Boone, NC, sits in the shadows of the breathtaking Blue Ridge Mountains and has an impressive portfolio of delicious cuisine served at eclectic restaurants. We have attempted to compile a list of the best restaurants in Boone that has something for everyone. From traditional Southern-style restaurants to authentic Italian eateries.
Many of the restaurants in Boone take advantage of the beautiful scenery bought about by the Blue Ridge Mountains. But they do not hide behind the natural beauty of their surroundings; the best restaurants in Boone serve absolutely delicious dishes often made with local produce.
If you love great food then there is certain to be a number of Boone restaurants that appeal to you.
Wild Craft Eatery
Wild Craft Eatery is a great casual eatery for people with dietary restrictions, including gluten-free and vegan diners. In fact, it is one of the best restaurants in Boone, NC, to find such specialized dishes. Found in downtown Boone, their menu is inspired by world travel while using local ingredients sourced from local farms. They have a number of burgers on the menu, including veggie burgers, some enchiladas, including sweet potato, and quinoa over black beans. If you are feeling less adventurous, try their shepherd’s pie or yellow curry. Aside from its world-inspired dishes, the Wild Craft Eatery also has classic American dishes and local beers.
If you’re yearning for a rustic cabin in the woods, then the Cardinal can lead you right there without a trip out of town. This homey restaurant serves up “road food” the way that only American restaurants can produce. The Cardinal is also one of our favorite Boone restaurants for burgers.
If you want to stay true to the spirit of The Cardinal, try The Cardinal Burger which can be enlarged as desired. If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, the Wild Game Burger is divine and rotates according to the season. Despite being a Boone restaurant known for burgers, there are quite a number of vegan dishes available as well. They have a beet burger served with onion, tomato, greens, and veganaise, and tempeh tenders as appetizers. Local beers are on tap and their number of mocktails and seasonal cocktails pair brilliantly with their amazing food.
Dos Amigos is one of the best Boone, NC, restaurants for Mexican or Tex-Mex cuisine. The atmosphere is laid-back and the service is great. Chips are complimentary and come with four different sauces/salsas and this is all refilled regularly.
Try some of their tacos, burritos, or fajitas. They also have quite a few seafood dishes like spicy shrimp with salad and rice. Wash your meal down with your favorite margarita flavors, like orange or mango.
Bella’s is one of the best Italian restaurants in Boone, NC. This Boone restaurant is well known for its booth seating, lack of frills, and amazing sauces. They also serve fantastic traditional Italian meals. Their meal portions are large enough to take some of your meal home, or to share your delicious food with a friend. Bella’s signature chicken, the risotto, spaghetti with meat sauce, and fettuccine alfredo are specifically popular. Also feel free to tuck into a wood fired pizza or homemade stromboli rolls. Their dining room is laid back and the atmosphere is pleasant.
The Peddler Steakhouse
The Peddler Steakhouse is one of the most memorable restaurants in Boone, NC. Steaks here are prepared over “Tennessee-hickory charcoal” after being cut in front of diners and seasoned naturally. We recommend The Peddler for a romantic date night destination or a night out with friends that involves juicy steaks and great wine. Their prime rib and ribeye are particularly popular. Another thing that The Peddler is famous for is their salad bar, or, after COVID, their made-to-order salads. There are 40 different ingredients to choose from for these salads. Their desserts are to do for, and they change according to the season.
Homestyle cooking is the name of the game at Proper. They serve traditional Southern food in a relaxed, quaint atmosphere. Unlike most restaurants in Boone, NC, Proper makes everything from scratch, even its condiments. If you’re looking for small-town charm, then Proper is exactly the place to find it.
Their quality food is made from locally sourced ingredients. Enjoy traditional Southern vegetable dishes like fried tomatoes and collard greens. Have a Southern fried chicken breast or a country-style steak. Sides include mac and cheese, and desserts include the famous chocolate pecan pie.
Melanie’s Food Fantasy
Melanie’s Food Fantasy first opened back in 1991 and today remains one of the best restaurants in Boone for brunch or breakfast. You will find unique decor and a unique menu in equal measure. They use local ingredients and value a farm-to-table approach.
They have several vegetarian options made with the freshest vegetables and farm produce for patrons to enjoy as they sit on the outdoor patio and sip mimosas. A particularly popular option is their Bacon Avocado Benedict. There are also vegan items on the menu like the Scrambled tempeh with homemade French fries, tomatoes, green peppers, onions, and tempeh. You can add farm-fresh eggs if you are not vegan.
Their outdoor seating is pet-friendly.
