Where to Eat in Highlands, NC: A Guide to the 7 Best Restaurants

If you’re looking for a charming mountain town with incredible dining options, look no further than Highlands, NC. This small town is packed with unique restaurants, cafes, and bars that cater to a variety of tastes and budgets. Whether you’re in the mood for upscale fine dining or a casual meal with friends, you’re sure to find something that fits the bill in Highlands.

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What are the best restaurants in Highlands, North Carolina?

Some of the best local restaurants in Highlands are Wolfgang’s and Old Edwards Inn & Pub. More upscale restaurants include On the Verandah, Madison’s, and
Lakeside Restaurant, while more laid-back restaurants include Ugly Dog Public House and Wild Thyme Gourmet. Highlands also has several bars and breweries you can visit after dinner.

One of the standout features of Highlands’ dining scene is its focus on locally sourced, seasonal ingredients.

Many of the town’s top restaurants work with nearby farms to incorporate fresh produce, meats, and cheeses into their menus. This commitment to quality and sustainability is reflected in the delicious dishes served up at these establishments.

Visitors to Highlands can also enjoy a range of international cuisine, from Italian and French to Thai and Japanese. And for those seeking a more casual dining experience, there are plenty of cafes and diners serving up classic comfort food like burgers, sandwiches, and milkshakes. No matter what your taste buds are craving, you’re sure to find a satisfying meal in Highlands, NC.

Local Cuisine

Highlands, NC is known for its diverse culinary scene that caters to different tastes and preferences. The town boasts of several restaurants that serve a variety of dishes, including traditional Southern cuisine and international flavors. Here are some of the must-try local cuisine options in Highlands:

Old Edwards Inn and Spa

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This award-winning restaurant offers a fine dining experience with a menu that features locally sourced ingredients. The restaurant’s elegant ambiance and impeccable service make it a popular spot for special occasions.

Wolfgang’s Restaurant and Wine Bistro

This European-style restaurant serves classic dishes with a modern twist. The menu includes a selection of seafood, steak, and pasta dishes, as well as an extensive wine list.

Fine Dining

Highlands, NC is known for its upscale dining options, and there are plenty of fine dining establishments to choose from in town. Here are a few of our top picks:

On the Verandah

Located at the historic Highlands Inn, On the Verandah offers a refined dining experience with stunning views of the surrounding mountains. The menu features classic Southern cuisine with a modern twist, and the wine list is extensive. Be sure to try the shrimp and grits or the pan-seared scallops.

Madison’s Restaurant

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Madison’s is a favorite among locals and visitors alike, and for good reason. The menu is diverse, with options ranging from fresh seafood to steak to vegetarian dishes. This NC restaurant also has an impressive wine list and a cozy atmosphere. Don’t miss the lobster bisque or the filet mignon.

Lakeside Restaurant

For a truly unique dining experience, head to Lakeside Restaurant. This restaurant is situated on a beautiful lake and offers stunning views of the water and surrounding mountains. The menu features fresh seafood and other locally sourced ingredients. Be sure to try the crab cakes or the trout almondine.

These are just a few of the many fine dining options available in Highlands, NC. Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or just looking for a memorable meal, these restaurants are sure to impress.

Casual Eateries

If you’re looking for a more laid-back dining experience, there are plenty of casual eateries in Highlands that offer delicious food without the need for a fancy dress code. Here are some of the best casual eateries in town:

Ugly Dog Public House

Located on Main Street, Ugly Dog Public House is a popular spot for locals and visitors alike. They offer a variety of pub-style food, including burgers, sandwiches, and flatbreads. They also have a great selection of beers on tap, and the atmosphere is cozy and welcoming.

Wild Thyme Gourmet

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If you’re looking for something a little more upscale but still casual, Wild Thyme Gourmet is a great option. They offer a variety of sandwiches, salads, and entrees, all made with fresh, local ingredients. Their outdoor patio is a great place to enjoy a meal on a nice day.

Overall, Highlands has plenty of casual eateries to choose from, each offering their own unique atmosphere and menu. Whether you’re in the mood for pub food, Southern comfort food, or something a little more upscale, you’re sure to find a great meal in town.

Breweries and Bars

Highlands, NC is known for its stunning natural beauty, but it’s also home to some fantastic breweries and bars. Whether you’re looking for a cold beer after a long day of hiking or a fun night out with friends, there’s something for everyone in the Highlands.

Highlands has a few great breweries that are worth checking out. Here are some of our favorites:

  • Highland Brewing Company: Highland Brewing Company is a popular spot for locals and visitors alike. Their IPA is a fan favorite, and they also offer tours of their brewery.
  • Satulah Mountain Brewing Company: Satulah Mountain Brewing Company is a cozy spot with a great selection of stouts.
  • The Ugly Dog Public House: The Ugly Dog Public House has a rotating selection of taps, so there’s always something new to try.

If you’re in the mood for a cocktail or glass of wine, Highlands has several great bars to choose from. Here are a few of our top picks:

  • The Wine Garden: The Wine Garden is a charming spot with a great selection of wines.
  • The Log Cabin Bar: The Log Cabin Bar is a cozy spot with a fireplace and live music on the weekends.
  • On the Verandah: On the Verandah is a great spot for a cocktail and has a beautiful view of the mountains.


Highlands, NC is a beautiful destination for those who love the outdoors and good food. Whether you are looking for a casual lunch or a fine dining experience, there are plenty of options to choose from in this charming town.

From the cozy atmosphere of Wolfgang’s Restaurant & Wine Bistro to the upscale Lakeside Restaurant, visitors can sample a wide range of cuisines and dining styles. The Old Edwards Inn and Spa also offers several dining options, including the Madison’s Restaurant and the Wine Garden.

Overall, Highlands, NC is a food lover’s paradise. With so many delicious options to choose from, visitors are sure to find something to satisfy their taste buds. So, whether you are planning a romantic getaway or a family vacation in NC, be sure to add Highlands to your list of must-visit destinations.

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