Looking Glass Creamery (A beautiful farm and creamery 25 minutes outside of the city. The most delectable cheeses; call ahead to have them make a board that you can enjoy on a picnic. Also–grab some of the Bourbon Vanilla Caramel!).
Itto Ramen Bar & Tapas (This is going in my top 5 Asheville meals, at least for now! I had the Miso Eggplant Appetizer and the Brothless Ramen, and I will be dreaming about it until I return. All of the noodles are handmade, and every single element adds thoughtful flavor and texture. Plus, you get lots of food for an incredibly affordable price point…although that’s most of Asheville! Located in the West area).
Haywood Common (Modern American in a handsome, rustic atmosphere. Great for a casual dinner with a group that has somewhat traditional tastes. I’ve had a cobb, oysters, brussels sprouts and a chicken sandwich. All have been phenomenal. West Asheville).
Curate (One of my favorites; high-end Spanish Tapas with insane flavor and great cocktails .Downtown)
Limones (ridiculously good, seasonally focused Mexican. Somewhat fine dining. Downtown)
Jerusalem Garden Cafe (incredible Mediterranean cuisine; love the hummus, pita, kebabs and lamb. Downtown)
Nine Mile (Amazing healthy Caribbean. Lots of food for around $20-25. I get the Soul Rebel which has wild salmon & a curry sauce.West Asheville)
Baba Nahm (Mediterranean schwarma & falafel pitas, hummus & sides. I love the Sabich. Downtown)
Bimberibon (creative, healthy meals. GF & Vegan options, but service can be hit or miss. Love the chocolate powerbites. West Asheville)
Laughing Seed (SUPER healthy and fresh, cafe-style, plant-based. I grab the Laughing Seed Salad with grilled tempeh and mix the Sesame Ginger and Raw Lemon Tahini dressings. Downtown)
Dobra Tea (A million types of tea to choose from; ask staff for recommendations. I usually grab an iced matcha latte or their Maca and Dandelion latter, and I SMITTEN with their avocado toast. West Asheville & near downtown).
Chai Pani (Incredible Indian street food; only takeout at the moment. Downtown).
Simple Cafe (creative juices, smoothies, salads and baked goods! I love the GF walnut muffin and the Ginger Miso Salad with Tempeh. West Asheville)
WALK/West Asheville Lounge & Kitchen (locally-sourced, American-style comfort food. Affordable and great for a family. Amazing sweet potato tots and creative wraps/burgers/salads
Gypsy Queen Cuisine (AMAZING Lebanese street food in an unassuming strip-mall location. Very kind people and authentic food. I recommend the falafel wrap with fries added and the fried Brussels sprouts, plus a generous amount of the house hot sauce. Close to West Asheville).
RosaBees (River Arts District. One of my ALL TIME favorite Asheville meals. I was blown away! Hawaiian-style food. I got the BBQ pork steamed buns, which comes with kimchi coleslaw and garlic-sesame broccoli. I also got a side of wasabi satsuma mashed sweet potatoes. Every bite was memorable. I didn’t get dessert but the chef is also pastry chef, so I’m sure they’re incredible. 10/10 recommend).
All Day Darling (North Asheville. Another place that really impressed me!!! Simple, creative, American-inspired food at an affordable price with healthy options. Outdoor seating and casual cafe vibes. Loved the hummus mezze appetizer with fluffy, warm pita and the grains salad, which came with perfect avocado, quinoa, kale, red onion, feta, awesome lentil fritters and green goddess dressing). Saw a few families with young children.)
The Square Root (this is in Brevard, near the Mount Pisgah National Forrest. Fig and Grilled Chicken Salad and Southwest Cobb salads are both awesome.)
Forestry Camp (This is the restaurant portion of Burial Beer’s new location just South of Biltmore Village. If you’re looking to grab a brew and have a substantial and locally-sourced meal WITHOUT a crowd, check out Forestry Camp. I loved the Double Burger with “Camp” Sauce and 10/10 fries with house made ketchup. There is also ample outdoor seating.)
Biscuit Head (the MOST incredible giant buttery biscuits with an assortments of unique and traditional jams. GF biscuits are amazing too. West Asheville)
City Bakery (Cheddar scallion biscuit breakfast sammies with Red Lobster vibes. Multiple locations)
Owl Bakery (Old World Levain Bakery; great croissant egg sandwiches and avocado toast. Small, so go early for seating. West Asheville)
Green Sage Cafe (casual, health-focused. I like the Green Monster smoothie, extra blended, and the Apple Sunflower Oatmeal. They have classic brunch food as well like eggs/bacon etc)
All Souls Pizza (farm to table pizza with lovely outdoor seating; I love the local greens salad with beets, and the polenta pizza is really unique and GF. Few mins from downtown)
Pizza Mind (Lots of topping options/unique combos. GF options. Love the fried green beans with ranch and the Green Pizza, add pepperoni. West Asheville)
White Labs Kitchen & Tap (specializes in fermentation of all kinds, including the amazing 72 hour fermented pizza dough. I love the mushroom pesto pizza, add sausage. GF option. Few minutes from downtown)
Pie Zaa (GIGANTIC slices of delicious pizza. Perfect for late-night or post-brewery munchies. Make sure to get The Zip dipping sauce! Close to downtown.)
Odds Cafe (A funky little coffee shop in West Asheville, right by my old apartment. I always got their iced coffee with double caramel syrup :). Odds also has a yummy selection of baked goods and wifi!).
