3 Best Restaurants in Highlands, The North Carolina Mountains

Ristorante Paoletti

$$$$ Fodor's choice

A fixture on Main Street for more than three decades, Ristorante Paoletti serves sophisticated Italian cuisine with first-rate service, although this comes at a price. The menu includes a lengthy section of freshly made pastas, along with many excellent seafood dishes. The wine list, one of the largest in the area, includes more than 1,000 selections. Reservations are a must.

440 Main St., Highlands, NC, 28741, USA
Known For
  • extensive wine list
  • upscale Italian food
  • reputation as a longtime favorite with many repeat guests
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Credit cards accepted, Closed Jan.--Mar., Reservations essential



In the Old Edwards Inn, Madison's is Highlands' most upscale restaurant. The dining room is gorgeous, light, and sunny, with stone floors and windows overlooking Highlands' Main Street. The restaurant adheres to a farm-to-table philosophy as much as possible, with pork, trout, quail, beef, and other dishes from area providers. The inn's Wine Garden adjoining Madison's is the spot for a more casual alfresco lunch.

Wolfgang's Restaurant and Wine Bistro


Cheerful and unpretentious, though not inexpensive, Wolfgang's has an eclectic menu ranging from a Wiener schnitzel to venison au poivre to Cajun shrimp and grits (the founder was a chef in New Orleans). Several of the rooms have fireplaces, and in good weather there's outdoor seating. The wine list is smart and long.

474 Main St., Highlands, NC, 28741, USA
Known For
  • quaint bistro atmosphere
  • eclectic menu
  • extensive wine list
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Tues. and most of Dec.–Feb.; closed dates vary annually, Credit cards accepted

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