Top Restaurants in the Highlands, NC Area

Top Restaurants in the Highlands, NC Area

  • 04/23/24

Nestled in the heart of the majestic mountains, Mountain Life Properties presents an exclusive guide to the top dining picks in the Highlands and Cashiers area, a culinary journey designed for those who seek the ultimate in mountain dining experiences. Our carefully curated selections epitomize the best of local cuisine, offering a blend of rustic charm and gourmet sophistication set against the backdrop of breathtaking landscapes. From cozy mountain lodges offering traditional fare to upscale restaurants featuring innovative dishes that showcase the freshest local ingredients, our guide is your passport to unforgettable dining adventures. Whether you're a long-time resident or a visitor exploring the beauty of the Highlands and Cashiers, let Mountain Life Properties lead you to the culinary treasures that define our vibrant mountain community.


1. Canyon Kitchen

Nestled in the picturesque Lonesome Valley community of Sapphire, NC, Canyon Kitchen offers a farm-to-table dining experience amidst stunning Appalachian landscapes. Set within the rustic elegance of the Jennings Barn, with accordion-style walls revealing kitchen gardens below Cow Rock Mountain, it's an ambiance like no other. Indulge in creatively crafted Appalachian cuisine, featuring locally sourced produce and organic selections from surrounding gardens. Reservations are highly recommended, and guests are encouraged to arrive early to enjoy pre-dinner drinks in the scenic garden. 

Phone: 828-743-7967

Location: 150 Lonesome Valley Rd, Sapphire, NC 28774

Menu: Find it here


2. The FIX Restaurant Bar & Lounge

Situated in Sapphire, NC, The FIX Restaurant Bar & Lounge is your destination for upscale bar food and sports entertainment. Offering a unique blend of farm-to-table dining and a lively sports-watching atmosphere, The FIX promises a dining experience like no other. With its roots in farm-to-table dining, The FIX has expanded into a full-service restaurant, bar, and lounge, catering on and off premises. Open every day, it's the perfect spot to enjoy delicious food while catching your favorite sports action.

Phone: 828-743-7477

Location: 3093 US-64, Sapphire, NC 28774



3. Happ's Place

Located near Lake Glenville in Cashiers, NC, Happ's Place offers a relaxed and traditional North Carolina mountain ambiance. Specializing in lunch and dinner, they serve great quality local food at reasonable prices. Whether dining in or taking out, guests can enjoy a diverse menu featuring classic Southern dishes. Additionally, Happ's Place hosts concerts, adding to the vibrant atmosphere and providing entertainment for patrons. It's the perfect spot to savor local flavors while soaking in the scenic beauty of the surrounding area.

Phone: 828-743-5700

Location: 5914 State Rte 107, Glenville, NC 28736



4. Highlands Tavern

Nestled in the charming Highlands, NC, the Highlands Tavern, established in 2022, offers a beautiful old Tavern ambiance. With a focus on fresh, unique, farm-to-table cuisine, their talented Chef blends traditional and innovative techniques using local ingredients. Patrons can enjoy a rotating custom cocktail menu and rare Bourbon tastings, ensuring a new experience with each visit. The Highlands Tavern aims to delight guests' palates with delicious food and drinks that keep them coming back for more. Whether you're seeking a casual dining experience or a taste of rare spirits, the Highlands Tavern provides an unforgettable culinary journey.

Phone: 828-526-9002

Location: 205 S 4th St, Highlands, NC 28741



5. Lakeside Restaurant

Lakeside Restaurant, nestled on the shores of Harris Lake in Highlands, NC, offers a unique fine dining experience. Specializing in fresh seafood, guests can indulge in a menu complemented by an extensive wine list and craft cocktails. With its picturesque lakeside ambiance and excellent service, Lakeside Restaurant promises a memorable dining experience. Whether enjoying a romantic dinner or a celebratory meal with friends, guests are treated to unparalleled views and delectable cuisine. It's the perfect destination for those seeking an elevated dining experience in the heart of Highlands.

