Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Two Meals in Asheville, NC


BetsyinKY
 Share

Recommended Posts

Just thought I'd give a short report on lunch and dinner in Asheville yesterday...

My parents, brother, sister-in-law, and I made a quick trip over the mountains to see Biltmore done up for Christmas. We left home around 8:45am and arrived in Asheville just before lunch time. I really wanted to try the Tupelo Honey Cafe, but when we go there at 11:45, there was already a 30 minute wait. The interior was packed and it was cold and windy outside, so we headed up the hill to the Early Girl Eatery. I had read nice things about Early Girl on this site, (plus I noticed that it's run by the brother of the chef of the Hominy Grill in Charleston, SC, which is one of my all-time favorite restaurants) so we decided to give it a try. Luckily for us, there was only a 20 minute wait and there was room to wait inside.

The wait ended up being only about 10 minutes, and then we were seated in the cozy dining area overlooking the park. Everything is homemade/local/organic according to the menu....all I know is that everything was very good! I had a fried-green-tomato BLT and a cup of vegan vegetable soup, which was perfect for the cold day. My father and sister-in-law had a pulled barbecue chicken sandwich with coleslaw, which they both enjoyed. Mom had the turkey club with fries, and my brother had the most interesting sandwich of our group, which was grilled eggplant with spinach, onions, and some other veggies that I can't remember. We left the Early Girl quite satisfied, both with the meal and with the price. With tip, this pleasant lunch was about $10 per person. (Rachel Ray would be so proud! haha!)

We didn't plan on having lunch and dinner in Asheville, but Biltmore had timed entry to the house, so although we were at the Estate at 1:30pm, we couldn't get into the house until 4:15pm.

By the time we toured and got back onto the road, it was nearly 7pm. We stopped in at Rezaz, in the Biltmore Village, but the wait for five without a reservation was 1.5 hours, so we headed back downtown.

We ended up at Zambra, which was very fun. The interior of this restaurant is decorated in a sort of Moor-ish style, which definitely adds to the atmosphere. Zambra is a tapas restaurant and this was our first family experience with tapas. Tapas is fun, because you get to try more food than you might if things were served as regular-sized entrees....however, the negative is that when you find an item you really love, you don't want to share it with anyone else! We tried quite a few items, including the pomegranate braised pork spring rolls with mango dipping sauce (very good...i didn't want to share these, as there were only two on the plate!), the pork tenderloin with cranberry sauce and potatoes, vegan paella, paella valencia (chicken, shrimp, andouille), mussels with tomatoes and ham, a house named seafood dish, and a roasted portobello served with local cheese and vegetables. We also had several bread dishes. The plates ranged in price from $3 for bread to $14 for some of the paella dishes. Our total bill with drinks and no dessert came to $120, which included the gratuity, which they automatically added for parties of 5 or more. My only complaint with this restaurant was that the service was a bit spotty. The kitchen brings each dish out as it becomes ready, so there were long periods where no one had anything to eat. Our waiter was not the most attentive, either, although at one point he did appear to apologize for the delay, saying that the kitchen had gotten backed up.

All in all, we had a pretty good experience at both places in Asheville. On my next trip, I would like to try the Early Girl for a different meal (their breakfast menu looked very good) and while I would definitely return to Zambra, I think I will try some other places first.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We ended up at Zambra, which was very fun.  The interior of this restaurant is decorated in a sort of Moor-ish style, which definitely adds to the atmosphere.  Zambra is a tapas restaurant and this was our first family experience with tapas.  Tapas is fun, because you get to try more food than you might if things were served as regular-sized entrees....however, the negative is that when you find an item you really love, you don't want to share it with anyone else! 

If I might: Zambra was terrific when I was there last winter! A friend of mine who loves food said that it was well worth trying and so we did ... it was amazing in all respects ... I never can think of visiting Asheville without a repeat trip to Zambra!

On the same trip we tried Tupelo Honey Cafe for a wonderful breakfast ... do try it! And we also went to Rezaz with reservations made well in advance. ... also dynamite food and ambiance!

