Asheville, North Carolina is full of amazing restaurants and eateries. There are also many bars, breweries, and coffee shops. Here is just a short list of five favorite places to eat and drink in Asheville whether you’re looking for fine
The squid ink bucatini topped with Spanish octopus at Peppervine. Photo by Peter Taylor.
These picks are based on our BOB Awards and our 50 Best Restaurants list.
Good Food on Montford1701 Montford Dr.704-525-0881Bruce Moffett’s small-plates bistro unites a variety of influences and flavors onto one menu, and each dish is worth ordering.Try This: Pommes Frites (fries topped with truffle oil, parmesan, and herbs)
Rooster’s Wood-Fired Kitchen6601 Morrison Blvd. (additional location in uptown)704-366-8688Chef Jim Noble’s menu features gussied-up, Southern-tinged American and European peasant fare, like hand-tossed pizzas and roasted chicken.Get This To Go: Roasted Chicken Pizza
Dogwood Southern Table & Bar4905 Ashley Park Ln.704-910-4919Ingredients are fresh and cocktails are innovative at this spot, a sister to Dressler’s.Try This: Crab & Chorizo Hushpuppies
Photo by Peter Taylor
Steak 484425 Sharon Rd.980-580-4848Steak 48 had a buzzy December opening at Apex SouthPark, and this upscale steakhouse with locations in Phoenix, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Houston is worth the hype.Try This: Bone-In Ribeye topped with black truffle sautéed Maine lobster
Little Mama’s Italian4521 Sharon Rd. 980-209-0323Think of this eatery as the prequel to Mama Ricotta’s, with family recipes and scratch-made pastas and mozzarella. Settle into one of the dining rooms with a plate of pappardelle or cozy up at the “Mozz Bar” and watch the chefs at work.Try This: Penne alla Vodka* Best New Restaurant
Peppervine4620 Piedmont Row Dr., Ste. 170B980-283-2333Chef Bill Greene serves a rotation of artistic small plates with unexpected pairings like lamb belly with kimchi porridge, or smoked butternut squash with miso.Get This To Go: Signature Yeast Rolls
Flour Shop530 Brandywine Rd.980-299-3754Watch your pasta get prepared in the open kitchen. Chef Trey Wilson’s shared plates are great for larger groups, but if you don’t want to share, get the lamb Bolognese.Try This: Rigatoni with Veal Bolognese
Barrington’s7822 Fairview Rd.704-364-5755Bruce Moffett’s first restaurant is one of the best in town, with a classic menu and stellar service.Get This To Go: Roasted Chicken, Family-Style
Dot Dot Dot4237 Park Rd., Ste. B704-817-3710Stefan Huebner’s creative cocktails may be the main attraction at this members-only speakeasy, but the sweet potato gnocchi with bourbon glaze will convince you to stay for dinner.Get This To Go: Old Fashioned Cocktail Kit + the Cheese & Charcuterie platter
Louisiana BBQ Shrimp with red beans and rice. Photo by Peter Taylor.
Southern Pecan6705 Phillips Place Ct., Ste. C704-749-2949The team behind Café Monte serves Gulf Coast-inspired cuisine like pecan fried catfish, Louisiana barbecue shrimp, and oyster po’ boys.Try This: Roasted Corn Cakes* Best New Restaurant
With pickup options
January 19, 2021
Chef de Cuisine Whitney Thomas garnishes dishes like lamb kofta kebabs with edible flowers at Mico. Photo by Peter Taylor.
These picks are based on our 2020 Best of the Best Awards and 2021 50 Best Restaurants lists, and rolling editorial decisions.
