#111 of 108 Asheville Restaurants

The Market Place

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The Market Place Restaurant: Farm-to-Table Deliciousness in Downtown Asheville
Local Expert's Rating:
4.5 / 5
The Bottom Line:

The Market Place, which opened in 1979, is a downtown fixture and a pioneer in the local (and national) farm-to-table movement. In fact, Chef/Owner William Dissen has been named America's most sustainable chef. He is committed to sourcing the food and artisan products he uses within 100 miles of the restaurant. This emphasis on quality shows. The Market Place has one of the most consistently good menus we have found in the greater Asheville area.

- The SmokyMountains.com Local Expert Team

The menu changes frequently, to take full advantage of what is fresh and available from local growers and farmers. The offerings are divided into small and large plates. You can choose a variety for the table or stick with a traditional appetizer/entree meal.

Although meat is the focus here, there are a couple of vegan-friendly menu items, including the roasted Indian cauliflower with black quinoa and a green curry sauce and edamame with chili soy glaze. The wine list is quirky and fun, with a carefully-curated selection of reds, whites and roses from around the United States and beyond.

The Market Place’s emphasis to sustainability doesn’t stop at the food and wine. The eatery heats its water with a solar system and even the soap in the restrooms is made locally.

The vibe is casually-elegant and relaxed and the service is unpretentious and very knowledgeable about the dishes and the ingredients. The Market Place is an eatery that will work just as well for a romantic first date as it will for a business dinner with an important client. There is live music most nights, but it adds rather than detracts from the ambience and doesn’t hamper conversation.  There is also a seasonal patio and two small private party rooms.

It’s hard to find a down side to The Market Place.  However, parking can be an issue, as there is no dedicated parking lot for the restaurant. There ARE a few metered spaces in front of the place. The prices may be a little high for some people, but we find them reasonable for such high-quality ingredients.

A few of our favorite menu items at The Market Place include:

Scallops and Grits
One of The Market Place’s signature dishes, this is pure heaven. We’ve even been known to order a second serving. It’s that good! The scallops are perfectly grilled and the grits are locally-sourced as is the bacon that accompanies the dish. The sauce has just the right amount of heat.

Mac and Cheese
We try to sample the mac and cheese offerings wherever we eat and The Market Place’s version is one of the best we’ve had. They add prosciutto and peas and then finish it with an herb crust. Yummy!

Banana Bread Fresh Toast
This is our favorite brunch entree at The Market Place. They use mascarpone cheese and garnish it with bourbon-macerated raspberries. The combination somehow works.

Benton’s Old Fashioned
Bacon in an old fashioned cocktail? Don’t knock until you’ve tried it. The Market Place adds local Benton bacon to bourbon to make a delightful base for this libation. Add a little maple syrup, bitters and an orange peel garnish for a refreshing meat-lover’s drink.

Wood-Grilled Pork Shoulder
Another of The Market Place’s signature dishes, we love the slightly-fatty pork in this dish with the fresh and crisp pea succotash topped with crunchy peanuts.

Insider Tip:
Reservations are recommended at The Market Place and a virtual necessity on Saturday nights.