to enjoy them, but I always feel second-class.

                                        Maybe this difference in eating habits is responsible for the varying opinions about Limones too. When I ate there with friends I think there was only one vegetarian entree to choose from (one that didn't really suit my taste). In other town this would be expected, but for Asheville it's disappointing. I think it's a fair test of a restaurant to see how creative they can be with great produce and no meat.

                                        I'm happy for the Mamacita's recommendation, thanks.

                                        1. I agree, Mr. Mike. In a town with such a large vegetarian/vegan demographic, it would certainly seem an economic no-brainer for restaurants to offer as much variety as possible--including multiple vegetarian options.

                                          Still...NO other city in the southeast (including Atlanta) offers vegetarians as much variety and choice as little ole Asheville, NC.