#73 of 101 Asheville Restaurants


Local Expert's Rating:
4.5 / 5
The Bottom Line:

Recognized as a rustic-chic bistro serving classic and new Italian meals, Chiesa is an upscale, trendy location with much to offer. Known for its fresh-made (onsite) pasta and decadent and rich sauces, it is the type of location to find something hearty and comforting while also unique and refreshing. With outdoor seating, small plate options, and a friendly atmosphere, Chiesa is a must-visit location in Asheville.

- The SmokyMountains.com Local Expert Team

Chiesa is that secret location you want to tell the world about, but also don’t want to share too much about in case it becomes too busy to get a seat on the outdoor patio. This rustic, but chic Italian bistro is brimming with fresh menu ideas and unique blend of flavor. The company began with the concept of delivering fresh, high-quality Italian cuisine based on family recipes. It has grown to include a wide range of menu options.

At the heart of the company’s menu is its fresh, in-house made pasta. Because it is fresh, it soaks up the rich, deeply seasoned sauces to create enticing meals. It’s easy to enjoy the classics here, including the red sauce spaghetti you grew up with or the refined version of eggplant parmesan on the menu. On the other hand, you’ll find interesting options such as tuna carpaccio, spring-filled ravioli, and bison loin available from time-to-time.

One of the things Chiesa does best is celebrating. Form its wine collection to its dessert menu, the entire Italian restaurant concept here is about celebrating relationships, family, and good food. It tends to be the go-to place for romantic dinners on Saturday nights and large groups of families on Sunday afternoon. The atmosphere is inviting and comfortable, with a welcoming patio perfectly suited to the area downtown.

The building Chiesa is in tells its own story. This 100-year-old building has long been at the heart of Asheville, having served as a local grocery store and a church in previous years. It maintains its rustic charm.

With an ever-changing menu filled with seasonal and regional foods, Chiesa offers something for everyone, including those who need a vegan or gluten-free menu choice that smells and tastes like rich Italian food. At the same time, their house-made selection is inspiring and unique. You are not likely to find anything that’s overly processed or simply warmed up. Each meal is created with the goal of inspiring flavor and beautiful presentations.

Located around the corner from Montford Recreation Complex, Chiesa is just minutes off I-240 in the Asheville Downtown region of the city. It is also located between the Asheville Visitor Center and Montford Park.

Check out these menu favorites:

Chicken Marsala
An exquisite version of this Italian favorite, the Chicken Marsala at Chiesa, is full of rich flavor. Served over the top of house-made pasta, this juicy chicken breast and portobello mushroom meal is a filling meal. It’s a large serving easily made into two meals (one to take home for lunch the next day).

House-Made Sweet Italian Sausage
At Chiesa, diners choose the pasta of their choice and pair it with a protein to enjoy. The house-made sweet Italian sausage is perhaps one of the best options on the menu. In a tomato and bell pepper sauce, it has a strong flavor profile and freshness that is unlike any store-bought sausage.

Bison Loin
The bison loin, one of the Chiesa’s specials from time to time, is a surprisingly flavorful and tender choice. It is served with shiitake chevre bread pudding, citrus data vincotto, roasted carrots, and a sunny side up egg. The rich sauce complements and balances the earthiness of the bison.

Sunflower Seed Crusted Morels
For those looking for a vegetarian dish, the sunflower seed crusted morels served with rapini over house-made fresh fettuccine is decadent and filling. Another special on the menu, it is a bright meal.

Insider Tips: 
– Chiesa offers weekly fish and ravioli specials but doesn’t announce them until Monday. For those planning an evening out, it’s worth calling to find out what specials are available from fresh-caught fish to seafood ravioli and more.
– They will accommodate most allergies, vegan, gluten-free, and vegetarian requests. If something isn’t on the menu, just ask for a specially made meal.