Boone is a beautiful market town that is named after famous pioneer and explorer, Daniel Boone. Home to the Appalachian State University and several other attractions such as the Hickory Ridge Living History Museum, Daniel Boone Park, and the pristine Blue Ridge Parkway which boasts breathtaking mountain views.
After exploring the sights of the town and soaking up spectacular views from the high suspension footbridge on Grandfather Mountain, celebrate love at one of these romantic restaurants.
1. Gamekeeper Restaurant
© Gamekeeper Restaurant
Take to the wild with a unique, one-of-a-kind dining experience that specializes in serving locally sourced game and humanely farm-raised meats at the Gamekeeper Restaurant. Set in a beautifully preserved 1950s-era stone cottage between Boone and Blowing Rock, the restaurant is a rustic fine-dining venue with a full-service bar that serves a seasonally changing menu that promises to satisfy both meat and veggie lovers. Seamlessly blending fine-dining fare and comfort food, the menu features dishes such as grilled bison tenderloin with garlic mashed potatoes, Peking duck breast with honey mashed sweet potatoes, and grilled emu fan filet with sun-dried tomato jús. A full-service bar serves a wide range of libations including globally-inspired wines, craft, and draft beers, and classic cocktails made with top-shelf spirits. The Gamekeeper Restaurant is open for dinner, Wednesday through Sunday.
3005 Shulls Mill Rd, Boone, NC 28607, Phone: 828-963-7400
2. Artisanal Restaurant, Boone
© Artisanal Restaurant
Artisanal Restaurant is a seasonal restaurant set in a beautifully converted barn with an elegant, yet rustic ambiance that offers a charming spot for romantic dining. Helmed by Chef Bill Greene, the contemporary American fine dining restaurant serves seasonal menus of farm-to-table cuisine prepared with fresh local ingredients from 100% certified organic farms and accompanied by an award-winning list of global wines. The restaurant has lovely outdoor seating for alfresco dining beneath the stars, and a full-service bar offers a curated selection of acclaimed wines, craft beers and microbrews, and classic cocktails. Artisanal Restaurant is open seasonally for dinner Tuesday through Saturday.
1200 Dobbins Road, Banner Elk, NC 28604, Phone: 828-898-5395
3. Cafe Portofino
© Café Portofino
A Boone favorite for casual wining and dining, Café Portofino is an easygoing Italian eatery set in a historic century-old former railway maintenance station on Rivers Street with a friendly, welcoming atmosphere. Featuring a cozy dining room, a bustling open kitchen and a charming outdoor deck and full-service bar, the restaurant serves a creative menu of casual New American fare such as gourmet sandwiches, succulent steaks, fresh salads, housemade pasta, and ocean-fresh seafood. A full-service bar serves a wide range of libations including globally-inspired wines, craft, and draft beers, and classic cocktails made with top-shelf spirits. Café Portofino is open for lunch and dinner, Tuesday through Sunday.
970 Rivers St, Boone, NC 28607, Phone: 828-264-7772
4. Casa Rustica Restaurant
© Casa Rustica Restaurant
Fusing Old-World Italian cuisine with the tastes and flavors of the High Country, Casa Rustica Restaurant is a traditional, family-run Italian trattoria that has been serving the community for almost 40 years. The bustling kitchen features rustic, wooden décor, a casual lounge with a cozy fireplace and intimate seating for both small and large parties. The restaurant serves favorites such as housemade pasta with from-scratch sauces, fresh seafood, chicken, veal and beef dishes and a selection of homemade desserts, and flat-bread pizzas and gourmet sandwiches can be enjoyed by the fireside in the La Bouca Lounge. A full-service bar serves a wide range of libations including globally-inspired wines, craft, and draft beers, and classic cocktails made with top-shelf spirits. Casa Rustica Restaurant is open for dinner, seven nights a week.
1348 NC-105, Boone, NC 28607, Phone: 828-262-5128
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5. CoBo Sushi Bistro & Bar
© CoBo Sushi Bistro & Bar
Cobo Sushi Bistro & Bar is an urban Japanese restaurant and bar with designer décor and a casual, yet elegant atmosphere that presents a one-of-a-kind dining experience. Head chef and owner, Joseph Miller brings the sophisticated tastes and flavors of Japan to the heart of Boone with a combination of fresh, handmade sushi, sashimi, nigiri, and specialty rolls, along with contemporary menu items of fresh seafood and Korean tacos, and crispy duck. Diners can watch the expert sushi chefs preparing specialty rolls at the open sushi bar, and a range of drinks from sake to classic cocktails are available form the full-service bar. Cobo Sushi Bistro & Bar is open for dinner, Monday through Saturday.
161 W Howard St, Boone, NC 28607, Phone: 828-386-1201
6. Makoto's Japanese Steak House
© Makoto's Japanese Steak House
Located in the Nasa Plaza, Makoto's Japanese Steak House is a contemporary Japanese steakhouse that specializes in upscale teppanyaki grills, sushi and sashimi dishes, and specialty cocktails in a refined atmosphere. The restaurant offers a unique dining experience with a menu of sublime Japanese cuisine and prime USDA steaks, and serves a wide range of delicious dishes from across Asia, including tataki, tempura, teriyaki, hibachi, sushi, sashimi, California rolls, udon, ramen, and various noodles dishes as well as prime USDA steaks and chophouse fare. A full-service bar offers craft beers and microbrews by the bottle or on tap, top-shelf spirits, classic cocktails, and fine wines from around the world. Makoto's Japanese Steak House is open for lunch and dinner, seven days a week.
