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Asheville appetizer tour

So my husband and I are celebrating our 5 year anniversary this Saturday. We are fairly new to Asheville and we usually have our toddler in tow. We've got a babysitter for Saturday (Victory!!!!) and are hoping to hit a few places. Our idea is to essentially go to 4 or 5 different places where we can have a small plate or app and a drink at each. We don't want to make reservations, but are completely ok with sitting at the bar. Ideally, we could accomplish this without having to drive all over town, so it seems that downtown would be the most likely place to go. The bigger question: what restaurants??? Any ideas? We're ok with any food type, as long as it's tasty.

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  1. I think you're going to run into significant waits (even for the bar) at most places on a Saturday in October. I think you'll definitely need to go on the early-bird side to attempt this unless you don't mind waiting!

    Curate, Zambra, Seven Sows, Rhubarb and Limones would be my top picks, but again...they will be packed and I would not be at all surprised if their bars would be filled with people eating a full dinner.

    You could try Storm, Chestnut - slightly less popular restaurants (but still w/ good food) and MG Road, Imperial Life Bar - cocktail lounges with good food. But personally I'd rather celebrate at one of the 5 I listed first for a spectacular full-service meal. And I'd hurry and make my reservation :)

    You may have the best luck w/ this little grouping (all within a few blocks of each other): MG Road, Marketplace, Cucina 24, Isa's Bistro, dessert at Battery Park Book Exchange and Champagne.

    1. What fun, you're doing your own Small Plate Crawl. Just on Biltmore Ave you can hit Curate, Seven Sows, Posana, Chestnut, Limones (bar is pretty small) and Blackbird (if you love Coconut Cake, save this for dessert). Head over to Wall St and visit MG Road, Marketplace and Cucina 24. This is making me hungry....

      For anything you miss, plan on participating in the 2014 Crawl.

      1. I think you might want to check out Asheville Food Tours:


        I hear good things about them. Maybe they can arrange something.

        1. nancy and ms pig have the right idea. A couple of other spots not mentioned would be 5 Walnut, a wine bar w/ lots of snacks from local spots. Rosetta's Kitchen for some a la minute french fries, Salsa's for a spliff roll and a margarita, Chocolate Fetish for a dark pistachio frog (best sweet in town with the possible exception of Ultimate Ice Cream which you cannot walk to).

          1. The Mountain Oasis Electronic Music Summit festival is taking place in downtown Asheville for the entire weekend (Friday through Sunday), so I'm sure downtown restaurants will be busier than usual. In fact, I'll be one of those out-of-towners that will be dining at so many of the tasty restaurants in your fair city.

            1. Thanks for the suggestions thus far . I had no idea there was a festival this weekend...argh. Maybe we should just keep it simple and make a reservation.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Faraway11

                Even without the festival, October is peak leaf season and a very popular time for visiting Asheville, as noted above. While I love your plan in concept, if it were me, I'd make a reservation somewhere ASAP.

              2. I understand the joy of wandering around to different restaurants but you could accomplish the same thing by just staying at Curate. Each of their small plates is extraordinary. Each is different. And if you're lucky and tell them it's your anniversary they might make a special dessert for you like they did for my husband's birthday. Happy anniversary.

                1. I thought I should report back on how our night went. And the answer is: yes, it was awesome. It was super busy when we got downtown around 5pm, but we had a good time anyway. We started at Zambra with wine and peanut butter pork belly. After that, we headed to Cucina 24 for fancy cocktails, chicken liver pate and hot and cold octopus, which was amazing, by the way. After that, we walked over to curate and put our name on the wait list. They said it would be an hour, so we went to Rhubarb and had beers and lobster corn dogs. Curate texted me after about 30 minutes that our table was ready, so we settled up at Rhubarb and went back to curate for sherry, shrimp, jamon, bacalao and pardon peppers. All in all, it went swimmingly. We walked into Zambra, Cucina 24 and Rhubarb with zero wait and sat at the bar. Curate was the only wait, but their whole "we will text you when your table is ready" thing was awesome, since we went somewhere else in the meantime. I was a little leery about our plan after reading some of the comments on here last week, but my husband was hell bent on trying to do it anyway. And I'm glad we did!

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Faraway11

                    My husband and i go out on Friday nights frequently usually without reservations and rarely have a problem getting in as long as we don't mind sitting at the bar (we don't). We actually prefer sitting at the bar most of the time because we get dinner AND a show! :-) It's fun. I love the texting option of Curate! Very efficient.

                    So glad you had fun and didn't run into any long waits or get turned away. And thank you for reporting back. It's always nice to hear how plans play out.

                    1. re: Faraway11

                      Thanks for the report. Sounds like a perfect evening!