The Esmeralda has been standing on its knoll overlooking the Rocky Broad River in the deep valley best known for Chimney Rock park. For Asheville locals it is about 35 minutes out Hwy 74A or up Hwy 9 about 40 minutes from Tryon, NC.
However you get there, it is a scenic destination. The Esmeralda has been there since about 1915. It was rebuilt in the 90s after burning down. I didn't stay there overnight, but the restaurant is open to all, and they recommend a reservation for the evening meal. My recent experience was that on a weeknight the restaurant was not crowded, the service was personable and prompt. The menu was a surprising mix of familiar items along with some unique chef's creations.
An appetizer of deep fried duck wings, Buffalo calamari and a cheese board of local creations was good. The entrees we had included skirt steak tenders, duck breast, porkchops and rack of lamb. All the sauces were chef-created and beautifully presented. The wine list was adequate and reasonably priced.
This is no touristy fast food place. Come expecting a pleasant experience in a beautifully rebuilt inn with a quiet atmosphere and dining in an upscale dining room.
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