Unique Restaurants in Asheville: 12 Unforgettable Dining Experiences

by Jen
Unique Restaurants in Asheville
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Asheville, located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, is not just a haven for nature lovers but also a paradise for food enthusiasts. The unique restaurants in Asheville offer experiences that are as diverse and vibrant as the city itself. Picture dining in a cozy mountain bistro, or savoring innovative dishes in a bustling downtown eatery. The food scene in Asheville is truly exceptional!

I’m taking you on a tasty tour of Asheville, a city that’s a true paradise for food lovers. In my journey through its streets, I’ve handpicked a list of the most unique and exciting places to eat. From hidden gems to popular hotspots, Asheville’s culinary scene is as diverse as it is delicious.

If you’re after fine dining in Asheville or searching for those affordable, yet amazing, cheap eats, this guide covers it all. I’ve tasted and tested, ensuring you get the real deal on where to dine. Without further ado, let’s explore the coolest and most fun restaurants in Asheville, NC. Let’s dive into the flavors that make this city so special!

The top restaurants to visit in Asheville right now

Unique Restaurants in Asheville

Ready to discover the best places to eat in Asheville? There’s a whole world of exciting places to explore here, from farm-to-table dining in rustic settings to cozy, hidden gems in the heart of downtown. Join me as we uncover the coolest restaurants in Asheville.

Are you up for an unforgettable dining experience, like enjoying a meal with mountain views? Or maybe you’d like to try innovative Southern dishes in a place that feels like a culinary adventure? Whatever kind of unique dining experience you’re after, Asheville has it all. Here’s your essential guide to the unique restaurants in Asheville. Get ready to make your dining experiences extraordinary!

1. RosaBees

RosaBees, in Asheville’s River Arts District, is a delightful find for Hawaiian cuisine lovers. What started as a pastry chef’s project has evolved into one of the most unique restaurants in Asheville, offering a taste of the islands right here in the city.

Their menu is a hit, especially the Spicy Shrimp Udon – it’s packed with flavor and a must-try. I personally love their Poke bowls. They’re fresh, vibrant, and a real treat. And you can’t leave without trying the Pineapple Butter Mochi – it’s the perfect sweet finish.

With reasonable prices, RosaBees is a great choice for an enjoyable meal that’s kind on your wallet. It’s a popular spot, so I recommend booking ahead, especially if you’re planning to visit during the weekend.

RosaBees is more than just good food. It’s a fun, lively spot perfect for a casual dinner or a special night out. It’s a place where the spirit of Hawaii meets the charm of Asheville, making every visit a memorable one.

RosaBees is one of the unique restaurants in Asheville.
RosaBees is a standout in Hawaiian cuisine, born from a pastry chef’s project, now a distinctive city restaurant.

2. White Duck Taco Shop

White Duck Taco Shop, located in Asheville’s River Arts District, is a taco lover’s dream come true. Since its opening in 2011, it has become one of the best places to eat in Asheville, known for its creative and internationally inspired tacos.

The story behind White Duck is as charming as its tacos. The name comes from Chef and co-owner Laura Reuss’s nickname, “La Pata Blanca” (White Duck), earned for her lively chatter in the kitchen. This fun, personal touch is reflected in every aspect of the restaurant.

What sets White Duck apart is its menu’s wild creativity. The Bangkok Shrimp Taco, with fried shrimp in sesame glaze, curry aioli, and house-made pickles, is a personal favorite. Their menu changes often, keeping things exciting and fresh. And if you spot the watermelon sangria on the menu, it’s a must-try!

With its expansion to seven locations, including three in Asheville, White Duck Taco Shop is a testament to the city’s love for unique and delicious food. It’s not just a place to grab a taco. It’s an experience that combines fun, flavor, and a bit of Asheville’s quirky charm. If you’re a local or just passing through, White Duck is a must-visit for a casual, tasty, and uniquely Asheville meal.

White Duck Taco Shop in Asheville is known for creative, internationally-inspired tacos.
White Duck Taco Shop is known for creative, internationally-inspired tacos.

