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Aug 2, 2009 09:25 AM

Please help me, Asheville hounds!

I've read through the Asheville posts and there are so many places I'd like to try, but I have a very specific mission and I thought you Asheville hounds might be able to help. Dinner for 12 on a Saturday night. It's part of a birthday celebration weekend for my mom. We'll be staying at the Grove Park Inn and will be having dinner there Friday night. We're looking for a good spot which could accommodate us all on Saturday, ideally downtown, but this isn't a must. The only tricky bit is that we will have two kids (5 & 7) with us. I don't want the decision to hinge too much on accommodating the kids, but I don't want to go somewhere where diners go to get a break from kids. I totally respect that. I'd appreciate any tips you could send my way.

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  1. I ate dinner over the weekend at Cucina 24 in a large group that included 3 children under the age of 6. It wasn't an issue at all, the kitchen prepared a simple cheese pizza. We were in their private dining room of sorts which is separated from the main area. Worth looking into if you want Italian.

    1. Zambra has semi-private alcoves in the back that I always recommended for large parties. (I love to sit back there when there are just 2 of us as well) I think you could sufficiently hide the kiddies there ;-) Obviously you'd need to make it really clear to the reservationist where you want to be.

      1. Thank you. I've been dying to try Zambra. This is encouraging, but I'm guessing mom would be more into Italian so these are great recommendations.

        4 Replies
        1. re: suse

          In that case, i'd agree w/ the Cucina 24 rec, unless you are trying to hold the bill down after Friday night's bill ;-) Cucina 24 wasn't cheap if I recall correctly.

          I don't see a problem w/ kids there. It's not a quiet space. Love the skinny bread sticks. Although....I would have wanted to sword fight with them as a kid...

          1. re: danna

            I'm coming to Asheville and wanted to try Nine Mile b'cause i like Caribbean food. Is it any good? I see Asheville posts and see you in almost everyone, so i value your opinion.

            1. re: mistahcal

              Hi Mistahcal - I have been to Nine Mile only once. We had a nice table out on the street, and the service was friendly. The food was not particularly memorable. I recall it was a little bland. Kinda vegetable focused, and possibly a little healthier than normal restaurant food. I really don't associate pasta with the Caribbean, so I guess I am a little confused by the place.

              I don't think you would have a BAD experience there, but you might enjoy One Love or Salsa more if you're looking for Caribbean. One Love has great jerked chicken and the things I most associate at Caribbean. Salsa is more burritos and tamales and piononos and quesadillas w/ Caribbean (and lots of local) ingredients.

              Hope that helps, have a nice trip!

              1. re: danna

                i was going to go to all the restaurants you all(Asheville Hounds)mention in other posts and they seem to be the high rated ones at tripadviser...ex: 2.sunny point cafe 3.tupelo honey 4.Fig 5.Rezaz 6.Nova 7.12 bones...etc, BUT THEY rate Nine Mile #1 so i guess they got that wrong. Thankyou for steering me to One Love...another Aheville hound said it was better too. (It got #21 rating of Hendersonville Restaurants)...Trip adviser doesnt know its . Again thanx, Mistahcal

        2. Thought I'd let you guys know where we ended up. We went to Zambra and had a great time. Everyone loved it. The food, the music, the service, the vibe - all excellent. I can't wait to go back the next time I'm in Asheville. I want to see what the food is like without the heaping side of family dysfunction. It turned out to be perfect for the kids, too. Thanks again for the recommendation.

          3 Replies
          1. re: suse

            curious what you thought of the food at Grove Park?? Am assuming from your original post that you ate some meals there. ?? Have not heard particularly favorable things....we go there sometimes to watch the sunsets and eat cupcakes we tote up there from Sisters McMullan, but haven't eaten at any of GPI's restaurants in a long time (once out on the terrace - fine, but not very memorable foodwise).

            1. re: Scirocco

              We had the Friday night and the Sunday morning buffets. Please don't tell me what they cost - I truly don't want to know. In the interest of full disclosure, I'm not a fan of buffets. The food was fine. Just fine. I would never spend my own money to eat there. The quality of the food was good - everything was fresh - good oysters and crab legs - but no memorable dishes. I think for someone who really wants to pig-out at a buffet, it would be a treat. I much preferred the tapas at Zambra. Overall, I think the Grove Park Inn is way overhyped. My 15-year-old son called it "faux fancy." I was a little put off by the 20% gratuity they automatically put on everything you order, including your morning cup of Joe in a paper cup. The view is nice and thinking about how therapeutic that place must have been back in the day when it was an oasis of quiet and not a total zoo.

              1. re: suse

                It was nice back in the day. I used to live across the street at the Longchamps before GPI got all hoity toity and wanting to take over everything in the neighborhood. They also used to let the neighbors onto the golf course to watch fireworks but now they've fenced it off and security will run you off if you happen to step onto the property.

                GPI..... I've given up on it..... the tourists and people who know no better can have it.

