Asheville, NC holds a special place in my heart. It’s mountainous beauty, creative entrepreneurial spirit, fierce bend toward local businesses, kombucha-drinking people, and a foodie's paradise are some of my favorite things about this sweet city. It’s a place my husband and I called home for almost five years and where we experienced a lot of life.
Recently, we had the opportunity to take a trip back in honor of our seven year anniversary and to celebrate the upcoming arrival of our second little one (!!). Our visit included catching up with dear friends, quality time alone without our little guy in tow, and eating… A LOT of eating.
Something we loved while living in Asheville was visiting new restaurants and frequenting our favorite places - all in the name of filling our tummies with good food. You can be assured, there is no shortage of good food in this town.
We are regularly asked by friends traveling to Asheville what our restaurant recommendations are - and we love sharing them! I thought I’d put together a list of our top five Asheville restaurant picks for you to add to your “must-go-to” list if you decide to travel there.
(Side note, it was hard narrowing down to five!)
1. Wasabi - This place *hands down* is home to the best sushi I have ever had (big statement right?). My all-time favorite roll and one you need to try if you go is called “The Godzilla.” It’s made up of tempura spicy tuna, tobiko, scallion, eel sauce and spicy mayo - a winning combination! I’m craving it now (thanks). Right in the heart of downtown, it has a small footprint but it’s big on flavors. This would be a great pick for date-night!
2. White Duck Taco - If you’re craving a unique taco experience, this will be your jam. The creative flavor combinations can’t be beat and it will leave you wanting to try all of their tacos on the menu. Our favorite, and many other local’s “go-to” pick, is the Bangkok Shrimp taco. There are three locations - one downtown, one in the river arts district, and one in south Asheville. I would suggest going to the original in the river arts district to get the full experience, and as a plus you can tour some art studios or walk by the river while you’re there!
3. Sunny Point Cafe - Located in West Asheville, this cafe serves up delicious comfort food and has a great outdoor eating area that is pet-friendly. Mostly known for their breakfast selections, don’t pass up their “Mighty Good Chicken Sandwich” - grilled chicken, brie, bacon, berry mustard on a local bakery bun. (My mouth is watering just thinking about it!) They have a garden on-site that you can walk through while you wait for a table and you’re able to see all the yummy, fresh ingredients they use in their daily specials.
4. Rocky’s Hot Chicken Shack - This is a great lunch stop for all my fried chicken and southern soul food loving friends! Featured in Garden & Gun, Southern Living, and other notable publications, Rocky’s definitely lives up to all the hype. Choose which cuts of chicken you would like and then what spice level you’d like them to be tossed in - my favorite is the honey style. If you’re feeling very brave or have an incredibly high tolerance to spicy foods, ask to try their “extra hot” - although I warn you, I’ve never seen anyone make it through a whole meal!
5. Night Bell - Relatively new to the Asheville food scene, Night Bell offers upscale American small plates focused on using local Appalachian ingredients. This is a great “treat yo self” dinner spot and somewhere you will most likely need to call ahead to get reservations. Their menu changes often, but I haven’t had anything I didn’t like. My favorites have been the apple brandy beef and benton’s bacon burger, geechie boy grit hush puppies, and the regional cheese plate. It has a vintage-chic atmosphere and is most certainly a food lovers dream spot. Check it out!
Have you ever been to Asheville before? If so, what are a few of your must-go-to restaurant stops? Leave me a comment below, I'd love to hear of your favorites!