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Nov 6, 2006 01:02 AM

18 hours in Asheville


We're stopping in Asheville for an evening and morning on our way to a mountain rental, and I'm looking for dinner recommendations. We'll be arriving on a Saturday after a 9 or 10 hour drive, dropping off our stuff and freshening up at the Renaissance, and wanting to stay away from our car until Sunday. I'm typically an ovo-lacto vegetarian (I fail on Thanksgiving and Christmas), but I don't need to be at a vegetarian restaurant. I do, however, get annoyed when I'm at an outstanding restaurant that has only mediocre vegetarian entrees.

I have Salsas and Zambras on our list of possibilities for Saturday dinner. I can't find a website or menu for Salsas, so I don't know if it has good options for me. Would love more info on that. My understanding from this site is that it is a fairly casual place, which will be nice after a long drive. Please correct if wrong.
As for Zambras, there were posts earlier this year indicating that the quality was sliding. Is that still the general consensus from folks on this board? Any other recs for road weary diners in search of good food? Also, any recs for an after dinner spot for drinks and/or dessert, preferably with live jazz?

We're also looking for a brunch spot for Sunday. We're considering either Tupelo Honey or Early Girl Eatery. We had dinner last year at Tupelo Honey, loved it. We haven't been to Early Girl. Early Girl seems to get mixed reviews, but would you recommend it for someone who has already tried out Tupelo? Any other Sunday brunch recs?

One of these years we'll give Asheville more than stopover status. Until then, we'll just keep slowly sampling spots on our yearly treks down south.

Thanks for any advice...

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  1. We had tapas at Zambra's at the bar the other night. I'm still in the "so-so" frame of mind about it. You should find plenty of ovo-veg options at Salsa's but Rosetta's kitchen is quite close to your hotel and is vegetarian. You may also want to check into Mela's (Indian - high end). Some of my friends had dinner at Mayfel's - close to Tupelo HOney and were quite impressed at the quality and price. They also do breakfast. Late nite music I'd probably say Tressa's but there are always lots of options....Barley's, Jack of the Wood...though they wouldn't have jazz.
    Other places worth thinking about Limones for dinner or brunch, Bouchon (French) for a drink at the bar and maybe dinner....

    1. Salsa always has a number of vegetarian entrees. Usually one on the specials list (which I recommend) , as well as others on the regular menu.

      Zambra HAS slipped, but is still one of the best places in town. From it's heights, it had a long way to fall, IMO.

      1. I like The Early Girl Eatery, esp. for breakfast, and there are several vegetarian options, including some of the best stone-ground grits I've ever had and an interesting Vegan breakfast sausage. Great fresh-squeezed juices and local mixed-berry jam, too.

        And I second the Salsa rec. It is on my personal shortlist of Asheville's Best.

        1. Definitely agree with Salsa. We had lunch at Jerusalem Garden a few weeks ago and it was very good. They definitely have good vegetarian choices. Also, we love Tupelo Honey where they very good choices for vegie meals, too. Much prefer Tupelo to Early Girl. Where in the mountains are you heading? We have a place in Maggie Valley, so if you need any food recs in that direction, I can help there, as well. Enjoy your trip!

          1 Reply
          1. re: pilches

            We'll be in Cashiers/Highland area this year (usually Brevard area). We won't do much eating out during the week but instead will just hole up and relax. Thanks, though!

          2. I am really not a fan of Early Girl. My food has been cold there on several occassions, and the portions are very small. Tupelo is much better, and a fun, happening environment!