Bryson City is set in the scenic Great Smoky Mountains of Western North Carolina. This idyllic hamlet is mainly known for rushing rivers, picturesque peaks, and an abundance of hiking trails. It’s a tiny town full of charm that also happens to be a surprising culinary haven. There’s an impressive array of fantastic Bryson City restaurants, each more enticing than the next.
Discover all the delightful dining destinations here, from Southern comfort food to eclectic international fare. Below are all the best Bryson City, NC restaurants for finding the perfect plate for your palette.
Best Bryson City Restaurants (NC)
Casual and cute, this traditional Italian eatery is a local favorite in this small North Carolina town. They offer authentic fare with a hometown feel. The stylish decor features an open kitchen, warm woods, and best of all a full bar. There can be a bit of wait sometimes, but the cuisine is well worth a little time spent in line.
The hand-thrown pizza is made all from scratch using fresh ingredients and cooked to perfection.
The menu is varied and there are plenty of vegetarian and gluten-free options, so anyone can find something tasty to try here. Start your feast off with some bruschetta or antipasto before digging into a delectable dish like the Baked Shrimp and Scallops, Carbonara, or you can even custom create your own pie.
Jimmy Mac’s is a beloved long standing fixture for foodies in Bryson City, set right on the main drag downtown. It was actually first opened in Florida back in 1978, but moved to the great state of North Carolina in 2006. The atmosphere is cozy with walls covered in whimsical vintage art.
The extensive menu is full of comfort food favorites, seafood dishes, and fried fare that is sure to cure any cravings. The Elk Burger and Stuffed Shrimp come highly recommended here.
They have a well-curated range of wines, a few local craft beers, and a full bar with cocktail specials. You’ll often see families and friends gathering here to chow down and kick back with a drink together.
Everett Street Diner
An old-school American tradition, the quintessential diner, lives on in Bryson City in the form of Everett Street. It’s a family-friendly downtown spot serving up classic cuisine like breakfast plates and sandwiches.
The space provides a country-style setting, with adorable kitschy murals covering the walls. They tend to put a mountain twist on all the traditional Carolina plates.
For lunch try the Pastrami and Swiss and for the most important meal of the day go for the mouthwatering Southern Fried Biscuit Breakfast. Luckily their famous Brunch Burger works for both if you’re feeling indecisive.
You can also grab some swag from their gift shop, such as some very cute mugs, to remember the magic of the meal after the getaway glow wears off.
Nate and Nick’s Pizza
- Price: $$
- Cuisine: Pizza restaurant in Bryson City
- Address: 225 Everett St, Bryson City (GPS)
- Website: See menu
Nate and Nick’s Pizza is the best place to go in Bryson City for the perfect slice. The atmosphere feels familiar, with a fun and relaxed flair. Besides, what’s better than a giant bucket of boiled peanuts to start off any pizza party?
There’s indoor and outdoor seating, and we recommend enjoying your fare al fresco here. The finest cheese, the highest quality meat, and the freshest vegetables all top their hand-tossed pies with expertly aged dough for a truly special experience.
The selection of craft beers is a draw all its own, any brew connoisseur is sure to be impressed. You can even buy some more obscure bottles to take with you to go from their on-site market. They offer other gourmet grub, like sandwiches and pasta, but the most famous orders are the Spinach Dip and Buffalo Pimento Pizzas.
Also called Loretta’s, with the apt tagline, not your average snack, SNAK SHAK is a lovely spot to stop for a bite in Bryson City. It’s a favorite foodie find for lunch around town. The environment is intimate, sporting light wooden walls decked out in vintage-style paraphernalia.
It’s conveniently located right by the alluring attraction of the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad.
They’ve got burgers, wings, hot dogs, deli sandwiches and much more. We tend to dig into the jumbo wings when we’re here, ideally in Lemon Pepper or Garlic Butter with a heaping combo basket on the side which includes mozzarella sticks, onion rings, and tater tots. If you manage to save a modicum of room, the coconut cream pie for dessert is divine.
For some good old-fashioned Southern-style smoked meats, the Bar-B-Que Wagon can’t be beaten and is easily one of the best restaurants in Bryson City. A little counter-service joint, the space has a country cabin feel, with wooden decor floor to ceiling. The bright red patio looks out over the river, a beautiful backdrop for a tasty bite. They’ve got it all, BBQ platters, sandwiches, and baskets.
Be sure to try all the sides here, from the slaw to the hush puppies to the okra. The Fried Chicken, the Smoked Turkey, and the Pulled Pork are all equally delicious so you really can’t go wrong.
The best part is the wide range of sauces, including spicy, vinegar, and gold, and they’re fun to mix and match together. Who said you can’t play with your food?
Iron Wok serves up craveable Pan Asain cuisine in this charming Carolina city. It’s a spacious setting, featuring brightly colored walls and traditional artwork for an all-around easy-going ambiance.
Dine-in or take-out, either way, this extensive menu has so much to offer, deciding on just one dish can be the hardest part of all. There are some amazing lunch specials as well if you head over in the afternoon.
The Fresh Basil Rolls and Fried Oysters are a few of the not-so-average appetizers sure to tantalize your taste buds. For mains, there are plenty of veggie-friendly options, like Tofu Pad Thai, as well as chicken, pork, beef, and seafood noodle and rice dishes.
