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An Epicurean Love Affair

Posted On January 25, 2020

From Lake Toxaway to Highlands, we explore intoxicating culinary options to celebrate love, connection, and the Western North Carolina mountains. Food prepared with joy, inspiration, and art in mind to create experiences and memories that leave you begging for more. Food is the bond that brings us all together. May your Valentine’s Day be filled with a shared meal and heartfelt connection to the ones you love.

By MANDY MURRY

The Log Cabin Highlands NC

4118 Kitchen + Bar

With a laidback mountain vibe, 4118 Kitchen + Bar offers a casual space for a fun and relaxed dining experience. The menu adapts to seasonally available ingredients and maintains a burger, small plate, local beer, and craft cocktail vibe. The Gastropub delivers beautifully plated dishes from greens to comfort food. A great option for groups, families, or couples looking for a low-key dining atmosphere. 64 Highlands Plaza, Highlands, NC, (828) 526-5002. www.4118kitchen-bar.com

Madison’s Restaurant & Wine Garden

Classic and elegant, you and yours will enjoy a world-class atmosphere with spot-on culinary selections. Provisions are sourced from The Old Edwards Inn garden and greenhouses along with local and regional purveyors. Enjoy Madison’s Southern cuisine takes on dinner selections such as a seasonal vegetable plate, meatloaf, lamb burger, and more. If wine is your first love, enjoy pairings recommended from the sommelier and their celebrated Wine Spectator list. 445 Main Street, Highlands, NC. (828) 526-5477. www.oldedwardsinn.com

Meritage Bistro

Transport yourself to a European lunch, dinner, or brunch (on Sunday), complete with a delectable selection of desserts at Meritage Bistro. Wild Mushroom Risotto, Paella, Sea Scallop Caponata and Lamb Meatloaf, along with beef and chicken options will surprise at this beckoning dining option two blocks from Highlands’ main street. 490 Carolina Way, Highlands, NC, (828) 526-1019. www.meritagehighlands.com

Midpoint Restaurant

Innovation on Highland’s main street includes a variety of culinary favorites as well as out-of-the-box menu selections such as Pho Noodle Soup, Lamb Gyro, Chicken Tikka Masala, and Beef Bourguignon. The menu is inspired by a love of travel, experiences and cooking techniques from across the globe. Midpoint offers a rooftop experience and is perfect for the adventure and food lover in your life. 332 Main Street, Highlands, NC, (828) 526-2277. www.midpointhighlandsnc.com

Table 64

International cuisine in Sapphire delights with an ambitious tapas and wine menu. Foie Gras Empanadas, Shrimp and Corn Beignets, Venison Tartare, Lasagna Roulade, Deconstructed French Onion Soup, Duck Confit Egg Rolls, and Stuffed Avocado are only the beginnings of succulent tastings available at Table 64. A gem for celebrating the one you love. Located next to their sister restaurant, The Cork and Barrel Lounge, in Sapphire Valley's Village Shoppes. 3093 Highway 64E, Sapphire, NC, (828) 743-4135. www.tablesixtyfour.com

The Library Kitchen & Bar

A storied past – this preserved 19th-century farmhouse is poetry for the senses. The Library Kitchen & Bar debuts as one of the Plateau’s most celebrated dining establishments, offering creative farm-to-table cuisine. Iconic and picturesque, it’s the perfect place to snap a photo with the foodie you love. Chef Johannes Klapdohr’sculinary prowess is a space to celebrate the art of food. Enjoy tastes such as Pistachio Encrusted Chicken, Risotto with Whiskey Sautéed Maine Lobster Tails and Shrimp, Winter Greens and Black Truffle and Goat Cheese Flavored Macaroni & Cheese. 184 Cherokee Trail, Sapphire, NC, (828) 743-5512. www.librarykitchenandbar.com

The Log Cabin

If snuggling up in a historic log cabin with your significant other is on your list, then you may enjoy the casual coziness of The Log Cabin. A perfect place to enjoy conversation and wine paired with a variety of protein and pasta options, this Italian undertoned restaurant boasts three fireplaces and sits engulfed in giant oak trees. 130 Log Cabin Lane, Highlands, NC, (828) 526-5777. www.logcabinhighlands.com

The Orchard Restaurant

A local favorite, this Southern-American restaurant housed in a restored farmhouse is upscale but casual, cozy and delightful. With expansive appetizer selections including brie, charcuterie, mussels and crab cakes, it’s the perfect start to an in-depth menu of trout, fish of the day, venison, pork Osso Bucco, chicken and rib-eye selections. The Orchard Restaurant is soul-filled most nights (reservations are recommended), trickled with inspiration. 905 Highway 107 South, Cashiers, NC, (828) 743-7614. www.theorchardcashiers.com

The Restaurant at the Greystone

Lake Toxaway’s coveted view and dining option will entice you with its mountain lake charm. For a romantic setting, reserve dinner or a weekend at The Greystone Inn. With a lakeside dining room complete with a fireplace, you and yours will connect over the romance of setting, conversation, food and wine. Chef Sean’s seasonal menu is inspired by the surrounding forests, mountains, lakes and streams. 220 Greystone Lane, Lake Toxaway, NC, (828)966-4600. www.greystoneinn.com

Tug’s Proper

Take your sweetie for an afternoon cocktail or Valentine’s Day lunch at this tavern on Highlands’ Main Street. With a variety of seating options and artists inspired mountain vibe, Tug’s Proper is the choice for drinks and pub fare, paired with contemporary American options like trout piccata, duck confit and veal meatloaf. Comfortable and classy. 310 Main Street, Highlands, NC, (828)526-3555. www.tugsproper.com

Winslow’s Hideaway

Priding itself on steaks, seafood, spirits and service, Winslow’s Hideaway is a small, intimate dining experience in Cashiers. While seating is limited and close, the rave for all-things seafood and steak, including a fried lobster, is a nice trade from candlelight and crackling fireplaces. Pair with wine, classic or handcrafted cocktails and enjoy a fine all-American dining experience. 45 Highway 107 South, Cashiers, NC, (828)743-2226. www.winslowshideawaync.com

Wolfgang’s Restaurant & Wine Bistro

Enriched in decades of conversation and dining, Wolfgang’s intriguing menu of German, Cajun and American options continue to share the love of epicurean food and wine. Specialties of Braised Beef Short Ribs, Weiner Schnitzel, Veal Medallions, Crab Cakes and Cajun Bar-b-Que Shrimp are the perfect complement to an intimate Valentine’s Day celebration. Recognized for a deep and complementary wine list, this fine dining option will entice with its ambiance and meandering dining room. 474 Main Street, Highlands, NC, (828) 526-3807. www.wolfgangs.net