4118 Kitchen + Bar

With a casual dining ambiance, this New American cuisine eatery offers a delectable menu that changes seasonally, using fresh, local ingredients. Craft cocktails, beer and wine. Lunch and dinner Tuesday – Sunday. Located 64 Highlands Plaza, 828-526-5002

Annie’s Cafe

A country-style eatery serving salads, soups, burgers and sandwiches, along with daily specials. Try the steak sandwich, tuna melt or chicken Caesar salad. Sunday – Thursday from 11am – 3pm. Friday – Saturday 11am – 9pm. Located in Scaly Mountain, 7420 Dillard Road, 828-526-1663

Asia House

Authentic Asian eatery serving Chinese, Japenese and Thai dishes, including sushi, hibachi, soups and curry. Kani salad, red snapper, beef and scallops and red curry chicken are some of the favorites. Full bar. Lunch and dinner. Closed on Wednesday. Located 151 Helens Barn Avenue, 828-787-1680

Bistro on Main

Classic, polished bistro located inside The Main Street Inn, featuring elevated American fare and outdoor dining. Appetizers, soups and sandwiches for lunch and dinner include trout, steaks, salmon and lobster bisque. Lunch and dinner seasonally. Located 270 Main Street, 828-526-2590

Blue Bike Cafe

A casual breakfast and lunch cafe offering breakfast all day, and tasty burgers, sandwiches and salads for lunch. Try the grilled portabella with sweet potato tots or the smoked chicken salad. Open daily 7am – 3pm, Closed Wednesday. Located 423 North 4th Street, 828-526-9922

Bridge at Mill Creek

Sit above a rushing waterfall with a new look to lounging. Elegant atmosphere, unique drinks and great food. Located 445 North 4th Street, 828-526-5500

Cake Bar

A cozy speakeasy for the sweet-tooth, offering decadent and gluten-free fudge brownies, banana bread and cakes like coffee cake, caramel cake and red velvet cake. Savor on-site or take-out. Located 2254 Dillard Road, 828-421-2042

Calders Coffee Cafe

Calders serve up fine classic coffee, tea, wine and food. Select from breakfast and lunch sandwiches like ham and cheese croissants or smoked salmon and special treats like caramel stroop waffles. Open daily 7am – 6pm. Located at 384 Main Street, 828-200-9308

Dusty’s Rhodes Superette

A 2nd generation, family-run specialty foods store, with a butcher shop, deli, sundries, take-home prepared meals, wine and gifts. Tuesday – Saturday. Located 493 Dillard Road, 828-526-2762

El Azteca Rainforest Bar & Grill

Authentic Mexican cuisine using fresh, local ingredients, featuring ceviche, tacos, fajitas, enchiladas and burritos. Full bar, beer and wine. Lunch and dinner daily. Located 72 Highlands Plaza, 828-526-2244

El Manzanillo

Two locations offering authentic Mexican cuisine. Burritos, fajitas, quesadillas, enchiladas, steak, chicken and seafood. Margaritas, wine and beer. Lunch and dinner daily. Located 30 Dillard Road, 828-526-0608

Four65 Woodfire Bistro + Bar

Enjoy handcrafted Neopolitan wood-fired pizza, cast-iron sandwiches, small plates and salads in a modern Mediterranean eatery. Try the Polpette (homemade pork meatballs), cast iron grilled cheese or choose a tomato-based or olive oil-based pizza baked to perfection. Lunch and dinner, Wednesday – Monday. Located 465 Main Street, 828-787-2990

Fressers Courtyard Cafe

A small take-out cafe with patio tables offering delicious baked goods, hearty burgers and sandwiches, and their famous thick-cut Fresser fries. Full-service catering is available. Lunch and dinner seasonally. Located 470 Oak Street, 828-526-8847

Highlands Smokehouse

Enjoy real pit barbecue, including pulled pork, brisket, ribs and classic Southern sides. Also offering tasty burgers, tacos, stew and vegetarian. Full bar and beer. Lunch and dinner, Wednesday – Monday. Located 595 Franklin Road, 828-526-3554

Highlands Wine Shoppe

A cozy wine shop with a cellar collection of rare and hard-to-find wines. Sample up to 16 wines at the Napa Wine Station. Gift baskets and Riedel glassware. Open daily. Located 269 Oak Street, 828-526-4080

Kelsey Place Restaurant

Situated inside the historic 130-year old Highlands Inn, the restaurant is open to the public, serving breakfast 8am – 10am daily. Located 420 Main Street, 828-526-9380


An old-fashioned confectionary serving original recipe ice-cream, hand-crafted chocolates, Mackinac Island fudge, handmade sweets and gift baskets. Try top sellers like turtle fudge or milk sea-salt turtles. Open daily. 341 Main Street, 828-526-3788

Lakeside Restaurant

A fine dining experience within a cozy cottage on Harris Lake, offering fresh seafood and American fare. Local rainbow trout, Carolina grouper and Maryland-style crab cakes are favorites. The extensive wine list. Dinner Tuesday – Sunday. Located 531 Smallwood Avenue, 828-526-9419

