Artisanal is the epitome of elegance. Located in Banner Elk, North Carolina, this rustic restaurant is by far my favorite in North Carolina. I make sure I have a reservation every trip I take to the mountains. The vast landscape surrounding the restaurant sets the stage, and once you drive up the last hill, you’ll be swept into a luxurious dining experience.
This driftwood horse is an icon of Artisanal. Impressionism artwork of horses adorn the walls to give a gentle nod to the barn setting.
The woodwork, soft fabrics, and dim lighting make for a serene atmosphere. You might even forget that the main dining room faces an open kitchen. Even when the chefs begin to cook, not a single clang of a pot will ever be heard.
The wine cellar, below the main dining hall, may be reserved for private parties. The entire right side of the room is divided into smaller chambers that are kept at different temperatures depending on the wine. A neat detail about the wine cellar is that the floor is covered in loose pebbles.
Artisinal’s menu is one that changes with the season so there is always something fresh to taste. I chose to sample many dishes so that I could tell you all about them. And, I have to say, the food did not disappoint.
Before the appetizers are served, soft, doughy pull-apart bread rounds are brought to the table. They’re topped with crushed salt, and they melt in your mouth. They’re served in a cast iron pan with a side of sweet cream butter.
The first two appetizers I ordered were a tuna, avocado, and lime foam parfait, and crab fritters. These crab fritters are not of the normal variety through. They are lighter and airier than any others I’ve tried.
Next, I ordered the seafood curry. This came with mussels, shrimp, and whitefish. The curry had a slight spice to it, but it was not overpowering.
I loved how this scallop dish was displayed. The edible flowers were a unique touch. The meat was also very tender and melted in my mouth. The roasted vegetables had a great flavor as well. I honestly would have enjoyed them just as much as a side dish.
My most adventurous and favorite meal of the night: octopus and squid ink pasta. The octopus tentacles were just as soft as the scallops before. If you’ve never had squid ink pasta before it has the consistency of gnocci pasta. The only flavor detectable was the tomato sauce and subtle herbs.
Now for the best part, dessert. The dessert menu does not change often, except for the seasonal fruits. Artisinal always seems to have the zeppolis and chocolate sauce available, which makes for a great staple.
The peach tart was new because of the seasonal summer peaches. I also really enjoyed the peach sorbet that it was paired with.
This plate contained a chocolate mouse, peach sorbet, and passion fruit gelatin squares, and it was adorned with chocolate mouse, peach sauce, and grated chocolate.
Here’s a close up of the zeppolis drizzled in chocolate and paired with fresh blueberries.
My mouth is watering just remembering all of these delicious dishes. I can’t wait to go back to Artisinal during my next trip to North Carolina. You can check out their website here to make a reservation– reservations are necessary. Don’t forget to mention my blog when you book!
I hope you have a fabulous meal!