“Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is a 24 hour quest to feed your bellies in Asheville.” Mission accepted! You’ve got only 24 hours in Asheville to wine and dine around the city…what do you do? First, don’t despair at the endless choices or pull your hair out debating which to choose because there are just too many awesome restaurants to choose from. Second, it’s Asheville…so your odds of finding an exceptional place just went up. Finally, I’m here to help! Here’s how the hubby and I spent our grown-ups only trip to Asheville.
White Duck Taco Shop for lunch
White Duck Taco Shop has two Asheville locations, so we chose the River Arts District location for its artsy, casual vibe. Here’s the skinny: you can expect flavorful, fresh ingredients and an eclectic vibe. Picnic tables for outdoor seating adds to the low key, relaxed atmosphere.
Choose from the wonderful assortment of tacos listed on the colorful chalkboard, many of which have an international flair. Jerk Chicken, Bahn Mi Style Tofu, Bangkok Shrimp are just some of the tasty offerings, which can be paired with chips and salsa 3 ways, the mint watermelon, and beer, margaritas, and sangria to wash the tacos down.
We scarfed down our selections with gusto: Fish, Duck, and Thai Peanut Chicken. Each one was more mouth-watering than the next!
Having been here before, we came in expecting high quality and freshness. We left quite satisfied… and stuffed!
Monday through Saturday 11:30am-9pm
River Arts location: 1 Roberts Street (828) 258-1660
Downtown location: 12 Biltmore Avenue (828) 232-9191
Cúrate for dinner
When I asked friends where we should eat while in Asheville, the responses I got were unanimous: Cúrate. The restaurant’s name is pronounced coo-rah-tay and means 1. cure yourself and 2. eat spanish tapas. I would say it also means 3. Dang delicious dining! Specializing in Spanish tapas, executive chef Katie Button’s pedigree is impressive: she worked at Jean Georges in New York and elBulli, Ferran Adrià’s world-renowned Spanish restaurant.
The catch was we didn’t have reservations despite my best efforts. But by simply checking in ahead of time, the restaurant takes your information and texts you when your table or spot at the bar is ready. Brilliant! We went to a nearby wine bar to have a drink, then an hour later, we returned to grab our seats at the 22 seat marble bar that overlooks the exhibition kitchen. And oh, what a show it was!
Don’t settle for a table-this is food theater at its finest. Ben worked the saute station with such precision, carefully turning each shrimp individually. It caught our eye so much so that we ordered the dish (gambas al ajilio) –and it lived up to the hype of being their most popular tapa.
Don’t know what to order? No worries! Ask your server for tips or better yet, just watch and see what is being prepared and say, “I’ll have one of those!”
Another fun benefit to the bar: it’s interactive. The couple next to us from San Diego in town for a wedding shared their patatas bravas (crispy fried potatoes topped with a slightly spicy brava sauce) with us. Thanks, neighbors!
Cúrate’s website promises: “If you have ever visited Spain, Cúrate’s menu will transport you back to the country of flamenco, olives, almonds, and sherry. If you’ve never been to Spain, Cúrate will introduce you to the country’s lively tapas bar tradition of small plate dining on foods flavored with a touch of sherry, or perhaps a smoky paprika, and always the choicest olive oil. Cúrate brings the essence of Spain to downtown Asheville… one plate at a time.” If this is the essence of Spain, I need to pack my bags and get to Spain, like NOW!
When I say this was the best meal we’ve had, I don’t mince words. Don’t worry: no calories for just looking! (Best tapa by far were the shrimp and the squid/squid ink pasta)
tabla de quesos: 4 different cow and goat milk cheeses
pulpo a al gallega: galician style octopus served warm with sea salt, olive oil, spanish paprika and yukon gold potato puree
pescado con tomate: seared tilefish in a rich tomato and seafood broth with chickpeas, roasted garlic, and crispy fish skin
rossejat negro: similar to paella but made with thin noodles, squid in its ink, garnished with all i oil and salsa verde
gambas al ajilio: the number one tapa in Asheville, sautéed shrimp and sliced garlic
Celebrating a birthday or anniversary? Be sure to request the special dessert: a divine mixture of chocolate, raspberry, and pistachio. Brava!
Tuesday – Thursday 11:30am – 10:30pm
Friday – Saturday 11:30am – 11pm
Sunday 11:30am – 10:30pm
Cúrate: 11 Biltmore Avenue (828) 239-2946
Over Easy Cafe for breakfast/brunch
This charming, laid-back cafe and juice bar boasts organic and vegetarian breakfasts in a comfy cozy setting. They pride themselves on free-range eggs and antibiotic-free meats farmed by reputable local producers. Where else can you find huevos rancheros, tofu scramble, a juice refresher, and thick-cut French toast on one menu? Hint: Over Easy Cafe!
Of course, the standard breakfast fare of eggs and (turkey) bacon, pancakes, and omelets lots of fresh squeezed juices and smoothies are here to delight your taste buds. Be prepared: it’s a popular spot, so get your name in and they’ll text you when your table is ready!
Over Easy Cafe: 32 Broadway Street (828) 236-3533
Y’all, I think I need to fast now for a week, but it was SO worth it! The cooking scene in Asheville is off the chain with dynamic, stellar restaurants that epitomize why the foodie movement has taken off. So get moving to Asheville to grab some of these good eats for yourself!
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