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Asheville - Best of 2009

How about if we make our own Best of Asheville (and vicinity)

Best Breakfast

Best Lunch

Best Dinner

Best Dessert

Best Cocktails

Best Wine List

Best Bar Scene

Best with kids

Best for Romantic/Special Occasion date

Best deal, ie. best food for least price

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  1. Great topic! I hope you don't mind if create a few new categories.

    Best breakfast: Tupelo Honey

    Best splurge: Table

    Best winelist: Sante

    Best sweet treat: Sister McMullen

    Best beer list: Thirsty Monk

    Best Pub: Jack of the Wood

    1 Reply
    1. re: bbqdawg

      Best Breakfast - not a big breakfast eater so I'll pass

      Best Lunch -

      Best Dinner - Nova, Table

      Best Dessert/ Sweet Treat - Short Street Cupcakes

      Best Cocktails - Nova

      Best Wine List

      Best Bar Scene - Sante (wine bar)

      Best with kids - Asheville Pizza

      Best for Romantic/Special Occasion date - Sunset Terrace - GPI

      Best deal, ie. best food for least price - Tomato and Stoney Knob

      Best beer - Thirsty Monk (retail - Brusin' Ales)
      Best Pub - Jack of the Wood

    2. Best Breakfast: Sunny Point Cafe

      Best Lunch:

      Best Dinner: Rezaz

      Best Dessert: French Broad Bakery

      Best Cocktails

      Best Wine List: Sante

      Best Bar Scene: Jack of the Wood

      Best with kids: Fiddlin Pig (not great bbq by any means, but keeps kids occupied!)

      Best for Romantic/Special Occasion date: Grove Park Inn

      Best deal, ie. best food for least price: Tupelo Honey

      1. I think this is a GREAT idea!

        Best Breakfast: Sunny Pointe

        Best Lunch: Tupelo Honey

        Best Dinner: NOVA

        Best Dessert: Sister McMulen

        Best Cocktails: Red Stag but NOVA has the most inventive cocktails in town!

        Best Wine List: Sante

        Best Bar Scene: Elaines at the GPI

        Best with kids: Your own home.

        Best for Romantic/Special Occasion date: Private dinner at Chefs in Motion, or GPI

        Best deal, ie. best food for least price: Papas and Beer mmmm.

        1. Best Breakfast--Sugar Beet

          Best Lunch-Nova

          Best Dinner-Stovetotters

          Best Dessert-Curras dom

          Best Cocktails-Usual Suspects

          Best Wine List-Savoy

          Best Bar Scene-Usual Suspects

          Best with kids-Brixx

          Best for Romantic/Special Occasion date-Sunset Terrace - GPI

          Best deal, ie. best food for least price-Papas and Beers

          3 Replies
          1. re: ncwino

            I have to go on record and say that I think Usual Suspects has terrible, absolutely terrible, mixed drinks. Weak, weak, weak. I like alcohol in my cocktails! Every year they get the "best cocktail" award in the Xpress and I just don't get it. It is practically across the street from my house and I think their food is good....why oh why can't they make me a stiff drink so I can LOVE this place.

            Best Cocktail for me is anything from Zambra or Mela or a Curras Dom Margarita

            1. re: miss piggy

              Well the only drink I get there is a martini and Les does a great job with it. I think the real reason the bar there does so well is there beer and wine list. It's not the boring crap everyone else serves. An ever changing selection that gives you a chance to taste products you only get to read about.

              1. re: ncwino

                Ah. Well, in my book beer and wine does not = cocktail! But that is good to know as I like their food a lot and enjoy a a beer or two in the summer. I just think they have *almost* the whole package - good food, nice patio, fun crowd....but their mixed drinks stink. Pour a little more liquor in there and you'd have a home run.

          2. Breakfast - Sunny Point
            Lunch - 12 Bones
            Dinner, Wine List, Romantic - Zambra
            Dessert - Well Bred Bakery (Weaverville) tie w/ Ultimate Ice Cream

            1. best ribs: Blueberry-Chipotle Ribs at 12 Bones

              best local beer: Pisgah Pale Ale

              best appetizer: (three-way tie) Spliff Roll at Salsa; Fried Pickle Chips at Burgermeister; Pupusas at Tomato Cuchina Latina

              best comfort food: Bangers and (Boar Sausage) Mash at The Admiral

              best breakfast dish: Heuvos Rancheros at Sunny Point

              best beef burger: Plain Jane (with all the fixin's) at Burgermiester

              best veggie burger: Rosetta's Kitchen

              best thin crust pizza: West First (Hendersonville)

              best mustard: Lusty Monk (available at several local restaurants and Greenlife Grocery)

              best side dish: corn pudding at 12 Bones

              best sushi: Umi (Hendersonville)

              best bakery: Flat Rock Village Bakery (Flat Rock)

              best use of shellfish: Concrete Jungle at Nine Mile (esp. when you add a dollop of their homemade hot sauce!)

              best Thai Red Curry: Doc Chey's

              best tap beer selection: Barley's Taproom

              best truffles: (tie) French Broad Chocolate Lounge; Chocolate Fetish

              best sandwhich: Carnitas or Chicken Torta at Papa's & Beer (Brevard Road location only)

              best salsa & chips: Tomato Cuchina Latina

              best use of Tofu: Peanut Butter Tofu at Rosetta's Kitchen

              6 Replies
              1. re: Jeff C.

                God, has there EVER been a better use of tofu???

