Greetings Foodtopia fans! All of you who love the delicious cuisine of downtown Asheville are probably well aware that the cost to enjoy it can quickly add up. That’s why we’re big fans of this article written by our friends at Citizen Times, which highlights 25 of Asheville’s best restaurants to enjoy a full meal for under $10! Grab a fork Asheville- it’s time to dig in:
(Partial article below, full story can be viewed here.)
Rumor has it that it’s too expensive to eat in downtown Asheville. But we’re here to tell you — 25 different ways — that there’s plenty to eat in the central business district for $10 or less.
Here’s the list, broken down by location.
If you’re on or near Broadway or Lexington
Strada: You may think of this spot as a place to get pizza and pasta, and it still is. But chef and owner Anthony Cerrato, who made gluten-free breads, noodles and pizza dough before it was popular, has added healthy grain bowls to the lunch and brunch menu.
You’ll also find No Evil Foods plant proteins, vegan cheese for pizzas, gluten-free calamari and more. Why the even sharper turn toward healthier fare?
The Mediterranean Bowl at Strada downtown is available for lunch. The bowl, which costs $10, is made with farro, feta cheese, olives, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, oregano, fresh spinach and dressed. (Photo: Angeli Wrightfirstname.lastname@example.org)
“We’re trying to be lighter and healthier, because nothing tastes as good as healthy feels, as far as I’m concerned,” Cerrato said.
For $10, the Mediterranean grain bowls tosses fresh spinach, tomatoes, feta, olives, farro and red onions in a vinaigrette for a light and healthy lunch. At 27 Broadway St.
Loretta’s: I’m not a huge sandwich person, but when I do eat one, it’s at this favorite Asheville haunt. You can get a full-size sandwich on house-baked bread for $8.50, like the Pastrami Carnival with olives, pickles and Creole mustard. Tip: Get the gumbo on Friday. At 114 N Lexington Ave.Rosetta’s: This longtime restaurant has always been known for its hearty vegan fare. Perhaps the best bang for your buck is the Bellyful, a rice and bean bowl with smoky tofu, cilantro lettuce and salsa for $9. At 116 N. Lexington Ave.
Gourmet Chip Company: All of the sandwiches here are under $10, and as a bonus come with house-made chips. Try the Cuban, with pork tenderloin, plantains and Lusty Monk aioli, for $9.95. At 43 1/2 Broadway St.Heiwa: If you ever miss old Asheville, just pop into this longtime Japanese haunt. Most of the old-school noodle soups are still there, as are most of the same lunch boxes. The prices are old-school, too. A tofu spicy garlic lunch box, served with seaweed and green salad, rice or miso soup, is just $8. The Ninja, or vegan noodle soup, is just $6.50. At 87 N. Lexington Ave.
If you’re near the Grove Arcade
Aloha Cafe: This new restaurant has poke bowls and spring rolls, but the best value can be found in the banh mi sandwiches. The pulled chicken and the hummus version are both $6.99. For a dollar more, you can get the classic banh mi, or the Aloha with pork loaf, sliced ham, pate and all the classic accoutrements. At 28 Battery Park Ave.
The pork banh mi at Aloha Cafe. (Photo: Mackensy Lunsford)
Burgerworx: Also in the Grove Arcade is Burgerworx, a great source for a smash-style burger. Get a basic burger and some fries, leave off the premium toppings, and your bill should still be below $10 with tip and tax. At 1 Page Ave.
Baba Nahm: From the Rezaz crew comes this little gem of a restaurant for cheap Middle Eastern fare in the Grove Arcade. I like the spicy and hearty harira soup ($4.95), perfect with a side of the restaurant’s herb-dusted fries ($3.50). The gozleme, comforting on a gloomy day, is like a Mediterranean-style quesadilla with spinach and feta, spicy pepper sauce and pickled vegetables ($7.95). At 1 Page Ave. #139.
Baba Nahm, a new Grove Arcade eatery, has added the flavor of Middle Eastern street food to a growing downtown avenue. Angela Wilhelmemail@example.com
The Soda Fountain at Woolworth Walk: Downtown workers also know and love this spot for a cheap lunch. Want a hot dog? It will set you back a cool $3.95. Roast beef sandwich? $6.95. I dig the hummus plate, with its crunchy vegetables and pita slices ($5.95). Don’t expect anything fancy — this is a solid and charming lunch counter. Oh, and the milkshakes are delicious. At 25 Haywood St.
Roman’s Deli: My receipts tell me I’ve ordered takeout from this place around 70 times, so I consider myself a bit of a Roman’s expert. It takes some digging to find items under $10, but they’re there: tuna salad sandwich; basic or deluxe burgers; cup of soup and grilled cheese or half salad. All half sandwiches and small salads are less than $10, too. At 75 Haywood St.
