Whether you need an impressive first date spot, a perfect place for an anniversary, or just a casual night on the town with your love, Asheville is sure to have the perfect date night restaurant for you. Let this guide to Asheville’s best date night restaurants lead you to an unforgettable evening.
This list includes restaurants for every occasion, whether it’s an intimate date night in a cozy spot, a quick bite before you hit a show or maybe you are looking to share a few appetizers while you get to know someone new.
What You’ll Find In This Article
- Map of date night spots
- Upscale date night restaurants
- Casual date night restaurants
We share everything from upscale favorites with exquisite Mexican fare like Limones to casual dives with delicious vegan food and kombucha. Let’s get to it so that you can start planning your next date night in Asheville!
MAP OF ASHEVILLE’S DATE NIGHT RESTAURANTS
Upscale Date Night Restaurants In Asheville, NC
This list first highlights restaurants that we consider a bit more upscale and better for a fancy date night. These are great if you are celebrating something special or just looking for a fancy night out. Perhaps you want to impress someone! All of these fit the bill and offer excellent food and ambiance.
The perfect restaurant for an intimate date night in West Asheville
Jargon is our ideal destination for a date night in Asheville because it’s cozy with picture-perfect decor and delicious food. You can opt to sit inside or, when the weather allows, outside at their outdoor courtyard with bistro lights overhead.
Jargon’s menu is seasonal and ever-changing, but you can always count on excellent food and presentation. Their steaks are always exceptional and we love their various salads and small plates.
They have a great cocktail menu with several inventive libations. For a captivating experience, try their “Ice Breaker” cocktail– Knob Creek Bonded Bourbon and Tawny Port harmonize with demerara sweetness and a touch of orange bitters, all elegantly encased within a captivating smoked ice ball.
While Jargon may be an excellent choice for a first date, it truly shines as a remarkable venue for an anniversary celebration. To elevate your experience even further, consider reserving a spot at their coveted “Chef’s Counter,” granting you a front-row seat to the culinary mastery taking place before your eyes.
Speaking of great date night restaurants in West Asheville…
The Admiral is such a treat! We absolutely love their outdoor tables with bistro lights overhead. It’s a great spot because the vibe is casual but the food is elevated.
You’ll find a small menu of French-inspired cuisine with a few options to share, pasta and around 5 main dishes. The menu changes but the steaks are always great! They also have a beef tartare on the menu with horseradish cheddar that’s a crowd favorite.
Be sure to make reservations if you are planning to dine at The Admiral.
Upscale Mexican spot with a delightful menu
Limones in downtown Asheville is definitely a top recommendation of ours. Their food is excellent, the menu is inventive, the location is great and the drinks + dessert are downright fantastic.
Make reservations in advance to secure a table or you can try to grab a seat at the bar. We recommend splitting a few plates like the lobster nachos, street corn, the three cheese relleno and the short ribs barbacoa gordita. They have larger dishes as well but we can’t get enough of the appetizers (or the churros with sipping hot chocolate!)
Rooftop dining at an Italian restaurant downtown
Strada is an Italian restaurant in downtown Asheville. They offer a daily dinner as well as a weekend brunch. We their chicken picatta, garlic ciabatta and the amazing vodka sauce.
Their menu includes hand-tossed pizza, chicken parmesan, lasagna and even rib bolognese. Strada also has a great Italian dessert selection, with everything from classic cannoli to spumoni and NY cheesecake.
There are several different seating areas at Strada (main dining room, cocktail lounge or rooftop patio) and you can pick your preferred area if you make reservations in advance.
We recommend the rooftop patio, but be warned that it is only accessed by stairs. It’s actually at their sister bar (Social Lounge) but the full Strada menu is available and you make reservations through Strada.
Charming cottage with delicious fare near the Omni Grove Park Inn
North of downtown Asheville in the Grovewood Village area by the Grove Park Inn you’ll find the charming ELDR. It’s new-ish to the Asheville dining scene, having opened in 2022.
You’ll find new American cuisine, natural wine, craft coffee and cocktails at ELDR. The focaccia by local baker Mother AVL with strawberry butter is an excellent place to start your date night out. They also have a few pasta options on the menu, as well as fish, duck and their ELDR burger with 24-day aged beef.