3. Smoky Park Supper Club

Smoky Park Supper Club, in Asheville’s River Arts District, offers a dining experience like no other. Housed in the largest shipping container restaurant in the U.S., this spot by the French Broad River is as unique as it gets. It’s a lively, fun place where the setting is as memorable as the food.

Dining here is an absolute delight. You’re surrounded by the creative energy of repurposed shipping containers, with the serene river adding to the ambiance. This place embodies the spirit of Asheville’s unique restaurants, where food and setting create unforgettable moments.

Their wood-fired cuisine is a treat for the taste buds. I loved the smoky flavors that only a live fire grill and smoker can impart. It’s a celebration of local, sustainable ingredients, cooked with a flair that adds a whole new dimension to dining

What makes Smoky Park Supper Club one of the coolest places to eat in Asheville is its combination of unique architecture, riverside views, and a warm, communal atmosphere. It’s perfect for a relaxed evening out or a special gathering. If you’re in Asheville and looking for a dining experience that’s out of the ordinary, this is your place!

Smoky Park Supper Club restaurant in Asheville offers a uniquely memorable dining experience by the French Broad River.
Smoky Park Supper Club offers a uniquely memorable dining experience by the French Broad River.

4. Gan Shan Station

Ever wondered where to find a taste of East Asia in Asheville? Gan Shan Station is your answer. Located on Charlotte Street, this unique Asheville restaurant brings the flavors of Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, China, Japan, and more, right to your table.

Gan Shan Station stands out for its dedication to using locally sourced ingredients to craft bold and clean flavors. The menu is a vibrant mix of Asian cuisines, offering something new and exciting for every visit. It’s a casual spot, perfect for a laid-back lunch or dinner.

One of the coolest things about Gan Shan Station is its approachable neighborhood setting. With a dog-friendly patio, it’s a place where both foodies and their furry friends can enjoy a meal. The atmosphere is always upbeat and welcoming, which makes it a fun place to dine.

As someone who loves exploring different cuisines, I was impressed by their diverse menu. It’s a culinary journey through Asia without leaving Asheville. If you’re craving a spicy Thai dish or a delicate Japanese creation, Gan Shan Station delivers with flair.

In the heart of the city, Gan Shan Station is a must-visit for anyone looking for fun places to eat in Asheville. It’s an experience of community, culture, and fantastic flavors

Gan Shan Station in Asheville offers diverse flavors from Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, China, Japan, and beyond.
Gan Shan Station offers diverse flavors from Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, China, Japan, and beyond.

5. Tupelo Honey Southern Kitchen & Bar

Craving some Southern comfort with a modern twist? Tupelo Honey in Asheville is your go-to spot. Since its opening in 2000, this restaurant has been a pioneer in the farm-to-table movement. It’s one of the best places to eat in Asheville for Southern cuisine, hands down.

Tupelo Honey is unique for its commitment to scratch-made dishes. They partner with local producers who respect animal welfare, ensuring that the majority of their proteins are “Forever Free” – raised without antibiotics or hormones. This dedication to quality and sustainability is evident in every bite.

The restaurant’s Southern hospitality is palpable. From the warm greetings to the hearty fare, it’s all about making guests feel at home. They also collaborate with local brewers and distillers, adding a local flair to their drinks menu.

I tried their modern twist on classic dishes and let me tell you, it’s a game-changer. Tupelo Honey is the kind of place where you come for the food and stay for the atmosphere. Whether it’s a hearty brunch or a cozy dinner, they’ve got you covered.

In the heart of Asheville, Tupelo Honey stands out as a must-visit for anyone craving a unique take on Southern cuisine. It’s fun, it’s fresh, and it’s unapologetically Southern.

For a modern take on Southern comfort food, head to Tupelo Honey in Asheville.
For a modern take on Southern comfort food, head to Tupelo Honey in Asheville.

6. The Bull and Beggar

Tucked in Asheville’s River Arts District, The Bull and Beggar is a hidden gem that’s all about surprising your taste buds. This French-inspired restaurant is a delightful escape, which makes it one of the unique places to eat in Asheville for those who love a blend of art and cuisine.

From its unassuming exterior, step inside to discover a world of culinary enchantment. The Bull and Beggar’s charm lies in its ability to transform simple ingredients into exquisite dishes. Their succulent oysters and bread with charred onion butter are just the beginning of a memorable dining journey.

