Curb Your Cravings with Creative Cuisines: Where to Eat in Asheville, NC

Kerry Lengyel


Whatever cuisine you’re craving, Asheville has it—literally. The Asheville food scene has grown tremendously over the years, and our town is now lauded as a hot culinary destination for travelers to explore. And there’s a good reason for that. Our restaurants use organic, locally grown, farm-to-table ingredients in creative, culturally diverse cuisines. 

So when your partner asks you what you want to eat today, don’t worry. We’ve made that decision for you. Just consult this list of different cuisines you can easily find at local restaurants across Asheville. 

Appalachian Food
Benne on Eagle: You can’t miss the regional Appalachian fare served at Benne on Eagle, located in Asheville’s historic neighborhood, The Block.

The Market Place: The Market Place has been a fixture in downtown Asheville since 1979, serving an array of local food that always keeps the roots of Appalachia at the center of the menu.

Asian Food
Red Ginger Dimsum & Tapas: In the middle of downtown Asheville, Red Ginger is a trendy, contemporary spot offering modern dim sum and delicious Chinese small plates.

Shanghai Dumpling House: If you’re craving dumplings, you have to go to Shanghai Dumpling House. Soup dumplings, steamed dumplings, fried dumplings—you name it, they’ve got it!

Gan Shan West: Do not sleep on the rice bowl and ramen from Gan Shan West in West Asheville. A relaxed neighborhood eatery, you can order your food to be delivered at Archetype Brewing next door or take it to go!

12 Bones Smokehouse: With two locations in Asheville, 12 Bones uses simple ingredients and lots of love and care to prepare some of the best BBQ you can find. Their South Asheville location also doubles as a brewery!

Luella’s Bar-B-Que: The home of hand-pulled perfection, Luella’s makes every order from scratch and invites visitors and locals to “taste the love” at their North Asheville and South Asheville locations.

Buxton Hall Barbecue: Buxton Hall is revitalizing Carolina barbecue in Asheville’s South Slope District. Enjoy local meat butchered and smoked in-house for its signature juicy and sweet flavor. 

Caribbean Food
Nine Mile: A Caribbean-inspired, vegetarian-friendly restaurant and bar with three locations in Asheville, Nine Mile has been a local and tourist favorite since it opened in 2008. You can’t go wrong with any of their spectacular dishes!

French Food
Bouchon: Enjoy a meal from the mother country while dining in The Paris of the South (a.k.a. Asheville)! From traditional French cuisine to Parisian café bites, Bouchon has what you’re craving.

Isa’s French Bistro: Enjoy seasonal French fare and fine dining all day at this charming bistro in downtown Asheville. There’s ample outdoor space to enjoy brunch, lunch, or dinner al fresco.

RendezVous: A French farmhouse serving French soul food and comfort food, RendezVous is away from the busyness of downtown and is the perfect place to relax and enjoy a fantastic meal.

Hawaiian Food
Rosabees: Savory Hawaiian meets sweet Asheville at Rosabees, located in the River Arts District! Try something new with their Polynesian specialties, desserts, and cocktails. 

Indian Food

Chai Pani: A critically acclaimed restaurant and James Beard Outstanding Restaurant winner, Chai Pani specializes in Indian chaat (a.k.a. street snacks) plus homestyle platters in a funky, laid-back space.

Mehfil: If you’re looking for a full-scale dining experience, Mehfil is the place. A relatively new restaurant, this spot has captured the hearts of locals and visitors, serving some spectacular Indian dishes.

Dilbar: Indian street food never tasted so good! Dilbar’s authentic Indian street food is perfect for a quick snack or a fast meal, featuring flavors you’ve never experienced.

Italian Food
Strada Italiano: Low lighting and fresh-baked bread aromas create the perfect ambiance at Strada, a traditional, family-owned and operated Italian restaurant in downtown Asheville.

Cucina24: Enjoy a four-course meal at Cucina24, a restaurant focused on melding Italian cooking traditions with local ingredients. With a menu that changes daily, you’ll never get the same experience twice.

Vinnie’s Neighborhood Italian: Vinnie’s features “old school” neighborhood Italian food reminiscent of Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Boston’s North End. Head back in time and enjoy some of the classics!

