Flavor: Fresh MexicaliAmbiance: Bright, funky and livelyService: Friendly and prompt The smiling face that more often than not greets customers from behind the counter of Mamacita’s, the lively little burrito joint on Biltmore Avenue, belongs to a man named James Hurt. James knows about all sorts of food, but it’s his knack for cooking meat […]

Small Bites

Open sesame: Ali Baba, a new Middle Eastern buffet-style restaurant, is now open at Suite 113 inside the Grove Arcade. The restaurant offers stuffed grape leaves, kebobs, baba ganoush and more for $4.75 a pound. Also available are made-to-order sandwiches and house-made desserts such as baklava. The owner is a native of Alexandria, Egypt, as […]

Five Points Restaurant

Flavor: Southern staplesAmbiance: No-frills dinerService: Courteous and efficient Living, working and playing in downtown Asheville, sometimes it seems to me that I’m surrounded almost entirely by transplants from elsewhere. I’m one too, and it could be easy to forget that this is first and foremost a Southern town, were it not for the generally congenial […]

Small Bites

Staff of life: On Saturday, March 5, Greenlife Grocery will host the Asheville Artisan Bread Festival from 2-6 p.m. The event will showcase local, mostly organic artisan breads, along with locally made accompaniments such as jams and cheeses. A panel of experts, including nationally known baker and author Peter Reinhart, will be on hand to […]

Small Bites

A fresh start: Cafe Soleil welcomes two new chefs from the A-B Tech Culinary Department, as well as a revamped and expanded menu. The chefs plan to always use organic meats and free-range eggs and, when possible, local produce. The restaurant will also feature salsa dancing on Tuesday, with instruction available. Cafe Soleil is located […]

Noi’s Thai Kitchen

Flavor: Fresh, traditional ThaiAmbiance: Spare but homeyService: Gracious, sincere and slightly overwhelmed When Lenny DiMaio, the co-owner of Noi’s Thai Kitchen, informed me that his wife Noi insisted on doing all the cooking at their new restaurant by herself, I was so skeptical it must have shown. “Really,” he insisted. “She won’t let anyone else […]


Flavor: Californian/MexicanAmbiance: Classy yet comfortableService: Professional and personable On a recent dreary weeknight, I stepped into the inviting, cozy atmosphere of Limones, a new restaurant on Eagle Street — and was immediately enveloped by the warmth of the space. The old cherry floors and lacquered wood tables were bathed in light just strong enough to […]

Small Bites

Quoth the raven: The Raven Grill opened its doors on Jan. 21. Though the weather outside was frightful, Asheville gave the new restaurant a warm reception, according to owner Greg Burgin. The Raven focuses on affordable vegetarian fare, featuring such items as homemade veggie burgers, wraps and soy shakes. The bar offers a selection of […]