Have you ever had someone point something out to you that you didn't even realize about yourself?  That's what happened to me several months ago when I was talking to a friend about a new restaurant I had tried.  "You love food!" she exclaimed so matter-of-factly.  To be honest, I don't consider myself a food lover at all.  It's just that I'm so often disappointed when I eat out, that when that's not the case, I want to tell everyone I know about it.  But enough about me...

Listed below (in no particular order) are the 10 best places to eat around Asheville.  One trick that I have learned about visiting restaurants is knowing when to go as much as what you should order.  For this reason, I have listed what I have found to be the best times to attend these restaurants along with what I order when I go there.  For more information on the restaurant itself, click on the restaurant name to be taken directly to their website (or Facebook page if they don't have a website).

Tasty Thai Kitchen

My Order: LD 4 (Pad Kee Mao) lunch special with tofu and a vegetable soup on the side.  Four stars on the spicy scale.  If you prefer a meat option, get this same special with chicken and a wonton soup.  Also delicious is the A6 appetizer known as "Pinky In The Blanket."  You get five shrimp, each wrapped in a wonton wrapper and then deep fried (dipping sauce is also included).

When To Go: M-F at lunch time

This is a secret place to get amazing Thai food.  I'm sure some people are put off by the fact that it is located inside a gas station, but don't let that deter you.  Their food is AMAZING.  At the time of this writing, a lunch special is only $7 and you get an entree, an egg roll, and a side of soup.  You can't beat that even at a fast food restaurant!  Also in the plus column for this one is the fact that they offer vegetarian options.

Taqueria Del Sol Taco Truck

My Order: Pork and pineapple tacos with green sauce on the side (don't forget the green sauce!).

When To Go: M-F at lunch time

The Taqueria Del Sol taco truck is so good, I actually think I ate there every day for a week when I first discovered it.  Their tacos are authentic and always delicious.  Don't forget to get the green sauce on the side (ON THE SIDE - the spicy level varies depending upon the peppers, so some days it is really spicy).  At only $2.50/taco, this place is a steal and should beat out any fast food restaurant that you were thinking of going to.

Plant

My Order: Their menu changes often.  Just make sure to save some room for ice cream.

When To Go: Any time

You know how you sometimes want to "try" something new at a restaurant but maybe next time you wouldn't get it again?  Plant is one of the only restaurants I have been to where I can honestly say that I have enjoyed absolutely everything I have eaten there so much so, that I would eat it all again if given the chance.  Literally everything they offer is delicious.  I am so happy to have been told about this restaurant in my early stages of converting to veganism.  However, even if you aren't vegan, you will love this food.  Seriously, give it a try.

Moe's Original BBQ

My Order: Pork platter with baked beans and a seasonal side.

When To Go: Any time

Before I became a vegan, I loved barbecue.  LOVED IT.  Everywhere I went, I always got the same thing to compare across restaurants and Moe's has the best BBQ in town as far as I'm concerned.  Their sauces are delicious, their cornbread is delicious, and their baked beans are delicious too.  If you're in the mood for some good 'cue, go here.

Sora Japanese Restaurant

My Order: All of the vegetarian sushi rolls, but especially the Inari Avocado Roll.  Pre-vegan, I used to get the Spicy Crab Salad as an appetizer as well.  My husband's favorite roll is the Superman Roll wrapped in soy paper instead of seaweed.

When To Go: Mondays and Thursdays at 4:30 p.m.

I had been trying to get my husband to enjoy sushi for 10 years (yes, an actual decade) before Sora helped me accomplish the task.  How?  By offering soy paper instead of seaweed as a wrap for their rolls.  They also offer brown rice instead of white rice for their rolls and gluten-free soy sauce.  Having this much attention-to-detail should speak volumns to you about the care they put into their sushi.  It is absolutely delicious.  Even better news?  Beginning at 4:30 p.m. on Mondays and Thursdays, ALL OF THEIR SUSHI ROLLS ARE BUY ONE, GET ONE FREE!  If you go during the BOGO event, you are likely to see me there.

Papa's & Beer (Tunnel Road)

My Order: Steak or veggie fajitas along with extra bean dip for the chips that they bring to your table.  You can never have too much bean dip.

When To Go: Any time

Every Papa's & Beer has a different menu, so I have specified the location on this one just due to my experience of the one on Tunnel Road delivering consistently good food.  The fajitas I order are always cooked exactly right and come out smoking hot.  The chips and bean dip that they bring to your table as soon as you sit down are exceptional.  Few other free appetizers at other restaurants even come close.  If you're in the mood for Mexican food, this is the place to go.

