What do you get when you fuse Mexican and Caribbean flavors with a little mountain funk? You get Salsa’s, of course. A member of the Best of WNC Hall of Fame, Salsa’s takes the prize for the finest Latin food in town. It serves fresh-made fare with available organic and vegetarian options, all in a prime downtown Asheville location down the street from the Vance Monument.
Salsa’s interior is as bright and funky as its yellow facade, with minimalist seating and a rich color scheme that invite passers-by to pull up a chair. Even if you’re not hungry, Salsa’s is the place to kick back and enjoy a house specialty drink, such as an Asheville Lemonade made with moonshine and muddled lemon, or Chef Hector’s secret Bloody Mary recipe made with potato vodka. The restaurant makes its own nonalcoholic beverages, including limeade, rosemary limeade, ginger brew, and ginger hibiscus iced tea.
Let’s be honest: You’re most likely headed here for the food. Salsa’s will not disappoint. Before studying the extensive menu, explore the following few favorite entrees worth considering:
- The Mountain Burrito – Named for the local landscape, Salsa’s The Mountain Burrito delivers chicken, shrimp, queso, pico de gallo, French fries, and chipotle aioli, offering the best of Latin and local flavors. Each burrito gets served with chips and fresh salsa, but don’t fill up too quickly as the portions are humongous.
- Grilled Flank Steak Fajitas – You can’t go wrong with one of Salsa’s open-faced fajitas. The dinner menu’s flank steak version is a local favorite, with its certified Angus beef, roasted vegetables, and garlic mojo served on a sizzling skillet with corn tortillas. You’ll also get a side plate of rice, black beans, sour cream, and salsa.
- Caldero Verde – You’ll find several vegetarian dishes on Salsa’s menu, but the Caldero Verde is one of the most notable. This Mexican-Caribbean dish consists of sweet potato, tofu, roasted garlic, mushrooms, feta, avocado sauce, tomatillo sauce, and chile sauce served with rice, beans, and salsa.
No matter your food preferences, Salsa’s knows how to do Latin fusion cuisine right.
The restaurant is at 6 Patton Ave. in the block between South Lexington Avenue and Biltmore Avenue in the shadow of the BB&T Building, Asheville’s tallest landmark. Inside, the space is small and seating is tight, so it’s not the best place to bring a large group of guests unless you make arrangements ahead of time. Even if you’re dining alone or as a couple, space is tight during the lunch rush, and you may find yourself getting friendly with your neighbors.
- Unlike other Mexican restaurants in Asheville, Salsa’s doesn’t offer complimentary chips and salsa. Some entrees come with them, but even if yours doesn’t, you can order the chips and salsa or guacamole for a few extra dollars.
- Outside patio seating is available, but the seating itself is nothing more than a handful of stools and tables in the store alley. Still, the experience is a fun option if you prefer to watch Asheville life buzz by as you dine.
- Park in the Biltmore Avenue parking garage. The first hour is free and it’s only $1.25 per hour after that time. This garage tends to be less packed than Asheville’s other parking garages, and you’ll have only a four-minute walk up Biltmore Avenue or Lexington to Salsa’s.
- Although it’s your own fault if you leave Salsa’s hungry, you may want to indulge in a little dessert. After leaving the restaurant, turn right and walk toward the Vance Monument and across the street to French Broad Chocolate Lounge for an artisan chocolate bar or truffle.