Nearly equidistant from Knoxville, TN and Charlotte, NC, Asheville boasts a population of just over 90,000 people. For its size, Asheville packs a wallop when it comes to fine dining restaurants in the area, celebrating cuisines ranging from Appalachian and Southern comfort food to those influenced by a variety of different ethnicities.
If you’re anything like us, you believe there should never be a “wasted meal.” In this article, we cover the best fine dining restaurants near Asheville so you can plan your visit without missing out on the good stuff.
The following list is by no means complete but is intended to give the traveler a few ideas of worthy restaurants to grab a bite before skipping town. Whether you’re planning a special night out with your partner or are looking for family-style dining, for the following restaurants, it’s best to reserve a table in advance!
- Rhubarb: Recognized for turning locally-sourced ingredients into elevated dishes worthy of the world stage, Rhubarb happily serves guests brunch and dinner all days of the week, except Tuesdays. Notably, the head chef John Fleer was credited with the 2017 “Best Chef in the Southeast” award from the James Beard Foundation. With their “farmer to table” mission statement, this remarkable restaurant will leave guests drooling for their rotating, seasonal menu full of house-made delights. Menu Tip: Try their locally-sourced shrimp and grits!
- Limones: Craving flavors that can only come from Mexico City? Rumor has it Head Chef Hugo Ramirez still rings his mother to pick up traditional cooking ideas. Made with Mexican flavors with ingredients influenced by traditional French cuisine, the array of fresh ceviches at Limones will leave your mouth watering in anticipation for the next bite. Menu Tip: Don’t leave without tasting the cinnamon and sugar churros or the vanilla-orange flan!
- Sovereign Remedies: Known for contributing local flavors in everything from ingredients to locally-made furniture, Sovereign Remedies offers guests Southern food at its best. With its rotating seasonal menu, this restaurant can often accommodate vegan or gluten-free eaters. With edible offerings ranging from dry-aged beef cuts to vegan vegetable dishes, Sovereign Remedies offers diners a fresh take on traditional Southern goodness. Menu Tip: When in doubt, try the notorious Sovereign burger!
- The Horse Shoe Farm: Located just outside Asheville in Hendersonville, NC, The Horse Shoe Farm is a luxury spa and event venue which offers farm-to-table dining. Plan to go for a full body massage and stay for dinner for the locally-sourced food, plucked straight from their organic garden! Menu Tip: Don’t skip out on the fire-roasted s’mores!
- Vivian: With cuisine bridging European influences with regional Appalachian cuisine, Vivian offers guests comforting, homey flavors with all the class of a Michelin-starred restaurant. Noted for offering locals an exceptional Sunday brunch, Vivian’s rotating menu changes day by day—so if you see something you like, call ahead to see if the chef will be preparing that meal for the day! While Vivian is not the best choice for vegans and vegetarians, this restaurant will surely entice traditional and adventurous eaters alike! Menu Tip: Go for the smoked lamb benedict to be dazzled at brunch, or the pork belly confit in the evening!
- Chai Pani: With offerings resembling mouthwatering Indian street food but with the ethos of a five-times-nominated James Beard chef, Meherwan Irani’s “mindblasting” restaurant has to make the list of the best restaurants in the Asheville area. With all the flavor you expect from fine dining establishments without the high price point, Chai Pani provides fresh, delicious fare which can easily be made vegetarian or vegan. Menu Tip: If you are with friends or family, split the sweet potato chaat before ordering your main course!
- Cucina 24: Featuring locally-sourced ingredients from nearby farms coupled with influences from Italian cuisine, Cucina 24 features the food of James Beard “Best Chef” semi-finalist Brian Canipelli. While the menu rotates seasonally—and even daily—guests can count on a fixed price for a world-class five-course meal made from an impressive list of local ingredient sources. Menu Tip: Check their website in advance to see what they’re serving for the day—and don’t forget to make a reservation!
With scores of noteworthy chefs packed into its locale, Asheville has a lot to offer the hungry dinner-seeker. Food enthusiasts have every opportunity to try traditional Southern delicacies sourced from real, Southern people or travel the world through Mexican, Italian, or even Jamaican cuisine. With so many restaurants offering farm-to-table experiences, the Asheville area is a gastronome’s playground!
Feeling hungry? Book a reservation with The Horse Shoe Farm today!