High Country Dining | Banner Elk | RTX Traveler Magazine

173731929Highlights of eating around Banner Elk

Banner Elk and the High Country offer a diverse selection of eateries, from country kitchens and diners to some of the most well-known fine dining establishments in the entire state.  Whether you’re in the mood for a casual bite or the meal of a lifetime there are an array of options to choose from that will please everyone, so pull up a chair and take a look at some of the best the High Country has to offer.


Considered one of the top restaurants in North Carolina, Artisanal is an exceptional dining experience not to be missed. Situated in Banner Elk, Artisanal offers visitors a dining experience for the senses that is truly unforgettable.

Opened in 2005, the 50 seat restaurant is located in a building designed after the Barn at Blackberry Farm in Tennessee. Vaulted ceilings reveal multicolored wood trusses and create an open atmosphere while white linen table clothes add a touch of sophisticated elegance.

Minimalistic yet warm, the dining area also includes a large elegant sculpture of a horse made from driftwood and modern diagram paintings of horses adorn the walls around the bar which reveals a view into the open kitchen.

At the core of Artisanal’s success is head Chef Bill Greene. Born locally in Avery County, Greene is a graduate of the acclaimed Culinary Institute of America and has extensive experience in some of the most renowned kitchens in the country including time at Le Cirque 2000 in New York City and the five-star Phoenician in Arizona.

Described as “modern American cuisine” that is rustic, the menu is compiled of sauces, stocks, desserts, ice creams and bread all made in-house daily. All of the proteins are locally farmed and all of the fish and seafood is flown in daily to ensure the highest quality.

The menu varies throughout the year as seasonal ingredients are used and can include such appetizers as Sweet-and-Sour Glazed Calamari with Asian Slaw and Hawaiian Blue Prawns in tempura batter with shiitake mushroom compote and cucumber relish.

179250172For the main course try the rich White Peking Duck Breast on polenta with roasted parsnips and kumquat chutney with green beans. Cooked to perfection, the flavor of the duck is balanced by the flavor of the kumquat and earthy tones of the roasted parsnips.

Fish connoisseurs will love the Wild Tasmanian Salmon served on a bed of truffle and herb risotto with cherry tomatoes poached in olive oil or the Scallops over winter squash puree with grilled Brussels sprouts.

The desserts at Artisanal receive as much care and attention as the rest of the menu. Each offering is made from scratch and is as much of a feast for the eye as it is for the palate.

Favorites include the Chocolate Chambord Soufflé with vanilla bean sauce, Créme Brûlée with vanilla bean sauce and the Almond Spoon Bread with blueberry compote and house made vanilla ice cream.


Artisanal is seasonal and will open for 2014 May 1 – Oct. 31 and also from Dec. 26-31.


1200 Dobbins Road
Banner Elk, NC 28604
(828) 898-5395





Louisiana Purchase Food and Spirits

Experience the rich flavors of Louisiana’s Creole and Cajun cuisine at one of Banner Elk’s oldest fine dining establishments. Focusing on Cajun and Creole cuisine for more than 28 years, Louisiana Purchase Food and Spirits is a restaurant unlike any other in the High Country.

Located downtown, the dining room is quaint and reminiscent of a country house, creating a charming backdrop ideal for an evening of romance. Dishes are prepared daily using only the finest seafood and fresh local organic produce by Chef and owner Patrick Bagbey and his staff. While menu items vary throughout the year based on the changing seasons, staples include such dishes as BBQ North Carolina Shrimp, Cajun Seafood Etouffee, Blackened Grouper with Crawfish Tails, Gumbo and Creole Jambalaya.

Along with their distinct selection of bayou inspired dishes Louisiana Purchase boasts an award winning wine selection. Named “Best of Award of Excellence” from 1990-2011 by Wine Spectator, Louisiana Purchase’s cellar includes more than 400 wines from around the globe. They also offer a full bar and 14 wines by the glass from their Cruvinet system, making it easy to find the perfect pairing for any dish.

With an extensive wine selection and distinct menu Louisiana Purchase Food and Spirits is a unique dining experience not to be missed.


Louisiana Purchase is open for dinner at 5:30 p.m. Mon – Sat and while reservations are not required they are highly recommended.


397 Shawneehaw Ave. S.
Banner Elk, NC 28604
(828) 963-5087





From diners to fine dining Banner Elk offers a wide variety of cuisines and restaurants to choose from. Here are some of the favorite spots for dining in the High Country.

Banner Elk Cafe

With a smoothie and espresso bar this quaint hangout is a great way to start the day. A full breakfast menu made with only local ingredients is also available and features traditional favorites like eggs Benedict,  bagel and lox and homemade biscuits and gravy.

Makoto’s Japanese Steak House

A trip to the High Country is not complete without a visit to Makoto’s where dishes are prepared in front of you by a trained Teppanyaki chef who dazzles and entertains with an array of knife skills. Also be sure to try one of the many fresh sushi rolls offered.

Joe’s Italian Kitchen

Located in Boone, Joe’s is a High Country favorite that serves traditional, authentic, homemade Italian cuisine. Enjoy everything from fresh cut deli meats and cheeses to delicious hot or cold sandwiches or scrumptious plates of piping hot lasagna, spaghetti, and New York style pizza.

Puerto Nuevo

Relax at this Banner Elk favorite with authentic dishes influenced by the Pacific paradise of Puerto Nuevo, Mexico. Favorites include the Coctel de Campechano, a cold spicy tomato based seafood soup with fresh shrimp, octopus and scallops with pico de gallo.

Nick’s Restaurant & Pub

 A local hangout, Nick’s has been serving Banner Elk since 1986 and offers a relaxed atmosphere perfect for watching a game and enjoying traditional bar food favorites like grilled hamburgers, Reubens, cheese steak hoagies and a variety of wraps.






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