Contrada is a hip pizza and bar location that is located in an equally hip part of Asheville, NC. While only open in the later afternoon and evening hours, this is an excellent place to stop by when you want to wine and dine in style.
You will find Contrada located on the one-way side street of Wall Street, just off of Patton Avenue, in Asheville’s bustling downtown. They are located right next door to their partner restaurant (owned and operated by the same family with the same chefs tailoring the menus), Cucina24. Cucina24 is more of a high-end classic Italian restaurant that offers big Italian entrees and full-course meals, with Contrada being the hip offshoot that offers quality pizzas, small dishes, delicious cocktails, and classic wines. In other words, the perfect place to go for a quick bite and nightcap.
Contrada is a walk-in-only restaurant and bar–meaning no reservations. You can order for take-out, but you will need to pick it up at their location. The interior dining room is a bit small with a couple of tables and an elongated bar top with stools along a wall and a window for patrons to sit. There’s also a nice patio just out their front door that provides extra seating throughout the year. During the winter, the team at Contrada is quick with outdoor heaters to provide a comfortable outdoor dining experience.
The menu at Contrada is a pretty simple affair. There’s one page that lists seven specialty cocktails, a small selection of anti-pizza options, a dozen excellent pizza options, and a couple of select desserts. They also have a separate wine and beer menu that reflects the same options that are available at that larger sister restaurant of Cuicina24. Try one of their bottled Italian lagers or a glass of classic Piedmontese wine for the ultimate Italian pizza experience.
When it comes to what to eat, you truly have a lot of excellent options at Contrada. Of their pizzas, a few of the most popular options include:
The Funghi pizza is a must for mushroom lovers. This artisan pizza features thick cuts of maitake mushrooms (also known as hen of the woods mushrooms). These delectable mushrooms are baked atop a crust layered with Quadrello di Bufala cheese, which is a water buffalo cheese that is produced and sourced from Italy.
The word “arrabbiata” means angry in Italian. You’ll often find this word used to describe a type of pizza or pasta dish in Italian restaurants because here, the word angry is meant to describe the characteristic of spiciness pushed to excess. In other words, consider it a very spicy dish that your stomach may find pretty angry on it. The Arrabbiata pizza at Asheville’s Contrada restaurant comes topped with very spicy bits of Calabrian chili along with garlic and stracciatella cheese. This is quite the hit among lovers of all things spicy and garlicky, but we wouldn’t recommend it for those with more sensitive guts.
-Contrada is an excellent choice for vegetarians and those with a more restrictive diet. From the servers to the chef, everyone here is dedicated to delivering a stellar dining experience and is more than happy to assist with dishes that are vegetarian or can easily be made so (or to otherwise suit another type of allergy or restrictive diet need).
-Please note that this Asheville restaurant is smaller and was designed to have more of a small neighborhood bar and wine feel. While their pizza is excellent and will surely fill you up, we recommend only going to this spot if you have a smaller group. Parties of five or larger will probably feel more comfortable next door at Cuicina24 or by ordering for take-out and enjoying a more spacious, comfortable setting. Sometimes, patio seating can also be arranged to accommodate larger parties.