Phone: 828-526-9419

Location: 531 Smallwood Ave, Highlands, NC 28741



6. The Library Kitchen & Bar

Discover an unparalleled dining experience at The Library Kitchen & Bar in Sapphire, NC, where art and flavor unite. Led by Michelin star-trained Chef Johannes Klapdohr, the restaurant offers contemporary American cuisine crafted with the freshest natural ingredients. With thought-provoking installations by co-founder Marvin Gralnick, the ambiance is as captivating as the culinary creations. From authentic luxury to genuine connection, every aspect of the dining journey at The Library Kitchen & Bar is meticulously curated for a memorable experience. Welcome to a place where simplicity meets artistry and every dish tells a story.

Phone: 828-743-5512

Location: 184 Cherokee Trail, Sapphire, NC 28774



7. Madison's Restaurant

Experience seasonally influenced New American fine dining at Madison's Restaurant in Highlands, NC, located within the elegant rustic quarters of Old Edwards Inn. Indulge in farm-fresh fare crafted by gifted chefs, using ingredients sourced from our own gardens and regional farmers. Whether dining indoors in relaxed elegance or al fresco by a waterfall, Madison's offers a memorable culinary journey. With a commitment to fresh, locally sourced ingredients, Madison's promises a dining experience that celebrates the flavors of the season. Welcome to a place where farm-to-table meets relaxed elegance, creating an unforgettable dining atmosphere.

Phone: 828-787-2525

Location: 445 Main St, Highlands, NC 28741

Menu: Click here and scroll to the bottom of the page


8. Oak Steakhouse

Perched on Skyline Lodge's second floor, Oak Steakhouse in Highlands, NC, offers a contemporary steakhouse experience showcasing the finest cuts of Certified Angus Beef and locally sourced produce. Partnering with area purveyors and neighboring farms, Oak brings the flavors of Appalachia to the table with dishes like Venison Wellington and Sunburst Farms Trout. Guests can indulge in an expansive beverage program featuring an extensive wine list, craft cocktails, and local beers while enjoying the outdoor patio overlooking Big Creek Falls and Laurel Falls. With vaulted load-bearing ceilings, lounge seating, and two large-scale fireplaces, Oak provides a sophisticated yet cozy ambiance for a memorable dining experience.

Phone: 828-482-4720

Location: 470 Skyline Lodge Rd, Highlands, NC 28741



9. On The Verandah

Discover an upscale dining experience at On The Verandah in Highlands, NC, offering American fusion fine dining and romantic lakefront seating. Since 1981, this establishment has delighted guests with internationally inspired cuisine and fresh seafood, complemented by locally sourced produce and herbs from their garden. With menu highlights including chicken, seafood, fresh fish, and filet mignon paired with signature sauces and spices, On The Verandah promises a culinary journey like no other. Enjoy breathtaking views of Lake Sequoyah from their 120-seat dining area, complete with ample parking for convenience. Welcome to a place where exquisite flavors meet stunning scenery for an unforgettable dining experience.

Phone: 828-526-2338

Location: 1536 Franklin Rd, Highlands, NC 28741



10. The Orchard Restaurant, Events Barn & Guest Cottage

The Orchard Restaurant, Events Barn & Guest Cottage in Cashiers, NC, offers Southern-inspired American fare in a restored farmhouse with scenic orchard & garden views. Established in 2000, it provides high-quality seasonal dishes using the finest ingredients, boasting a menu rich in local cuisine with American, Vegetarian, Vegan, and Gluten-Free options. The rustic elegance of the 100-year-old farmhouse adds charm to the dining experience, with various indoor and outdoor dining spaces overlooking the apple orchard, lawn, and gardens. The restaurant's ambiance is complemented by friendly service and attention to detail, making it a beloved destination for guests year after year. Additionally, their new events barn serves as an ideal venue for various special occasions, from wedding receptions to family reunions, promising memorable experiences for all attendees.

Phone: 828-743-7614

Location: 905 State Rte 107, Cashiers, NC 28717


11. Ristorante Paoletti

Ristorante Paoletti in Highlands, NC, is a polished European-style venue renowned for its refined Italian dishes and extensive wine selection, with separate bar seating available. Established in 1984, Paoletti on Main Street offers a high-quality dining experience, featuring the freshest seafood, Prime Grass-fed Beef, Succulent Veal Chop, Rack of Lamb, and Elk Chop, earning critical acclaim nightly. The menu caters to gluten-free diners with options available in every category, while the wine program rivals those of larger cities like New York or Chicago, offering innovative choices from European and American producers. Craft cocktails are expertly crafted at the bar, and the friendly dining room staff ensure a pampering experience for guests, making it one of Highlands' most consistent dining destinations for over 32 years. Dinner reservations are recommended, with bookings accepted up to one month in advance for guests to enjoy this culinary delight.

