An evening of dining at Tupelo Honey CafÃ© might start with an appetizer of honey chipotle wings with blue cheese dressing, followed by a seared salmon fillet for dinner. Or, you could try the eatery’s famous sweet potato pancakes and homemade hot chocolate.
Meanwhile, a visit to Mamacitas could include a meal of raging fajita burritos or a plate of Baja-style fish tacos with sautÃ©ed vegetables.
Or, you could dig into some butternut squash soup before enjoying seared ahi tuna or roasted quail at Savoy Restaurant & Martini Bar on Merrimon Avenue. Variety is the spice of restaurants located throughout Asheville, with eateries that are second to none for a city this size.
For example, hungry diners can enjoy oysters Rockefeller and Alaskan king crab legs at The Lobster Trap, or sit down to calamari and eggplant Parmesan at Fiore’s Cottonwood Cafe.
Whatever the restaurant, the specialties of the house are often too many to mention.
“Asheville is a nice place to stop and smell the roses, and a great city to stop and taste some pretty amazing food,” says Eric Scheffer, owner of Savoy. “The emphasis at our restaurant is on the freshest possible product. Everything is made from scratch – the only freezers we have on site are for ice cream that we make in our kitchen.”
For a comfy place to nosh on Southern food with an uptown twist, you’ll want to visit Tupelo Honey CafÃ©. The popular eatery, which has been written up in The New York Times and Southern Living, is known for items such as homemade soups, salads and desserts, and entrees that combine great Southern staples in new ways, including Pesto Grit Cakes, Cajun Skillet Catfish and Nutty Fried Chicken. The outdoor tables at the College Street restaurant draw diners for both lunch and dinner, and there’s also a bar where you can watch the cooks at work.
Horizons restaurant, located in the Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa, is just as impressive. Soon after it opened in 1991, Horizons became a four-diamond restaurant and was presented with an award of excellence from the Distinguished Restaurants of North America.
“Our forte is wines, with more than 850 in our cellar – 100 of which are half-bottles,” says Kevin Schwartz, Horizons beverage manager. “As for our menu, we pick and choose the best dishes from around the world.”
One of those dishes is a seven-ounce Wagyu filet, which is exotic beef from Kobe, Japan.
“It’s quite expensive, and you will be ruined for life once you eat one of these filets – you won’t ever want to order anything else,” Schwartz says. “In addition, our lobster bisque is the best you will ever try."
Schwartz says he likes being a part of the restaurant scene in Asheville because of the excitement that the city exudes.
“I just look out the window each morning and realize why I love being in Asheville,” he says. “The mountains and the changing seasons make this one of the most beautiful areas on earth. That’s probably why the restaurants here are so good. Great scenery, great attitude, great food.”