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!).
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)
Gan Shan Station and Shan Station West (the original is larger physically and has a larger menu. Great use of sweet and savory flavors and umami. Gan Shan West is a little more casual, and it has a more limited menu. Also delicious. I love the steamed buns, dumpling and veggie sides. Ramen is popular).
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. Downtown)
Dobra Tea (delicious matcha latte and macrobiotic bowls. 2 locations; I like the West Asheville one best)
Chai Pani (one of my all time fave restaurants ever; Indian street food. 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).
Broth Lab Asheville (River Arts District. Incredibly kind service. Ramen and other noodle dishes with a variety of creative toppings. I got the sesame noodles with spicy eggplant, crispy tofu, peanuts and yuzu kale. Yum!)
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.)
Griff’s Kitchen & Bar (Owned by a husband-wife duo, Griff’s is located in Candler, 15 minutes or so away from downtown. This makes it a great option if you don’t want to deal with downtown parking! The food is flavorful and locally-sourced with healthy options. I loved the cast-iron salmon with sticky rice, and the chicken nuggets were amazing).
Biscuit Head (the MOST incredible giant buttery biscuits with an assortments of unique and traditional jams! Also eggs & bacon etc. GF biscuits are amazing too. West Asheville)
Smokey Park Supper Club: (Gorgeous view, great for larger parties. Loved the Bulgogi beef bowl. Riverside area).
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)
Foothills Local Meats Butcher Bar (West Asheville. Locally-sourced, pasture-raised meats. Incredible ‘old school’ griddle-style cheeseburger with tallow-fried french fries (much healthier than vegetable oil). Small and casual; I imagine this is good for kiddos)
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. Be patient and go early! The Toasted Sesame & Cinnamon is my go-to. West Asheville)
Liberty House Cafe (my new favorite place for Matcha and Avocado Toast! Outdoor garden seating. Just a few minutes from Downtown)
French Broad Chocolates (I always get the vegan buddha chocolate. Downtown)
Owl Bakery (Insanely amazing pastries. I love the Almond Rose Croissant, Coffee Walnut Strudel and the chocolate chip cookie. All TDF. West Asheville)
Forage (connected to the beautiful plant shop Flora; great chai latte and granola bar from The-Rhu Bakery. 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.)
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 eachother!
Burial (my favorite, and they also have fabulous, fresh small bites. Lots of outdoor seating. Downtown).
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!)
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.)