Eating and Drinking in Asheville, NC

 Inn at Biltmore Asheville

Inn at Biltmore Estate, our digs for a long weekend in Asheville


A month ago, my husband and I went away for what was our first vacation alone together since I was pregnant with our little guy in 2011. Since I’m still not ready to go too far away for too many days, Asheville seemed like a good spot for us. Although Ravi grew up fairly near there, he hadn’t been since he was a kid, and I had never been before. (which is crazy since it’s a pretty easy drive from Nashville!)

Asheville had been on the front of my ‘to travel to’ list since last winter when, as I was sweating away on the arc trainer at the Y, I read all about their food and drink scene in Food & Wine magazine. (side note: everyone knows that working out while reading food magazines is the best motivation to burn more calories, right?)

From that article, I began putting together my list of places to try while visiting. In the weeks leading up to the trip, I gathered more intel from Sweet Betweens and a few others on Twitter. What follows is every restaurant and bar we visited and recommend. Some were, of course, more impressive than others, but all are worth checking out.


EAT Asheville

 Cúrate Tapas Bar

11 Biltmore Ave
Asheville, NC 28801
(828) 239-2946

Serving a real, authentic Spanish tapas menu, Cúrate was our first stop upon arriving to Asheville. I was probably more excited for this place than any because, as you know, I’ve been moaning about our lack of tapas in Nashville for ages now. It did not disappoint! We ate so much – these photos aren’t even 25% of what we ordered – and left there stuffed and happy.



Rebujito cocktail at Cúrate Asheville – manzanilla sherry, bitter lemon, mint




Cúrate’s Piquillo peppers stuffed with goat cheese



 Cúrate’s sauteed spinach, apples, raisins, and toasted pine nuts



7 SW Pack Sq
Asheville, NC 28801
(828) 785-1503



Wood grilled broccoli rabe at Rhubard – pig bread and pickled red onions


Okay, I’ll be completely honest. This was dining experience was a bit of a letdown because our service was severely lacking. I’m not sure what the issue was – if the server had too many tables or what. All I know is that we sat with empty water glasses for way too long, no one stopped by between courses to check on us, and no one came by to ask if we needed another drink from the bar (which we did).

Our food came out fast, so I can at least say they were efficient with that. But we were in and out the door in less than an hour- which for us wasn’t necessarily a good thing. We would’ve liked to savor our food a bit more and enjoy another drink.

All that said, the food was great. The broccoli rabe, grilled lamb ribs with collard green kimchee and goat cheese gnudi are all dishes I’d love to have again. Despite the service hiccup, I’d be willing to give Rhubarb another shot.



Rhubard’s goat cheese gnudi
roasted shallots, local mushrooms, yellow branch cheese, wood grilled radicchio, toasted pumpkin seeds

The Admiral

400 Haywood Rd
Asheville, NC 28806
(828) 252-2541



Hands down, by far our favorite meal of the entire trip was at The Admiral. This place epitomizes the saying “looks aren’t everything”.  The cinder brick building and completely no-frills dining room gave absolutely no indication of the incredible food and service we would receive. From the simple arugula salad to the escargot with romesco, basil pesto, and pecorino on lemon risotto to the last sweet bite served with the best French press coffee I’ve ever had, my taste buds were giddy.

The Admiral is a do not miss when in Asheville!



The Admiral’s arugula salad with granny smith apple, hazelnuts, humboldt fog




Pork Belly at The Admiral
sweet potato puree, braised red cabbage, crispy rutabega, smoked maple syrup


The Admiral Asheville collage
The Admiral’s
 teriyaki duck leg with pimento cheese fries, orange fennel slaw; angus flat iron steak with bacon and green onion rasti, grilled romaine, bearnaise foam, creme fraiche; Espresso brulee, tiramisu with lime milk fudge 


(Note: wish the lighting had been better so I could give you photos that did justice to the food!)


Biscuit Head

733 Haywood Rd
Asheville, NC 28806
(828) 333-5145

Two words: Butter Bar.

Yes, Biscuit Head has a butter and jelly/jam bar that is insanely ridiculous. I learned a trick while dining on this first visit that I can now pass along to you. Order one of the biscuit sandwiches, but ask them to put all of the toppings on only one side of the biscuit.

You need that other half of the biscuit to partake in the butter bar. You can thank me later. (and thank the local that I overhead sharing this tip with her friend. Only wish I’d heard her BEFORE I ordered so I didn’t have to scrape all kinds of stuff off one half of my biscuit)



Biscuit Head Asheville’s Butter Bar Selection

White Duck Taco

1 Roberts St #101
Asheville, NC 28801
(828) 258-1660

If you’re looking for a casual lunch spot in Asheville, White Duck Taco is a fun place to go. It’s a little off the beaten path, but that definitely doesn’t seem to deter anyone, as there was a long line out the door before, during and after we left!


 Bangkok Shrimp Taco at White Duck Taco Shop


French Broad Chocolate Lounge

10 S Lexington Ave
Asheville, NC 28801
(828) 252-4181

On our first night in town around 9 pm, we walked past French Broad Chocolate Lounge and saw an incredibly long line snaked out the door and down the street. I knew this place was popular, but until I saw that, I didn’t realize just how popular. We weren’t in the mood for dessert at that moment anyway, but I was glad that I saw the line because it made me readjust my thinking about when we would visit. I’d planned to try it out after dinner the next night, but instead decided to hit it mid afternoon on Saturday instead.

Perfect plan! When we got there around 3 pm, there were a few people inside waiting to order, but the line moved quickly and we got our coffee, cookie, and tart within a few minutes of arriving. So keep that in mind for your visit. Daytime desserting is better than late night desserting!





DRINK Asheville

Wicked Weed Brewing

91 Biltmore Ave
Asheville, NC 28801
(828) 575-9599


I’m not a huge beer drinker, but Asheville is a beer brewing town, so I wanted to try at least one of the breweries. Wicked Weed seemed to be the most highly recommended, and it turns out, there’s a good reason.

I love this place. Fire pit outside, a giant mural of King Henry the VIII inside and a high alcohol beer aged in whiskey barrels for 4 months. What’s not to love?



Troy & Sons Old Fashion at Wicked Weed Asheville – dare I say THE BEST beer I’ve ever had?!?

The 9.8% old ale brewed with sweet cherries and orange zest, then aged in whiskey barrels for 4 months to capture the essence of an old fashion.


MG Road

19 Wall St
Asheville, NC 28801
(828) 254-4363

MG Road is the basement bar and lounge of Chai Pani, an Indian street food joint. The cocktail list contains interesting ingredients like lemongrass, cardamom, and sabji masala, just to name a few. Really cool, relaxed vibe.





 The Imperial Life

48 College St
Asheville, NC 28801
(828) 254-8980


 The Imperial Life bar in Asheville, NC

Oh, this place. For a cocktail lover like me, it’s a MUST.

I won’t say how many drinks I ordered, but I’ll tell you that every one was fantastic. My evening ended with a request for a “bartender’s choice” dessert drink, which turned out to be a Bourbon Milk Punch, something I’d never had before. It is also something that I will now be having often.



 Bourbon Milk Punch at The Imperial Life, Asheville


 STAY Asheville

Inn at Biltmore Estate

1 Antler Hill Rd
Asheville, NC 28803
(828) 225-1600

We really enjoyed our stay at the Inn at Biltmore Estate. It’s a little bit of a drive to get into town, but the views and atmosphere are great. It was exactly the kind of place I needed to force me to relax and truly get into vacation mode.