                1. re: danna

                  Given how bland tofu usually is (even in vegetarian-friendly Asheville), NO!

                  Forgot one! best ice cream: Black Mocha Stout ice cream at Ultimate Ice Cream

                  1. re: Jeff C.

                    absolutely. Ultimate Mocha Stout. While we're mentioning random objects of desire, the Pistachio Chocolate Frog at Chocolate Fetish (way better than truffles imo), the fried sweet potatoes at Rosetta's, the margarita at Chorizo, fried calamari w/ that spicey/sweet sauce at Doc Chey, the sausage pattie at Sunny Point, the scrambled eggs w/ hot sauce at Over Easy, Imladris mixed berry jam available at Early Girl and Sunny Point and sold on the street outside Grove Arcade, Scones at Flat Rock VB, Toffee at Well Bred, and the Whoopie Pie at Cupcake (which I heard is closing).

                    I'm starving now.

                    1. re: danna

                      Yummy list! What's a Pistachio Chocolate Frog?

                      1. re: Jeff C.

                        it's like a turtle, pistachios, caramel, dark chocolate. yum.

                        1. re: danna

                          I'll have to give it a try. I loves me some pistachios!

              2. Has anyone tried Nine Mile...is it any good? I dont see it on anyone's list. I love Caribbean food.

                If i go out to Highlands is Ristorante Paoletti really as good as i hear?

                3 Replies
                1. re: mistahcal

                  Here's a recent post that includes a couple of opinions on Nine Mile:


                  I've never been, but "caribbean inspired pasta" sounds strange to me. If you like carribean, try One Love instead.

                  1. re: bbqdawg

                    "Strange" or not, Nine Mile is fresh, flavorful, and affordable. I particularly like the Concrete Jungle dish, which features mussels in a savory sauce.

                  2. re: mistahcal

                    Nine Mile is basically Italian food with a few Carribean flavors. I found the heaviness and blandness of the dishes to be antithetical to what Carribean food's supposed to taste like. One love is much better

                  3. Best Breakfast - Early Girl Eatery. The Early Girl does great Southern breakfasts with local flavors. My favorite is the Early Girl Benny (benedict), with an excellent tomato gravy. The sausage and sweet potato scramble is also delicious; local Fire on the Mountain hot sauce is an added bonus. Runner-up: Over Easy Cafe

                    Best Lunch - 12 Bones. Tasty barbecue with unparalleled sides. Being a native Kansas Citian, I take my cue very seriously. The dry rubbed ribs were tender and juicy, and the corn pudding and garlic mashers were smoky and delicious. This place carries an enormous wallop for your buck.

                    Best Dinner - Table Restaurant. Flavorful, local, seasonal. These are the modus operandi of this little new American gem. Fresh, simple presentation with a lot of flavor. Great, reasonable lunch menu as well. I had venison with ramps, mashed potatoes with a blueberry demi glace. My friend's skate wing was excellent as well. Also tried the local pork chop with cabbage, apples, and a mustard cream sauce. At the end of the meal, they had flights of madeira of different ages. It was a great educational experience to be able to taste the progression of the different flavors. The most potent one had a very strong, oaky, almost whiskey like flavor. All in all, very good service, flavorful food.

                    Best After-Dinner - The Admiral. Great overall food. My favorite late night stop. Duck sliders with julienned apples is so freakin' delicious. Truffle popcorn, homemade bangers and mash. Classy food with a gritty twist. Have an excellent dinner menu as well. Serves food until 1 am, smoking begins at 10.

                    Best deal - 12 Bones

                    1. What is the best place to have dinner solo?

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: sarah galvin

                        I assume you are talking about sometime in the near future? If so, I think you'd be happy sitting at the bar at Zambra. I think The Admiral has a bar...perhaps someone else could chime in on how it would be for a solo diner? If you thinking about later when the weather is warm, there are a number of places where you could sit outside alone and be comfortable.

                        1. re: carolinadawg

                          I have seen both men and women eating solo at the bar at The Admiral. The food is so good you won't feel at all self-conscious about eating alone.

                          1. re: Jeff C.