Rocky's Hot Chicken Shack (Sweeten Creek Road)

My Order: Fried pickles as an appetizer, the 3-piece tenders plate in "Rocky's Hot...Pepper Spray" spiciness with blue cheese dressing on the side, sweet potato casserole, and banana pudding for dessert.

When To Go: Any time

I specified the location on this one because the Sweeten Creek Road location has a better ambiance.  Also, I'm pretty sure you can tell by my order that I really like this place.  If you are thinking of coming here, let me forewarn you: Rocky's "spicy" is not like any other restaurant's "spicy" that you have had.  No, it's not.  Get the idea out of your head that you understand what "spicy" means.  You do not understand because you do not have any comparable experiences to this place. 

When I was a newbie, I wanted to be on their "Wall of Flame" because I love spicy food and have a high tolerance for it.  A high tolerance in that I have only met one other person that can eat spicy food on the level that I can.  But alas, even my "Wall of Flame" dreams have been shattered since I tasted their second-hottest flavor, "Foothills...Climb the Mountain."  Let me just tell you, it is not so much a mouth problem as a stomach one.  One bite and I instantly knew I had made a mistake.  And that was with their second hottest flavor.  I seriously can't even imagine the hottest flavor.  It doesn't even register in my mind of what it would be like.  No one should eat food that spicy, but it is actually very comical when they do.  This is my go-to restaurant to teach people who think they can handle spicy food a lesson (hey, I warn everyone but many people still want to face the challenge of this place).  Now that you understand the spiciness level, let me tell you that they can make all of their food as mild as you like, even down to absolutely no spiciness at all.  Go get you some serious southern fried chicken from this place!

Twin Dragons Grand Buffet

My Order: It's a buffet, but I mainly eat the vegetarian sushi.  You can also ask the sushi chef to make you special rolls that aren't available on the sushi bar.

When To Go: Sunday at lunch time

I hate buffets.  Like really hate them.  The worst thing about buffets is that the food is always room temperature or cold.  Also, it's hard for me to get my money's worth if I can't take any leftovers home.  Enter Twin Dragons and their sushi bar.  I can eat more sushi than anyone I know and Twin Dragons is perhaps the only buffet that I trust enough to eat sushi at.  Every time I have gotten the sushi there it is chilled, which in this case is actually good because it keeps it fresh and keeps potential food poisoning germs away (or that's what I tell myself at least...so far so good!).  Go on Sundays when there are large crowds and the food turnover is high.

JK's Kitchen

My Order: The Monte Cristo sandwich

When To Go: Thursdays

I debated about putting this one on the list because, to be honest, I've only gotten two things here.  The first time I went, I got a pimiento cheese sandwich (which was good) and all of the rest of the times I have gotten the Monte Cristo sandwich.  It's only offered on Thursdays, so go on a Thursday and try it.  The restaurant atmosphere reminds me of a family-run place from the 1990s, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.  It's kind of like going for a walk down memory lane.  Just don't expect too much atmosphere and get the Monte Cristo sandwich.

Huddle House

My Order: Coffee and a waffle.

When To Go: Saturday morning

Sometimes you just need diner food.  And sometimes you need it at 2 a.m.  Huddle House is the place to go when those times arise.  If you want an especially great breakfast experience, go on a Saturday morning.  They have their "A" team cooking up the food then and it is sure to hit the spot.

Honorable Mention: Mountain Juicery

My Order: The Cinnamon Bun or Mocha Joe smoothies.  If you're fighting an illness, get the Vitamin Spice-C juice.

When To Go: Any time

Not everyone considers a smoothie to be a "meal" per se, so I have put this one in the "Honorable Mention" category.  The truth is, if you are feeling bloated after all that other stuff you have managed to eat and now need to cram something into your body that is actually good for you, head on over to Mountain Juicery.  They'll fix you right up with some good-for-you fruits and vegetables.  An added bonus?  Everything is vegan!  So for my lactose-intolerant friends, you can once again enjoy a delicious smoothie.  The two smoothies I like best are new to the menu and not listed online, so don't make up your mind about what you'll order until you visit the actual store.

That's it!  What did you think about these places to eat?  Have you been to an incredible restaurant that I should visit?  Let me know in the comments below and I will be sure to give it a try!

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