#25 of 23 Asheville Restaurants

Vinnie’s Neighborhood Italian

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Vinnie's Neighborhood Italian: Food Your Italian Family Would be Proud to Serve
Local Expert's Rating:
4.5 / 5
The Bottom Line:

An Asheville staple, Vinnie's Neighborhood Italian Restaurant is rich with authentic Italian dishes. It's as though you're eating at your Italian aunt's house -- even if you're not Italian. A friendly, knowledgeable staff and large menu puts Vinnie's over the top.

- The SmokyMountains.com Local Expert Team

As the 12th most populous city in the state of North Carolina, Asheville has more than its fair share of restaurant options. Vinnie’s Neighborhood Italian is a favorite for good reason. The design is reminiscent of the old Italian restaurants along the East Coast.

Before you even walk through the front door, the aromas of home-cooked meals will assail you and remind you why you made the trip in the first place. Most people are thrilled with the large portion sizes and even happier with the idea of taking leftovers home for a next-day snack.

Pasta, of course, is a popular draw and few places in Asheville do it quite like Vinnie’s. Guests rave about Spaghetti with Sunday Gravy, a dish that’s precisely as rich as it sounds.

Other favorites include:

  • Penne Campagnola
  • Baked Ziti Napolitano
  • Rigattoni Bolognese
  • Chicken Picatta
  • Chicken Marsala
  • Chicken Paillard
  • Salmon Gratella
  • Veal Marsala
  • Veal Picatta
  • Flounder Picatta

Whether you have light appetite or simply want to start out with a salad, Vinnie’s has you covered. For example, try their Rocket Salad, a delicious mix of arugula, tomato, cucumber and onion tossed in either balsamic vinaigrette or creamy Tuscan herb dressing. Or, take a chance on a salad Vinnie’s calls Italian Garbage, consisting of Italian cold meats and cheeses, cherry peppers, tomatoes, red onions, olives, romaine lettuce, capers and Italian vinaigrette. If Caesar Salad is your preference, you have the option of adding chicken, salmon, grilled shrimp, grilled scallops, or fried calamari. The truth is, Vinnie’s salads are fresh and generally delicious.

With an extensive wine list and surprising number of cleverly mixed drinks, you can pair your meal in any number of ways. Go traditional or mix it up — the bartender is always happy to offer advice. In fact, pretty much everyone at Vinnie’s is happy to offer advice.

Anyone who has visited Vinnie’s will likely mentioned the helpful staff. Vinnie’s waitstaff knows the menu inside out and can tell you about any substitutions that might better fit your dietary needs. They can rattle off the daily specials as though they’re reciting the alphabet, but rather than make you feel as though they’re on autopilot, there’s something about the way Vinnie’s staff is trained that offers a sense of comfort. After all, you’re their guest and you want to know that they have insider knowledge that will enhance your gastronomic experience.

Vinnie’s is a popular venue so give yourself plenty of time and be prepared for a wait, although that’s not necessarily a negative. Take the time to soak up the ambiance, visit with another party waiting for a table, or enjoy an appetizer and something from the bar.

Vinnie’s is more of an experience than your average restaurant, so take advantage of the entire event.

Insider Tips:

  • Ask about the daily specials as they offer a great opportunity to save money while trying something new.
  • Vinnie’s does not take reservations, although parties of five or more can call ahead before 5:00 p.m. There is one caveat, though. Someone from the restaurant must get back with you to confirm the call ahead request and you must speak with a real live person to be placed on the call ahead list. That said, you still don’t have a reservation, but are on a list that may decrease your wait time. Your best bet is to be patient. Vinnie’s is definitely worth the wait.