          2. Danna,
            Also heres what i have so far as far as restaurants i will try on my 5 days there.
            Breakfasts: Sunny Point, Tupelo, Corner Kitchen, Fireside Rest n Pancake, ?
            Lunches: 12 Bones BBQ, Big J's BBQ, Circle B BBQ, Luella's BBQ, West First or Two Guys Pizza n Ribs
            Dinners: Doc Cheys(Lunch Maybe...gotta have some Curry at least once a week), The Admiral, Nova, Zambra, Fig.
            For Fun may go by Burgermeister or Hot Dog House and of course ONE LOVE for a tweener. Hard to fit all good restaurants in 5 days when you want to eat lots of BBQ!!!
            Hon Mentions which may replace some of the above: Sora or UMI, Stovetrotters, Tomato CL, Limones, Curras, Table, Bouchon, Salsa's.
            Let me know if any are not worth trying...even the BBQ and i will go to the Hon mentions instead.
            Thanx, Mistahcal

            9 Replies
            1. re: mistahcal

              If you find yourself out near Swannanoa, you might want to add Okie Dokie Smokehouse to your list. Their pulled pork is excellent. Better than 12 Bones' pulled pork, though the sides aren't as good. I've never had their ribs, but can't imagine they'd be as good as at 12 Bones.

              1. re: mistahcal

                Are you going to be in Hendersonville? A few of your picks are in H'ville not Asheville. If you ARE going to H'ville, West First is absolutely fantastic pizza. Never heard of two guys. Umi is also in H'ville. Sora is in Breavrd.

                Personnally, I think you're heavy on BBQ, but if that's your fave, then go for it. 12 Bones is exceptional.

                I have never heard of Fireside Rest. Anyone?

                Wow, sounds like you are going to be full. I hope you're doing a stage race or something ;-)

                1. re: danna

                  Fireside is an over the top, welcome to cholesterol heaven breakfast joint. Huge portions of traditional breakfast fare. Been around for a long time and there is always a line. They serve lunch too. It's over past World of Clothing off SugarIoaf. I haven't been in several years, so can't comment further.
                  Here's the link ~

                  1. re: NANCY

                    Ohhhhhh!! I HAVE been there. Years since I went, my impression was it was more of a local color and atmosphere thing than a food thing, but that's not always bad ;-)

                    well, if the OP is going to be "all over"...he really needs to get some bakery from Flat Rock Village Bakery just south of H'ville. Owned by the West First guys, you could sample their pizza for lunch as well as get some outstanding baked goods. And I don't know if they are officially BYOB, but i have dragged a mini keg up on their outdoor deck before. They are also next to a good BBQ restaurant which shares their deck. What else do you need in life besides ribs, pulled pork, pizza (my fave is the one w/ goat cheese, artichokes, sundried tomatoes and pesto) , scones, cookies, sticky buns, ciabatta, sourdough, homemade w.wh. pita....I gotta go to lunch now....

                    1. re: danna

                      Hubba Hubba is the BBQ joint next to Flat Rock Village Bakery. Last week they had a sign posted for BYOB. They have outdoor dining shared w/ FRVB so it should be no problem. The pulled pork sandwich was great.

                      1. re: NANCY

                        Danna and all this is Mistahcal the guy thats gonna be "all around",

                        Well i got here and picked up my friend from the airport. So we stopped in circle b or circle q BBQ rest. Only thing memorable was the corn. I've never had corn so crunchy and sweet unles it is shucked off the cob fresh...but since they dont give their BBq that kind of love i doubt they do it for their corn. it was not good, dont go there. BUT, i've been to Tupelo honey, Sunny Point and Corner Kitchen for breakfasts' and all were as good as reported!! 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 that is! 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. I went to Flat Rock Village Bakery Danna 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?) and loved it. No baked goods or bread though. Maybe i'll go back by there on the way back home. 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 with cheese in it. Chips to dip in it could have been better. They had a Habenero salsa that was hot but not "i cant eat that" was delicious.
                        We were the only people in there was strange but our waitress was daughter and niece of the owners though and she was great at helping us and letting us know their history(from Miami). So we trusted the local who sent us there and the waitress and were rewarded. 12 Bones was lunch today...Cant say enough about how good it was...crunchy crust on the ribs with blueberry chipotle for me and Thai hot for my friend, mmmmmm! Sides were excellent as well. Zambra tonight and Doc Cheys for lunch tommorrow round out my trip. I've been to all the breweries and brewpubs as well like i planned...EXCELLENT FOODIE-BEER TRIP(You all tied with Portland for "Beer City USA"). O yea and Baseball and Beer event at McCormick field on Saturday was great hope some of you went.

                        1. re: mistahcal

                          Also i'm glad to report that portions are on the small side compared to most cities in Florida, but hey thats because you all are also known as being a health concious city. So i have gained some weight but not as much as i thought i would...i'll just stop eating for a while when i get home because nothing compares there anyways. It will be easy to shed the lbs when i get back!!

                          1. re: mistahcal

                            So glad you enjoyed yourself. thanks for posting the reviews!

                    2. re: danna

                      I will be staying between Hendersonville and Asheville and will be traveling ALL around the area going to breweries and brewpubs on a beer drinkin vacation. No i dont drink to get drunk, i just love GOOD beer and the Asheville area is king on east coast. PLUS i'm not only a "beerie"(did i make up a word, lol) but a "foodie"(foodie covers both food and drink but i wanted you to know my specific drink) as well. So here's hoping the portions at the restaurants are small. Did i just say that? No, i will have to eat like i drink...just to get the flavor. Thanx again Danna, Leepa, Nancy & everyone for the help(the posts all over chowhound)