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What's the next best eating town next to Charleston in the Carolinas?

I'm in the DC area. Don't want to drive as far as Atlanta. So where else should I go? Looking for high end as well as great ethnic food. Not particularly interested in southern or BBQ. I'm looking to visit between Xmas and New Years.

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  1. Asheville would be my top vote. Second would be the Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill area (The Triangle), with the emphasis on Durham and Chapel Hill. The Triangle is much stronger for ethnic food. Lots of existing posts on here for both areas.

    4 Replies
    1. re: carolinadawg

      I would choose Durham. But Asheville would be close behind.

      1. re: brentk

        Ethnic food; the Triangle hands down, amazing Chinese, South Indian, Korean, Mexican food. High end is Lantern Asian-fusion.

        1. re: brentk

          Honestly, Durham is a DISTANT second place behind Asheville. I've done a lot of eating in both.

          1. re: ToothTooth

            Yes, but the Triangle as a whole is easily a match.

        1. Asheville gets my vote. I like that it is pretty walkable and although many of the good restaurants are not downtown, several are as well. I have not walked Durham enough to be an authority but it seemed less maneuverable than AVL. Greenville SC is decent but well below AVL and Durham.

          1 Reply
          1. re: winefuhrer

            As a resident of Durham, I still have to cast my vote for Asheville, NC. Asheville is a really fantastic food city doing some really cool things. After Asheville, my vote would be for the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area.

          2. My initial thought was Asheville, since I've never been. Based on the responses, I think I will go to Asheville. Guess I'll start digging up Asheville threads.

            5 Replies
            1. re: Worldwide Diner


              I think that is the right choice.

              We often stay at Hotel Indigo downtown but there are some nice B&Bs and other "luxe" places outside of downtown as well (not sure if you need accommodations). I do not live in AVL but we visit once or twice each month for the food...that said, I came to DC for a wine show last year and was very impressed with the food there.

              1. re: winefuhrer

                I think Asheville will have a touch of "winter carnival" vibe, not just a big cold grey city.

                1. re: winefuhrer

                  I'll need a pet friendly accommodation.

                  1. re: Worldwide Diner

                    Aloft hotel is pet friendly, downtown and within one block of Seven Sows, Limones, Rhubarb, Posana, Chestnut, Blackbird, Curate and Wicked Weed. And that doesn't even scratch the surface of restaurant possibilities. You're going to love Asheville!

                    1. re: Worldwide Diner

                      I've taken my dog to The Renaissance in Asheville --- and had plenty of chow-hounding (pun intended) amazing foodie experiences in Asheville. The last time I had my dog at the Renaissance, we walked to Strada for Italian. All the other fantastic spots are a short drive away

                      Strada Italiano ‹ Asheville Italian Restaurant – (828) 348.8448

                2. Asheville or Durham.

                  1. Durham is 4.5 hrs from DC on I 85 and has everything you're looking for.

                    1. Asheville or Durham, you will do fine in either. A'ville has a much better downtown and is a lot prettier than D'ham. D'ham has better farmer's markets that run all year, so you have access to smaller producers that don't necessarily have storefronts (the area's best bread baker sells there: ChickenBridge, fantastic fermented foods: Farmer's Daughter). Coffee is better in Durham. Not sure bout the food truck scene in Asheville, but it is flourishing here in Durham. Fantastic Mexican/Latino in the Triangle, and Cary has a really strong selection of Indian. Bars (not breweries) are better in Durham/Raleigh/Chapel Hill. But I love the shopping and retail experience in downtown Asheville that you just can't get in any Triangle city.

                      Tough choice!

                      1. What's going on btwn Xmas and New Years? Most of the hotels downtown are sold out.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Worldwide Diner

                          It's New Years...sold out early every year.

                            1. re: Worldwide Diner

                              Lots of parties...I'm sure the rooms are sold to tourists & locals alike.