What really sets this place apart is their steak frites and the show-stopping 34oz bone-in ribeye, dry-aged for 30 days. It’s a meat lover’s dream, served with butter, roast potatoes, and a refreshing salad. The flavors are rich, the presentation impeccable, and the experience is unforgettable.

The Bull and Beggar also boasts a charming patio area, perfect for dining al fresco. With limited walk-in availability, booking in advance is a smart move. It’s more than just a meal – it’s an experience that combines the best of French cuisine with Asheville’s artistic vibe.

The Bull and Beggar blends art and cuisine for a uniquely delightful dining experience.
The Bull and Beggar blends art and cuisine for a uniquely delightful dining experience in Asheville.

7. Nine Mile

Step into Nine Mile in West Asheville, and you’re instantly transported to a Caribbean paradise. This restaurant is a vibrant celebration of Caribbean flavors, and it’s perfect for vegetarians. It’s one of the coolest restaurants in Asheville for those who love a tropical twist.

Nine Mile is unique for its extensive vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options. They’ve mastered the art of creating dishes that are not only healthy but also bursting with flavor. It’s a haven for anyone looking to indulge in guilt-free, delicious meals.

The atmosphere at Nine Mile is laid-back and fun, reflecting the easy-going Caribbean vibe. It’s a place where you can unwind, enjoy great food, and feel like you’re on a mini-vacation. The staff’s friendly and welcoming nature adds to the overall experience.

As someone who appreciates diverse cuisine, I was impressed by their creative use of spices and herbs. if you’re a meat lover or a vegetarian, Nine Mile has something to tantalize your taste buds. It’s a culinary journey to the Caribbean, right in the heart of West Asheville.

Nine Mile is a unique Asheville restaurant that combines great food with a relaxed, joyful atmosphere. It’s a must-visit for anyone in Asheville looking for a dining experience with a Caribbean flair.

Nine Mile is a vibrant celebration of Caribbean flavors, instantly transporting diners to a tropical paradise.
Nine Mile is a vibrant celebration of Caribbean flavors, instantly transporting diners to a tropical paradise.

8. The Admiral

Walking into The Admiral in Asheville is like discovering a secret culinary world. This unassuming cinder block building in the north of Biltmore hides one of Asheville’s best restaurants, where new American cuisine gets an eclectic and creative twist.

The Admiral’s charm lies in its ability to surprise. From the outside, you’d never guess the vibrant and spirited atmosphere that awaits inside. It’s a cozy, intimate space, perfect for a casual dinner with friends or a chic date night. The decor evokes a timeless quality, blending the old with the new.

What makes The Admiral unique is its ever-changing menu, showcasing the freshest North Carolina produce and coastal seafood. The chefs here are inventive, focusing on small plates and appetizers that present classic ingredients in new, exciting ways. It’s a place where sharing is part of the fun.

I recommend trying the crispy pork belly if it’s on the menu – the combination of textures and flavors is a delight. The mushroom toast, celebrating the simplicity of local mushrooms, is another must-try.

The Admiral, with its ever-evolving menu and inviting atmosphere, is a must-visit in Asheville. It’s a hidden gem that turns dining into an adventure, perfect for foodies looking for something beyond the ordinary.

The Admiral offers some of the city's best new American cuisine with an eclectic and creative twist.
The Admiral offers some of the city’s best new American cuisine with an eclectic and creative twist.

9. Rhubarb

Ever dined where each dish feels like a work of art? That’s Rhubarb in Asheville for you. Opened in the heart of the city, it’s become a favorite for those who love a mix of traditional and innovative flavors. It’s the kind of place that turns a meal into an experience. Without a doubt, it’s one of the best restaurants in Asheville.

At Rhubarb, it’s all about celebrating local ingredients with a creative spin. The menu is a delightful journey through Asheville’s seasonal best, offering everything from hearty vegan dishes to gluten-free delights. It’s where food enthusiasts gather to savor the richness of Asheville’s produce.

The atmosphere at Rhubarb is just as vibrant as its menu. Imagine sitting in a cozy, lively space, surrounded by the buzz of happy diners and the clink of glasses. It’s the perfect backdrop for a meal that’s as much about enjoyment as it is about taste.

