#48 of 23 Asheville Restaurants

Cucina 24

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Cucina 24: An Italian-Inspired Tasting Menu With an Asheville Twist
Local Expert's Rating:
4.5 / 5
The Bottom Line:

Blending local ingredients and international recipes in an expertly crafted tasting menu, Cucina 24 provides a well-rounded culinary experience made possible by one of Asheville's most talented chefs.

- The SmokyMountains.com Local Expert Team

Cucina 24 has delighted Asheville residents and tourists alike for a decade. Opened in 2008 by Brian Canipelli, the restaurant places a local spin on classic Italian entrees. Like many Asheville restaurants, it maintains a farm-to-table approach, relying on ingredients from local farms and foragers for its regularly changing dinner menu.

Chef Brian Canipelli was named a Star Chefs Rising Star in 2013. In 2016, he was a finalist for the James Beard Foundation Best Chef of the Southeast. At Cucina 24, he is joined by acclaimed beverage director Donnie Pratt (also a Star Chefs Rising Star) and several talented sous and pastry chefs.

Don’t expect heaps of pasta with marinara sauce. You’ll find noodles, but not of the all-you-can-eat variety. Instead, Cucina 24 maintains a seasonal menu that emphasizes authentic recipes and locally-sourced ingredients. Presentation is clearly a priority; you’ll be so mesmerized by the elegant plating that it might take some convincing to dig in. Once you take a bite, however, you’ll be blown away by the revolutionary blend of local and international flavors.

Cucina 24 maintains a tasting menu that prompts a seamless and enjoyable culinary experience. Family-style offerings are best enjoyed with a friendly group that’s not afraid to share. However, unlike some restaurants of its ilk, the establishment also allows you to order whatever your heart desires off the a la carte menu.

While several vegetarian options are available, Cucina 24 isn’t always particularly accommodating of dietary restrictions. The restaurant’s staff requests that you alert them if you have any food allergies. Generally speaking, what you see on the menu is what you get — no substitutions allowed.

Beverages are just as carefully crafted as the meals at Cucina 24, so don’t leave without ordering a cocktail. Like the tasting and a la carte menus, the drink menu changes regularly. The restaurant also maintains a small list of wines, beers, and ciders.

If possible, snag a seat near the open kitchen, where you’ll see some of Asheville’s greatest culinary talents hard at work.

The Cucina 24 menu changes regularly. We’ve highlighted a few menu items that capture the essence of the restaurant — but they may not be available when you visit.

Our favorites include:

Stuffed Mezzaluna
Cucina 24 crafts some of Asheville’s best stuffed pastas. This mezzaluna is particularly impressive. The unique noodles are shaped like half moons and stuffed with cashews and ricotta.

Zucchini and Asparagus Pizza
Cucina 24 serves several pizzas featuring toppings you’ll struggle to find elsewhere. This particular option is perfect when you’re craving pizza but also determined to eat your veggies. It also includes delectable goat ricotta.

Pork Chop With Peaches and Radicchio
Combine the delicate sweetness of Georgia peaches with the bold and slightly bitter flavor of radicchio, and you have the perfect complement for a juicy pork chop. This dish also features a unique peach vinegar that will have you raving in days, even weeks to come.

Chocolate Layered Cake
Save room for dessert, but be prepared to share; this cake is mighty rich. Like many desserts at Cucina 24, the mouthwatering chocolate cake is served with a scoop of gelato. Take note: if you’re too full for a sizable dessert, you’re always welcome to order a scoop of sorbet or gelato.

Be prepared to try new ingredients and recipes at Cucina 24, where no two dining experiences look — or taste — exactly alike. Your spirit of adventure will be rewarded with a tasting menu that broadens your horizons and delights your palate.

Insider Tips:
-While Cucina 24 is typically not too crowded, it can get busy during peak hours. Reserve your seat in advance on the restaurant’s website; its reservation app is powered by OpenTable to make your life easier.
-Keep an eye on the restaurant’s Facebook page, where special events are often posted. Occasionally, the restaurant hosts dinners with wine experts or master distillers. If possible, hit up a Tiki Time event to enjoy local music.