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Can't decide in Asheville!

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lavendula Apr 27, 2007 01:09 PM

So, tell me, please - what's the best bet in Asheville (fresh, amazing- knock your socks off, skillfully prepared and presented)? We LOVE fig but need to try something else. I got a bunch of suggestions in my last post but can't decide!! I looked up the restaurants suggested but most refer to old posts from a few years back...need some updated info. What do you guys think of: Cocina Latina, Table, La Caterina Trattoria, Flying Frog, Mela, 28806? Am I missing something? We only have a few more meals here and want the best of the best!!

Thanks bunches!

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    mojoeater RE: lavendula Apr 27, 2007 01:14 PM

    When I asked the same question recently, the overwhelming answer was Limones. I have yet to take my trip to Asheville, by I'm definitely going to follow CH advice and check it out:

    http://www.limonesrestaurant.com/

    6 Replies
    1. re: mojoeater
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      lavendula RE: mojoeater Apr 27, 2007 01:42 PM

      Thanks mojo. We Tried Limones a few weeks ago and found the food to be very good but the service was rude and unfriendly. It could have been an off night, but we found that this restaurant took itself a little too seriously. If you do go, try the Caliente Margarita and the salads are wonderful.

      1. re: lavendula
        Jeff C. RE: lavendula Apr 27, 2007 03:50 PM

        You indeed must've picked the wrong night (or the wrong server). I have now been to Limones seven times and have never had bad service--and the food has ranged from very good to spectacular.

        I still haven't tried Fig but very much want to. Until then, Limones remains my favorite Asheville restaurant.

        1. re: Jeff C.
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          lavendula RE: Jeff C. Apr 27, 2007 06:40 PM

          Yeah, we were very excited to try Limones. We were having a great day, found the perfect parking space, and practically danced up the front door. The hostess was so rude that she instantly put a damper on the whole experience. We had made a reservation and she seemed put off that she had to find our name on the list, never smiled or welcomed us, and proceeded to put us in the back of the restaurant in a dark corner ....and the place was EMPTY! We asked for the table next to the corner (we didn't think we deserved to be in the dark!) and she sighed and moaned about it. I don't know if she sniffed us out as not being locals or was having a bad day, but she should have stayed home from work b/c she seriously almost ruined the whole experience. B/c I had read so many wonderful things I convinced my beau to put it behind him and enjoy the meal. Our waitress was nice enough but the service was very slow - we waited at least 5 minutes before anyone came to say hello or even bring us some water. After we finally ordered a drink it took another 10 minutes to get it. The chef came out a few times to talk to the people sitting next to us (at this point there were 2 other couples dining) and never smiled or even looked our way. We just felt very snubbed and un-welcomed. Luckily, the food was very good so we just accepted it - but it really did leave a bad taste in my mouth -- with so many other places to try I feel no need to return there anytime soon :(

          On the other hand, the service at Fig is exceptional - they try to accommodate you in any way they can, down to running over to open the door for you and the food is on par with the best we have had.

          1. re: lavendula
            Jeff C. RE: lavendula Apr 28, 2007 04:46 AM

            I'm sorry you had such a bad experience with the service at Limones. Like people, even the best restaurants have bad days. I urge you to give them one more shot, however, before you pass final judgement as your experience isn't indicative of what I know of the place.

            1. re: lavendula
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              leahinsc RE: lavendula Apr 28, 2007 05:47 AM

              I've never had problems with service here and have been dining here since about a month after they opened. Of course, they recognize me and know I am a local/regular so....

              1. re: leahinsc
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                thbunny RE: leahinsc May 2, 2007 03:11 PM

                We went to Limones as non-native Asheville residents, and it was fantastic. Our service was great too, and we were there on an extremely busy Saturday night. Loved the ceviche! Definitely give it another try.

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        leahinsc RE: lavendula Apr 27, 2007 03:13 PM

        Cocina Latina - very authentic (El Salvadorean) vibe - cheap and plentiful food
        Table - pretentious
        La Caterina - has-been
        Flying Frog - too many cuisines at one restaurant but overall has a good reputation
        Mela - if you like Indian
        28806 - underrated - very fresh and crative
        My favorites for dinner from best to "wow" : Stoney Knob, Limones, 28806, Fig, Richmond Hill Inn

        5 Replies
        1. re: leahinsc
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          californialoving RE: leahinsc Apr 27, 2007 04:12 PM

          You should check out Stone Market House for a restaurant that's a little off the beaten path...it seems like a very "local" restaurant and I had one of my best meals there. The atmosphere is very cozy (it's a converted gas station), the food is fresh and delicious, and the prices are very reasonable. If you're interested, just do a search on this site for the restaurant, that's how I found out about it.

          1. re: californialoving
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            lavendula RE: californialoving Apr 28, 2007 08:45 AM

            Thanks so much for the suggestions! I know you all love Limones which was why I was hesitant to write about my experience but the chowhound in me took over :)~
            Leah, I love the order from best to "wow" - perfect way for me to gage the experience. I'm thinking my top contenders will be Cocina Latina and 28806. I can get my hunny to take me to Gabrielle's if it is really the bomb diggity experience you say it is. Are there any "wow" places to have dinner in Black Mountain? We are really close to there.

            1. re: lavendula
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              leahinsc RE: lavendula Apr 28, 2007 12:06 PM

              I don't hear much on Black Mtn and am usually only out in that area for lunch. I have seen a new cafe/pastry place on Hwy 70 that I am curious to try. I like lunches at Veranda and when I have a hankering for German I go to Berliner Kindl. Some people like Red Rocker because of the Southern, family-style dining. Black Mtn Bistro...have had lunches there and dinner once and it was good.