The restaurant itself is very cozy and charming. From the outside, you’ll get a Snow White and the 7 Dwarves feel but the inside feels modern. Make sure to admire their wood-fired oven!
ELDR offers lunch, dinner and a weekend brunch. You can make a reservation in advance here.
Charming restaurant in the River Arts District
Vivian is an upscale European-influenced restaurant located in the River Arts District. They get everything right, from the food to the ambiance to the service.
The menu features dishes like beef tartare, Nordic deviled eggs with smoked fish, potato, and cornichon, and smoked oysters with miso shrimp butter. When it comes to the entrees, their steak dinner is a true standout. The 14oz ribeye loin, served with creamy mashed potatoes and their renowned steak sauce, is a sublime choice. For a shared experience, we suggest starting with a few appetizers and then splitting the mouthwatering steak entrée with your date.
They have an extensive wine list and several cocktails to choose from, as well as local beer. They also offer a delicious Sunday brunch that is worth checking out.
Be sure to make a reservation at Vivian in advance!
Looking for something else to do before dinner? Head to Anoche for pre-dinner drinks! It’s an agave spirits and espresso bar located just a few minutes from Vivian in the River Arts District.
Classic American steakhouse featuring a live-fire dining experience
If you are looking for a fun experience while dining, we recommend Asheville Proper for your next date night. It’s located downtown at the Grove Arcade. Their specialty is steak cooked over an open flame, which not only creates such a wonderful flavor experience but a full sensory one, too.
From small plates and refreshing salads to enticing non-beef options like duck, fish, and a tofu ‘steak,’ there is something to please every palate. The star of the show, however, remains their selection of fire-flamed steaks, with the ribeye standing out as an excellent choice. Each steak comes with the option to choose a sauce and sides are served à la carte.
For those seeking the ultimate culinary adventure, try the chef’s tasting menu. It’s available Sunday through Thursday (closed on Tuesday.)
Bone & Broth
Steak dinner in the less crowded North Asheville
Bone and Broth is an excellent destination for a nicer date night out if you don’t want to deal with going downtown. It’s located just north of downtown on Charlotte Street.
They have a southern-inspired menu that features premium dry-aged steaks. Bone and Broth has six steak sauces to choose from, with everything from tallow butter to chimichurri.
Their baked goods are sourced from local Asheville bakeries and they use meat from their butcher neighbor Chop Shop and local farmer Joyce Farms. They also have a Beyond Meats veggie burger on the menu for any vegetarian diners.
As far as appetizers go, we love their crispy brussels, beef and blue frites and the 5 pepper pimento cheese. And the steaks are as delicious as you’d expect.
Make reservations in advance to avoid a wait.
Intimate space for French comfort food and a romantic night
Bouchon in downtown Asheville is such a gem. It’s a charming French restaurant with exposed brick walls, a cozy dining room and excellent fare. It’s the perfect restaurant for special occasions, like celebrating an anniversary in Asheville.
Their menu features traditional French dishes like escargot, steak frites, and moules frites. It’s the perfect place to linger over a delicious meal.
Don’t forget to make reservations in advance if you are planning to eat at Bouchon. You can choose from the dining room, the bar or the patio located in the alleyway.
Tapas in a really cool space in downtown Asheville
Looking for the perfect spot for a memorable date night in Asheville? Look no further than Zambra! With its trendy and inviting atmosphere, this place is a true gem. But let me tell you, the food is what truly steals the show.
Zambra specializes in tapas-style dining, allowing you and your date to explore a variety of mouthwatering dishes together. Prepare for a culinary adventure as you indulge in their incredible tapas selection.
Trust us, all of their tapas are absolutely amazing! From the flavorful patatas bravas and the mixed sautéed mushrooms to the crispy fried chickpeas and the tortilla Española with smoked goat cheese, every bite is a taste sensation. Don’t forget to pair your dishes with OWL Bakery bread served with vinegar and olive oil—it’s a match made in food heaven.
One of the great things about Zambra is that they offer several vegetarian options, making it an excellent choice for those seeking a vegetarian-friendly restaurant in Asheville.
As for the ambiance, Zambra nails it both indoors and outdoors. The interior creates a wonderful atmosphere, but if the weather allows, we highly recommend sitting in the breezeway. It’s incredibly romantic and adds an extra touch of charm to your date night.
