As an Asheville native there’s not much that gives me more of a thrill to introducing people to our amazing culinary scene. I want you to try everything! However I know that most of you are visiting for only a few days and are likely going to have to prioritize. What better way to prioritize where you go than with the Enneagram?
If you haven’t heard of the Enneagram, it is a map of human psyche broken down into 9 distinct personality types. While this map can’t necessarily tell me your favorite food, it can tell me what you value and what you’re motivated by. When thinking of creating a list of Asheville restaurants motivated by your Enneagram type I’m choosing to think of what it is that you may be looking for in a place based off of your unique value set!
As a type one I think you’ll find Plant fits in with your highly ethical, intentional and detail oriented nature. The all vegan menu goes above and beyond in ethical sourcing of their ingredients while their creative and thoughtful menu makes every bite delicious, balanced and thoughtful. They don’t just make delicious food, with menu items like their Brussels Ramen ( smoked tamari broth · ginger · kelp noodles · kimchi · cinnamon cashew ) they take everything just a little bit further in creativity to make it as close to perfection as one can get!
As a type two I know that relationships, kindness and hospitality are incredibly important to you. That’s why I think you’ll enjoy your visit to Chai Pani. Meherwan and Molly Irani created an atmosphere that makes you feel at home. Food that tastes like someone’s mother made it and the kind of service that only a type two could truly appreciate. The staff is known for ‘mind blasting’ the customers with going above and beyond to make people with welcomed into the space. The Chai Pani team describes their first day open in 2009 as a testament to will, love and friendship. While you’re there you may want to try the Sloppy Jai, the Kale Pakoras or the Paneer Tikka Roll!
As a type three you value things being awe inspiring, efficient, and knowing about the new best things. That’s why I want you to make a visit to the Noble Cider’s Greenhouse. Not only is this restaurant conveniently located to all of the other amazing Asheville spots you’re likely to want to visit ( AKA walking distance to Malaprops bookstore, High Five Coffee, Minx, Dobra Tea & so much more) it’s also one of the newest restaurants on the block! Be the first to take your friends to the Greenhouse. An experience that feels like walking out of Asheville and straight into Palm Springs with the beautiful wicker furniture, gold accents and vibrant wallpaper. Try a flight of cider and the Korean style burger. If you’re vegetarian don’t miss the vegan burger complete with portobello bacon!
As a type four it’s important that your dining experience is not only delicious but that your experience is magical. I couldn’t imagine a more magical place to dine than Heiwa. A seemingly unassuming hole in the wall that is rich in character, mostly visited by locals and the perfect backdrop for a movie worthy meet cute. If you’re able I encourage you to take a book, go by yourself and sit in the window. Enjoy people watching and if you’re lucky catch a rain storm while you enjoy Asheville’s best ramen bowl.
As a type five it’s important that you have your privacy, that the space isn’t overwhelming and that you can actually talk to your server about the food you’re ordering. Zambra is a beautiful low lit, cave like atmosphere where you can find a private spot to sit and really focus on being where you are and have very few people invade your space. The food is thoughtful and the servers are well informed about what’s on the menu. I know you may want to make the most of your money so I encourage you to fill up on the bread and olive oil as well as the patatas braves but don’t miss my personal favorite dish, the Pan Seared Sunburst Trout!
As a type six you value community, thoroughness, familiarity and hard work. That’s why I want to encourage you to visit Buxton Hall BBQ. If you’re a meat eater or vegetarian there is plenty on the menu for you and it’s all foods you’ll recognize just done impeccably well. To top it off you may appreciate that the company has a beautiful community culture that encourages the team to really take pride in the work they do and it shows! The food is incredible, the space is open and inviting and to make it even better – it’s an open kitchen so no guessing games as to where your food came from and how it’s being handled. If you’re a meat eater I encourage you to try the chicken sandwich. If you’re not the sides are labeled beautifully and three of those make more than a satisfying meal!
As a type seven you are value adventure, experience and variety which is why I’m sending you straight to Gan Shan Station. A restaurant that’s located a bit off of the tourist path ( which I know you love ) with an impeccable chef working with unique asian ingredients and flavors. Every night the menu is slightly different so you’ll never have the same dining experience twice. This is an opportunity for you to try new exciting flavors but also in small plate format where you can have a little bit of a lot of things all at once. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous let your server choose a few menu items for you! You really can’t go wrong with anything here.
As a type eight you value good leadership, self-reliance and a job well done. That’s why I’m encouraging you to try out Cucina 24. Arguably our most established and credited restaurant in town with a chef that is admired by not only the staff but also people from all over for his risks taken with ingredients as well as his culinary standards. The staff is impeccable with their service and systems which means you’ll appreciate not having to take things into your own hands for once. If you’re on a budget I encourage you to go in for wood fired pizzas but if you’re up for a bit of a splurge try the tasting menu. One price per person and you’ll enjoy course after course of culinary magic that will only happen in this one place for this short period of time before the menu changes again.
As a type nine you value everyone’s perspective being taken into consideration, a calm environment and being comfortable. That’s why I think you may enjoy The Marketplace. Not only do they have the most comfortable seats I’ve ever sat in at a restaurant but it’s also spread out in such a way that ( if it’s not a live music evening) means the noise doesn’t spread and you can really enjoy the calm and comfortable atmosphere. To top it off, the menu is varied enough from seafood to steak to farm to table offerings that you won’t have to worry about making everyone happy. The menu does that on it’s own! I recommend the mussels with a lusty monk mustard broth and crusty bread for dipping.
Download the CurEat App (available for iOS and Android) to pin Sarajane’s “Where to eat in Asheville, NC based on your Enneagram Type” list for your next trip. You can follow Asheville CurEater’s like East Fork Pottery, chef Katie Button, and chef Patrick O’Cain for their recommendations on where to eat in Asheville, NC.