The Asbury235 N. Tryon St.704-342-1193Chef Mike Long’s inventive menu mixes countryside favorites like biscuits and deviled eggs with bold flavors and contemporary techniques.Try This: The Chicken Sandwich and Sticky Biscuits
Sea Level NC129 E. 5th St.704-412-2616Concrete beams and rustic brick give an industrial feel to this seafood restaurant, which serves up dishes that are accessible, inventive, and sustainably sourced.Get This To Go: Weeknight Seafood Supper (3 courses)
5Church127 N. Tryon St.704-919-1322Top Chef alum Jamie Lynch’s innovative, seasonal menu includes morel mushroom flatbread and mint crusted lamb loin.Try This: Yellowfin Tuna Sushi Tots
McNinch House511 N. Church St.704-332-6159Guests order from a daily prix fixe menu (ranging from five courses to nine courses), choose their wine and entrées, and the staff takes care of the rest.Try This: Rosemary & Dijon Crusted Rack of New Zealand Lamb
Fin & Fino135 Levine Avenue of the Arts, Ste. 100 704-800-5680Come for the raw bar, but stay for bartender Brittany Kellum’s drinks. Then splurge on a slice of cheesecake.Get This To Go: Lobster & Shrimp Roll + To-Go Cocktail Kit
Haymaker225 S. Poplar St. 704-626-6116Enjoy locally and seasonally inspired dishes from North Carolina chef William Dissen in this bright, stylish space next to Romare Bearden Park.Try This: Billy D’s Fried Chicken Sandwich
Alexander Michael’s401 W. 9th St.704-332-6789The blackened catfish is cooked just right, the Cajun pasta is piping hot, and chatter fills the no-reservations dining room.Try This: What It Is (blackened chicken breast over rotini in Cajun cream sauce)
Forchetta230 N. College St.704-602-2750Chef Luca Annunziata serves lasagna just like his mom made it and carbonara as it’s served in Rome.Try This: Fagatoni (stuffed crepe purses with Maine lobster and mascarpone, vodka sauce, and Parmesan cheese)
Aria100 N. Tryon St.704-376-8880This restaurant serves up an extensive Italian menu in an elegant, modern space.Get This To Go: Pasta Dinner For Two(2 Caesar Salads, 1 Grandma B’s Lasagna, 1 Spaghetti + Giant Meatball, 2 Tiramisu, bread + beans)
Mico at The Grand Bohemian 201 W. Trade St.980-999-5550The South American-inspired menu is full of complex flavors and unexpected mash-ups like harissa creamed spinach and brown butter bread crumbs.Try This: Lamb Kofta kebabs + Flourless Chocolate Cake* Best New Restaurant
Red Salt by David Burke555 S. McDowell St.980-237-5354Celebrity chef David Burke is known for his Himalayan salt aging process for beef, and avant-garde approach to food presentation is on full display with bites like the maple-glazed bacon clothesline.Try This: 32-oz. Dry-Aged Porterhouse for Two* Best New Restaurant
And which roll you have to try at each one
January 13, 2021
Sushi is all about the sourcing, and you can taste that it’s done well at South End’s O-Ku. Photo by Peter Taylor.
YUME Ramen Sushi & Bar1508 S. Mint St. The excellence of this spot’s ramen and sushi thankfully carry over to the to-go format, with Yume’s In-Home Ramen and Gyoza Kit among its innovations.Try This: The Sakura Roll
Red Sake8410 Rea Rd., Ste. 100 This is sushi for true sushi aficionados. The Luke Lobster roll is a delectable mouthful of lobster meat, spicy tuna, avocado, and eel sauce topped with sweet potato strings.Try This: Black Jack Roll
New Zealand Café1717 N. Sardis Rd.This small, 40-seat seafood grill and sushi bar specialized in takeout before the pandemic; the bulk of its business came from residents in nearby apartment complexes on Sardis Road.Try This: Philly Roll
Nikko325 Arlington Ave., Ste. 108Artistic sushi, a moody interior, and thumping sound system bring in dinner and late-night crowds, but quick service makes it a great lunch spot.Try This: Dilworth Roll (salmon, kani, masago, and breaded, fried, and re-rolled in rice)
Baku4515 Sharon Rd.Black and red decor, delicious sushi, techno beats, and a large pair of geisha eyes staring out at the crowd make for a dramatic setting in this shared-plates restaurant.Try This: Blue Fin Tuna Roll
O-Ku2000 South Blvd., Ste. 510Sushi is all about the sourcing, and you can taste that it’s done well at South End’s O-Ku. Michael Chanthavong is the executive chef at this Charleston import, and his enthusiasm radiates from the people behind the sushi bar to the front-of-house staff, who will help you navigate the sushi and sake selections.Try This: Hot & Heavy Roll
BlacowMultiple locationsThis concept, combining burger and sushi, extended to South End in September. Its University location also has sushi, but the Fort Mill spot only does burgers. Try This: Tempura Crab Stick Roll
Yamarazu2173 Hawkins St., Ste. AThis sushi spot opened in South End in 2017, offering a stylish backdrop and an extensive list of rolls, including the beloved titular one.Try This: Crazy Horse (tuna, salmon, yellowtail, cucumber, avocado, masago, and soy paper)
All you’ve heard about Southern manners is true, but we’re here to ask you not to hold us accountable when one of the Lowcountry’s slurp-worthy soups is in front of us! From She Crab Soup to Seafood Bouillabaisse, Charleston’s chefs never disappoint. Scroll on for the best soups in Charleston!
