Even if Asheville is buried under 12 feet of snow this week and Tim Moffitt drives a Zamboni down Patton Avenue, Valentine’s Day is coming. And it’s this Friday.
Use your snow day free time to make plans: here’s tips for an Ashvegas Valentine’s Day dinner outside the lines.
Economy (with) class
Try Kathmandu, Suwana’s Thai Orchid or Thai Tara, all downtown. Dinner prices are reasonable, you might even get away with not having a reservation, and each spot is intimate and charming, if not lavish. Kathmandu in particular has ambience.
And if you want to avoid downtown crowds and Friday night/Valentine’s night parking drama, grab a seat by the fire at The Fireplace Restaurant in North Asheville. Not as chi-chi as the name might let on, this is a rustic country buffet restaurant–with prime rib on the menu and a Friday night seafood buffet that includes crab legs.
Bouchon, Zambra, Curate. Downstairs at Vincenzo’s.
You’ll have to deal with downtown parking on Valentine’s Night/Friday night, but once you snuggle in and order, it’ll all be worth it.
Pro tip: Ask for the private room with the wood stove at Bouchon. It’s warm and intimate at night, and the colder and wetter it gets, the more charming the warmth and firelight become.
And there’s a Valentine’s Date Night special at the chocolate capital of downtown Asheville, the French Broad Chocolate Lounge: two scratch-made mini-eclairs (made with Carolina Ground flour, filled with pastry cream and glazed with craft chocolate) paired with a bottle of bubbly. $25.
Discerning diners looking for skill in the kitchen can head for Rhubarb, The Market Place, Bull & Beggar, Posana, Cucina 24, Seven Sows Bourbon & Larder or Table. Parking might be easiest at the Bull & Beggar, located near the Wedge in the RAD, and serving delicious food from chef Matt Dawes, formerly of Table
And if you’re headed to Table, have drinks at The Imperial Life after dinner. It’s just upstairs, and offers atmosphere and craft cocktails…
And this just in: top local chef and Admiral alum Elliott Moss offers a special edition of his pop-up restaurant Punk Wok at MG Road tonight. No reservations, a la carte menu, regular MG Road hours.
Be my West Side Valentine
Lucky westsiders, we can walk to where the action is in a neighborhood that combines grit, great restaurants, neighborliness and Asheville’s indie spirit. (Is a neighborhood really a hipster haven if it has a Family Dollar and an auto-parts store?)
Anyway, for Valentine’s Day, we suggest the Isis (fine dining and live V-Day music from excellent local band The Billy Sea) or Sunny Point, offering a $30 prix-fixe meal of oysters Rockefeller and your choice of steak, salmon or bibimbap. The Isis, FYI, has a killer bowl of mussels for only eight bucks.
Nona Mia also offers a prix-fixe meal, of pork shank of cheese canelloni with dessert and prosecco. And All Souls Pizza, Pizza Pura, and The Junction in the nearby RAD also rate for V-Day, with the Junction being the fanciest, and the others being tasty, tasteful indie pizza parlors with quality wood-fired pies.
Go for drinks at the DeSoto or Double Crown if you’re walking home. And The Hop is open late, and might even have some Girl Scout Thin Mint ice cream left…
Zero parking drama!
Avoid downtown heartache with these Valentine’s-approved restaurants that offer free parking:
Cafe Azalea: East side at 1011 Tunnel Road
Ambrozia Bar + Bistro: North Asheville at 1020 Merrimon Avenue
The Glass Onion: Weaverville, 18 North Main Street
Plant: 165 Merrimon Avenue
Frankie Bones: South Asheville at 2 Gerber Road
Nona Mia Italian Kitchen: West Asheville, 1050 Haywood Road
Pizza Pura: 342 Depot Street in the RAD
The Junction: 348 Depot Street in the RAD
All Souls Pizza: 175 Clingman Avenue in the RAD
Where to find our 2014 Valentine’s Day restaurants
90 Patton Ave. downtown
Suwana’s Thai Orchid
11 Broadway downtown
Grove Arcade, downtown
The Fireplace Restaurant
287 Weaverville Highway, North Asheville
62 North Lexington, downtown
85 West Walnut Street, downtown
Curate Tapas Bar
11 Biltmore Avenue, downtown
Vincenzo’s Ristorante & Bistro
10 North Market Street, downtown
French Broad Chocolate Lounge
10 South Lexington Avenue, downtown
7 SW Pack Square downtown
The Market Place
2o Wall Street downtown
Bull & Beggar
37 Paynes Way by the Wedge
1 Biltmore Avenue downtown
24 Wall Street, Asheville
Table and The Imperial Life
48 College Street downtown
Punk Wok and MG Road
19 Wall Street downtown
Seven Sows Bourbon & Larder
77 Biltmore Avenue downtown
The Isis Restaurant
743 Haywood Road, West Asheville
Sunny Point Cafe
626 Haywood Road, West Asheville
Nona Mia Italian Kitchen
1050 Haywood Road, West Asheville
The Desoto Lounge
504 Haywood Road, West Asheville
The Double Crown
375 Haywood Road, West Asheville
The Hop West
721 Haywood Road, West Asheville
Check out our house cleaning Valentine’s Special for when you are out on the town!