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May 10, 2010 05:28 PM

Fiore's - Asheville

I have not heard much about this place, nor have I ever read anything overwhelmingly positive about it on this board, so I thought I'd offer up a review of our meal there last Friday night. We had reservations for 8pm and when we arrived the dining room was about half-full. It is a colorful, vibrant space, and there are three small little "alcove" booths underneath a balcony area that would make for a pretty nice little romantic spot...I will ask for one of those next time. We were greeted promptly and had excellent service from our waiter all night long. We started with an antipasto plate that included olives, roasted peppers, sopressata, prosciutto, cheese and marinated vegetables. The plate was piled high and a balsamic syrup and really good pesto dotted the plate. We enjoyed all of it, the kicker being the two cheese stuffed figs wrapped in crispy prosciutto. They were delicious.

For dinner I had the ricotta gnocchi served with sauteed wild mushrooms and cippolini onions in a light tomato sauce. I went for the half portion (appx $11) and added shrimp - the portion was huge and I took home plenty for dinner the next night. It was really, really good - flavorful sauce, perfectly cooked shrimp, fluffy gnocchi. All pastas are served with the choice of half or whole portions and the option to add chicken, shrimp and a few other protiens that I can't recall right now. My husband had the chicken marsala which was amazing...very tender chicken topped with a deeply flavored marsala sauce served alongside whipped potatoes and sauteed zucchini (which he NEVER eats at home and devoured here).

A bottle of nice red wine, a large shared appetizer and two entrees came to appx $70 before tip, more than fair for what we felt received in terms of quality and service. For us, Fiore's was a very nice meal and a place we will definitey return to.

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  1. am glad you posted your experience. I have wanted to give it another try. My husband and I went way back when they first opened and weren't really impressed. I mean, it was fine, but not great. BUT, I met the owner a few months ago and spent quite a bit of time talking to him (somehow, I managed to tactfully avoid why we hadn't been recently!). He talked quite a bit about how things had changed there. He and his dad apparently had totally different approaches to how thing should be run - food included. Dad was very old school, he was much more "current". I got the impression that he is now the influence of the restaurant and it sounded SO much better than when we had gone. Lots of house made items and some more current ingredients. When I asked what one dish I should try, he recommended I try the gnocchi or the duck and fig entree.

    No clue when this change occurred (I'm guessing at least a year or two ago), but it sounded good enough for me to want to give it another chance. Your post has encouraged me even more!

    4 Replies
    1. re: Scirocco

      Did anyone notice if they open for Saturday lunch?

      1. re: danna

        according to their website, they seem to offer "Saturday Brunch" 11 - 3pm. looks like the lunch menu is quite different from dinner (heavy focus on sandwiches and pizza, which is understandable, I guess). I'm not a big sandwich person - prefer pasta dishes, so I probably wouldn't go for lunch. So, curious what your take will be.

        1. re: Scirocco

          thanks for posting that! but I'm afraid I won't be reviewing it for you...that lunch menu doesn't do a thing for me. I'm not a big sandwich person either.

          btw, we went to Modesto 2 weeks ago...triggerfish crudo (a special) was very good. tomato and basil pasta...just so-so. As usualy, Modesto is inconsistant. the dog friendly patio draws us, though ;-)

          1. re: danna

            ya, you gotta throw at least a little love to anywhere that caters to dogs!! :) been afraid to try Modesto's because of the inconsistency reported.

            Fiore's dinner menu looks infinitely more interesting.

    2. We finally got back to Fiore's last night. As I posted earlier, we hadn't been since it opened a few years ago. Then, it had been decent, nothing special. But, encouraged by Miss Piggy's review and a conversation I had a few months ago with the owner, it sounded like it had improved, so we finally gave it another try. It is SO much better now! Food was interesting and flavorful and nicely priced.

