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May 25, 2009 05:53 AM

Asheville (area) best

So back in 2007 this was the list posed by Jeff C.
1, Gabrielle's
2. Limone's
3. 28806
4. Stoney Knob (Weaverville, I know. But close enough.)
5. Salsa
6. Tomato Cucina Latina
7. Corner Kitchen
8. Doc Chey's
9. Laughing Seed Cafe
10. Sunny Pointe Cafe
11. Early Girl Eatery

There have been some changes in the restaurant scene...
Gabrielle's (Richmond Hill Inn) burned down in a fire earlier this year.
Limones is still around
28806 has become Nova downtown and is making quite a name for itself
Stoney Knob has changed menu
The rest are still around.
I'd add to this list: Fig in Biltmore Village, Table (downtown), and Cucina 24

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  1. Post my vote for Limones. Try the margarita caliente and the coffee encrusted filet, if it's available - the menu changes daily and the wait staff are impeccable.

    1. 2009 update: R.I.P. Gabrielle's. Still haven't tried Nova but soon. Still haven't been to Zambra. (Don't ask me why.) I'm somewhat less taken with Salsa and Stony Pointe these days. Have only been to Fig and Table once each and wasn't bowled over the way I'd hoped by either. (But once isn't enough to judge, I know.) Cuchina 24 is overrated but worthy, and I'm still taken with the Papa's & Beer in S. Asheville for cheap Cali-Mex. I miss Limone's Sunday brunch...a lot. Indian food fans swear by Mela, and I like it but am by no means expert enough to judge whether it is best-of list-worthy.

      Nova is the only one above I'm genuinely excited about trying, though. (Stay tuned.)

      10 Replies
      1. re: Jeff C.

        Correction: Make that Stony KNOB above!

        1. re: Jeff C.

          I can't believe this is coming out of my mouth...but my last two trips to Salsa were underwhelming. Something is going on there. Saturday I saw Hector standing outside Modesto and I REALLY wanted to go ask him "what the hell?" but I didn't know how to tell him without it being an unpleasant encounter.

          I've been disappointed by a lot of stuff in Asheville recently. I agree that Cucina 24 is good enough, but seriously overrated on this board.

          I went to Scratch for lunch before it changed names and I give it a big so-so. i suppose I should have tried dinner. Same goes for Table, their dinner menu looks really good...but I've only had a so-so lunch there.

          I still love Sunny Point and I think 12 Bones deserves a spot on the list.

          1. re: danna

            I've been wanting to try 12 Bones for over a year now, Danna, but living in Hendersonville and working full-time makes it darn near impossible. I did read somewhere that the Arden location now has take-out until six p.m. or so. So maybe this summer sometime I'll finally get to try those blueberry-chipotle ribs I've been dreaming of! What else is good there?

            1. re: Jeff C.

              Do you work on Saturday too? Arden is open on Sat.

              BBQ turkey sandwich w/ brie and basil mayo and sugar bacon is ...hell, I can't think of an adjective that doesn't sound like an Applebee's die for? ...outrageous?...amazing?

              "Damn good corn pudding" is. mini beers are good, jalepeno cheese grits are good, corn bread is good. pork bbq is good but not divine.

              1. re: danna

                I did not know (or forgot) they are opened on Saturdays! I am soooo there, maybe this Saturday. Thanks for the heads-up.

                P.S. "mini beers"?

                1. re: Jeff C.

                  a scant 10 oz for $2. perfect for people who want to try a bunch of the 5-6 beers on tap, or for petite chicks trying to pretend they aren't total hogs.

                  1. re: danna

                    Heh, heh...sounds right up this beer lover's alley.

                2. re: danna

                  The turkey sandwich there might be my favorite meal of all-time. It is pesto mayo, though.

                  1. re: JKidd

          're aware of what pesto is (usually) made from, right?

                    1. re: danna

                      Sure, but you can have basil mayo, and you can have pesto mayo. It's pesto mayo.

          2. Sante anyone? Zambra tapas rocks, too

            1. I would remove Salsas from the list, it has been on the decline for several years now.IMO

              15 Replies
              1. re: Spreadhead

                What a difference just 2 years can make...I think that list is way off now!

                Despite once being favorites of mine, I don't think Limones or Salsa have a place on that list. I never thought Doc Chey's belonged there. Ugh. I think Tupelo Honey deserves a spot for sure, maybe even over Stoney Knob and Tomato (although I like them both). I agree that SK has not been excellent the last few times we've been in, although it has been good.

