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Asheville, NC Casual and Higher End Suggestions

  • j

I'm meeting up with a brother and cousins for a long weekend starting August 14th and need help with local restaurants. We're staying at the Grove Park Inn and will be driving all over the area for golf. I'd like to find a good/fun casual spot for one night and a nicer (doesn't have to be "fine dining") for the second night (maybe steak). I've heard Asheville has a great downtown so any suggestions there would be a plus. Thanks!

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  1. try doing a search and you'll find lots of suggestions. In downtown, I like Doc Chey's, Sugo, Zambra and Salsa's, among others. There is a new steak place downtown called S&W...I haven't tried it, but my guess is it would fill the bill for you.

    2 Replies
    1. re: carolinadawg

      Skip Doc Chains and Salsas
      and go to the Noodle Shop and Laughing Seed..

      1. re: JKidd

        Bouchon is great! As is Cucina 24..

      2. I'd go to Rezaz in Biltmore Village for the second night. It's my favorite higher end restaurant. The first night, I'd do Mela (downtown restaurant serving Indian cuisine), or Early Girl (downtown rest. that serves mostly local produce/meat in an eclectic setting).


        1 Reply
        1. re: evbecker

          I'll stand by my Bouchon recommendation, but Rezaz is one of my favorite restaurants here. If you feel like driving a bit outside of North Asheville (Grove Park) and downtown, it would be a great pick for night #2. I'll also agree with the suggestion for Mela if you like Indian food.

        2. If you decide you want to do some "fine dining" consider Gabrielle's at the Richmond Hill Inn. The chef is just back from a stint at Robert Redford's Sundance Institute and is world class.

          1. Easiest to do a search as there is a lot on this board about Asheville and we can help you choose between your narrowed down, top choices. You will enjoy Asheville!

            1. Went to Limones last month, and they're definitely not living off their reputation. Great meal -- from the ceviche to the churros -- and exemplary service.

              S&W is a budget-buster for steak, but a great spot if you're into Art Deco.

              I like Sugo downtown for "nicer" and, outside of downtown, Stovetrotters.


              1. We just returned from a week vacation in Asheville, and relied heavily on the previous "Asheville's best restaurants" thread. The Laughing seed is a must, and Fig if you're feeling adventurous. I'd second the skipping of Salsa's, and add Mela to that list as well.

                1. Being a new resident, I've been eating out a lot and having amazing meals almost everywhere I go. My favorites so far are:
                  Cucina 24 (Italian), Mela (Indian), Laughing Seed (Vegetarian), Zambras (Tapas), Wasabi (Japanese/Sushi), Picnics (Pie), Rezaz (Mediterranean). Sante (Wine Bar), Over Easy (Breakfast), Sunny Point Cafe (Breakfast), Tupelo Honey (Breakfast)

                  I would say that the following are overrated:
                  Salsa's, Carmel's, Limone's, Early Girl

                  And stay away from all chain restaurants in this town. The food is far too good at the local restaurants to waste your time getting something you could get at home.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: McChow

                    Asheville is the craft beer capitol of the Southeast. If you're looking to experience some of the fine local beer, Barley's has pretty good food and an awesome beer selection. It's in the heart of downtown.

                    Ive also heard great things about Fig's. Ruby's BBQ looks interesting, but I've never tried it.

                      1. re: Tom from Raleigh

                        I had heard Ruby's had a bad reputation when I begrudgingly went, but I was super surprised. Maybe it's gotten better since you've been, but all my friends and I love going there and enjoying all the great homemade bbq sauces, terrific onion rings, and the vegetarian options. My meat eating friends have said the pulled pork is great. Additionally, the immense selection of beers, combined with pool tables, darts, horseshoes and a great game called Cornhole. Maybe you should give it another try.

                        1. re: McChow

                          Well, in the interest of science I went to Ruby's for lunch today. My opinion pretty much stands. I can see that some people would love it for the gaming atmosphere, but that's generally not what I'm looking for when I'm picking a restaurant.

                          As for the food.... well, I had the pulled pork plate with collards and mac & cheese. The pork was just acceptable. I could duplicate it in a crock pot, I think. Seriously. The mac&cheese appeared to be made with Velveeta. Blech. And the collards were, in my opinion, actually turnip greens. They were pretty good, but I'd swear they were turnip greens and not collards. Of course, I could be wrong about that. They were the highlight of the meal, so I'm not complaining.

                          It wasn't bad food (except for that mac&cheese) but nothing special or nothing I'd go out of my way to eat again or recommend to someone.


                      2. re: McChow

                        Have you tried Fig? We moved to Asheville two years ago from New York and Boston. We have eaten at all of the restaurants you mentioned (with the exception of Mela) and by far, Fig is our favorite. When we are in town, we go at least once a week. Always have consistent, delicious meals with excellent service.

                      3. We went to Cuicina 24 on a brief trip through Asheville and liked it so much that my husband said he wanted to find the first person he met on the street in Asheville and tell them "You MUST eat at this restaurant" . Everything was delicious , the waitstaff was really concerned but not intrusive--even the kitchen staff were interested to see that we enjoyed our meal.If it was close to Cincinnati we would eat there once a week!