Spot returns on Feb. 4
January 8, 2021
5Church Charlotte officially reopens on Thursday, February 4, following a 10-month closure due to the coronavirus pandemic. Top Chef alum and 5th Street Group partner Jamie Lynch will return alongside Sherief Shawky, the restaurant’s new executive chef.
The announcement comes on the heels of 5th Street Group’s newest restaurant, Tempest Charleston, being awarded the No. 1 “Best New Restaurant” in the country by USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice 2020. 5th Street Group’s portfolio also includes 5Church Charleston, Sophia’s Lounge, and Union in Nashville.
Shawky’s menu will feature a seafood tower of oysters, jumbo shrimp, lobster, and Alaskan King Crab, which is a nod to Tempest’s focus on sustainable seafood. Other additions include Moroccan turkey meatballs with goat cheese baba ganoush, cucumber, and pomegranate glaze; and ricotta potato gnocchi with black truffle, roasted mushrooms, parmigiano-reggiano, and thyme. Fans of 5Church’s signature flatbreads, steaks, and yellowfin sushi tuna tots can still find those items on the menu; pastry chef Michaela Moehring will debut several new desserts for the reopening as well.
5Church’s interior, known for its large-scale artwork and hand-painted ceiling with verbiage from Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War,” will have a new piece of artwork inspired by Aesop’s Fables. The style is a trademark of 5th Street Group, which commissions artists to create murals of different fables in their restaurants.
The team has also installed a Reme Hale LED Air Purifier/Ionizer LED Light in the HVAC system to purify air quality, and they’ll offer digital menus in addition to one-time use paper menus. 5Church Charlotte will open at 50 percent capacity, and reservation are strongly recommended.
Chicken and Dumplings with broccolini and a side of succotash. Photographs by Peter Taylor.
Southern Pecan’s Gulf Coast-inspired cuisine is a nod to owner Monte Smith’s Galveston roots, and it’s a specific type of southern. You won’t find fried chicken, grits, hush puppies, or beignets. This menu is heavy on shrimp, catfish, oysters, and rice. It’s cornmeal-crusted, not deep-fried. You order corn soufflé instead of cornbread and flatbread instead of biscuits. It’s Texas-meets-Louisiana packaged for an upscale SouthPark customer.
A fried shrimp Po’ Boy with a side of baked mac and cheese and a Hurricane Connie CAT-5 cocktail. Photo by Peter Taylor.
Smith, who also owns Café Monte and is a former general manager of The Palm in SouthPark, opened his latest venture in the former Wolfgang Puck Kitchen + Bar space in October. Diners accustomed to Wolfgang Puck will notice that Smith made mostly cosmetic changes to the interior. The booths, with their teal velvet bench cushions, are now separated by glass partitions. In the center of the room, orange leather barstools line Wolfgang’s original hexagonal wood bar, over which flatscreen TVs still hover. Oversized canvas pendant lights hang from the ceiling; on the walls, portraits of jazz and blues legends like Muddy Waters, Ray Charles, and Willie Nelson give the space some swagger.
The drink menu has bottled beer and local brews like Juicy Jay, Captain Jack Pilsner, and Triple C Baby Maker Double IPA. Order wine by the bottle or glass, or try a Gulf Coast-inspired cocktail like the Lonestar ($13) or Hurricane Connie CAT-5 ($14).
Start with Louisiana BBQ Shrimp ($14.95), and use the toasty bread to grab as much of the New Orleans BBQ au jus as you can. If you like corn soufflé—and you will after you try it here—you can order it as a side with your entrée or get the Roasted Corn Cakes ($7.95) from the shareables menu. It’s a bigger plate of the sweet soufflé topped with a savory heap of pulled pork and green chili creme, and it’s enough for a light lunch or an appetizer for two.