Booneshine Brewing Company
Booneshine is the perfect laidback spot in Boone to enjoy great beer and good food. Their main exploit might be the brewery, but they are also one of the best restaurants in Boone, serving dinner, lunch, and snacks along with your favorite brews.
Our favorite snack was the soft pretzel made with beer butter and served with a dipping sauce like beer cheese, hot honey, or house mustard. There are plenty of flatbreads and salads on the menu and some really popular sandwiches like the fried chicken sandwich with hot honey. Their outdoor seating has a great atmosphere and you can occasionally catch live music here. Furthermore, the outdoor patio is pet-friendly.
Coyote Kitchen is one of the best Boone, NC, restaurants to find rich and flavorful food. In fact, they are known as the home of Southwest Caribbean Soulfood. Their menu is quite unique in that many items on the menu are available in half portions. This is a family-run restaurant and serves both lunch and dinner.
All of their meat is hormone-free, and they also have vegan and vegetarian options. Coyote Kitchen has a number of tacos, burritos, and burgers on its menu, but the variety can truly be found in its boats and bowls. The Baja Boat; sweet corn, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, red beans, coconut rice, golden-battered tilapia, and topped with sour cream, is particularly popular.
If you’re looking for breakfast then the Sunrise Grill is one of the best restaurants in Boone to suit your needs. Their prices are reasonable and they serve all the classic American breakfast foods that everyone knows and loves. Furthermore, it is also one of the many family-run Boone restaurants.
The Sunrise Grill is well-known for their different types of Eggs Benedict, like the Southern version and the traditional version, or the exciting Flankenstein which has grilled flank steak, Vidalia Peach hot sauce, spinach, and goat cheese. If you would prefer something sweet you can try their decadent Nutella Banana French Toast. Lastly, their coffee bar serves some of the best coffee you will find in a Boone restaurant.
The Gamekeeper restaurant provides a relatively unique dining experience in the Boone area. It is a fine dining restaurant that serves not only fine wine but amazing local food and a selection of game meats in a rustic stone cabin setting. If you are looking to enjoy a perfectly cooked dinner for a special occasion then this is one of the best restaurants in Boone for you.
You can find several Southern classics with fun twists, including game that you might not have had the occasion to try before. Think grilled bison with garlic mashed potatoes, or if you are more adventurous you can even try grilled emu with sundried tomato thyme jus, broccoli, and mushroom risotto. If you are not feeling adventurous then do not fear, you can also have something more familiar, like crusted rainbow trout or grilled duck breast. For dessert we recommend the Bourbon bread pudding.
Although not entirely fine dining, it should be noted that The Local is more upscale than one would expect from the name. They serve dinner, lunch, or breakfast alongside delicious craft beer and a wine bar with some noticeable brands. The Local has a lively atmosphere where live music is available on the weekend, but throughout the week you can find comfortable couches and a pool table, making the ambiance laidback and inviting.
American-style dishes with some interesting adjustments are at the heart of The Local menu. Some of their classics include the shrimp and grits, fig and bacon grilled cheese, and the brussel sprout. For dessert you can try the Carolina beignets with Cheerwine sauce.
The Local is one of the best restaurants in Boone, NC, for exciting food and specialty cocktails.
Casa Rustica is one of the best restaurants in Boone for authentic Italian cuisine in a relaxed cabin ambiance. The Pedroni family opened Casa Rustica some thirty years ago and has since been passed on to the new generation of the Pedroni family. The Northern Italian influences are strongly present on the menu and the delicious food is consistently served at high culinary standards.
This restaurant is perfect for date night, especially during the weekly live jazz music night. You can have seafood alfredo, ribeye steak, and the six cheese pasta purses. Desserts include cannoli and tiramisu.
This is truly one of the most well-loved restaurants in Boone, NC. You might need to make reservations due to its popularity, and its ideal location in downtown Boone. They serve classical American cuisine with added Southern flair. For example, shrimp and grits, chicken and dumplings, meatloaf, and chicken and waffles. They are great for dinner, lunch, or brunch and are a favorite among local restaurants. The atmosphere at Vidalia is inviting and warm and it is also a great place to catch a quick drink if you are not looking for an entire meal. They have a wide selection of beers, wines, mocktails, and seasonal cocktails.
Making a list of the best restaurants in Boone is no easy feat. There are so many Boone restaurants that have fantastic menus, great atmospheres, and amazing foods that it can be difficult to identify the best of the best. Nonetheless, we have compiled a list of our favorite Boone, NC, restaurants and aimed to include something for everyone.
Dishes like specialty rolls from a bakery, fried plantains, tacos with chipotle cream cheese, stuffed french toast, muesli with fresh fruit, or delicacies usually associated with a food truck, we have attempted to hit them all in one way or another.