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Southern food recs in Asheville, NC

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My wife and I will be visiting Asheville for a weekend from Baltimore and I was hoping to beef up the traditional Southern part of our restaurant itinerary. So far, we're tentatively planning on (based in large part on reading this board):

dinners at Limones and Gabrielle's,
lunches at Salsa and 12 Bones,
breakfast at Tupelo Honey.

Of those, though only 12 Bones and Tupelo Honey seem to have a Southern emphasis to the food. Any recommendations for something I can switch out for a more Southern place (without dropping too far in terms of the food)? The only other criteria I can think of is we'd like to have at least one dinner be a nice night out, which is the spot Gabrielle's is currently holding.

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  1. I personally would skip Salsa's (although I am probably in the minority) I just don;t get the hype. You could check out Corner Kitchen in the Biltmore Village for lunch. Nice place with a southern twist (they have a website).

    1. I would add the early girl--southern local food emphasis. And I agree with the previous poster--Salsa's isn't what it used to be, the owner has opened a tapas bar(but I have forgotten the name it starts with a Z) that is especially good and has a neat atmosphere--that would be good for a nice night out and it is right over by Malaprops in downtown.

      7 Replies
      1. re: maisimai

        that's not quite right. the tapas restaurant is called zambra. it used to be owned by hector diaz (same person who owns salsa). he sold zambra a couple of years ago; food's still good, but not what it once was.

        his current restos are salsa, modesto and chorizo (i think that's what the new mexican one is). i straddle the fence on salsa; the food can be very good, but sometimes suffers from having too many ingredients thrown at it, and being rather one-dimensional (usually sweet with no contrast).

        i haven't tried modesto yet, but reviews have been all over the map, and the menu has been tweaked at least twice; he's still working this one out, i think.

        chorizo, if it's open, has not been open long, and i've heard nothing about it.

        1. re: mark

          Yeah I also agree...Tupelo Honey is always worth the wait (45min for breakfast) without being pretenious. Affordable and the best grits around. Haven't been to Zambras but I have been a die hard regular at Salsa's for at least ten years. Always happy with the menu and the service.

          The best steak I have ever eaten was at Limones, and you can't miss the Habenero Margaritas.

          1. re: annalillia

            I love food and all. But I just cannot imagine standing in line for 45 minutes for a meal. Do they take reservations? I mean I hear the place is tops so I want to give it a shot.

          2. re: mark

            chorizo is the best mix between delicious latin fare, excellent price and a wonderful environment. as hector refines his delivery in both modesto and chorizo its a great time to visit frequently. he is also quite responsive to suggestions... especially when showing your face frequently.
            hands down, hector is one of the smartest restaurant businessmen and most creative chef in asheville.. we RAVE about him when people ask about where to eat in asheville. chorizo and modesto are one and two on my list of restaurants in asheville depending on the occassion.
            one of the best parts of eating at any of his restaurants is his focus on local foods. truly one of the biggest players in the field to fork movement!

            1. re: bmccall17

              I have personally found Mr. Diaz's establishments to be terribly inconsistent..to the point where dining there is definitely taking a chance.

              1. re: bmccall17

                I think there are a lot of local restaurants who strongly feature locally grown. This is the "thing to do" in Asheville...from Sun Burst trout at Lobster Trap to green at Twig and cheeses at Gabrielle's. If Chorizo is featuring locally grown he's not unique.

              2. re: pslamp32

                I have reservations at your fine establishment this weekend, and am really looking forward to it. It will be our first time in Asheville.

            2. Your plans look pretty good to me. It's awfully hard to get good "southern" food in a restaurant. Tupelo Honey ought to be about as good as any along those lines.

              Personally, I like Zambra a lot better than Limones, but I seem to be alone in not being impressed w/ Limones.

              Don't miss Salsa. It kills me to hear people called Salsa "hyped". It makes it sound like some new trendy place. Salsa has become what it is through word of mouth from an absolute hole-in-the-wall with no tables 15 years ago.

              1. I ate at Salsa last Wednesday and enjoyed it as always. Those entrees can be overwhelming, both in quantity and the variety of flavor combinations. But that's what I expect, that's why I go, and that's why I hope to eat there 3-4 times per month when I become a local this summer. I also had good service.

                LPM

                1. I realize that Salsa's is not a new and trendy place. I have lived here forever. i just do not like going to eat at an establishment having to hope that they are "having a good day". About half the time it is great, half not so.