At the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, flavors from around the world blend with Southern hospitality in Asheville. With its grand offerings to tourists, nature lovers, and beer enthusiasts, the city has always been a terrific vacation spot, but now the James Beard Awards have certified it as a unique, world-class culinary destination as well.

The James Beard Awards, often deemed the Oscars of the culinary world, recognize the exceptional talents transforming America’s food culture. Asheville and James Beard have a storied relationship: since 2010, the city has turned out a number of nominees, a testament to Asheville’s evolving palate.

In 2022, two boundary-pushing Asheville restaurants won. Chai Pani and Cúrate were awarded as Outstanding Restaurant and Outstanding Hospitality, respectively. We love them, our patrons love them, and if you visit our Asheville bed and breakfast, we’re sure you will, too.

Chai Pani Asheville: Indian Street Food at Your Fingertips

Chai pani Asheville serves delicious Indian street food in downtown Asheville.

Source: Chai Pani

Founded in 2009 by chef Meherwan Irani and his wife Molly, Chai Pani transports patrons to the bustling streets of India through its authentic flavors and colorful atmosphere. It has been designed to make guests feel as though they are part of a bustling Indian market, creating what Molly describes as “a middle space between Indian fine dining and ‘dive’ restaurants”

Chai Pani specializes in a variety of Indian street food, sandwiches, and thalis (platters), with a focus on chaat – crunchy, spicy, sweet, and tangy Indian street snacks. Some of the standout dishes include Aloo Tikki Chaat, Matchstick Okra Fries, Bhel Puri, and Kale pakoras. The restaurant is famous for its signature dishes, such as the Sloppy Jai (a spiced lamb hash version of the sloppy joe) and Butter Chicken.

Beyond winning the James Beard Award, Chai Pani has been praised by national media outlets like The New York Times, GQ, and Bon Appétit. The restaurant group is so committed to authenticity that it offers employees the opportunity to visit India, to ensure they understand and appreciate the culture they represent.

Cúrate: A Place to Enjoy Tapas in Asheville

Curate restaurant serves delicious tapas in Asheville just minutes from 1900 Inn on Montford.

Source: Cúrate

The spirit of Spain comes alive at Cúrate, a beautifully restored 1920s bus depot-turned-tapas restaurant. 

Cúrate is more than just a restaurant; it’s a cultural experience that invites guests to “cure themselves” through the joy of shared plates and new flavors. 

The space is anchored by a stunning 40-foot marble bar alongside an open kitchen, offering a lively, romantic and immersive dining experience. Servers weave through tables with a blend of Southern English and Spanish accents, sharing the stories behind the authentically crafted tapas. 

People love their Pulpo a la Gallega, which is a dish of warm octopus flavored with sea salt and paprika and lamb skewers served with a spicy Moorish sauce and steamed spinach.

Cúrate’s co-owner and executive chef, Katie Button is a prodigy. Previously a scientist,  she transitioned into the culinary world by training under Ferran Adrià at the Michelin-starred, experimental restaurant elBulli, located near Roses, Spain. Within just a year of professional training, Katie not only established Cúrate but also signed a cookbook deal and opened a sister bar named Nightbell. She is a stalwart in Asheville’s food scene, and a major contributor to putting our city on the culinary map.

Come and Explore Asheville’s Food Scene at 1900 Inn on Montford!

2024 heralds another exciting chapter for Asheville, with The Market Place and Plant’s Chef Jason Sellers reaching the semifinals of the James Beard Awards, for Outstanding Restaurant and Best Chef: Southeast. 

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