We love going to Asheville. From Lexington, it’s an easy 4 hour interstate drive, except for about 30 minutes on one long S-curve on I-40 before arriving. It makes an ideal weekend trip. Asheville is a haven for foodies and brewery fans, which are two main reasons we love this city.
Last trip to Asheville, we waited too late to make reservations to Cúrate (pronounced COO-rah-tay). The pronunciation reminds me of Ross pronouncing Karate. Cúrate means “cure yourself” in Spanish. Very appropriate. It is, after all, the number 1 restaurant in Asheville. The chef is Katie Button, who trained under Ferran Adrià, who runs the debatably #1 restaurant in the world, elBulli. I would recommend booking this place at least 3-4 weeks in advance of your trip.
If you get caught up in life and aren’t able to book far in advance, check for lunch reservations, as these are more readily available. This is exactly what we did on this trip.
Anyway, onto the food. We just got back from a trip to Barcelona in July where we ate tapas for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, so I was nervous that Cúrate would, relatively, pale in comparison. After the first bite of the Chistorra and Chips Jose’s Way (spicy chorizo wrapped in potato chips – sounds odd, I know) and sip of sangria, the nerves faded. You can almost pop these snacks into your mouth. The chips are similar to Saratoga chips from Montgomery Inn (for all you Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky readers). Delicious and unique.
Second course was pan con tomate (toasted bread with tomato, garlic, olive oil), a Barcelona and Catalan specialty. We had this same dish upon arrival in Barcelona at the famous Boqueria market. At the recommendation of our server, we added the manchego cheese, which was a good call. I will say that Cúrate did its Barcelona brethren proud on this dish.
At any tapas restaurant, we always get Patatas Bravas (fried potatoes with spicy tomato and garlic sauce). These were really good. No surprise there.
A pleasantly surprising and unique dish we had was Pepito de Ternera (braised apple brandy beef sandwich with roasted green peppers, Spanish blue cheese, and all i oli, a classic Barcelona sauce). This was rich and delicious. Splitting it probably isn’t a bad idea.
I love lamb. Kate Hudson may not, but I do. If it’s on the menu, I usually order it. The Pincho moruno (lamb skewers in Moorish spices) was a very different and outstanding dish. The spices made it. The lamb was tender and flavorful.
Overall, this place is unbelievable. I highly recommend you make this your #1 priority for restaurant when visiting Asheville, either for lunch or dinner. It is right on Biltmore Avenue downtown, so it’s a great launching pad to explore breweries and other attractions before or after. Make sure you plan ahead or you will miss out on this gem.
Hours: M: CLOSED, T-Th: 11:30a-10:30p, F: 11:30a-11p, Sa: 10a-11p, Su: 10a-10:30p
Address: 13 Biltmore Ave., Asheville, NC 28801
Phone: (828) 239-2946