7 Must-Try Restaurants in Downtown Asheville

Downtown Asheville lays claim to a fantastic and diverse dining scene: one of the Southeast’s all-out foodie heavens, whether you’re hunting for some traditional Southern favorites, international fare, or cutting-edge, hodgepodge-style cuisine of indefinable style.

Here are seven downtown eateries that beautifully embody Asheville’s food culture!


13 Biltmore Ave, Asheville, NC 28801
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3 fish filet on top of green sauce on white and brown plate

Photo Credit by @curatetapasbar on Instagram

Spanish tapas has made Curate—which occupies the city’s former 1930s-era bus depot—one fo Asheville’s hottest and hippest foodie destinations. Given the intrinsic share-ability of these small plates, it’s a great place to go with a group of friends.

Rating: 4.5 stars

The tasting menu, which includes many of Curate’s culinary highlights, is a savvy choice if you’d like as broad a survey as possible, but for standalone tapas we definitely recommend the Pulpo a la Gallega (galician style octopus with spanish paprika and yukon gold potato puree), Pimientos de Piquillo Rellenos (piquillo peppers stuffed with goat cheese), and the trucha al horno (charcoal grilled trout over parsley and picada.)


48 Biltmore Ave, Asheville, NC 28801
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filet mignon next to potatoes and green beans on tan plate

Photo Credit by @chestnutasheville on Instagram

Creative cuisine and artisan cocktails define Chestnut, which serves lunch Monday through Friday, brunch on Saturdays and Sundays, and dinner every night. The menu varies with the seasons and Executive Chef Brian Crow’s inspirations, but some representative highlights include the Scratch Made Lobster Bisque, the Pretzel-crusted Pork Schnitzel, Crow’s Own Shrimp N’ Grits, the Pecan Crusted Trout, and the Puff Pastry Wrapped Scallops, plus charcuterie platters of locally made cheeses and meats (some cured and smoked in-house).

Rating: 5.0 stars

Brunch here takes the form of such delectables as Huevos Rancheros, Chicken N’ Waffles, Pork Belly Benedict, Smoked Salmon Toast, Ricotta Donuts, and Pimento Cheese Tater Tots. Besides the cocktails, meanwhile, you’ll find a great selection of craft beer on tap—much of it hailing from Asheville breweries—as well as a formidably extensive wine list.


1 Biltmore Ave, Asheville, NC 28801
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trout on top of green beans with lemon brown butter and almonds

Photo Credit by @posanarestaurant on Instagram

Posana serves up thoughtful and creative farm-to-fork cuisine via a menu composed primarily of gluten-free items. Brunch at Posana might take the shape of the Tostada Breakfast Bowl (featuring chorizo direct from Hickory Nut Farm in Fairview), Brioche French Toast, Sorghum Pancakes, a pulled pork sandwich—maybe the Posana Doughnut Holes!

Rating: 4.5 stars

Some of the dinner highlights, meanwhile, include Joyce Farms Chicken (served with cherry-smoked ham, Parmesan-roasted broccolini, and stone-ground lemon grits), Creole Grilled Salmon, Balsamic Glazed Beets, and Posole Rojo Pork Shank, plus a hits-the-spot dessert of Lemon Cheesecake Tart. To go along with these eats, choose from seasonal cocktails or a glass from the extensive wine list (along with non-alcoholic options, of course).

Carmel’s Kitchen & Bar

1 Page Ave, Asheville, NC 28801
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three deviled eggs with bacon inside on white plate next to two white bowls and wine glasses

Photo Credit by @carmelsavl on Instagram

When the weather’s conducive, there aren’t many better places to kick back and enjoy a meal than the expansive patio at Carmel’s Kitchen & Bar—the biggest one in downtown Asheville, in fact. Indoors or out, though, you’ll always get to tuck into awesome food here courtesy of a Southern-inspired menu: awesome food such as the Chicken Enchilada Pizza, the Angus Cast Iron Ribeye, the Wagyu Beef Sliders, and the Seared Scallops.

Rating: 4.0 stars

We also have to give a nod to the well-stocked Carmel’s Kitchen & Bar dessert list, on which the Vanilla Creme Brulee is, arguably, numero uno. From local and international craft beers on draft to fine wine, there’s also plenty of good stuff to drink. The inventive cocktails are another specialty; we especially recommend the Goombay Smash and the Green Thumb, but honestly, it’s hard to go wrong.

Table Asheville

18 N Lexington Ave, Asheville, NC 28801
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fish on top of cream colored plate with brown outline and lime on top

Photo Credit by @tableavl on Instagram

Table Asheville’s farm-to-table cookery has earned it national recognition and such major accolades as a James Beard Award Best Chef Southeast semifinalist finish. Taste what’s on offer here and you’ll know the reputation has been well earned. Traditional Southern cuisine is both celebrated and creatively rejiggered here, and while you’ll find lots of succulent carnivorous options the menu also proves well-sourced vegetables can more than hold their own with red meat.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Food at Table Asheville could be the Baba Ghanoush, Roasted Chicken & Dumplings, or Brasstown Hanger Streak. You might opt for the Pasta con Polpette, Steak Tartare, or perhaps the While Grilled Sunburst Trout for 2. As at Carmel’s, the mixologists at Table Asheville whip up some great craft cocktails, and there are extensive wine and beer choices, to boot.

Chai Pani

22 Battery Park Ave, Asheville, NC 28801
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indian potato fritters with chickpea noodles on top and garbanzo bean stew

Photo Credit by @chaipani on Instagram

This fantastic Indian restaurant draws rich inspiration from traditional dishes but also employs no small amount of outside-the-box culinary imagination: Chef Meherwan Irani’s been nominated for a James Beard Award for good reason.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Indian street food provides a foundation for the Chai Pani (“tea and water”) menu, which includes such standouts as Chicken Pakoras, Aloo Tikki Chaat, Okra Fries, and the slightly whimsical Sloppy Jai: spiced lamb with tomatoes, onions, cilantro, chutney, and yogurt. The drinks are equally creative, including the Bold Fashioned (centered on house masala bourbon) and the Jal Jeera, a minty tequila masterpiece.


85 W Walnut St, Asheville, NC 28801
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double tempura wings with lemon pepper on yellow plate from zambra

Photo Credit by @nicholas_hane on Instagram

Zambra Tapas & Wine Bar embodies the meaning of its name—” gypsy dance of celebration”—in its dynamic, colorful dishes, which include not only share-ready tapas but also larger-size entrees. There’s a lot to explore here, which makes the tapas approach all the more appealing. Among many winners at Zambra is the Char-grilled Octopus, presented with blackberries and arugula; the Pomegranate Braised Pork Spring Rolls waiting to be doused with mango dipping sauce; the Chicken Mole Chimichanga (which gets its poultry from the local Springer Mountain Farms); and a homerun Spanish Style Omelet.

Rating: 4.0 stars

As you’d hope at a tapas place, the wine list is downright expansive, and there are also some must-try cocktails, including the Pomegranate Cosmo and the Zambarito (a chipotle blackberry margaritatini primed with fresh lime).

Eating Well Comes Easy in Downtown Asheville

Brunch or lunch, dinner or just drinks, and starters, Downtown Asheville is a very, very fine place to find yourself with an appetite. Give one of the above establishments a try—or, better yet, hit them all up!