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Feb 2, 2010 02:38 PM

Best Value In Asheville

While I realize that a lot of chowhounds in the AVL area are huge fans of fig, Rezaz, Table, all of Hector's joints, Zambra, 12 Bones and the Admiral, give me your list of Restaurants That Offer The Best Value In Asheville. Not the cheapest place in town. We're talking OVERALL EXPERIENCE, not the fact that the Fried Oyster Salad at Corner Kitchen is a great value (it is, but I'm looking for the whole show here). Where are you really gonna get your money's worth and enjoy it???

Top three that come to mind instantly:

Lobster Trap: Lively atmosphere, big portions, good local beer selection, well-priced wine selection, upbeat and friendly service, fresh food, local ingredients.

Bouchon: Good-size portions, very nice atmosphere, great food, affordable wines by the glass and bottle and good service.

Papa's & Beer (Brevard Rd): Large portions, priced well, full bar(finally), quick and friendly service, nice atmosphere.

Sugar Beet Cafe (Fairview): Great food, upbeat & energetic feel, quick and friendly service, and moderately priced.

I've got more to add but I want to see what y'all have to say.

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  1. The Admiral is the best experience in town, in my opinion. Also, your subject title asks a different question than what you seem to be looking for. The Admiral is my answer for both questions, though, value and experience.

    1 Reply
    1. re: JKidd

      Factoring in price, quality, and presentation, The Admiral wins hands-down. It has been my experience that with the combinations of apps, soups, salads, drink specials, and plates large and small, you can pretty much spend whatever you want there and still eat extremely well.

      Other solid values in Asheville:
      Papa's & Beer (Brevard Road only)
      Doc Chey's
      Laughing Seed
      Mela's lunch buffet
      mussels night at Bouchon
      Tomato Cuchina Latina
      Nine Mile
      Lucky Otter
      Sunny Point
      Early Girl Eatery

    2. Wayside Grille and Enoteca are also both good food with a great price.

      1. Yeah, Admiral is a huge bargain, especially if you're not drinking any wine.

        Salsa, although not as good as it used to be, is still pretty decent and you get a MASSIVE plate of food, which I have been known to make 3 lunches from.

        5 Replies
        1. re: danna

          I need to try Salsa again. Haven't been there in over a year because the last time we went the presentation was so sloppy it was as if they threw everything in a shallow bowl and mashed it all together. (The Spliff Roll is still one of my favorite appetizers ever, however.)

          1. re: Jeff C.

            yeah, it's about time for me to try it again as well. It's been about 6 months for me. I didn't notice a problem w/ presentation as much as just that the flavors were not intense as in the past. In the old days, the combo of smoky pork (or beef), bright citrus, sweet mango (or plantain or sweet potato) , creamy goat cheese...was just heavenly...oh, lord, how I miss it.

            But still...even the worst meal I ever had there was head and shoulders above the time I went to Papas and Beer (granted, I've only been to the one in H'ville).

            1. re: danna

              Papa's & Beer in Hendersonville doesn't count. Go to the Brevard Road location (which has different ownship) and try the Tortas or "street" tacos. Not the best Cali-Mex I've ever had, but pretty good for Asheville.

              1. re: Jeff C.

                My opinion is that Salsa's and P & B really can't be compared, they are two completely different concepts. Please don't get me wrong, I love P & B, and I think I am the lone dissenter on this board that thinks the Tunnel Road location is just as good as the Brevard Road location (sorry...I really don't see the difference!). But I also don't get how P & B can be considered "Cali-Mex." It is, in my opinion, quite simply...good, sloppy Mexican food. Lardy beans, greasy burritos, cheesy sizzling enchiladas, bring-me-the-chips-and-salsa-immediately-because-I-am-so-hungover classic Mexican . It is damn good and the fact that it is sloppy Mexican is not a bad thing! It is heads and tails above La Caretta and El Chapala (neither of which will I touch with a 10 foot pole) but let's get real...P & B is not "Cali-Mex' like Salsas, Limones or Curras.

                I would put it on the list for sure for the OP considering I can easily make three meals out of my standard veggie burrito order. I would also add Laughing Seed brunch, Rosetta's "Family Favorite," Mela dinner in addition to the lunch buffet (big portions, avg $13-15 entrees and fun atmosphere makes you feel like you've been "out" without breaking the bank), LAB, and Blue Ridge To Go (have Rezaz, Cucina 24, Mela and other nice restaurants delivered for a reasonable $5, stay at home and drink your own alcohol which saves $$$ off total bill so you don't have to spend or tip as much).

                1. re: miss piggy

                  completely agree on P&B and Salsa's. I don't consider P&B cali-mex. I like both Salsa's and P&B, but I consider them to be different cuisine (but maybe cousins). For P&B, I like your description of "sloppy mex" - that's what it is! I like it for what it is. And I do like the H'ville location (I do think the Brevard Rd one is better), however, the atmosphere at H'ville is pretty bad - florescent lights and sparse decor. However, that said, even though I like it, it is nothing like you really get in Mexico AND I think the trucks scattered around town are better if you don't mind sitting outside or in your car (or take it home).

                  I guess it's sort of like pizza. A greasy pepperoni pizza from your typical joint and a pizza from West First are completely different, but both pizza. And I love them both and crave them both at different times!

        2. Has anyone tried Jack of the Wood's $5 menu on wednesdays and thursdays. I have heard it is quite good.