My Favorite Food Town: Asheville, North Carolina
Are you looking for the best places to eat in Asheville, North Carolina? I asked my friend Ashley of Wild Hearted to share her favorite vegan-friendly Asheville restaurants as well as some things to do in Asheville.
The Best Places to Eat in Asheville
Despite how much I travel and no matter how many beautiful places I see and faces I meet, I’ll always call this area of the world one of my favorites. Eastern Tennessee and Western North Carolina, the Smoky Mountains and the Blue Ridge Mountains, Gatlinburg and Asheville – this cluster of mountains, rivers, and forests will forever be my slice of paradise.
Asheville itself is such an amazing place. A city that feels like it’s in the middle of nowhere surrounded by mountains on all sides. It’s one of the most inclusive cities I’ve ever been to – where times are progressive, living local is the norm, and everyone is welcomed. It also happens to be one of the best places in the country for vegan food.
Rosetta’s Kitchen is an all-vegetarian restaurant and kombucha bar focusing on local and seasonal food. They also have a close relationship with musicians, artists and community groups, and offer meals on a sliding scale so everyone can eat there no matter their financial status. It really doesn’t get much better than that.
I had a reuben, which is not at all what I would normally order. I’m not a sauerkraut person, but I have to say, this was really good! So if you’re going through rueben withdrawals, I highly suggest Rosetta’s.
Garlik really surprised me. It’s a little bit out of the way but don’t let that stop you. It’s about a 20-ish minute drive from downtown and just opened last year. I got to eat here a couple times while I was house and cat sitting last year.
The menu is extensive, so it’ll be hard to pick just one thing. The taco pizza is amazing and so unique that I highly suggest trying it. The chicken Philly cheese is also a great option. They also have amazing sounding specials and rotating homemade desserts as well. While in this neck of the woods, I’d suggest visiting Dupont State Forest. You’ll find some of the best waterfalls and hiking trails in the area.
I’m suggesting this spot based off one single sandwich –it’s so good that I constantly think about it on a regular basis. It is one of the most delicious bagel sandwiches I’ve ever had, and, really, it’s pretty simple. It’s called Viva La Vegan and it’s essentially a bacon (tempeh), egg (tofu) and cheese bagel.
Ultra Coffeebar is located in the River Arts District, so it is the perfect starting point to check out the arts scene in Asheville. You can visit galleries, meet artists, search for murals, take art workshops, and more along the French Broad River.
Plant often finds itself on all of the “best vegan restaurants” lists. It’s highly regarded as one of the best vegan spots in the entire country and usually suggested as the first place to eat in Asheville when people ask. After visiting a couple of times, I have to agree. It’s one of the best meals I’ve had – vegan or otherwise.
Plant is small and cozy, offering an intimate setting – perfect for spending time with friends or a romantic date for two. If the weather is nice, you can enjoy your meal out on the small patio. Due to the smaller size and limited hours, I would suggest making a reservation.
It’s one of the pricier options in Asheville at least in terms of the all-vegan restaurants, but it’s worth every penny in my opinion. My order suggestion? The cheese plate for an appetizer and the seitan chile con queso for the entree.
Block Off Biltmore
I think, so far, New York City is the only place I’ve seen an all-vegan bar before. So to find one in a mountain town in North Carolina is pretty spectacular. To top it off, Block Off Biltmore is an eco-friendly, social justice, and solidarity bar and event space. It’s quite literally the most welcoming place ever. You can find all sorts of events going on here – dancing, live music, vegan cookoffs, tango, salsa, and swing dancing, and more.
What is there to do in Asheville?
There are many more vegan restaurants in Asheville and all of them are definitely worth a visit. Asheville isn’t just about the food though. Don’t forget to go hiking in the Smoky Mountains, drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway, visit the Biltmore Estate, stroll around downtown, or visit an animal sanctuary while you’re in town. If you want to make a road trip, consider adding on Gatlinburg, Tennessee; Blowing Rock, North Carolina; and Greensville, South Carolina to your itinerary.
What do you think are the best places to eat in Asheville?
Ashley is a freelance writer and vegan travel blogger living in Nashville, Tennessee. She is on a mission to show others how to travel and live in the world in an ethical and sustainable fashion.
This is the ninth post in the “My Favorite Food Town” series. Check out the previous post on Bogota, Colombia.