AED: Neighborhood notables

Despite Asheville’s compact size, its neighborhoods are as distinct and varied as can be — from downtown’s eclectic, urban vibe to West Asheville’s reinvented charm. And naturally, those areas’ neighborhood favorites also run the gamut:

Downtown

  • Limones offers classic Mexican dishes with a modern twist, plus a not-to-miss brunch.
  • Primarily set up as a bar, Sovereign Remedies serves farm-to-table European comfort food, sourcing produce from Urban Patchwork Farms, a local, inner-city permaculture farm.
  • From James Beard Award-winning chef Jacob Sessoms, Table serves seasonal, farm-to-table new American cuisine using local, Appalachian ingredients for a menu that changes daily.
  • Craving a cheap lunch or a quick dinner? Mamacita’s, a Mexi-Cali burrito joint, wraps up tacos and burritos at an affordable price while slinging microbrews and margaritas for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

West

  • The Admiral, a former dive bar with a high-end kitchen, now boasts nearly a decade of quality (and some James Beard chef nominations) that secures its status as one of Asheville’s premier legacy restaurants.
  • King Daddy’s Chicken & Waffle promises a myriad different styles of fried chicken, plus an array of vegetarian options.
  • The Brew Pump, Asheville’s only gas-station taproom, offers local brews, a patio and a rotating cast of featured food trucks.
  • Down the street, The Double Crown, which looks like something straight out of New Orleans’ Tremé district, offers everything from a $5 bourbon list to Pappy Van Winkle.

East

  • Hidden in the former diner section of a gas station, The Local Joint in Fairview focuses on comfort foods like Reubens and Cubans and breakfast goodies like huevos rancheros and biscuits and gravy.
  • The Root Bar may look pretty funky from the street, but its backyard features a giant sandbox for adults where folks play Root Ball, a game invented by the bar’s founder that’s a mix of horseshoe and bocce.
  • In Black Mountain, Foothills Deli & Butchery — identified by its massive neon sign proclaiming, simply, “MEAT” — offers sandwiches and specialty flesh, including housemade hot dogs, sausages and pâtés.

North

  • Gan Shan Station, opened by chef Patrick O’Cain from Charleston’s esteemed Xiao Bao Biscuit, offers a culinary tour of often-overlooked regional cuisines from Thailand, Vietnam, China, Korea and Japan.
  • Nine Mile, in Montford, features a Rastafarian-themed menu with massive bowls of pasta, couscous or rice topped with tangy, spicy and sometimes fruity sauces, with generous portions of fresh fish, chicken or tofu.
  • Neighborhood favorite Ambrozia, near Beaver Lake, offers a farm-to-table, modern American edge: Think duck confit with duck breast meatloaf, or lamb sausage ragout with dumplings, or a lobster-and-chorizo potpie.

South

  • Biltmore Village’s Fig Bistro focuses primarily on new American and French cuisine, serving up Sunday brunch, lunch and dinner with a stellar wine list.
  • Near the airport, Koreana’s South Korean-focused menu offers classic entrees and banchan — that tasty small plate array.
  • Rocky’s Hot Chicken Shack fries up some of Asheville’s best Nashville-style hot chicken, plus cold local beers. Options range from plain to an unusually spicy mild to the absolutely nuclear-hot “Mt. Saint Hell No!”

River Arts District

  • Clingman Café, a popular coffee shop and informal eatery, dishes out casual favorites in an art-infused environment.
  • All Souls Pizza, a wood-fired pizzeria from the minds behind the oft-praised Farm & Sparrow Bread, slices up artisan Neapolitan-style pies.
  • After a beer at The Wedge, slip next door for dinner at The Bull and Beggar, where the Star Chef-award-winning Matt Dawes offers classic French preparations featuring local, Southern ingredients. Looking for fresh seafood, oysters, clams or periwinkles? With a carefully curated raw bar, you’ve come to the right pace.
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About Jonathan Ammons
Native Asheville writer, eater, drinker, bartender and musician. Proprietor of www.dirty-spoon.com Follow me @jonathanammons

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