There are curries and amazing phos as well. The creative Saki cocktails pair well with every plate here.
The High Test Deli
Also referred to as the Filling Station, the High Test Deli is a local treasure when it comes to grabbing some grub in Bryson City. It’s a daytime deli serving a vast variety of international gourmet sandwiches. Everything is made to order with fresh ingredients.
The building is brick-laden and inside it is just as charming as the old school facade. It has a rustic feel full of vintage decor.
They even serve specialty frozen sandwiches, which are seriously tasty ice cream concoctions. We love the Punch Bug, black raspberry soft serve between coconut chocolate chip cookies.
The not-so-cold creations are generally deli-style, and you can pick a pair to enjoy the classic soup and sandwich combo. The most famous is arguably their iconic and eponymous Cuban.
This cozy little accommodation was first built in 1923. It offers a rustic cabin feel perfect for the verdant Western Carolina surroundings, complete with porch rocking chairs, a stone fireplace, and a swimming pool.
The full-service dining room here is open to anyone for breakfast and dinner and is a lovely way to enjoy a meal with a side of fresh mountain air.
Chicken Fried Pork Cutlet, Braised Lamb Shanks, and Fresh Rainbow Trout will all have you rushing to book a stay. All mains are served with family-style sides and there is always at least one vegetarian option on the menu. It helps to make reservations ahead of time here.
River’s End Restaurant
River’s End is a casual American gastropub located at the Nantahala Outdoor Center. They offer breakfast, lunch, and dinner and its spectacular panoramas have made it an iconic stop for locals and visitors alike. The decor is certainly wilderness-themed and the space is full of warm woods.
The coup de grace, however, is the view. It’s set right alongside the beautiful gorge, and aside from idyllic scenery, watching the paddlers fly down the sparkling water is so fun.
They offer a wide range of entrees ranging from pizzas to burgers. Wash it all down with a Carolina craft beer or signature cocktail. The Hiker Bites are a healthy starter that tastes indulgent. The Sherpa Rice dish is world-famous and, for a hearty meal, go for the Rafter’s Delight.
The Iron Skillet
Not fast food, just good food is the motto at the Iron Skillet and we can’t argue with that. It’s the best place for comfort foods that feel home-cooked and are all made from scratch. The menu is simple with all of the classics present.
They’ve got the Scramble, Biscuit and Gravy Platter, Country Fried Steak, and Peach Cobbler to top it all off.
The aesthetic is the epitome of cute country farm with rustic touches everywhere you look. The food is nothing fancy, but no-frills doesn’t mean no flavor, not here at least. Keep in mind their cash only before heading out to chow down on your fill of classic Carolina cuisine.
Boots Steakhouse is set super close to Bryson City and is renowned in the state for serving some seriously high quality pieces of meat. They offer the best hand cut steaks in the Smokies. The space feels elevated with an authentic air of stepping straight back into a saloon of the Old Western era.
The handcrafted cocktail program is impressive as well, especially anything made with the top-shelf whiskey.
It’s a lovely space for a slow and enjoyable meal where you’ll want to savor every made-from-scratch mouthful. The patio is picturesque as well, complete with string lights and wooden rocking chairs. Choose your prime cut chop, from Filet Mignon to Ribeye.
The seafood selection is superb as well, like the Pecan Crusted Trout or Grilled Salmon. Get the best of both worlds with the surf and turf!
Guayabitos is the go-to for amazing Mexican fare in Bryson City. All the cuisine is super authentic, whether it’s for dining in or taking a tasty meal to go. They’ve been a staple of the foodie scene here for over a decade. Don’t let the hole in the wall facade fool you, each dish here is delicious.
The menu is so extensive you can get anything your heart (or stomach) desires, as a combination dinner or all custom ordered a la carte.
They offer all the classics like tacos, burritos, enchiladas, and fajitas as well as some more traditional fares you don’t always get to try such as the Mole Ranchero, Carnitas, Chilaquiles, and Tlaquepaque. There are plenty of vegetarian options as well.
Located directly across from the train depot, Mountain Perks is a family-run coffee shop with scrumptious light bites. It has a comfy, homey feel that will make you want to stay awhile sipping a drink in the sunshine. The “hippies are welcome” sign hanging above the cash register really says it all.
Play some chess, read a book, catch up on emails, regardless this is such a convenient stop for a pick me up and an enjoyable way to spend some time in Bryson City. The menu has more than you may expect. There are bagel and croissant specialties with all kinds of toppings to choose from, as well as handmade quiche, wraps, and salads.
- Price: $$
- Cuisine: American, Italian comfort food
- Address: 15 Depot St, Bryson City (GPS)
- Website: See menu
Commonly called Anthony’s, this bar and lounge should definitely make it on to any foodie itinerary and best Bryson City restaurants list. The industrial chic ambiance makes it one of the cooler spots to come to in Bryson City and the little porch is lovely for outdoor dining as well.
It’s one of those places where you almost want to make a whole meal out of the appetizers, from the Zesty Crab Bites to the Hog Wings.
The handmade pasta is the main focus here, and there are even gluten-free options available. We love the Beet and Goat Cheese Gocce and the Build Your Own Spaghetti Bowl. The burgers, sandwiches, and pizzas all come a close second as well, so you really can’t go wrong!