Well, we just spent a week in Asheville biking. It is a beautiful piece of the U.S. and the road biking is world class, the best pavement and views ever.
I read every post I could on the area and here is our review of the local restaurant scene:
1. 12 bones and Green river barbecue
Both are very good, we preferred 12 Bones, the sides are excellent, truly great comfort food.
12 Bones also has great green tamatillo jalapeno sauce...
2. Salsa - High energy place with excellent fusion food
We had the Splif roll, Pulled-pork burrito and the Fish tacos.
Great flavors and spices, good service even though they were really busy.
3. Sugo - Terrific experience all around; an inexpensive trip to northern italy
Everything was excellent and a few things were remarkable, the red pepper dessert being one of the more unusual/exciting new treats that I've had in a while.
Everyone should go to this restaurant. Good, inexpensive wine list as well. Great service.
4. Table - Terrific experience all around
Obviously this is one of the best restaurants in Asheville and was Willy's favorite meal.
The grilled sweetbreads with Arugala salad was maybe my favorite dish with sweetbreads that I've ever had...
Spciy Prawns with polenta also outstanding and spicy.
This is a must for good food, good service.
5. Bouchon - Excellent bistro food; the real thing; excellent service at the bar
Mussels with Mediterranean sauce
Steak au Poivre with frites
Great atmosphere and really good, solid bistro food.
6. Corner Kitchen - Excellent food; a tad sweet and lacking in spices; excellent service
Even-though the restaurant was basically empty, thus lacking energy, we enjoyed our dinner. Staff was well trained and the food was perfectly prepared. We usually like things more spicy but couldn't find any fault with the meal, very good.
7. Doc Chey's - Disappointing; formulaic; similar taste to everything
We were shocked by how disappointing and downright bad this restaurant was especially after seeing this appear on many lists as good. Nothing had any distinct flavor or taste, very bland. Considered our visit to Doc Chey's a waste of a meal that we could have had at a better restaurant in Asheville.
8. Noodle Shop - Better than Doc Chey's but still average chinese
This was more typical average chinese, the calamari was good and some of the entrees were tasty. Not disappointing - not exceptional
9. Old Europe - lively but not good; pastries for people that do not know what Old Europe real pastries taste like. Wow, what can I say? This was really a downer. Incredibly average desserts, messy, undefined flavor. Surprised anyone goes here.
10. Tupelo Kitchen - Great place: great food and atmosphere, good service
We ate here a number of mornings and loved it!
Favorites were: Sweet potato pancake, Fried green tomatoes, Grit cakes stuffed with pesto and tomato gravy, Cornbread
Great room, fun service and the food was so satisfying, exactly what you want. Some great southern options. The sweet potato pancake was outstanding.
11. Early Girl - Very good food; uninspired room
We enjoyed the food here, the Sausage and sweet potato scramble was excellent.
The room however was like a cafeteria, lacking any charm.
Finally, we stayed at the Princess Anne. Terrific little hotel with a great staff. The room includes a lovely breakfast and the hotel is very quiet/private in the evening, good for sleeping after a long day on the bike.
We loved Asheville, we live in Burlington, Vermont which is considered a smaller similar city.
We managed to sneak in some yoga at Namaste, what a great place. They were really nice and the yoga was outstanding.
Can't wait to come back and try all the restaurants we couldn't fit in on this trip.
p.s., loved the Drippolator, great coffee and baked goods
The Grovewood cafe, while it gets mixed reviews on this site, is excellent for the holidays. We have been the last several years for thanksgiving and have always been impressed. It is such a relief to have a traditional dinner (plus a few other options such as salmon or beef) and not to have to do the dishes! Also they always have a dessert buffet that is to die for!
My wife and I go to Asheville regularly (we live in Charlotte), and here are our favorite food places:
Bouchon (downtown) - A fantastic little french bistro. The food is awesome - I would call it French comfort food. Excellent wine choices. Great specials.
Tupelo Honey (downtown) - great organic and locally sourced food. Try the sweet potato fries. It can be very hard to get into, so try lunch or arrive early/late.
Jerusalem Garden (downtown) - middle eastern food with belly dancing. Very good food and fun.
Moose Cafe (Farmer's Market) - this is southern food, and lots of it. Right in front of Farmer's market so they use locally grown, fresh veggies. Bring an appetite - the portions are huge.
Papa's & Beer (West Asheville) - Funny name for a Mexican place, but the food is awesome. Everything is local and fresh, with cheap beer. Located in strip mall on Brevard Road.
A few other places downtown: Early Girl Eatery (dinner style); Laughing Seed Cafe (Vegetarian); Bistro 1896 (very good); Doc Chey's Noodle House (yummy).
Lastly, Bier Garden for great beer selection. Local beers, organics, imports. Fun place to watch a game.
Have fun. Asheville is a blast. Drink lots of Highland Gaelic Ale and get out into the mountains.
Lots of posts on Asheville - you may want to try a search and let us know what you are torn between, although you will have plenty of time to try everything! There was a post recently on the Top Ten places in Asheville - that will be a good start. http://www.chowhound.com/topics/444657
I second the Princess Anne - beautiful place, central to downtown and the highways to get everywhere you need to go, plus they do wine and cheese in the evening.
re: miss piggy
We are booked for a couple of nights at the Montford but wonder if you can walk easily from there to downtown for dinner, etc.
We wanted to switch to another place for the second half and we're thinking the Beaufort or the Princess Anne.
We like a range of food, from interesting, spicy to BBQ.
What do you think? Any suggestions?
I like Mela's for indian food
Rezaz's has a middle eastern/mediterranean flair
Fig has great food (upper end) and atmosphere
Zambras serves tapas if you like to try a lot of things
Don't miss Sunnypoint Cafe in West Asheville for great breakfasts
Corner Kitchen for some southern slants on foods
And although some don't think so go to Chorizos for lunch best latin american food for the price in town.
Walking from Montford might be a little iffy. About 3/4 of mile to anything downtown and although we don't have a huge crime problem don't recommend walking around that area in the dark (I know I'm going to get slammed for this, sorry)