What sets Rhubarb apart is its commitment to bringing people together. Their Sunday Suppers are a testament to this, offering communal dining experiences that showcase the best of the weekend’s market finds. It’s a place where food, fun, and fellowship intertwine.

Located in Asheville’s bustling culinary scene, Rhubarb stands out as a must-visit. If you’re there for a casual bite or a special celebration, it promises a dining adventure that’s uniquely Asheville. So, next time you’re in town, make sure to stop by Rhubarb for a taste of local flavor and fun!

Rhubarb is one of the unique restaurants in Asheville.
Rhubarb is where dishes become art, blending tradition with innovation to create unforgettable dining experiences.

10. Gypsy Queen Market, Deli & Food Market

Gypsy Queen Cuisine is one of Asheville’s coolest restaurants, bringing the authentic flavors of Lebanon to the heart of the city. This delightful spot is a must-visit for anyone craving genuine Middle Eastern cuisine.

The magic of Gypsy Queen lies in its traditional Lebanese dishes, crafted with love and expertise by Suzy, who has been perfecting her recipes since her childhood in Lebanon. Each dish is a celebration of rich flavors and fresh ingredients, offering a genuine taste of Lebanese culture.

One standout at Gypsy Queen is their use of spices. The dishes here are infused with a perfect blend of seasonings that elevate the flavors without overpowering them. It’s a delicate balance that Suzy has mastered, which makes each meal a memorable experience.

For a taste of Lebanon in Asheville, Gypsy Queen Cuisine is the place to be. It’s a restaurant that’s both authentic and delightful, offering a unique dining experience that’s hard to find elsewhere in the city. Trust me, a visit to Gypsy Queen is a journey for your taste buds you won’t want to miss!

Gypsy Queen Cuisine is a spot for authentic Lebanese flavors, a must-visit for genuine Middle Eastern cuisine enthusiasts.
Gypsy Queen Cuisine is a spot for authentic Lebanese flavors, a must-visit for genuine Middle Eastern cuisine enthusiasts.

11. Sunny Point Cafe

Step into Sunny Point Cafe in Asheville, a place buzzing with energy and bursting with flavors. This cafe is a hit for anyone looking for the best breakfast and brunch spots in Asheville.

I recommend their signature dish, the Huevos Rancheros. It’s a culinary delight that captures the essence of Asheville’s eclectic taste. Each bite is a fusion of hearty, home-cooked goodness and a touch of innovation, guaranteed to start your day on a high note.

The vibe at Sunny Point Cafe is as sunny as its name. It’s a perfect blend of homely and hip, creating an atmosphere that’s ideal for a laid-back morning meal or a leisurely brunch. If you’re catching up with friends or fueling up for the day, Sunny Point Cafe has the perfect backdrop.

Located in West Asheville, Sunny Point Cafe is easy to find and a joy to experience. It’s become a beloved spot for both locals and visitors, known for its welcoming ambiance and exceptional food. If you’re in Asheville and craving a breakfast experience that’s as fun as it is flavorful, Sunny Point Cafe is the place to be. Remember to arrive early or be prepared to wait – this popular spot is always in demand!

Sunny Point Cafe is a lively hub bursting with flavors, renowned as one of the city's top breakfast and brunch spots.
Sunny Point Cafe is a lively hub bursting with flavors, renowned as one of the city’s top breakfast and brunch spots.

12. Chai Pani Asheville

Craving a mind-blasting Indian street food experience in Asheville? Chai Pani is your go-to spot. Known for serving up some of the most vibrant and flavorful Indian cuisine, this place is a must-visit for anyone looking for cheap eats in Asheville that don’t skimp on flavor.

Chai Pani brings the streets of India to Asheville with its unique menu. Their samosas are a revelation – crispy on the outside, stuffed with perfectly spiced potatoes and peas. It’s a classic Indian snack reimagined with a local twist.

And let’s not forget about their chaats. These savory, tangy, and sweet street food delights are arguably the best in the city, bursting with authentic flavors that transport you straight to the bustling streets of Mumbai.