So, make a reservation at Zambra and get ready for an unforgettable evening filled with delicious food, a fantastic setting, and delightful memories.
Farm-to-table fare and creative dishes
Rhubarb is a farm-to-table restaurant in downtown Asheville with an ever-changing menu. The atmosphere is rustic but refined, with both small 2-top tables and larger group tables.
Every single dish at Rhubarb is sure to impress, from the creative combination of flavors, the beautiful presentation or the freshness of the ingredients. Whether you’re indulging in a perfectly seared steak or savoring a vibrant vegetarian creation, each plate is a work of art.
Be sure to make reservations for Rhubarb before your next date night.
Share tapas at an award-winning spot
We can’t have a list of great date night restaurants without mentioning one of Asheville’s crown jewels. Cúrate gets it right every time, as you may imagine since they won the 2022 James Beard Award for Best Hospitality.
Their menu includes Spanish tapas, excellent wine options and decadent desserts. As far as tapas go, we have loved everything we have tried. The chistorra & chips is a great place to start while you check out the menu. The sauteed mushrooms are also fantastic, as well as the piquillo peppers stuffed with goat cheese.
Cúrate is a fun date night restaurant because you can spend the entire meal reviewing and discussing the menu. You know, in case you realize you don’t have anything else to talk about.
You’ll definitely want to make a reservation in advance to secure a table at Cúrate.
Benne on Eagle
Authentic Appalachian soul food in an upscale space
Their menu includes a few salads and small plates in addition to several entrees. The fare at Benne on Eagle is best described as Appalachian Soul Food. Though the menu changes, you’ll can expect dishes like an elevated fried chicken with mac & cheese + yam puree with a hot honey drizzle. Their Catfish Florentine is also divine.
Benne on Eagle is owned by seven-time James Beard nominee John Fleer. He is a renowned Southern chef and also the owner of Rhubarb and The Rhu.
What’s interesting about Benne on Eagle, though, is that it sits in the once flourishing African-American community in Asheville known as the “the Block.” Benne on Eagle was created to celebrate the rich history of the area and Black cuisine. Accordingly, Chef Fleer hired Asheville native Hanan Shabazz to be a mentor to keep the culinary traditions alive.
Make a reservation for Benne on Eagle to experience a wonderful evening at a unique restaurant in Asheville.
5 Walnut Wine Bar
Local wine and cheese bar with live music
Though 5 Walnut Wine Bar isn’t the place to fill up on a large dinner, it’s a great stop for small bites and an extensive wine list. It’s located in downtown Asheville and is really charming inside, with brick walls and rustic wooden tables.
Enjoy a glass of wine, people-watching from the window seats and live music for a fun date night.
Casual Date Night Restaurants In Asheville, NC
While we love a fancy night out in Asheville, you can typically find us at more casual spots when we have time for a date night. Our top picks for casual date night spots in Asheville include everything from a casual Thai spot to a burger joint and even a James Beard award-winning Indian restaurant.
Little Bee Thai
Hidden gem Thai spot with counter service and outdoor seating
Little Bee Thai is a charming spot on the outskirts of downtown Asheville. It has a cool vibe and feels very different than other Asheville establishments.
The menu at Little Bee is pretty small but it covers the bases. You’ll find a few curries, Pad Thai, mango sticky rice, spicy chicken wings and you can always count on a few specials. We love their salad with the housemade ginger dressing.
Unlike some Thai spots, you can’t specify heat at Little Bee. From our experience, the green curry is typically spicier than the Panang curry.
10/10 burgers and picnic tables in River Arts District
Baby Bull is a casual burger joint in the River Arts District and a favorite of ours for any occasion. It opened in 2021 as a result of the fanfare over the burger at sister restaurant Bull and Beggar.
It’s an order-at-the-counter spot with picnic tables out front. There’s also indoor seating if you prefer. We typically get their classic cheeseburger and a side of fries, but everything on the menu is delicious. They also have a chocolate milkshake as well as seasonal flavors.
Not only is Baby Bull a fun date night spot, but it’s also a great restaurant for kids if you want to take the whole family out.
Casual spot for ‘mindblowing’ Indian food
Chai Pani is a must-visit restaurant in the heart of downtown Asheville. It’s a vibrant and lively eatery that takes inspiration from the street food culture of India.
