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asheville - looking for innovative shoestring budget lunches...

I adore Asheville's food scene - in my opinion, we are spoiled rotten in terms of both quality and variety - but I am always searching for the perfect lunch! I am looking for something that is well priced (under $10 preferably), not too heavy or grease-intensive (the 'day-killer'), and uses interesting ingredients and pairings that will not leave my palate yawning. So far, I have managed to find several close-to-perfect lunches, but i am in fear of eating them too often and spoiling them for myself. My favorites are: the 11:30 - 3 Zen sushi lunch special (this one is the best, probably, for value - you get a salad with ginger dressing, miso soup, and two rolls - for between 7-8 dollars, depending on the rolls), the Noodle Shop soup bowls (the Da Lu or Dan Dan with mung bean noodles are my favorites; they run about $7 and the staff is open to adding ingredients); Jerusalem Garden has a sampler plate that is delicious, although it comes close to exceeding the shoestring criteria...however, generally speaking, I end up only being able to find one or two items on each menu that are awesome and dont break the bank. I know that I have to 'shop around' - which is why im asking for some imput on specific menu items...any suggestions?

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  1. Mamacitas would fit your criteria.

    1. Tomato for El Salvadorean - Patton Ave
      Stoney Knob - their Greek platter w/ salad, choice of meat, pita, olives, etc is $7.99
      I think maybe Mela buffet may fit your budget.

      1. The culinary school at AB Tech does lunches open to the public on Thursdays. A bargain dinner as well, you can get on the emailing list to find out what type of cuisine is being prepared....

        1. i really am a big fan of mellow mushroom...you can get a half sandwich for about $6 and they have a great selection. My personal favorite is the avacado sandwich with sprouts. they also have DELICIOUS pizza (the best crust I've ever tasted) and great salads (caprese, anyone?), hummus plate (yum yum!). I've only been here for about a year so it's all still delicious to me, maybe you're over it? But it's GOOD!!

          3 Replies
          1. re: spphrgirl

            if you like MM for pizza then I'd say get the small Margharita at Marco's and prepare for $10 worth of bliss - AND you'll have leftovers...

            1. re: jbyoga

              where is marco's? i'll have to try it, i LOVE margarita pizzas!

              1. re: spphrgirl

                North Asheville location is beside The Fresh Market on Merrimon
                South Asheville Location is in the side strip mall where Earth Fare is on Hendersonville Rd.

          2. Chorizo. Fresh ingredients, large portions (box up half), good stuff like roasted and mashed yams, fresh guac and salsa, grilled chicken, etc. Latin/Mexican/Carib flavors. Located in the Grove Arcade. All under $10 - most around $7.

            Also, I love the salad bars at Greenlife and EarthFare. And I second Mamacitas.

            1. try doing a search, i know there were some asheville on a budget threads last summer.

              off the top of my head...

              any of the tacquerias/taco trucks around town (the little place by burgermeisters [azul something] has a good english menu, but decent, seemingly authentic food - nothing to really wow, but a good solid meal if you're on the west side and have some tredipation about the more "authentic" places).

              bowl of chili at the lucky otter (~$3).

              tamales/pupusas at tomato (~$2/ea). one of each paired w/ a side salad is a good lunch and right @ $10.

              urban burrito is generally decent. portions are large; two can split most things for a light lunch.

              a favorite, although not healthy and therefore infrequent, lunch is a double scoop cone from ultimate.

              the cuban place, havana, in battle square should be affordable.

              sorry, but i rarely eat lunch in asheville anymore, so i'm not current on what's around.

              1 Reply
              1. re: mark

                Nona Mia on Patton might be a good choice. I've only had dinner there, but the pizza is wonderful and very reasonable.

              2. In addition to some of the other suggestions here, I often enjoy lunch at the Tomato Jam Cafe in Doctor's Park across the street from St. Joseph's Hospital. It'll probably be at the upper end of your $10 limit though.