                            Before i rip Zambra i want to mention my trip to Asheville had many more Highs than Lows and here they are:
                            Breakfast: i've been to Tupelo honey, Sunny Point and Corner Kitchen for breakfasts' and all were as good as reported!!
                            3D style(Guy Fieri):I've been to The Admiral...the mussels were Excellent and my friend got the Scallops and they were delicious also. What a Triple D place it is!
                            Best Calimexican: I went to papas and beer instead of Limones(both Cali-Mex) and LOVED it. We have all Tex Mex where i am from, but love the vegetables in Cali-mex.
                            Best Pizza and Bakery(Hendersonville): I went to both West First and Flat Rock Village Bakery(same owner) on separate occasions and it was the best crust of any pizza i've ever had. The mix of them knowing how to bake and how they cook it (wood fire) must be the key. We had the Margharita(spelling?) pizza and loved it. No baked goods or bread though.
                            Best Salvadoran: I was out at the Pisgah Brewery late one night and so didnt make it back to Asheville and a local told me to go to "Salvamexi" restaurant there. Well it must be like Tomato cause they had Papusa which i had and Bistec steak but the version with the eggs on it which i also had. There salsa was also Excellent( it had cheese in it). They had a Habenero salsa that was hot but not "i cant eat that" hot...it was delicious.
                            Best BBQ: Tie between 12 Bones in Asheville and Hubba Hubba Next to FR Village Bakery.
                            Honarable Mention: Doc Cheys
                            Bad, Tiny Portions, Expensive and snobby award: ZAMBRA(see below)

                          2. re: carolinadawg

                            Yes, I'm going before Christmas this year. Thanks to both of you.

                            1. re: carolinadawg

                              I did eat at Zambra but not at the bar. They have nice little semi-private areas along the side. It was very good. I had the mushroom and edamame tapa with sweet potato wontons. I was a bit confused by the oriental flavour in a tapas establishment but it was good. I also had the cured NC flounder with tobiko. That was very good. It was almost like a salad with a nice mound of julienned apple and radish on top. Then had the boneless lamb rack. It was a full meal and I only had the tapas sized serving. The descriptions don't really mention the amount of veggies served with each dish. I like my veggies. Then had a taste (was full but wanted to try it) of the lavender flan for dessert. It was lovely but garnished with sugared pecans and mint? That didn't seem quite right. All in all, I would go back. It was really nice and excellent service. I didn't get over to the Admiral. Next time.

                              BTW, Nova is closed. I tried to find something good open for lunch, as well, but nothing. Ended up at Mamacita and had a nice little fish taco for $3.75. Can't beat that.

                              1. re: sarah galvin

                                I keep seeing Zambra Recommendations and i have to chime in. I visited Asheville and went to a lot of good restaurants but Zambra wasnt one of the good ones. So i want to be the one who warns people what it is.(the locals must have been blown away by this "hip" new word "tapas". It is appetizer size dishes at $8.00 to over $20 a piece. And if you get the eight dollar ones you better order at least 3 or 4 of them or you will leave hungry...i had 3 and was still hungry when i left. My friend had the big one, scallops, for like $18 and his was good but he 2 was still hungry when he left. I had curry meatballs, fish taco and one that was so unmemorable i cant remember what it was called. Only the TINY fish taco was delicious...the 3 curry meatballs were bland and TINY. and the 3rd, well again i dont remember!! Did someone mention sides...what sides?! AND YOU better dress nice because we went in casually dressed and they sat us in the BACK bar area as far away from any other customers as they could!! And served us POORLY as to not have us back as well.(nothing to worry about there) I CAN only compare it to "The Admiral" because the cost was about the same...except the admiral serves normal sized entrees with sides, and "Admiral" BLEW it out of the water. My friend again had scallops which he loved and couldnt finish all of. And i had Mussels which were delicious!! If this place was cheap it would be on 3D but it isnt cheap, so Guy wont be visiting, BUT I SURE WILL BE BACK!

                                1. re: mistahcal

                                  My comments were that the tapas were not all in the Spanish theme, as I was expecting, considering the Moorish Spanish take on the decorating. But I enjoyed the food. I ordered 3 dishes and it was way too much food but I wanted to try a few things. All were nicely executed. They were very nice to me. In fact, as a person eating alone I am often forgotten over in the corner but they were always attentive.

                                  1. re: mistahcal

                                    No hard feelings, mistahcal, we'll just agree to disagree on Zambra. Glad you liked the Admiral.

                            2. Best Lunch- Curras Dom
                              Best Dinner- Limones or Rezaz
                              Best Cocktails- Sazerac.... they nabbed Justin the bar man from Nova who just revamped their menu. amazing as his usual.
                              Best for Romantic/Special Occasion date- Cucina 24
                              Best deal, ie. best food for least price- Papas and Beer

                              1. Best Breakfast Hands down Sunny Point W. Aville

                                Best Lunch Too many, but like NY DELI Arden, Salsas, Tomato Cucina, Papas and Beer

                                Best Dinner Again a lot of choices; Fig, Zambras, Rezzaz, want to try Admiral but I have to say anywhere I can get out with my wife and have fun:)

                                Best Dessert not important

                                Best Cocktails Salsas has good margs Rankin Vault, want to try Sazeracs

                                Best Wine List Fig just like it's menu is minimalist, Zambras has a great Spanish list which I favor

                                Best Bar Scene Don't know

                                Best with kids My kids are older and behaved

                                Best for Romantic/Special Occasion date Overnight w/ spa and nice restaurant,

                                Best deal, ie. see above

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: catsailor

                                  When recommending Papas & Beer, you have to identify which one. They are owned by different family members and though their styles are the same, there is a big difference. The one on Brevard Rd near the Biltmore Sq Mall is far superior to the one on Tunnel Rd.

                                2. What would you list for best bakery? Someplace that has wonderful, European-style breads? (I'm visiting this weekend...)