North Asheville — that is, the area north of downtown — is a bit farther from your Asheville cabin at Willow Winds, but the extra few minutes might be worth the trip. While the city has exploded with interesting, diverse places to dine, North Asheville restaurants cater to a mix of well-to-do homeowners and college students, although not always at the same time. Here’s a selection of the best Asheville restaurants north of the city center:
Here’s an original. Not only does Asheville Brewing Company serve fresh beer, but also they have tasty pizza, sandwiches and salads. The lunchtime pizza buffet is deliciously dangerous. But the food and drink are only half the attraction. ABC features a game room for the kids and three-dollar, second-run movies for the whole family. You can eat and drink in their theater too.
If all Asheville restaurants could be like this, more people would dine out more often. Right on Merrimon Avenue, Avenue M is a spacious, friendly place that serves a wide range of delicious meals, from a Vegetarian Stir Fry to its Merrimon (Beef) Medallions. The owner really cares about this local restaurant, so she’s there most evenings.
Other Asheville restaurants have tried to capitalize on the local, organic, slow food movements that are trending, but none does it as well as HomeGrown, whose tagline is: “Slow Food Right Quick.” This eatery captures the spirit of Asheville, from the delicious but inexpensive plates and “samiches” to the tattooed waitresses. They’re busy breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Luella’s has quickly become a local favorite. It’s because they simply do everything well, from the traditional ribs to their salad options. This is North Carolina BBQ with a variety of tempting sauces to please your palate. You can’t go broke eating there, either, since prices are reasonable and portions are big. They sometimes feature live music in the evening.
Despite its name, Marco’s serves a variety of classic Italian food in addition to New York-style pizzas. Their original location in North Asheville — they opened a South Asheville location recently — has been serving pizza, calzone, stromboli, pasta, hot sandwiches and dessert for years. They were voted the city’s best pizza nine times.
Serving Caribbean soul food with a sophisticated twist, Nine Mile has been satisfying and surprising customers since 2008. For lunch or dinner, their pasta meals and rice dishes feature chicken or seafood, delectable or spicy sauces, and lots of veggies. In fact, this eatery is “vegetarian-friendly.” They recently opened a second location in West Asheville, too.
This high-end vegetarian restaurant may make you want to give up meat for good. We love their URL: PlantIsFood.com. Their dishes are so wonderfully flavorful and rich that you won’t even realize they’re completely meat-free. They also offer gluten-free options. Try their Red Curry Tofu or the Applewood Smoked Porto’House (complete with steak sauce).
Asheville restaurants aren’t deep when it comes to Italian cuisine. Maybe it’s just not a Southern thing. But Vinnie’s captures the family-friendly Italian eateries of old. From pizza to pasta and from sausage to seafood, this place makes those traditional Italian dishes you sometimes crave.
Sushi is always in season, and Asheville has its share of sushi restaurants. What makes Zen Sushi stand out are its variety and its quality. Whether you want a simple California roll or the famous Blue Ridge roll, you can get it here. They serve a limited lunch menu.