Phone: 828-526-4906

Location: 440 Main St, Highlands, NC 28741



12. Primary Restaurant & Bar

Primary Restaurant and Bar on Main Street in Highlands, NC, offers high-quality, fresh, and locally sourced food in a chic and sophisticated interior. The expansive dining room and bar/lounge, separated by a glass wall with folding doors, provide a versatile ambiance for diners. With an uncompromising commitment to quality ingredients, the contemporary American menu features standout dishes like the superb ahi tuna tower and signature sweet cream cornbread baked with chopped bacon and aged white cheddar, served with addictive honey butter with sea salt available for purchase. Experience elevated dining at Primary, where freshness and flavor take center stage.

Phone: 828-526-3555

Location: 310 Main St, Highlands, NC 28741



13. Highlander Mountain House & The Ruffed Grouse Tavern

Embracing Old World tavern traditions, The Ruffed Grouse Tavern at Highlander Mountain House offers a cozy atmosphere with a large fireplace and rustic decor. Chef-inspired dishes showcase regional ingredients sourced from local farmers and growers, ensuring freshness and flavor. From field to fork, the menu evolves with the seasons, featuring a variety of dishes highlighting the best of the Blue Ridge region. Experience the essence of mountain dining with hearty fare and warm hospitality at The Ruffed Grouse Tavern.

Phone: 828-526-2590

Location: 270 Main St, Highlands, NC 28741



14. Roots & Vine

Embark on a culinary journey through the Majestic Appalachians at Roots & Vine, a tasting menu-only restaurant in Highlands, NC. Dedicated to locally sourced ingredients, each dish reflects our love for the region. Experience intimate dining in a cozy ambiance with soft grey hues, warm wood, and flickering flames, perfect for any occasion. Our commitment to excellence extends to our plateware, crafted by local potter Frank Vickery. Join us at Roots & Vine for a memorable and delicious exploration of the flavors of Appalachia.

Phone: 828-526-3555

Location: 490 Carolina Way, Highlands, NC 28741



15. Stubborn Bull at Mill Creek

Drawing inspiration from Mediterranean Spanish and South American cuisines, The Stubborn Bull at Mill Creek serves up rustic tapas in a modern setting. Encouraging a spirit of gathering and sharing, their menu invites guests to try a variety of small plates, served as they are prepared, for a social dining experience. With one of the largest Spanish wine programs in the area, featuring over 25 wines by the glass and 200 bottles from 70 regions, The Stubborn Bull offers an extensive selection to complement every bite. Indulge in a culinary journey that engages all the senses at The Stubborn Bull, where flavors from around the world converge in the heart of Highlands, NC.

Phone: 828-200-0813

Location: 445 N 4th St, Highlands, NC 28741



16. Wild Thyme Gourmet

Nestled in the heart of Highlands, NC, Wild Thyme Gourmet presents upscale Asian-influenced American cuisine in a contemporary polished setting with a vibrant bar area. Signature dishes like Spicy Stir Fry Waterfall Beef Tenderloin and Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb with Honey Lavender Balsamic Gastrique showcase the fusion of flavors. Indulge in favorites such as Wasabi Pea Encrusted Wild Salmon and appetizers like Crab Meat Fillo Purses and beer-battered Fried Calamari, ensuring a memorable dining experience at Wild Thyme Gourmet.

Phone: 828-526-4035

Location: 343-D Main St, Highlands, NC 28741



17. Wolfgang's Restaurant & Wine Bistro

With a warm ambiance and a deep wine list, Wolfgang's Restaurant & Wine Bistro in Highlands, NC, offers an eclectic menu featuring German, American, and Cajun cuisine. Chef Wolfgang Green, with a distinguished career including tenure as Executive Chef for the Brennan Family of Commander’s Palace, brings his expertise to the table. For 27 years, Wolfgang's has delighted patrons, earning accolades such as Southern Living's "Best Place for Dinner in Highlands" and Our State magazine's designation as the "place you must eat in Macon County." Experience award-winning dining in an intimate and relaxed setting conveniently located on Main Street in historic downtown Highlands.

Phone: 828-526-3807

Location: 474 Main St, Highlands, NC 28741




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