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Nov 14, 2006 06:55 PM

cheap eats in Asheville area

I have seen a lot of posts about Asheville but they apear to be mostly higher end restaurants. Are there any recommendations for less expensive places? I am thinking 5-6 dollars for lunch and 8-15 for an entree at dinner or less. I have eaten at the Laughing Seed a few times but haven't been in town for quite awhile.

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  1. Salsa is in your dinner price range.

    Doc Chey would make your lunch price range if you ordered carefully.

    Sunny Point is inexpensive. I can't really remmeber what their night-time prices are, however.

    1. Doc Chey, Salsa, Rosetta's Kitchen, Barley's Pizza, Rio Burrito, Cats and Dawgs - all downtown
      not downtown - Cocina Latina, Stoney Knob

      1. all good recs above. here are some more:

        noodle shop - downtown; similar to doc cheys, but oriented towards chinese more so than pan-asian

        lucky otter - west side; burritos, quesadillas, soup, chili; not fancy, but decent; good jamaican special on thursday; cheap & potent drinks; you can get a bowl of chili, 2 margaritas & tip for $12

        urban burrito - local chain; decent, abundant food

        thai express - west side; caveat! the place has had its ups & downs, seems to be on the "up" side right now; cheap & fairly spicy

        sunny point - west side; lunch/breakfast prices might push your range, but it's very good & worth it; you can eat dinner in your price range, but it might limit the menu for you

        tomato (cocina latina) - west side; leah mentioned it, but i wanted to recommend it again; price is right for you, food is good, too; you can stuff yourself off the appetizer menu for under $10, most other entrees fall in your range, too; this is where i go if i want to eat well & cheap

        taco truck on haywood - west side; weekdays, some weekends; very cheap

        burgermeister's - west side; really good patty melt for $7/8

        westville pub - west side; most of menu is hit-or-miss, leaning towards the misses, but the wings are usually very good (possibly the best in asheville)

        12 bones - near old stockyard/tobacco barns; good (not great) q & sides (do search for reviews, i don't recall all the specifics); only open 11(ish)-4(ish) on weekdays

        well bred bakery - weaverville; not too fond of the savory, unless it's really fresh, but the sweet side is pretty good; awesome cream puff

        papas & beer - hendersonville; good, cheap tex-mex/mexican

        28806 - west side; fits your budget for lunch w/ a menu of really good sandwiches

        thai basil - downtown; another one that has seen ups-and-downs; i don't go often, but last time was really good (and very spicy)

        zen sushi - north/merrimon; you can spend as much as you want; they have lunch specials combining various rolls and nigiri in the $8+ range

        sorrento's - asheville mall area; staying under $15 might limit you, but i think it can be done

        cuban express - downtown; not sure if it's still called that, they moved/opened an additional store from their mall location, regardless, it's located in the street level of battle square across from the grove; food was pretty good and inexpensive at mall location, haven't tried the new one; you could get cane sugar cokes @ their mall store

        picnics - merrimon; good chicken, not too wild about sides (most taste canned to me)

        negozios - hendersonville; good sandwiches

        i'm sure there are more. asheville isn't too pricey of a market for restaurants. we have a handful of fairly expensive places (fig, table, gabrielle's, limones, etc.), but most places are in the low to high teens for dinner. you might have to forgo some of the loftier items, but you should be able to eat on budget at most places.

        for what it's worth, when i want to eat inexpensive, which is almost always, tomato & lucky otter are my go-tos. my wife and i eat out at least once a week at either of those, and rarely exceed $40 for the entire tab, tip included.

        5 Replies
        1. re: mark

          I knew Mark would come up with good stuff.

          Sorrento's is a huge bargain. I forgot about that.

          And if Hendersonville is not too far, I had lunch at El Padrino in H'ville, and when I went to pay, it was $7.

          "no," I said "I'm paying for my friend, too"
          "that is for both"
          "did you rembember to charge us for the grapefruit soda's too?"

          Two tacos, two sodas, $7. I guess men would probably eat two each, but still, what a bargain.

          1. re: danna

            hey danna,

            where's el padrino & do they serve anything beside tacos?

            don't you just love finding good cheap eats like that? nothing wrong with the pricey stuff, but when i can enjoy a meal at a price like that, i'm a very happy camper!

            1. re: mark

              It's on Kanuga, across from Blue WAter Seafood. (another pretty nice place to have lunch if you like seafood and wine, but not cheap). Used to be Island Dream before they moved.

              Yes. Soft Tacos, that's it. and Carnitas on Sunday. I wrote a review for the upstatefoodpros website, but it's not posted because we were getting too many NC restaurants (SC sucks). Here's the text

              El Padrino Hendersonville, N.C.

              I got lucky on Labor Day. There was a mutiny among my mountain bike crew après ride. Half went to Subway (no comment), one went home, and I was lucky enough to be riding with an open minded friend who was willing to turn the car around when I said...”oooh, let’s try that!”

              I’m saying that’s lucky because there are plenty of people in the world, not to mention Greenvillians, not willing to try a tiny, untested restaurant, with signage in Spanish, no tables, a very limited menu, and no native English speakers in the house. She was game, however, so we stopped to check out El Padrino.

              El Padrino serves soft tacos, and that’s about it, except you can get Carnitas on Sunday. The initial good sign: homemade corn tortillas warming up on the grill. Filling choices included pork w/ pineapple, pork in hot sauce, cow’s tongue, beef cheeks, chicken, and chorizo. I was warned away from the pork as too spicy...but then the counter man decided to let me have a taste. It was, indeed, just about at the limit of my heat tolerance, but quite delicious, and so I ordered one. I was instructed to add cilantro and onion from the condiment bar, “and more hot sauce” if I liked. He was kidding.

              The condiment bar was another pleasure. Plenty of cilantro and raw onion, fresh salsa, a marinated onion and hot pepper condiment, tomitillo salsa, and a few others. The fresh salsa was delicious, and sported a unique addition of chopped pickles along with the tomato and onion. It was a perfect cooling agent to go along with my fantastic, but incendiary, taco.

              We pulled up stools to the small ledge surrounding the tiny dining area to eat – just like Salsa’s in the very early days. My friend had a chicken taco, and consumed it without offering me a taste, so I’m going to assume that was pretty good, too. It was the suggested choice for a more delicate palate, heat-wise. We both had grapefruit sodas, and the bill came to a remarkable $7.49. Yes, for both of us. El Padrino is simple, authentic, fresh, homemade, delicious food, and a bargain, too.

              El Padrino
              525 Kanuga St.
              Hendersonville, N.C.
              (828) 329-5345

              1. re: danna

                thanks for all the info! i forwarded it to my wife, who works in h-ville, and she'll be trying it soon.

                i don't know that we've ever discussed it, but what's your heat tolerance? for me, most jalapenos/serranos are mild, warm starts to kick in with the cayenne, i'll happily eat thai peppers by themselves. i can eat raw habaneros, but it's equal parts pleasure & pain. i'm really interested in that spicy pork.


                1. re: mark

                  your scoville tolerance is WAY above mine. You'll probably notice that the pork is spicy, however. If not, I suspect they can fix you up with some more sauce!

        2. thanks for all of the responses! I can't wait to try some of these places. I like to go out to a nice place every once in awhile but love finding less expensive places so that I can sample from for a weekend without breaking my budget.

          1. The Happy Otter in West Asheville! The Best!