This is a question I ask myself and discuss with other locals quite often. Asheville has an incredible, diverse culinary culture, but when you’re on a budget it’s like being a diabetic kid in a candy store. Fortunately, you don’t have to bleed your bank account dry to enjoy some of the best bites around town. Here are six favorites.
- Bomba Roll, Bomba. This Hector Diaz haunt has a big focus on chicken, but for only $7.50, you can’t beat this iteration of a breakfast burrito with eggs, potato, beans, cheese (they use sheep feta, which is key), and avocado. It comes with a small salad and plantains for a plate that someone with more self-control could stretch into two meals. PRO TIP: Ask for Hector’s housemade hot sauce to go with it… you won’t be sorry.
- Del Mar Taco + Cauliflower Barbacoa Taco, El Gallo. You can pair almost any two tacos (remember the “almost”) on their menu for $10 or less. Or do what my mom does and make the Chilmol—their amazing version of guac—your meal. I love sitting at their outdoor tables on Rankin Ave. and pretending I’m in Mexico City (Paris isn’t the only city with sidewalk cafés).
- S&W Food Hall. This place was literally designed for one-stop accessible dining. If you haven’t experienced a food hall before, it’s basically a glorified food court minus the mallrats. As a flexitarian, I would choose a Soul Rebel taco ($4) from Peace Love Tacos paired with Sauteed Veggie Bao ($6) from Bun Intended. Meat eaters will have a hard time choosing between the Classic Fried Chicken sandwich at Buxton Chicken Palace and the chef-driven Market Dog from Farm Dog. You might just have to come back for more! PRO-TIP: While waiting in line, take a pause to appreciate this historical building in all its art-deco glory.
- Diner Classic Burger, The Med. Some of the most discerning foodies in Asheville have confided that The Med has their favorite burger in town. I guess the secret’s out.
- Slice, PIE. ZAA Pizza. A whole pizza from here barely fits into my SUV. Luckily, you can order a large slice of one of the largest pizzas ever for less than $6 with five options to choose from (cheese slices are only $4.50!). PRO TIP: Eat at one of the outside tables and watch the live street performance unfold as people struggle to fit their orders into their cars.
- Buttermilk Pancakes, Green Sage Café. Gluten sensitive foodies, rejoice! These served-all-day pancakes may lack gluten, but the flavor hasn’t suffered one bit. Just one fills me up ($5.50) but if you’re really hungry or want to split a stack with a friend, you can double it at just $8.95.