(Middle) Roasted corn cakes topped with pulled pork and green chili crème; (above) sweet potato cheesecake.
From the fryer, there’s Gulf Oysters ($18), Jumbo Shrimp ($16.50), or Catfish Nuggets ($15.50) served with your choice of a side and sauce. Sides, which you can also order à la carte for $6.95, include red beans and rice, baked mac and cheese, and scalloped potatoes. For sauces, you have remoulade, tartar, Creole honey mustard, and a handful of others. (Ask your server to bring a few if you can’t decide.)
(Top) Catfish Nuggets from the fryer; (above) Louisiana BBQ Shrimp with red beans and rice.
If you stop in for lunch, try a Po’ Boy ($14.95) with fried shrimp, oysters, catfish, or New Orleans BBQ shrimp. For a hearty dinner, there’s Chicken and Dumplings ($16.95) and a Southern Pecan Shrimp Boil ($18.95), which comes in a spicy shrimp au jus, so ask for plenty of toasty bread for dipping. The dessert menu changes regularly, but look for a rotation of sweet potato cheesecake, chocolate chess pie, and key lime pie.
A meal at Southern Pecan doesn’t transport you to the Gulf Coast the way Leah & Louise sends you to a Memphis juke joint, and it’s not a family-run place steeped in history like Price’s Chicken Coop. You won’t see bowls of empty clamshells on the tables or leave with the smell of Old Bay seasoning on your fingers. It’s just solid, reliable seafood with some southern flair to enjoy after a day of shopping or a Saturday matinee.
Don’t leave without trying: The Roasted Corn Cakes ($7.95) topped with pulled pork and green chili creme.
Southern Pecan6705 Phillips Place Ct., Ste. C704-749-2949Hours: 11 a.m.–11 p.m. daily
TAYLOR BOWLER is lifestyle editor of this magazine.
The roundup only our editor asked for
January 5, 2021
ON OUR RECENT LIST OF 25 Must-Try Takeout Spots in Charlotte, we noted that two of the dishes used pork rinds in wildly different ways. Believe it or not, I showed restraint in only including two, because pork (and chicken) skins are a secret ingredient in several appetizers and entrees across the Charlotte area. This isn’t a highly requested food roundup, like our cheesesteak and chicken sandwich lists, but I’m sure you’ll find something to love below. (Unless meat is something you generally avoid.)
River Chips at Leah & Louise 301 Camp Rd.Esquire recently named this Camp North End spot as one of the Best New Restaurants in America, and they’re on our list, too. The River Chips here are chicken skins made “Voodoo Chip Style” with granch, which is a combination of ranch and green onion sauce.Boat Noodles at Deejai NoDa3629-103 N. Davidson St., 980-859-3701This Thai spot’s Boat Noodles soup includes pork rinds alongside slices of beef, slow-cooked steak, meatballs, herbs, and sprouts. The murky result isn’t the most photogenic item on this list, but it’s among the tastiest.
Pork Rinds at Sweet Lew’s BBQ923 Belmont Ave.Sweet Lew’s takes the skin from slow-cooked pork shoulders, chills it, and then fries them into a crisp with crunchy and chewy results. Like much of the menu here, it’s a step above a version you’d find elsewhere in town.
Yuca con Chicharrón at Lempira RestaurantMultiple locationsAmong the Honduran dishes found here, you can order tasty pork skins with fried yucca. It comes with cabbage salad, cheese, and salsa. Pork skins also come with the Honduran Dish, which adds grilled meat and an empanada to the mix.Dirty South Nachos at Soul Gastrolounge 1500 B. Central Ave.Soul knows how to do small plates with a big punch.These nacho “chips” are fried chicken skins, and they come with pimiento cheese fondue and jalapeno pickled okra.
Smokey Mac & Cheese at Haberdish3106 N. Davidson St.The mac and cheese is tasty enough, with creamy mornay cheese sauce and smoked cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese. Add spicy, crispy chicken skins for a couple more bucks to make it a side that nearly eclipses any entree you’re going to get. Chicharrones & Queso at The Roasting CompanyMultiple locationsThe Roasting Company’s seasoned pork rinds are an ideal appetizer, especially with the restaurant’s decadent queso for dipping. There’s also a pork rinds appetizer that comes with guacamole, and you really can’t go wrong with either scenario.