                Definitely deserving, in my opinion:
                THE ADMIRAL!

                I'd also throw in a vote Bouchon over some of the others on that list, but with the caveat that I've only been there once (recently). It was great. I still need to try Table.

                And sorry, but I am not in the majority that likes C24. We've been there twice and I thought it was bland and overpriced.

                1. re: miss piggy

                  Agreed. There definitely needs to be some major changes to the list. Jeff C-Limones has started Sunday brunch again. And, you've NEVER been to 12 Bones?? Dude, you need to drop everything and go. The Arden location is open on Saturdays and until 6 for to-go. So here's my list...
                  The Admiral
                  Tupelo Honey
                  12 Bones

                  I think that is it...these places do what they are trying to do well, whether it is innovative bar-b-q, mid-priced southern fare, casual fine dining, or exotic cuisine. All of these restaurants' food taste good, which is ultimately the most important criteria to me. Yes, I expect good service at Savoy,which I have always received, but after that, I don't really expect much other than a delicious meal!

                  1. re: newtonorthavl

                    If you dropped me in the middle of AVL, with no husband or friends to please, and no concept of wanting fancy or plain, I would head the following order:

                    1. Zambra
                    2. Sunny Point
                    3. Fig
                    4. 12 Bones
                    5. Chorizo
                    6. Laughing Seed
                    7. Salsa (possibly call first and ask if Hector's been in the kitchen recently)
                    8. Cucina 24
                    9. Rosetta's Kitchen
                    10. Well Bred Bakery (have to hike to Weaverville)

                    Places I've gone to once, didn't think much of, but need to try again:

                    1. Table
                    2. Tupelo Honey
                    3. Rezaz
                    4. Bouchon
                    5. Tomato (after it stopped being Italian-I was a fan of the original chef)
                    6. Scratch/Nova

                    Places I'm needing to try:

                    1. The Admiral !!
                    2. Stovetrotters

                    Lists are fun ;-)

                    1. re: danna

                      I forgot about The Admiral! At this point I would probably drop Salsa or Stoney Knob from the list and add it instead. Rosetta's is consistently good, cheap vegetarian fare (esp. good after a concert or show) , but I'm not sure that it is best-of list-worthy as it tends to be a tad bland compared to the more adventurous fare at Laughing Seed. Lots of people like Bouchon, so I guess I should try it but just can't seem to get enthusiastic about it. What did you think about it, Danna? And I also see that you weren't that impressed with Nova. Did you go just after they opened, by chance? (I understand it is much better now.)

                      1. re: Jeff C.

                        Bouchon - I got a bad mussel and was extremely anti-Bouchon at that point, but continued good reports have (almost) convinced me to go back. I did go to Nova pretty early on (first month, maybe) and for lunch. It wasn't bad...the lamb on my sandwich was a little bit mutton-y, but otherwise it was ok. i looked at the menu saturday, and if I hadn't been so stuffed from Sunny Pointe lunch, i would have tried to eat again for dinner. Their drinks really do look creative (although I'm more of a wino).

              's hard for me to judge. I think if I didn't know how good it used to be, i would be perfectly happy eating there. It's still good's just not "slap-your-grandma" good anymore, to borrow a phrase from my Dad.

                        Yeah, I hesitated on Rosettas, but I was thinking more of "where would I go?" rather than "what is the best restaurant?" I CRAVE those freakin' sweet potato fries and peanut butter tofu.

                        1. re: danna

                          Re: Bouchon - we have eaten there probably 4 or 5 times (always dinner) and it's always been very good. I consider it good, fresh food, but fairly basic. prices are right for us too (these days)! I've had their quiche (very good), salads, mussels, a fish (can't remember the name), and a crepe special. my husband almost always gets either the mussels or their version of the ham and cheese sandwich (OMG! not heart healthy - it's like a monte crisco with bechamel all over it) with fries (skinny ones - I like them a lot). their bread I think is from City Bakery and very good. I have always had good mussels there, with just a bit of sand/grit once. I wouldn't get the fish again (it was King something...?? I had never heard of it) - it was fine, I just like lots of other fish better. So, overall, we have had very good experiences there (a little noisy, but that's ok with us most of the time).

                          I have lately wondered if some of the experience discrepancies (at any restaurant in question) have anything to do with eating lunch vs. dinner. I mean, it should be reasonably similar, but who knows.... ??

