Asheville Dinner Restaurants?
I was in Asheville last week and had dinner at Cucina 24 for the fourth time. It has been excellent every time. I have always found the menu pretty interesting and am particularly fond of their salads--enjoyed two this time, one with beets and spring onion and another of warm asparagus with sorrel. I also couldn't resist ordering pizza this time. I really wanted the clams on the menu, but the beautifully blistered pies that kept going by just looked too good. And it (wild mushrooms, ricotta, basil, speck) was--in fact, it rivaled pizza I've had anywhere. Chicken liver crostini were as good as they have been every time. I also had a bite of the night's pasta offering, orrechiette with chick peas and tomatoes. There were lots of other tempting dishes on the menu--pork chop, hangar steak, scallops.
There are many other places I'd like to try in Asheville, and on a longer stay, I will. But with limited time, we get reeled into Cucina 24 every time.
I also had a quick lunch at Isa's Bistro. The dinner menu looked great too. I had delicious chimichurri mussels (w/grilled planks of ciabatta) and stole a bite of croque-monsieur off a neighboring plate. The bean salad (a variety of beans and peas w/a hit of tarragon in the vinaigrette) was refreshing. The fresh peach semi-freddo dessert was otherworldly, and I'm not even a dessert lover. What I also loved about their desserts was their dainty size, with prices to match. (A trio of tiny cakes, each one gorgeous, was $6!) For people like myself, who don't want much more than a bite or two of something sweet after a meal, the dessert sizing/pricing is ideal.
I've had dinner at Zambra twice and really enjoyed it, but am eager to try Curate. The Admiral is also on my list, but I've yet to plan ahead enough to get a reservation. One of these days . . .
If you consider neuvo southern "ethnic," I highly recommend The Admiral (in W. Asheville) and Seven Sows Bourbon & Larder. (Both experiment with ethnic flourishes.) Curate is one of the finest tapas restaurants in the south. We don't really have anything I would describe as "interesting Italian," but Piggy is right: Cuchina 24 is the best overall. If you're into pan-Asian (yakitori, ramen, housemade sake) Ben's Tune-Up is a casual, energetic choice, esp. for a late meal. Wicked Weed for beer and solid pub grub. The Imperial Life and MG Road for cocktails and snacks. I think you'll find most the above to be excellent bargains.
Lots of threads on Asheviile so try a search and we can help you narrow down all of the great choices! No great "red sauce" Italian in town but maybe look at menu for Cucina 24. Bouchon gets a few mixed reviews on here but I've never had anything less than an excellent experience there - cute French bistro with a lot of charm. Fig is very good too. Seven Sows has fresh oysters and excellent seafood as well as other dishes. Curate, Admiral, Zambra, Limones, Rezaz and Junction would be my other top picks for a memorable dinner. Have heard wonderful things about the new Isa's Bistro too.