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“Best Restaurantin Asheville” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Isa's Bistro

Isa's Bistro
1 Battery Park, Asheville, NC 28801
1-828-575-9636
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Ranked #29 of 644 Restaurants in Asheville
Cuisines: Bistro
Dining options: Breakfast/Brunch, Reservations, Late Night
Restaurant details
Dining options: Breakfast/Brunch, Reservations, Late Night
St Petersburg,Florida
Top Contributor
73 reviews 73 reviews
51 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 33 cities Reviews in 33 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
“Best Restaurantin Asheville”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 17, 2014 credit card Amex Card Member Review

Best restaurant in Asheville says a lot because we have so many wonderful ones here. Every time we go, which is often, we are greatly pleased and want to try everything on the menu. Chef is excellent, pastry chef provides the most incredible choices, and the bartender is tops. Prices are moderate on the higher side but worth it!! Ask for tables against the back wall for a quiet evening.

Visited January 2014
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226 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    156
    53
    12
    5
    0
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Macon, Georgia
1 review
“Really - Really Excellent!!!!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 17, 2014

During the Christmas holidays I was in Asheville and wandered in to the restaurant for lunch. What a wonderful surprise - the atmosphere is great, and the food and service impeccable.

  • Visited December 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Coral Gables, Florida
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“OMG..... I loved it!!!!!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 16, 2014

This is the place to dine in Asheville --- I absolutely loved it!

I had a good-sized portion of trout that was delicious. My husband had pork chops and said it was the best he has ever had. The wine selection was excellent, with a fabulous recommendations from both the server and manager. Our server was not only also very knowledgeable about the food and wine, but gave us directions to nearby Maggie Valley. The restaurant was beautifully-decorated with elegant and festive Christmas decorations. I felt like I was dining in New York City. We absolutely loved it and cannot wait to visit Asheville again to eat there.

Visited December 2013
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Asheville, NC
Top Contributor
219 reviews 219 reviews
138 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 75 cities Reviews in 75 cities
221 helpful votes 221 helpful votes
“Loved the atmosphere, opinions vary on food”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 10, 2014

My wife and I had dinner at Isa's Bistro in the Haywood Park Hotel on Battery Park in Asheville tonight.

We used the hotel's complimentary valet, which is a nice touch, and our first impression of the restaurant entering from the hotel lobby side was very positive (even though the first thing we were told by a staffer was that "the main entrance is on the street." _ Duh, don't you ever have hotel guests dining here?

But the atmosphere and design of the restaurant are supercalifragilisticexpialidocious -- an open layout with tables around the windows and walls, facing a bar, with tasteful touches of food-related photos and architectural pieces. We had a seat at a window looking out over Battery Park, and service from the very first was first rate.

On a Friday night in January at around 6:30 the restaurant was only about one-fifth full, and despite the fact that Open Table claimed there were no tables at our preferred time of 7, it was never more than about a third full all evening.

We started with drinks (I had a Jack rocks, $8, and my wife ordered from the cocktail menu, $7. Very reasonable prices. We then tried the Bang Bang Cauliflower ($7), as an appetizer, which was interesting but not something I would order regularly.

My spouse had the "Three for Thirty" special, an appetizer (in our case, mussels), main and dessert for $30. The mussels were fine, but the trout entree was probably the smallest serving of trout I've ever seen in a restaurant. It might have been 2 ounces, to be generous, on a big bed of rice. Absolutely ridiculous. If it were called Rice with a Trade of Trout it would be more honest. Dessert was, of all things, parsnip cake, again interesting but not something you'd come back for.

Stodgy old me, I ordered the Black Angus Filet with whipped potatoes and broccoli ($32). The potatoes were perhaps the most interesting part of the meal, mashed/whipped potatoes fried in a stiff boat-shaped batter. The 6-oz (or so) filet was quite good, and prepared exactly to my medium rare order, but not quite up to Ruth's Chris quality. I had a VERY generous serving of Mendoza Malbac ($10) with the meal.

I was tempted by the Isa burger with fingerling fries, a real bargain at $11, and highly rated in today's Citizen-Times, but I wasn't really up for a burger tonight.

Though I'm not raving about the food experience, the meal was actually very pleasant, with near-perfect service and the lovely setting. Dinner was good, just not something to rave about, and the drinks were bountiful pours and well-priced.

With a total of four drinks, one glass of wine, one appetizer, two entree courses and sides and an espresso, plus tax, our usual generous gratuity plus a tip to the valet, the total came to about $155, reasonable for an Asheville upscale dinner.

The renovated Haywood Park Hotel is charming, with a player piano in the lobby greeting the few guests who brave January in Asheville, and the elevators still charmingly bark out "Fourth Floor, Women's Wear" or whatever, just as in the days when my aunt worked at Ivey's.

  • Visited January 2014
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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Burlington, North Carolina
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
16 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“Wow - Food, Wine, Atmosphere and Staff - We had FUN!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 3, 2014 via mobile

We had New Year's Eve dinner by chance at Isa's Bistro. Walking by on Monday we looked over the New Year's offering of a fixed price four course dinner with wine pairings and booked a table. We asked for a specific table and hoped for success. Actually got our reservation time confused and arrived 30 minutes early. No worries. Sat at the bar ordered a drink and were seated at our requested table before our drinks arrived. Got to love that. Waiter aided us in selecting our choices for each course. We were served a wine pairing just before each course was presented. Everything we ate was excellent. Flavors ranged from delicate to distinct and were matched very well by the wines. I particularly liked the duck. Pace of serving was good Decorations were very "New York" and made the the evening fun. We will be back. Great dinner. Thank you Isa's for a wonderful time.

Visited December 2013
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