Asheville is a marvelous food lovers' paradise .... I plan to go back shortly!

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I went to Early Girl on a trip to Asheville almost two years ago- it was very good. I had some memorable trout. Also went to Tupelo Honey on the same trip- it's always good. Asheville is lucky to have so much good food, in such a beautiful setting.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest MNewman

We did Tupelo Honey during the holidays. The sweet potato pancakes and fried green tomatoes with goat cheese were both excellent. The place was packed, so I'd suggest getting there early these days. Rachel Ray's visit there has got all the tourist checking it out.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

see what all the fuss is about :biggrin:

Homemade Pimento Cheese and Tortilla Chips

Fried Green Tomatoes Served over goat cheese grits with basil

Grit Cakes Stuffed with cheddar cheese, served with green tomato salsa, red chili sauce and sour cream

Signature Oyster “Schott’s”

are my very favorites ...

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had quite a tasty meal in Asheville a couple of years back... really creative food in a lovely setting right on the downtown square. Dishes stand out in my memory but the name of the restaurant and chef are not coming to mind.

Definitely a good food town if that spot is at all representative.

Since I'm still within the editing window, I'm going to add the name of the place, since it has come back to me since I posted:

La Caterina Trattoria on Pack Square in the middle of downtown. The chef is called Damien something or other, and he is apparently locally trained, but his skills in the kitchen are top notch.

Edited by cdh (log)

Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't have time to get into it, but Limones in Asheville is one of the best restaurants in NC. It has a Mexican/Californian type menu, excellent drinks, great brunch, and very good service. Quick sample of my brunch last time I was there: Smoked duck sausage sandwich w/ peppers & Onions, acorn sqush & pecan tamal, pickled veggies. My fiancee had a NY stirp w/ fried egg............that's just brunch.

Oh........try the blood orange margirita.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just thought I'd give a short report on lunch and dinner in Asheville yesterday...

My parents, brother, sister-in-law, and I made a quick trip  over the mountains to see Biltmore done up for Christmas.  We left home around 8:45am and arrived in Asheville just before lunch time.  I really wanted to try the Tupelo Honey Cafe, but when we go there at 11:45, there was already a 30 minute wait.  The interior was packed and it was cold and  windy outside, so we headed up the hill to the Early Girl Eatery.  I had read nice things about Early Girl on this site, (plus I noticed that it's run by the brother of the chef of the Hominy Grill in Charleston, SC, which is one of my all-time favorite restaurants) so we decided to give it a try.  Luckily for us, there was only a 20 minute wait and there was room to wait inside. 

The wait ended up being only about 10 minutes, and then we were seated in the cozy dining area overlooking the park.  Everything is homemade/local/organic according to the menu....all I know  is that everything was very good!  I had a fried-green-tomato BLT and a cup of vegan vegetable soup, which was perfect for the cold day.  My father and sister-in-law had a pulled barbecue chicken sandwich with coleslaw, which they both enjoyed.  Mom had the turkey club with fries, and my brother had the most interesting sandwich of our group, which was grilled eggplant with spinach, onions, and some other veggies that I can't remember.  We left the Early Girl quite satisfied, both with the meal and with the price.  With tip, this pleasant lunch was about $10 per person.  (Rachel Ray would be so proud! haha!)

We didn't plan on having lunch and dinner in Asheville, but Biltmore had timed entry to the house, so although we were at the Estate at 1:30pm, we couldn't get into the house until 4:15pm.

By the time we toured and got back onto the road, it was nearly 7pm.  We stopped in at Rezaz, in the Biltmore Village, but the wait for five without a reservation was 1.5 hours, so we headed back downtown.