                          On the mussel topic, in H'ville, have you tried the ones at Blue Water Seafood or at West 1st?? Both were very good too. BW has all you can eat night, but I can't remember which night it is (they recently changed it). I was surprised to see West 1st had added the mussels last winter, but they were excellent (I could've sucked up the broth with a straw - instead we mowed through quite a bit of bread, which is equally fabulous!).

                          1. re: Scirocco

                            Well, you've certainly got me craving mussels! And it's good to know I can finally get some decent ones here in Hendersonville. So, where do I start, West First or Blue Water? (Who's better and/or cheaper?)

                            1. re: Jeff C.

                              hmm, that's tough. I don't think that one is better over the other as far as the mussel quality. Would give the broth nod to West 1st, but both are good.

                              Well damn. I just looked on Blue Water's site and they are showing their AYCE mussels as being OVER the end of April. You may want to call to find out if they still serve them at all (I didn't see mussels on their regular menu). Of course, if they don't offer them right now, that would make your decision easier! Although, we had the mussels at West 1st several months ago, so you may want to check with them too!

                              well, that's really helpful, isn't it??

                              1. re: Scirocco

                                It's more than I knew before! Thanks.

                            2. re: Scirocco

                              I fear you may be correct on the lunch topic. Which sucks for me because my MO is to ride the mtb on Saturday, and then eat a late lunch. I generally am too full to stick around for dinner. I can't just WAIT for dinner because those hours in the woods make you ravenous. And if it's not Saturday, I'm in G'ville , so who wants to eat out anyway ? *poor me*

                              I've only had lunch at Table, Tomato, Scratch/Nova, Stoney Knob among others, so's possible that makes the difference...although you're right, it shouldn't. I expect basic food quality and competence of execution to be the same, but maybe that's not the case.

                      2. re: newtonorthavl

                        Limones has Sunday brunch again??? Color moi a very happy (and hungry) man!

                        1. re: Jeff C.

                          If you like Limones brunch I'd also highly recommend Curra's in Woodfin.

                          1. re: miss piggy

                            I've read such mixed reviews of that place that I've been hesitant to try it. What do you like there?

                            1. re: miss piggy

                              I think they do a great job there. I've been several times and so far have enjoyed it. They are not afraid to add the spice and most the dishes have had a little heat to them. The beer and wine list have been improved also; but has a great margarita.

                              1. re: ncwino

                                Their margaritas are awesome (and potent!) and may even be a dollar or so less than Limones. Not sure though. I waver a little on their dinner - everything I've had there has been good - but my biggest complaint was portion size related to cost. Seemed pricey for what you got (only 2 scallops on the plate for $20+? No thanks.)

                                BUT...brunch is a different story. HUGE portions and great prices, not to mention delicious. Maybe they've done that with dinner as well, I don't know. But we hit their brunch almost every week now (it helps that we could practically walk there from our house, too!). You should try it and see what you think.

                    2. Hey, everybody. The wife and I finally got a chance to try 12 Bones on Saturday. Had the world-famous smoked turkey sandwich with brie and sugar bacon...which, was indeed, to die for. (Although I'll ask for mine on a wheat bun next time as I'm not a big fan of Texas Toast.) The corn pudding, meanwhile, was THE BEST I've ever had anywhere! The Ginger-Apple slaw was interesting, with tiny flecks of what tasted like jalapeno. Nice selection of local microbrews on tap. The only disappointment was the beans, which tasted mostly like Van Camp's Pork 'n' Beans--they weren't sweet enough to be true baked beans and weren't smoky enough to be true BBQ beans. All in all, it was a great (though heavy) lunch. I'm really looking forward to trying those blueberry-chipotle ribs on my next visit!

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: Jeff C.

                        good for you, glad you liked!

                        yeah, we're no Texas Toast fans, either. The husband asks them not to put any butter on it. The first time he asked for a bun instead and he still got toast, so he settled on the no butter approach.

              're not kidding...especially when you get ribs AND a turkey sandwich (between the two of us, but still)

                        1. re: danna

                          Sure do wish they were open for dinner, too! (Hint, hint, 12 Bones people!)

                          1. re: Jeff C.

                            Nona Mias has great pan pizza in west asheville.

                            1. re: chizow

                              Nona Mia's pan pizza is my biggest Asheville food craving for at least the last year. I have to restrain myself because I will make myself sick eating too much.

                                1. re: Spreadhead

                                  It's yeasty, light and fluffy, made with a sourdough starter I believe. I'm not too sure what constitutes the Chicago crust.