            2. re: californialoving
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              mark RE: californialoving Apr 30, 2007 05:48 AM

              stone market closes during the winter; best to call ahead. i suggest reservations as the place is tiny.

              of the places you listed, i like tomato (cocina latina) the best.

              also suggest papas & beer for good, cheap tex/cali-mex.

              1. re: mark
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                leahinsc RE: mark Apr 30, 2007 06:02 AM

                hubby tried Papas and beer and said the same...very good and inexpensive...I hear that the teens love it, of course there is not much on that side of town so any addition to the restaurant scene is an improvement.

          2. danna RE: lavendula Apr 30, 2007 06:21 AM

            Have you been to Zambra yet? I think that's your best bet for possibly getting your socks knocked off. From your list, I have been to Cocina Latina, Table, Mela and 28806. I have been to each of them once, and only once. Didn't hate any of them, but none made me long to return.

            1 Reply
            1. re: danna
              Jeff C. RE: danna Apr 30, 2007 06:52 AM

              I've been to all the above except Zambra, and I agree with Danna except for Cocina Latina. I REALLY love their homemade chips and salsa, their pupusas are wonderful, and their side dishes are usually pretty great as well. (In fact, I usually order the La Kristina platter which is meat-free). I'm not Salvadoran, so I have no idea how "authentic" it is, but as long as one doesn't go expecting haute cuisine it's pretty good cheap eats, IMO.

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              bethd127 RE: lavendula Apr 30, 2007 07:01 AM

              try cafe azalea for dinner...went there for dinner the other night and it was stellar!!!!!! (review to come)

              3 Replies
              1. re: bethd127
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                miss piggy RE: bethd127 Apr 30, 2007 04:30 PM

                Mela is awesome. So flavorful, perfect rice, nice decor/space. If you like Indian, give it a try. I love the tikka masala, shrimp vindaloo, and korma.

                For what it is worth, I think Cocina Latina is good, but also very casual...more for a good lunch spot, not a nice dinner. But then again, I have only been there for lunch, so who knows. Wonder if the atmosphere changes at night?

                1. re: miss piggy
                  Jeff C. RE: miss piggy Apr 30, 2007 04:52 PM

                  Not really, Miss Piggy. Cocina Latina is pretty funky no matter what time of day you're there. Definitely not a place for a first date but perfect for old married cheapskates like me!

                  As for Mela, I've only had the lunch buffet, and while it wasn't bad, a lot of the items reminded me of spicy baby food.

                  But I'll be the first to admit I don't "get" Indian food.

                  1. re: Jeff C.
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                    lavendula RE: Jeff C. May 1, 2007 01:15 PM

                    We went to Zambras last night for dinner and it was great. They had my favorite wine on special (Mer Soleil Chardonnay). We sat in the bar area and the bartender was our waiter. He was the best! We were in a hurry to get to a show and he was on top of everything, friendly, and cool. Now for the food - Olives, eh - had much better, but I liked that they were warm. Bread and oil was v. good, chickpeas were to die for, tofu with grapefruit - YUM, Shrimp Tostata - excellent, gnocchi (special of the day) was superb in a smoked tomato sauce, very different. We had been to Zambra before, to see our friend play there and had sampled a few dishes then too - all delish. We give Zambra a big High Five :)

                    We tried to go to Cocina Latina on Sunday but it was closed :( We ate at Jae Thai instead (since we had to do a food shop at Earthfare). Their iced teas were so good - unsweetened and tasty. Fresh spring rolls were v. good with a nice spicy dipping sauce. My BF LOVED his dish, Mushroom Fire or something with Chicken. They put a fresh chicken breast over the grilled veggies - it looked great. I, on the other hand, did not like my dish - the spicy peanut noodles with tofu. First off, it wasn't spicy, but they did bring out extra spices to jazz it up which good b/c it needed it. The tofu was gross - it tasted chalky and old. There weren't very many vegetables and it was like a big soupy mess. I would go back however since my BF loved his food so much and he is very picky about Thai. I would just stay away from the tofu and order a rice dish!

                    Hopefully we will get over to Cocina before we leave!

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                caiogirl RE: lavendula May 13, 2007 11:51 AM

                Interesting to hear all the reviews of Limones, I've only been there once as the bill was quite high and food/service were both medicore at best. I am a big fan of Zambras, the atmosphere and food are great. Rezas is good but I have been dissapointed when I've dined there in large groups. The best cheap bite in town is Enoteca at Rezas, awesome lamb burger and best fries Ive ever had.
                As for Black Mountain we hold our own in dining...The Cellar Door is quite good and Que Sera which opened about two weeks ago absolutely blew my mind...I had grouper with mango salsa over a blackbean cake with lemon burblanc sauce...it was AWESOME!

                2 Replies
                1. re: caiogirl
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                  leahinsc RE: caiogirl May 13, 2007 04:03 PM

                  Glad to hear Cellar Door is still doing well. Haven't been there for a while. Where is Que Sera?

                  1. re: leahinsc
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                    caiogirl RE: leahinsc May 18, 2007 04:00 PM

                    Hey Leah

                    Que Sera is in Black Mountain right near the BBQ place (Perrys) across from the Black Mountain Primary School. It is in the old Morning Glory location. I've only been once but it was really fabulous, if you go let me know what you think!

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