THE DINING NAVIGATOR
From Indian to Spanish cuisines, check out local restaurants that are delivering the flavors of the world.
COMPILED BY EDIBLE ASHEVILLE STAFF | PHOTOS BY ERIN ADAMS
22 Battery Park Ave., Downtown Asheville
Indian street food by James Beard Award nominee Meherwan Irani, Chai Pani consistently wins rave reviews for its spot-on authentic flavors. The vada pav sandwich, or street “burger,” has a stable of loyal fans. Spicy potato dumplings are topped with green and tamarind chutneys and served on two toasted buns. The okra fries, a vegan dish where julienned okra fries are topped with salt and seasoning, also get a special shout-out.
LA BODEGA BY CÚRATE
32 S. Lexington Ave., Downtown Asheville
Newly introduced in the wake of the Covid pandemic, La Bodega offers many of the favorites of award-winning Spanish restaurant Curate—now operating at reduced capacity—but packaged and semi-prepared for curbside pickup or in-store shopping. Check out the options for bocadillos, or Spanish-style sandwiches, as well as charcuterie and a selection of wines, beers and ciders.
70 N. Lexington Ave., Downtown Asheville
While this popular Indian restaurant has switched to pickup and delivery, at least at the time this issue went to press, the lunch buffet continues to be the signature offering that fans rave about—and miss. Fingers crossed it returns soon. For now, the ever-popular chicken tikka masala remains a big hit and Mela was offering $10 vegan and vegetarian entrees at the time this issue went to press.
751 Haywood Rd., West Asheville, and other locations
Caribbean-inspired pasta and rice dishes with lots of vegetarian options, relaxed funky vibes, and attentive service. There’s no shortage of things to praise at Nine Mile. Fans love just about everything on the menu, but make sure to try the “Meshach,” with hickory molasses rubbed chicken, sautéed cremini mushrooms, bell peppers, and grape tomatoes, in a white wine cream sauce. Or the “Kingston,” with sautéed shrimp in a red coconut curry sauce with sautéed onions, asparagus and cauliflower.
184 New Haw Creek Rd., East Asheville
Delight in French comfort food at this renovated church in Haw Creek, opened by long-time Asheville restaurater Michel Baudouin. With outdoor seating, and petanque courts, it offers the charm of France in the mountains. Among the crowd pleasers are the mussels, served in a savory sauce alongside Baudouin’s famous pommes frites, and the boeuf bourguignon, beef tenderloin tips simmered in a stew with mushrooms, cipollini onions, carrots and tomatoes.
6 Patton Ave., Downtown Asheville
Reflecting influences of Mexico, Spain, and the Caribbean, Salsa’s is a popular destination for both tourists and locals—all of whom appreciate fresh ingredients, hearty servings, and friendly service. Check out the various paella offerings, as well as fajitas made with your choice of chicken, steak, trout, or tofu and vegan chorizo. Homemade margaritas with fresh-squeezed lime score big.
WILD GINGER NOODLE BAR
1950 Hendersonville Rd. #12, South Asheville
Tucked into a shopping plaza in South Asheville, Wild Ginger has become a go-to place for fans of pho and other Vietnamese favorites. The pho, a hearty and delicious soup made with broth, rice noodles, and meat, can be made with seafood, chicken, and different cuts of beef. The homemade siu mai, steamed shrimp and pork dumplings, come with a ginger soy dipping sauce, and the lemongrass beef satay is also a stand-out on the menu.