Gemelli: Drawing from the owner’s Italian heritage and family recipes, Gemelli crafts scratch-made Italian food in a convenient, European-inspired eatery in West Asheville.  

Japanese Food
Ukiah Japanese Smokehouse: Inspired by the comfort of Japanese street food and a passion for American BBQ, Ukiah has some inventive and unique dishes on its menu that you just have to try.

Itto Ramen & Japanese Tapas: Enjoy creative small plates and homestyle ramen dishes at this laid-back Japanese eatery with three locations in Asheville.

Heiwa Shokudo: Dine like a local at Heiwa Shokudo in downtown Asheville. This cozy restaurant serves sushi, stir-fries, and other Japanese fare with an organic focus.

Mediterranean Food
Gypsy Queen: Grab a yum yum wrap or gypsy rice bowl at this local restaurant serving delicious Mediterranean and Lebanese street food in a warm, inviting environment. 

Twisted Laurel: With locations in downtown Asheville and Weaverville, Twisted Laurel is a community staple, serving casual Mediterranian-inspired comfort foods for humans (and their canines!) to enjoy. 

Jerusalem Garden Cafe: The owner of Jerusalem Garden brings Mediterranean and Middle Eastern recipes from his homeland into his restaurant, allowing you to transport your senses to faraway lands!

Baba Nahm: This quick, counter-service Middle Eastern spot serves hummus, pitas, and much more in a colorful, modern space near the Grove Arcade in downtown Asheville.

Spanish Food
Limones Restaurant: At Limones, the owner’s love of Mexican food combines with his training in French-influenced California cuisine. This is an excellent spot for a special occasion or a fancy night out!

The Cantina at Historic Biltmore Village: Enjoy your favorite Mexican restaurant delights with a local twist at The Cantina. Don’t miss out on the stuffed grilled avocado and a flight from their in-house tequila bar!

Cecilia’s Kitchen: With both food trucks and a brick-and-mortar location in Asheville, you’ll find Cecilia’s Kitchen around every corner. Uniquely, you can order both crêpes and empanadas during your visit!

Sonora Cocina Mexicana: Experience the legendary flavors of Mexico in a polished and casual cantina in the heart of downtown Asheville. There’s not much better than a margarita and a pork belly torta!

Mountain Madre: A family-owned Mexican kitchen and agave bar, Mountain Madre is known for using fresh local ingredients and having the most extensive agave bar in Western North Carolina.

The Lobster Trap: As Asheville’s premier seafood restaurant, The Lobster Trap serves fresh, sustainably-sourced seafood, including Maine lobsters, a ship ton of oysters, steamed clams, and more.

Jettie Rae’s Oyster House: Jettie Rae’s is the perfect place to enjoy the finest oysters and freshest seafood in Asheville. French, Native American, and Spanish culinary traditions combine at this spot!

Thai Food
Thai Pearl: ​​Thai Pearl is a newcomer to the Asheville food scene, but they’re killing it with authentic Thai dishes. Start with the Thai fries and end with the drunken noodles!

Little Bee Thai: A staple in Asheville, Little Bee Thai was a local food truck turned restaurant with a wide local following. Their curry dishes are to die for, as well as their North Carolina-caught seafood specials.

Pad Thai Asheville: Located in a small, homey spot off the beaten path, Pad Thai Asheville is a local joint that serves Thai food and Vietnamese pho and vegetarian and gluten-free options.

Plant: Plant is an evolving chef-driven vegetable, fruit, and active-food restaurant in Asheville that has garnered national attention. One of the most romantic places to dine in the city, this is a great date night spot!

Rosetta’s Kitchen & The Buchi Bar: Don’t miss this cozy stop with a casual vibe for vegetarian and vegan comfort foods in downtown Asheville. And the Buchi Bar offers six flavors of Buchi Kombucha on draft!

The Laughing Seed Cafe: Locally sourced international vegetarian and vegan fare is the name of the game at Laughing Seed. They’ve been in business for over 30 years (and counting!), and there’s good reason!

Is your stomach grumbling yet? Ours is too. If this list wasn’t enough, check out a catalog of Asheville’s restaurant and dining offerings on A Look at Asheville