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Sep 8, 2010 07:09 AM

Downtown Asheville, NC - casual, good & fun recommendations?

I'll be in Asheville for four days during late October and wanted to plan a few "must try" restaurants downtown. I'm really just looking for simple, good food in a casual and fun enviornment. I'd also love a recommendation for a noteworthy brewpub, taqueria or other ethnic food eatery.

I haven't been to Asheville in over 7 years so I'd appreciate any recommendations for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Even though I know its more upscale, I'm already planning to make reservations at The Admiral and maybe The Fig at some point during my visit. Thanks 'hounds!

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  1. Barley's Tap Room is one of my favorite places ever. Great draft beer selection, very good pizza, and pool tables upstairs. What more could you want?

    Tap Room
    1740 Battleground Ave, Greensboro, NC 27408

    1. Early Girl Eatery is downtown and excellent for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Table is excellent fine dining for lunch or dinner downtown. Tupelo Honey Cafe is excellent for breakfast, lunch or dinner downtown. Lexington Avenue Brewery is fun for lunch or dinner downtown and serves cold drinks. Zambra is downtown and serves excellent Spanish small plates for dinner. Mela Indian Restaurant is downtown and serves good Indian cuisine for lunch or dinner. Jack of the Wood Pub is downtown and serves typical pub food in a fun festive atmosphere.

      Early Girl Eatery @ 8 Wall Street, Asheville, NC 828 - 259 - 9292.

      Table @ 48 College St., Asheville, NC 828 - 254 - 8980.

      Tupelo Honey Cafe @ 12 College Street, Asheville, NC 828 - 255 - 4863.

      Lexington Ave. Brewery @ 39 North Lexington Ave., Asheville, NC 828 - 252 - 0212.

      Zambra @ 85 West Walnut St., Asheville, NC 828 - 232 - 1060.

      Mela Indian Restaurant @ 70 North Lexington Avenue, Asheville, NC 828 - 225 - 8880.

      Jack of the Wood Pub @ 95 Patton Avenue, Asheville, NC 828 - 252 - 5445.

      1. simple, good food, casual and fun. OK.

        Sunny Point - nice outdoor patio means more "fun" to me than it's rivals early girl and tupelo honey. Plus I think the food is better at sunny point.

        12 Bones - you have to try their ribs w/ blueberry chipotle suace, the corn pudding, and some of the local draft beers.

        Brews - although I haven't been there yet, I'm dying to check out what's going on in front of the Wedge. Looks like people are drinking the very nice beer from the Wedge out in their parking lot in the River ARts district. Very Asheville. maybe someone else can fill you in on details.

        I suggest going to the Admiral on your first night. You may want to go back. It's everything on your list except "simple".

        3 Replies
        1. re: danna

          Ditto everything on Littleman's list (not a big fan of Table, though) and Danna's list (esp. The Admiral), and let me just add Tomato Cuchina Latina in Westgate Plaza for good Salvadorian (esp. the pupusas!).

          Sorry, no decent Vienamese, Dim Sum, or Thai--although some friends say I should try Little Bee.

          1. re: danna

            Been to Barley's many times for the killer beer. The food is fine, but nothing to rave about. That being said, the beer selection is as good as anywhere in the state. Thirsty Monk is a contender for the title. They have a new menu that I haven't tried, but again, great beer selection. I've been hearing good things about LAB.

            The reason I responded to this post was because I ate at The Admiral tonight and was blown away. Inventive menu using a lot of local ingredients. Heavy influences from Momofuku/David Chang. Really strong value. If you're a fan of honest food that pushes the envelope. Take a bus, take a cab, borrow a bike, or hitch but get to The Admiral. It's that good.

            1. re: Tom from Raleigh

              Re: The Admiral - you couldn't have expressed it better!

          2. Awesome. Thanks everyone for the recommendations. These all sound like great places!

            1. Little Bee is super-good Thai, but there's not much seating--it's located in a gas station waaaaaaaaaay on the southern edge of "town" (feels more like it's out in the country a bit to me).

              Thirsty Monk isn't a brewpub, but the beer selections are insane (upstairs devoted to microbrews, downstairs devoted to Belgian beers) and the menu, while limited, is really good and inexpensive. If you go on Wednesday night and have a featured pint, you get to keep your glass!

              I love the Wedge, and as the previous poster noted, it's VERY ASHEVILLE. Totally random and diverse range of patrons, lots of dogs ambling around, super casual. No food, really, although they do have peanuts, and there's often a food vendor or two set up in the parking lot. If the taco cart guy is there, try some of his tamales--they're insanely good, especially for $3.00! I'm not a vegetarian, but his vegan tamale with sweet potato that I tried was pretty danged amazing.

              I also agree that you should try the Admiral early in your trip, just in case you want to go back....because you probably will.

              I'll always put in the good word for Early Girl, too. Some 'hounds seem to have an issue with the place, but I've never gotten a bum meal there, and they're cheaper than Tupelo. I've heard nothing but raves about Sunnypoint, too, but haven't had a chance to try it yet....I've been a frequent visitor to the area over the years and only recently came to stay. ;)