Chai Pani isn’t just about great food – it’s about the experience. The atmosphere is as colorful and lively as the streets of India, making it the perfect spot for a casual lunch or a fun dinner with friends.

Located in the heart of Asheville, Chai Pani has become a favorite for both locals and visitors, celebrated for its unique approach to Indian street food. So, if you’re in downtown Asheville and craving an Indian food adventure that’s as affordable as it is delicious, Chai Pani is your spot. Trust me, it’s an experience you don’t want to miss!

Chai Pani is known for vibrant and flavorful dishes and a must-visit for budget-friendly yet delicious eats in the city.
Chai Pani is known for vibrant and flavorful dishes and is a must-visit for budget-friendly yet delicious eats in the city.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Unique Restaurants in Asheville

Searching for more information to help you decide where to eat in Asheville? Here are some common questions (and answers) I get asked a lot about Asheville’s best restaurants.

What food is Asheville famous for?

Asheville is renowned for its eclectic and diverse culinary scene. It’s particularly famous for its farm-to-table dining, where restaurants source fresh, local ingredients for their dishes. Barbecue is a big deal here, with a focus on slow-cooked meats and unique, regional sauces. Don’t miss out on trying some local trout, as Asheville is in the heart of the Southern Appalachian mountains where trout is plentiful. For a personal recommendation, I’d say you must try the barbecue and the farm-to-table restaurants – they truly showcase what Asheville’s cuisine is all about.

Is Asheville a foodie town?

Asheville is a paradise for food lovers. The city’s culinary scene is a blend of traditional Southern cooking and innovative, modern cuisine. There’s a strong emphasis on local and sustainable food, which has attracted talented chefs and food entrepreneurs. The variety of restaurants, from upscale dining to casual eateries and street food, makes it a dynamic foodie destination. As a food enthusiast, I find Asheville’s food scene always exciting and full of new flavors to explore.

The exterior of a colorful and vibrant restaurant named Salsas in Asheville.
The exterior of a colorful and vibrant restaurant named Salsas in Asheville.

What is the official drink of North Carolina?

The official drink of North Carolina is milk. While it might seem surprising, this choice highlights the state’s rich agricultural heritage, particularly in dairy farming. However, when it comes to alcoholic beverages, North Carolina is known for its craft beer and moonshine. Asheville, in particular, has a thriving craft beer scene with numerous breweries to explore.

Is Asheville expensive?

Asheville can be a bit pricey, especially when compared to other cities in North Carolina. The cost of living and dining out can be higher here, mainly due to its popularity as a tourist destination and its vibrant arts and culinary scenes. However, there are options for all budgets. You can find affordable dining choices, especially if you explore eateries off the beaten path or enjoy the many food trucks around the city.

What dessert is NC known for?

North Carolina is famous for its sweet potato pie, a Southern classic. The state is one of the largest producers of sweet potatoes in the US, so this dessert is a celebration of a local staple. It’s similar to pumpkin pie but has a unique flavor and texture. I’d recommend trying sweet potato pie at a local bakery or a Southern-style restaurant in Asheville for an authentic taste of North Carolina.

Unique Restaurants in Asheville: Recap

Exploring Asheville’s unique restaurants is an absolute joy, inviting you to savor diverse flavors and stay in Asheville’s culinary embrace. Each one, from the Hawaiian-inspired RosaBees to the innovative Admiral, brings its own flavor to the table. Asheville’s food scene is a celebration of diversity and local bounty.

If I had to pick just one must-visit spot, it would be Chai Pani. Their take on Indian street food is simply incredible. The vibrant atmosphere and authentic flavors make every visit memorable. It’s a place that perfectly captures the spirit of Asheville’s culinary scene.

Asheville is a paradise for food lovers, offering a range of dining experiences to suit all tastes and budgets. The focus on local and sustainable ingredients across these eateries not only makes the food taste better but also supports the community.

In short, Asheville’s best restaurants are the heart of the city’s vibrant food culture, ensuring your North Carolina vacation is flavored with great memories and even better flavors. Whether you’re a local or just passing through, these eateries are sure to leave you with great memories and even better flavors.

The top restaurants in Asheville for all types of travelers
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