Rowan: (Another top favorite and fairly new; this coffee shop is right at the outskirts of downtown, and it is absolutely STUNNING visually. Cozy, with a mixture of romantic and modern aesthetic. I went back-to-back days, because the the coffee was so good and it’s a perfect spot for working. I get the Latte with Brown Sugar Syrup, and the vegan banana bread is amazing.)
Citizen Vinyl (Part of a record press facility and recording studio, originally for the city’s newspaper and radio. Interesting history, and the cafe is spacious / easy to find seating. Peanut Butter and Jelly and Muffaletta Croissants! Downtown).
Hole (freshly made old school style donuts that will change your life. Pre-order/pickup only). The Toasted Sesame & Cinnamon is my go-to. West Asheville)
Liberty House Cafe (my new favorite place for a matcha latte, avocado toast and incredible chocolate chip cookies! Outdoor garden seating. Just a few minutes from Downtown)
French Broad Chocolates (A classic; I like the vegan Buddha Truffles and Chocolate Mousse Parfait. Downtown)
Owl Bakery (Insanely amazing pastries. I love the Almond Rose Croissant, Coffee Walnut Strudel and the chocolate chip cookie. All TDF. West Asheville)
High Five Coffee (particularly lovely service and great coffee. Solid wifi for working. They offer bagels and baked goods from local spots. I recommend the seasonal fruit crumble bar if avail by The-Rhu Bakery. 2 locations but I go to the one on Broadway near downtown.)
Filo Pastries (East Asheville, right off the Blue Ridge Parkway. Sweet coffee shop that’s great for working. Homemade pastries, especially the cakes. The Chocolate Mousse Cake is life-changing.)
Karen Donatelli (Dowtown. another epic almond croissant, one of the best since Paris, as well as insane chocolate chip cookies, apple tarts and more…also great European-style coffee and lovely service)
Farewell Coffee (Few minutes South of downtown. One of my favorites. Very modern and clean aesthetic, friendly service and they use incredible thick, seedy bread for their toast dishes. I get the latte with an extra shot of espresso).
Ultra Coffeebar (River Arts District. Such a lovely place. Kind employees and selection of yummy “energy balls” and bagel sandwiches, including vegan options. I got an iced vanilla latte (their flavors are made in house) and a “Joey” bagel: everything bagel, sausage, egg, smoked gouda, basil pesto.)
Well-Bred Bakery (Peanut Butter Mousse Pie with a chocolate crust and chicken salad are my go-tos. 2 locations; both are great. Biltmore Village and Weaverville)
Kilwins (This is actually an extensive chain, but it’s a hallmark of my Asheville visits and has my favorite ice cream, so I must share! I get the Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel with a Chocolate Dipped Waffle Cone, and it always hits the spot. There are 4-5 locations, but I usually go downtown or to the one in Brevard, post-hike in the National Forest!)
Note: my favorite beer is a hazy IPA, and I found EXCELLENT hazies at each of the below. I don’t know enough about beer to describe the nuances of each brewery, so I’m just listing the places we personally loved. Also note that Burial, Green Man and Catawba are all within 3 minute walk of each other!
Burial (my favorite, and they also have fabulous, fresh small bites. Lots of outdoor seating. Downtown and South Asheville).
Green Man (lots of outdoor seating. Downtown).
Hillman Beer (River Arts District)
Note: Be prepared when you hike (in general, but definitely in the mountains). I suggest bringing a backpack with the following: bear spray, a map, lots of water, snacks, sunscreen, bug spray, band aids, Neosporin, Advil, mobile phone charger and an extra layer of clothing, even in the summer. Remember that weather can change on a dime, and it’s colder the higher you get.
Arboretum (In Southwest Asheville but not too far from downtown, in the Pisgah National Forest. The Arboretum offers casual/beginner day hiking and gardens, plus a cafe if you’re peckish. Great for families. You pay for a parking spot to access).
Black Balsam Knob on the Art Loeb Trail (Moderate/advanced. The epitome of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Can make it as long or as short as you like by tracking how far you go then turning back. The full loop is 18+ miles. We went about 4.5 and returned. Lots of different views: you’re in the woods for some, walking along the edge of a mountain for some, in a big grassy field for some etc.) We got a little lost, but thankfully had service. Do your homework!)
Looking Glass Rock Hike (Moderate/advanced. This is my favorite hike! Approximately 6 miles total, and it took us around 3.5 hours, with hanging out on the rock. Such an incredible view. We love to pack a beer or two to enjoy at the top. Who cares if they’re warm once you get there!)
Twin Falls (moderate/advanced. There are multiple ways to get to Twin Falls and multiple trail lengths to get back to your original destination. I would recommend getting a map from the Pisgah National Forrest Ranger Station before going and asking about different options. But the falls are gorgeous and totally worth it!).
Craven Gap Trail (Moderate. this gem is just 15 minutes from downtown Asheville, which is a major bonus. After 2 miles, you can go back or cross Ox Creek Road and go another 1.2 miles, which I did. While it’s not the most ‘immersive’ hike, since you’re not far from cars at any time, it is gorgeous, refreshing and convenient!
Rattlesnake Lodge (Moderate. This is just a few minutes past Craven Gap, so it’s another awesome option closer to town, and it holds the remnants of an old lodge. You’ll go up a steep hill and find yourself with two options. I suggest going left on the white trail.)