Madison’s Restaurant & Wine Garden

Awarded the AAA Four-Diamond Award, Madison’s offers a seasonal, farm-to-table fine dining service in the elegant Old Edwards Inn. Enjoy lush dishes like Painted Hills beef ribeye and Sunburst trout, along with an extensive wine list. Lunch and dinner daily. Located 445 Main Street, 828-787-2525

Meritage Bistro

An intimate and cozy bistro serving wine and European cuisines like Faroe Island salmon, lamb meatloaf and sea scallops Caponata. Small plates include their classic Pomme Frites and appetizers, salads and sandwiches round out the menu. Lunch Thursday – Saturday, Dinner Wednesday – Monday, Sunday brunch. Located 490 Carolina Way, 828-526-1019

Midpoint Restaurant

An eco-friendly restaurant using local farm-to-table practices. A global culinary team offers an intensive menu, like lemon crisp calamari, chicken tikka masala, sea bass aw mawk and Spanish paella. A good selection of wines to pair with your meal. Dinner nightly. Located 332 Main Street, 828-526-2277

Mountain Fresh Grocery & Wine Market

An upscale grocery and specialty shop that offers a deli, grill, wood-fired pizza, bakery, butcher and wine. Stop in for breakfast, lunch or dinner daily, enjoy a glass of wine or craft beer, or take home a dinner-to-go during the winter season. Catering and custom cakes are available. Located 521 East Main Street, 828-526-2400

On The Verandah

An upscale eatery offering international cuisine and seafood with a romantic atmosphere overlooking Lake Sequoyah. Enjoy dishes like spicy Thai coconut shrimp, filet mignon, Creole chicken and seared scallops. The extensive wine list. Dinner nightly, seasonally. Located 1536 Franklin Road, 828-526-2338

Pescado’s Highlands Burritos

A lively burrito eatery, serving up specialty burritos like roast pork and garlic-cilantro steak. Tacos, quesadillas and homemade soups. Lunch Monday – Saturday. Located 226 South 4th Street, 828-526-9313

Ristorante Paoletti

Enjoy refined Italian dining in an elegant European-style atmosphere. Handmade pasta, veal, beef, lamb, elk and several fresh seafood dishes compromise the extensive menu. Over 850 wines to pair with your meal, that has earned Wine Spectator’s Best of Award of Excellence since 1987. Dinner nightly, seasonally. Located 440 Main Street, 828-526-4906

Rosewood Market

A fixture in Highlands for homemade, prepared foods to-go and catering. Choose from over 150 menu items with local favorites like lemon-caper chicken or baked halibut. Located 117 Franklin Road, 828-526-0383

Satulah Mountain Brewing Company

Producing a premium craft beer, the brewery offers 8 high-craft beers in their taproom. Try the Tuckasegee Gold or the Sunset Saison. Open Thursday – Sunday. Located 454 Carolina Way, 828-482-9794


A craft ice-cream shop and deli that has been a family gathering place for over 30 years. Soups, salads and specialty sandwiches like the Muffaletta, French dip and torta de carnitas are crowd favorites. Or try a delicious milkshake, sundae or frozen yogurt. Lunch and dinner daily. Located 115 South 4th Street, 828-526-9632

Tug’s Proper

A contemporary American eatery grub with classy digs and a large bar area. Salads, burgers and sandwiches for lunch and entrees for dinner. Try the trout piccata, duck confit or the grilled veal meatloaf. Full bar, wine and beer. Lunch and dinner Monday – Saturday, Sunday brunch.  Located 310 Main Street, 828-526-3555

The High Dive

A late-night bar where the locals and visitors come for libations and stay for the fun. Enjoy karaoke on Tuesdays and live music on Fridays. Tuesday – Sunday beginning at 4pm. Located 476 Carolina Way, 828-526-6400

The Kitchen CarryAway & Catering

Short on time? Come in for high-quality, made-from-scratch take-home meals. Also offering full-service catering for any occasion. Open seasonally. Located 350 South 5th Street, 828-526-2110

The Pizza Place of Highlands

A community staple since the mid-’70s, offering an extensive menu selection of pizza, calzones, sandwiches, salads and kid’s menu. Lunch and dinner, Monday – Saturday. Located 365 Main Street, 828-526-5660

The Ugly Dog Public House

Large selection of salads, burgers, kids menu and beer/wine. Bands play on the weekends and Trivia during the week. Located 294 S Fourth Street, 828-526-8364


Located Highlands Plaza, 828-526-1706

Wild Thyme Gourmet

An upscale eatery serving Asian-influenced American cuisine. Specialty dishes include spicy stir-fry waterfall beef tenderloin, herb-crusted rack of lamb and salmon with Vidalia onion crust. Wine list won the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence in 2018. Lunch and dinner daily. Located 343 Main Street, 828-526-4035

Wolfgang’s Restaurant & Wine Bistro

Enjoy an eclectic menu of German, American and Cajun cuisine by nationally recognized Chef Wolfgang. An intimate and upscale bistro serving up dishes like Venison Au Poivre, pecan-crusted shrimp and roast loin of lamb. The award-winning wine list. Dinner nightly, seasonally. Located 474 Main Street, 828-526-3807


Referenced by The Plateau Magazine, April/May 2020