      I had the duck and figs and it was very nice ($20 -one of the pricier items). I got the duck medium, which is how it was delivered. Very light sauce with lots of flavor. The risotto of the day was pesto and was fantastic (I'm a sucker for risotto). Sauteed veggies and the goat cheese stuffed figs rounded out the plate. My husband started with a small caesar salad ($4) which we shared. The dressing was great. I know it's just caesar dressing, but this tasted more interesting than others we've had. He got the pesto/cheese tortellini and got it with sausage ($16). I know those don't really go together (to me), but he loves sausage and they were house made. He really liked it, but said next time he'd get the chicken. A better match. But, the tortellini was fantastic. Great flavor with both the cheese and pesto coming through. Pasta was nice and light, but with plenty of texture. Really good. Bread that came with the meal was good too. Served with the ubiquitous olive oil mix (although this one had a little red pepper in it). Finished off the meal with mini cannolis (three) which were really good ($6). I asked if they were house made, but he said they come as a sort of "kit" and they finish it off in the kitchen. Pastry cream was very good and the shells had good flavor and were nice and crunchy. Served with whipped cream and a drizzle of chocolate.

      Service was decent, not the best, not the worst. We got there a little after 7 and the place was full, so I think the servers were just spread a little thin. Plus, there were two or three big parties in there keeping them on their toes.

      total pre-tip (and including an $11.50 Johnny Walker) was $68 - not bad.

      One note though. We ended up sitting in those "enchanted grottos" Miss Piggy was describing. They are booths under the upstairs seating. A very cool idea and cozy looking, but honestly, not very comfortable. The cushions were great, but the seats are too high (and we are short!) and the seats are shallow and pitch you forward toward the table. It was a bit uncomfortable to sit upright and we found ourselves leaning on the table the whole time. So, despite how fun they look, I think we'll opt for a table next time.

      So, for us, this visit to Fiore's was vastly improved over our first visit and we would absolutely go back.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Scirocco

        Interesting about the alcove booths! Good to know since I didn't actually sit in one! Glad you went back and enjoyed it.

        1. re: miss piggy

          As a transplanted Northerner being on the constant lookout for good Italian cuisine in NC we tried Fiores. The wait staff is friendly and attentive but we came away unimpressed by the food.

          The meal started with the stuffed fig appetizer which was unusual and very tasty. It was accompanied by one of the most uninspired loaves of bread that I have ever seen in an Italian restaurant. The bread was a multigrain, soft bread with no crunch to the crust that was served at room temperature.

          We may have ordered wrong, as the steak at the next table looked absolutely great, but our Veal Marsala and Saltimboca we both just o.k. The sauces lacked delicacy, the vegetables were an afterthought, and my risotto was overcooked.

          Overall, it is sad that a chain restaurant, Carrabbas, exceeds a local restaurant.

          1. re: DaveN

            Ya, you are not going to find the quality/type of Italian food that is prevalent up there (I'm from Boston). At least we haven't found it yet.

            1. re: Scirocco

              I always stick to the Bistecca Florentina at Fiore's--the beef is tasty and tender and the sides are delicious--at $20 it's a great value. My husband has tried several other dishes there--they were all just "okay."

      2. Have also posted this on another thread, but since this was specifically for Fiore's....

        read on Facebook the other day that Fiore's is opening "Fiore's South" in Arden at the old Crash location on Rt. 25 a couple blocks north of Airport Rd. The website says opening Feb. 1st, but Facebook says "early Feb.", so.....soon I guess? Menu is going to be "family style", so am assuming more mainstream than the Asheville location, which I think is smart for that area. Looking forward to trying it!

        5 Replies
        1. re: Scirocco

          We went to Fiore's last night and had an excellant mealVeal and pasta dishes were outstanding Service was friendly and competant

          Prices were fair Like that you could order full or small portions

          Only complaint was that they ran out of trout early in the day

          Maybe best to go during the week. Restaurant was half-empty on a Saturday night
          Will come back

          1. re: mustardgirl

            did you go to the Asheville one or the one in S. Asheville?

            1. re: Scirocco

              What is the menue like in Arden
              It is not on their website

              1. re: mustardgirl

                I don't know, haven't been yet. They say it's going to be similar to the Asheville one, but I haven't seen one yet. I just "liked" them on FB (the south location) and asked if they could post their menu or a sample menu.

                1. re: mustardgirl

                  Ok, they sent me their menu. They said they couldn't post it on FB. I told them how to covert their file, so we'll see. But for now, I hope this works. I split it into 4 pics. I hope you can read them. This is their dinner menu. They said lunch menu is the same as Asheville.