We ended up at Zambra, which was very fun.  The interior of this restaurant is decorated in a sort of Moor-ish style, which definitely adds to the atmosphere.  Zambra is a tapas restaurant and this was our first family experience with tapas.  Tapas is fun, because you get to try more food than you might if things were served as regular-sized entrees....however, the negative is that when you find an item you really love, you don't want to share it with anyone else!  We tried quite a few items, including the pomegranate braised pork  spring rolls with mango dipping sauce (very good...i didn't want to share these, as there were only two on the plate!), the pork tenderloin with cranberry sauce and potatoes, vegan paella, paella valencia (chicken, shrimp, andouille), mussels with tomatoes and ham, a house named seafood dish, and a roasted portobello served with local cheese and vegetables.  We also had several bread dishes.  The plates ranged in price from $3 for bread to $14 for some of  the paella dishes.  Our total bill with drinks and no dessert came to $120, which included the gratuity, which they automatically added for parties of 5 or more.  My only complaint with this restaurant was that the service was a bit spotty.  The kitchen brings each dish out as it becomes ready, so there were long periods where no one had anything to eat.  Our waiter was not the most attentive, either, although at one point he did appear to apologize for the delay, saying that the kitchen had gotten backed up.

All in all, we had a pretty good experience at both places in Asheville.  On my next trip, I would like to try the Early Girl for a different meal (their breakfast menu looked very good) and while I would definitely return to Zambra, I think I will try some other places first.

Early Girl is great for breakfast...it is what they are known for.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

La Caterina Trattoria has moved from Pack Square to a larger space just outside downtown, but the food is still wonderful.

La Caterina Trattoria on Pack Square in the middle of downtown.  The chef is called Damien something or other, and he is apparently locally trained, but his skills in the kitchen are top notch.

For those coming to Asheville to visit the Biltmore Estate you should check out Corner Kitchen on Boston Way in Biltmore Village. I've had great meals there for Brunch, Lunch and Dinner, but Brunch is my favorite. They have a great hash. I've never had a very long wait, but we do try to get there before the after church crowd.

Johanna

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
La Caterina Trattoria has moved from Pack Square to a larger space just outside downtown, but the food is still wonderful.

La Caterina Trattoria on Pack Square in the middle of downtown.  The chef is called Damien something or other, and he is apparently locally trained, but his skills in the kitchen are top notch.

For those coming to Asheville to visit the Biltmore Estate you should check out Corner Kitchen on Boston Way in Biltmore Village. I've had great meals there for Brunch, Lunch and Dinner, but Brunch is my favorite. They have a great hash. I've never had a very long wait, but we do try to get there before the after church crowd.

I was really impressed with La Caterina Trattoria on my last visit to asheville...they make all their own pasta, bread, cheese, smoked meats, etc. worth a visit.

Edited by The Blissful Glutton (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 6 months later...

Thanks to this thread, Mrs. A. and I decided to make sure that our last trip out to Tennessee involved spending the night in Asheville in order to check out the Early Girl.

We really liked it. The food was very good. Their most unique dish that we tried was a sausage/sweet potato/egg scramble. Mrs. A. really liked it. I thought that it was only OK, but I didn't expect to like it because I am not a big fan of sweet/savory together. The Banana Bread was amazing (probably our favorite part). I also really liked the biscuit and herb gravy. I like sausage gravy better than herb gravy, but this was a very refreshing taste. And, unlike with sausage gravy, one can really put it down without feeling like it is a brick in your belly later on that day.

The service/atmosphere was really great, too. They had made a mistake on one of our food items, and they apologized, fixed it quickly, and did not charge us for it. They were also really friendly. Even though it was busy, we did not feel rushed at all.

Also--and this is important--they had just squeezed the oranges for juice that morning, and you could taste it.

All in all--a great meal. Thanks for the recommendation.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 5 years later...

Bumping this thread up a notch -- any new recommendations? I have time for three dinners and one lunch in Asheville next week (one is a Monday night). All the recommendations on this page look excellent, except it appears La Caterina Trattoria is closed. I'm thinking Zambra is a must, given my love of Spanish food. Anything new I cannot miss?

Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The last time we were in Asheville, about a year and a half ago, we ate at Fig Bistro. While the food was very good, what most impressed me at the time was how well the place was run from a service standpoint. I've never been to a restaurant as busy as that one was where the staff handled things so efficiently without making us seem rushed. A well-oiled machine with a pleasant human face is what it was.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...