Chai Pani: Downtown workers know this hidden-in-plain-sight secret: to-go rice and curry (specify butter chicken or saag paneer) is $8.99 because it doesn’t come with the daal and papadam. There’s a charge for to-go containers, but you can bring your own. Dining in? The vada pav, or spicy potato dumplings, are $8.99. At 22 Battery Park Ave.
Customers enjoy lunch at the newly renovated Chai Pani downtown on Tuesday, March 6, 2018. (Photo: Angeli Wrightfirstname.lastname@example.org)
If you’re near Pack Square
Bomba: The Bomba Roll, and eggy breakfast wrap, remains on the menu at just $5.50. But if you’ve got $10 burning a hole in your pocket, I’d spring for the quarter charcoal-fired chicken, which comes with a couple of sides, sauces and hot sauce, plus tortillas or brioche to layer it all on. It’s a ton of food, and great fun to boot. At 1 SW Pack Square.
Three of the many sauces to accompany chicken at Bomba include Chimichurri, Bomba’s hot sauce and a jalapeno basil lime sauce. (Photo: Angeli Wrightemail@example.com)
Green Sage Cafe: Most of the stuff I love here hovers just over $10 (I’m looking at you, Green Beetle), but to stay on budget, get the surprisingly delicious and filling Kalefornia, with greens, carrots, beets, avocado, walnuts and a celery slaw dressing for $7.95. At 5 Broadway St.
Farm Burger serves up grass-fed beef burgers like this one, but with the right technique you can make them just as well at home. (Photo: Citizen-Times photo)
Farm Burger: You know what you’re getting here: quality grass-fed beef burgers. The blackboard burgers start at $8.99, and the build-your-owns start at $6.99, which means you can add a side of fries and still stay on budget. At 10 Patton Ave.
If you’re near Pritchard Park
Jerusalem Garden: Why is this place not always packed out? The food here is flavorful, healthy and fresh — and very inexpensive. Excluding the cous cous bowls, everything on the menu is $10 or less at lunch. There are sandwiches and wraps, but try the platters, served with creamy hummus drizzled with good olive oil, and chopped salad with tahini. Meat eaters will like the kafta meshwi kebab with minced grass-fed beef and lamb for $9.50, and the vegetarian platter is an amazing amount of food for just $10. At 78 Patton Ave.
Kebabs at Jerusalem Garden. (Photo: Mackensy Lunsford)
Red Ginger Dim Sum and Tapas: Near Jerusalem Garden, this dim sum spot has lunch boxes, priced from $8.95-9.95, which offer the perfect amount of food. Choose from grilled salmon, steak and the like, and you’ll also get a spring roll, California roll, dumpling, seaweed salad and rice. At 82 Patton Ave.
Blue Dream Curry House: There’s a lot to eat at this restaurant for less than $10, especially if you don’t add protein to your curries and bowls. But listen: Did you know this place makes pho? Not only is it delicious, it’s only $9 if you don’t add extra protein which, honestly, it doesn’t need. At 81 Patton Ave.
Foggy Mountain Brewpub: If you’re super hungry, grab the $9 Jalapeno Mac Brat, which piles mac and cheese and fresh jalapenos on a butterflied brat, all served on a hoagie roll. At 12 Church St.
The Mediterranean: Even though this longtime Asheville restaurant has changed hands, most everything here remains priced under $10. Both the BLT and the fried-chicken sandwich on brioche, for example, cost $6.95. 57 College St.
If you’re on Biltmore, south of Pack Square
Dishes at at Red Ginger Dim Sum and Tapas include a Yuzu Sake Drop martini, smoked duck breast, Shanghai-style pork dumplings, black truffle Shu Mai, grilled Chilean sea bass, pan fried vegetable dumplings, and Szechuan-style grilled mountain trout. (Photo: Angeli Wrightfirstname.lastname@example.org)
White Duck Taco Shop: It’s not hard to find a cheap lunch here, but your best option is to stick to one taco, which averages around $3.50-4, and a side, generally around $2. It’s the perfect amount for a light eater. At 12 Biltmore Ave.
Mamacita’s: All hail this taco haunt for affordable quesadillas, tortas and giant burritos. For just $6.50, the black bean burrito with rice, cheese and lettuce might as well be considered a public service. At 77 Biltmore Ave.
67 Biltmore: There’s plenty to eat here for less than $10, but the Beef + Blue sandwich, made with Hickory Nut Gap top round, Ashe County Blue and Lusty Monk is ridiculously good, and $9.95. At 67 Biltmore Ave.
(Full article available here.)
This list of delicious downtown restaurants will get you off to a solid start; and why not join one of our walking food tours to explore even more of what Foodtopia has to offer?! Our tours are a great way to experience 6-7 of the best restaurants in Asheville all in one afternoon. Tickets sell quickly as the weather warms up, so be sure to book yours today!