2124 Blowing Rock Rd, Boone, NC 28607, 828-264-7976
7. Melanie’s Food Fantasy
© Melanie’s Food Fantasy
Melanie’s Food Fantasy is a farm-to-fork favorite in downtown Boone that has been serving classic American fare in a casual, laidback atmosphere for almost three decades. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Melanie’s has a comfortable dining room with country-style décor and an airy, spacious patio for outdoor dining and serves classic, simple food that is prepared with fresh ingredients. Diners can tuck into delicious dishes of scrambles, eggs Benedict, omelets, and pancakes for breakfast and mouthwatering Southern bites like blackened pimiento-cheese burgers, chipotle-honey salmon and grits, and vegetarian options like tempeh and soysage. Melanie’s Food Fantasy is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, daily.
664 W King St, Boone, NC 28607, Phone: 828-263-0300
8. Peddler Steak House
© Peddler Steak House
Located in the Watauga Village Shopping Center, the Peddler Steak House is a traditional chophouse chain with three independent operations that specializes in serving prime cuts of acclaimed USDA-grade beef steaks, slow-cooked prime ribs, succulent pork chops, and fresh seafood cooked over Tennessee hickory charcoal. A make-it-yourself salad bar features fresh herbs, salads, fruits, and vegetables offers a wealth of healthy options, and an extensive bar menu offers casual wines from around the world, craft beers and microbrews, and classic cocktails. Traditional steakhouse décor with wood and leather accents, dark hues, and elegantly dressed tables creates an intimate ambiance for romantic dining, and the restaurant is open for dinner, nightly.
1972 Blowing Rock Rd, Boone, NC 28607, Phone: 828-264-4433
Casually elegant, intimate, and romantic, Proper offers an unforgettable dining experience that celebrates the cultural-rich Southern heritage. Set in a beautiful historic 1896 jailhouse with a charming garden patio for alfresco dining, the understated, unpretentious restaurant specializes in traditional Southern home-style cooking and serves classic Southern fare with modern and seasonal twists. Tastefully presented signature dishes include catfish nuggets, pulled pork, meatloaf, crab cakes, and fried chicken, paired with traditional sides of green beans, collards mashed potatoes, and pickled beets. A full-service bar offers craft beers and microbrews by the bottle or on tap, top-shelf spirits, classic cocktails, and fine wines from around the world. Proper is open for lunch and dinner, daily.
142 Water St, Boone, NC 28607, Phone: 828-865-5000
10. The Cardinal Food and Spirits
© The Cardinal Food and Spirits
The Cardinal Food and Spirits is an inviting restaurant and bar set in a log cabin has a warm ambiance in which diners can enjoy a fun night out with friends or a romantic celebration of love. Boasting warm wooden décor and finishes, cozy tables and a full-service bar, the restaurant specializes in farm-to-table fare prepared with ingredients sourced from regional farms such as Heritage Homestead in Crumpler, Octopus Garden Farm, and Against the Grain in Zionville. Hailed as having the best burgers in town, ranging from Wild Game and Turkey Burgers to the Gringo Burger made with Carolina bison, the eatery also serves dishes of spicy-slow braised chicken, marinated tempeh tenders, and the jalapeno cheddar hushpuppies. The bar offers 12 rotating taps of regional craft brews, curated house cocktails, and a jukebox, a pinball machine, and an ice ball game offer fun entertainment. The Cardinal is open for lunch and dinner, Monday through Sunday.
1711 NC-105, Boone, NC 28607, Phone: 828-355-9600
11. The Local
© The Local
The vision of a local Boone family who wanted to create a welcoming gathering space for locals and visitors to enjoy great food and wines in a casual, laid-back atmosphere. Exuding a home-away-from-home ambiance with comfortable décor, a lounge with comfy sofas, large-screen televisions, and billiards tables, the restaurant serves a menu of New American cuisine with dishes of fresh seafood, prime steaks, hearty burgers, woodfired pizzas, gourmet sandwiches, tacos, and fresh salads. A full-service bar offers craft beers and microbrews by the bottle or on tap, top-shelf spirits, classic cocktails, and fine wines from around the world, and live music is performed on Friday and Saturday nights. The Local is open for lunch and dinner, daily.
179 Howard St, Boone, NC 28607, Phone: 828-266-2179
Vidalia is a cozy bistro-style restaurant that specializes in contemporary farm-to-table fare with Southern influences in an intimate, relaxed atmosphere. Located opposite the Watauga County Courthouse near the Appalachian State University, the small, neat little bistro is a foodie paradise that focuses on creating and serving enticing dishes using locally grown produce and naturally-raised meats. Signature dishes include pecan herb-breaded North Carolina trout topped with lemony celery, creole-battered Southern-fried chicken served with waffles, sesame coriander tuna, pan-sautéed lump crab cakes, and desserts of chocolate praline tart and apple turnover. An extensive list of over 60 bottles of wines, specialty cocktails, and craft beers are available from the full-service bar, and the restaurant is open for lunch and dinner, Thursday through Sunday and dinner only on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
831 W King St, Boone, NC 28607, Phone: 828-263-9176
13. Wild Craft Eatery
© Wild Craft Eatery
Wild Craft Eatery is a colorful, quirky downtown café that serves global fare, craft beers and inventive cocktails in an inviting space. Featuring a comfortable dining room with modern décor, bright artworks, and a charming outdoor deck overlooking King Street and serves a seasonal menu of farm-to-table fare prepared with locally sourced ingredients and regional products and fused with global flavors. Signature dishes include shepherd’s pie, tacos, Thai noodles, tamales, and Cuzco Cakes made with smoked quinoa, Gouda cheese, and yams. A full-service bar offers craft beers and microbrews by the bottle or on tap, top-shelf spirits, classic cocktails, and fine wines from around the world, and the restaurant is open for lunch and dinner, Tuesday through Sunday.
506 W King St, Boone, NC 28607, Phone: 828-262-5000
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