Fathom Favorites : Asheville Restaurants

1. Chai Pani

Chai Pani

You didn’t think you traveled to the middle of western North Carolina to eat blow-your-mind Indian street food, did you? Well, now that you’re here, take your place in the queue so you can see what the culinary fuss is about, then go home raving about the selection of chaat (“snacks”) like corn bhel (a vegan power mix) and aloo tiki chaat (crispy potato fritters served on garbanzo stew), followed by a uttapam (crepe) or thali (a try-everything combo platter). Here’s a pro tip if you find you can’t decide what to eat because you want it all: You can order the snacks in half portions to maximize the flavor experience.

Photo by Team Fathom.

22 Battery Park Ave.


2. Cúrate


The tapas bar that launched the mini Spanish empire in town is helmed by James Beard-nominated chef Katie Buttons and her husband Felix Meana, whose bright, bustling space in a 1920s bus depot on the main drag remains a hot ticket more than a decade after its debut. A great place to bring friends for Spanish favorites — jamon, patatas bravas, and setas washed down with a great selection of vermouths — the seasonal menu is reliably unexpected, exciting, punchy, and very shareable. If you can’t score a reservation at Cúrate, their new spot, La Bodega by Cúrate right around the corner, is a great all-day spot for tapas, daily specials, cocktails, and take-home Spanish comestibles.

Photo by Team Fathom. 

13 Biltmore Ave.

La Bodega by Cúrate 
32 S. Lexington Ave.

3. Leo's House of Thirst

Leo's House of Thirst

It may sound like a honky tonk dive bar, but Leo’s in West Asheville is in fact a cozy, welcoming, and sophisticated eatery. Their impressive by-the-glass selection of wines and sparklers, vermouths and sherries, ciders and ales — many on tap — as well as non-alcoholic choices accompanies a tightly edited menu of tartines, pastas, cheeses, and desserts. Grab a seat at the open kitchen or in the dining room, or take it outside. You’ll probably end up making friends with the nearby tables. It’s that kind of spot.

Photo courtesy of Leo's House of Thirst.

1055 Haywood Rd.

4. Fig Bistro

Fig Bistro

Here’s a Biltmore Village spot for your back pocket: a white-tiled bistro where you can enjoy a delightful daily special and a glass of chilled rose. Husband and wife team Traci and Treavis Taylor are self-declared purists when it comes to classics like deviled eggs, Caesar salads, and corned-beef reuben sandwiches; the pair focus on scene-stealing ingredients and top-notch technique to make your lunch dreams come true.

Photo courtesy of Fig Bistro.

2684, 18 Brook St. #101

5. Rendezvous


Enjoy French comforts — terrines, escargots, sweetbreads, profiteroles — in an airy bistro with a generous backyard patio filled with cane chairs and umbrellas. Have a leisurely round of Pétanque with your coffee.

Photo courtesy of Rendezvous.

184 New Haw Creek Rd.

6. 12 Bones Smokehouse

12 Bones Smokehouse

Tender butts. Sweet racks. You know the deal. It’s North Carolina and you’re here for the BBQ. But don’t skimp on the sides either: corn pudding, corn bread, jalapeno cheese grits, and vinegar coleslaw. In other words, they offer enough for vegetarians to eat well. There are two locations, one in the River Arts District and one in Arden. Don’t worry if the line looks long — it moves quickly. But do check for times before you come: River Arts closes at 4:30 p.m. and isn’t open on the weekend. Because when you're this good, you can do whatever you want.

Photo by Team Fathom.

7. Little Chango

Little Chango

We’re loving the energy behind the casual Hispanic kitchen slinging arepas and sweet plantains from a little yellow brick box in Asheville's South Slope. Voracious eaters on the hunt for a good mid-day meal should try the lunch box with Puerto Rican rice and beans, escabeche, pickled veggies, and a protein before test driving the coconut cardamom flan.

Photo courtesy of Little Chango.

134 Coxe Ave.

8. Andaaz


Lamb chops, tandoori prawns, butter chicken, saags, and paneers — just some of the hearty offerings with complex flavors served at this popular white-tablecloth restaurant in Biltmore Village. Well lit and cozy, it’s considered the best Indian game in town. Try a little of this and that at the immaculate lunchtime and weekend buffet.

Photo courtesy of Andaaz.

28 Hendersonville Rd.