The menu features a perfect blend of traditional Indian flavors with a modern twist, all crafted using fresh and locally sourced ingredients. We love their fish sandwich, various chaats and the okra matchstick fries.
The inside is colorful and fun, the staff is always friendly, and the menu transports you to the bustling streets of India. Be prepared to wait, though, because they don’t take reservations and it’s a popular spot.
Chai Pani is also a great place to grab a delicious lunch in downtown Asheville.
Gan Shan West
Delicious Asian-fusion in West Asheville
We think Gan Shan is such an underrated restaurant in Asheville. It is so, so good but it seems to fly under the radar. Anyway, it’s a delight! They have great food and nice outdoor seating. It’s shared with OWL Bakery but they operate at different hours so it’s never an issue.
Their GSW Rice Bowl is one of our favorite dishes in town. We always get it topped with Korean pulled pork. There are a ton of toppings on it and some can get really spicy. If your babysitter cancels, bring the kids! Ours love Gan Shan’s pork and chive dumplings.
Gan Shan West is one of our most recommended places to get takeout in Asheville. It’s easy to order online and always hot and ready. Plus, it’s fantastic!
West Asheville Brewery with a Rooftop Patio
Speaking of Gan Shan West, you should check out their next-door neighbor Archetype for a change of scenery. In fact, you can even bring your Gan Shan meal with you!
Archetype is a great brewery in West Asheville to enjoy a rooftop beer. While they don’t have food service, their proximity to both Gan Shan West and Pizza Mind more than make up for it. Get takeout from either and enjoy delicious takeout!
Caribbean + Mexican restaurant with a fun atmosphere
With its festive atmosphere and colorful decor, Salsa’s creates the perfect setting for a fun and delicious dining experience. Their outdoor patio on the side is perfect for people-watching. It serves as the path to One World Brewing downtown so there’s a lot of action.
Salsa’s menu features a wide range of authentic yet elevated Mexican dishes, from sizzling fajitas and mouthwatering tacos to flavorful enchiladas and fresh guacamole.
Rosetta’s Kitchen + The Buchi Bar
Vegan food in downtown Asheville (with a kombucha bar!)
Rosetta’s is a very popular vegan restaurant in downtown Asheville. They offer awesome vegan comfort food, like mac and cheese, burgers, and fried chicken. We especially love their cornbread and collard greens and the vegan queso basket appetizers.
If you are into kombucha, check out the Buchi Bar located downstairs at Rosetta’s. Not only do they have a great kombucha menu, but you can order from the full Rosetta’s menu. The best of both worlds!
You’ll find a ton of kombucha cocktails at Buchi Bar, with everything from a Damp Salty Dog (vodka, orange cream syrup, grapefruit, buchi water) to your choice of shot in a pint of local Buchi kombucha. You can even get growlers of kombucha.
Cozy spot for pho in South Asheville
If it’s cold out and you are looking for a place to stay warm and get your fill of delicious food, head south to Wild Ginger. They have the best pho in town and its definitely worth the drive!
Choose from their house speial pho with several types of meat all the way to plain noodle soup. They also have noodles, rice dishes, sandwiches and salads. We typically get a few things, including pho with steak and vermicelli rice noodle salad. The wild ginger wings are also great.
Our go-to for Thai food in West Asheville
If you are looking for great Thai food in West Asheville, we definitely recommend Thai Pearl. It’s relaxed and casual, which isn’t always the case with Thai restaurants. We love their drunken noodles, various curries and Pad Thai.
Thai Pearl was opened in 2020 by Chef May, who trained and cooked at The Royal Palace in Bangkok, Thailand. Thai Pearl also has a full bar with a selection of local craft beers, Thai imports, and wines.
Laidback restaurant for Caribbean-inspired food
Nine Mile is an Asheville gem! Their food is absolutely amazing with an upscale feel, but the atmosphere is more local neighborhood.
Nine Mile is a great spot for a fun date night. We definitely recommend starting with their Live and Give appetizer— tortilla chips served with queso, daily hummus, and your choice of salsa.
And then don’t miss their Mayfield Falls mahi mahi that comes with a creamy yet somehow dairy-free sauce.
Though Nine Mile has multiple locations around town (West AVL and South AVL), our favorite is the one in Montford. All locations have the same daily menu, though.