For a quaint mountain town, numerous Highlands restaurants have earned accolades and recognition, many of which have been around for over twenty years. Highlands’ dining establishments like Wolfgang’s and Paoletti's have flourished for generations bringing wonderful cuisine, excellent customer service and a great atmosphere for enjoying a meal in the mountains. Read on for some of Highlands longest lasting and most loved restaurants.  

For nearly three decades, Wolfgang’s Restaurant & Wine Bistro has been a cornerstone of the Highlands dining experience, blending American cuisine with a German twist and Creole flair. Wolfgang's menu features a range of dishes, from raised beef short rib to seafood options like pecan-crusted shrimp, and you can finish off your dinner by indulging in desserts such as apple strudel, strawberries romanoff, and chocolate cake. Featuring a range of indoor and outdoor spaces, it's the ideal destination for any occasion, whether it's a lively celebration or a cozy evening for two. Operating from Wednesday to Sunday, the Bistro welcomes guests from 4 p.m. onwards, while the Dining Room opens its doors at 5:30 p.m.  

Dindu Lama's Wild Thyme Gourmet has been offering Asian-influenced American cuisine since its inception in 1995, enriching the culinary scene in Highlands. With an expansive wine list, delightful cocktails, and a welcoming atmosphere, Wild Thyme provides a great setting for a satisfying lunch or dinner experience. The lunch menu features a variety of sandwiches, burgers, and salads, while dinner showcases southern classics like fried green tomatoes and trout sourced from Western North Carolina. Situated in Town Square, Wild Thyme is ideal for those who enjoy dining al fresco. Surrounded by shops and occasional live music, it has a vibrant ambiance perfect for both lunch and dinner. 

On the Verandah has been a beacon of Highlanders' tastes since its inception in 1981 and the delectable offerings continue to captivate palates to this day. At On the Verandah, you can enjoy a dinner with locally grown ingredients while overlooking the beautiful Lake Sequoyah. The restaurant is located just a few minutes from town but its proximity to the lake makes for a serene setting for dining. On the Veranda welcomes guests nightly from 5:30 to 9 p.m. during the season, promising an unforgettable dining experience.    

Paoletti’s, a cherished fixture on Highlands’ Main Street since the 80’s, offers classic Italian flavors that have been perfected over decades. Paoletti’s has become a beloved destination for locals and visitors alike. This family-owned restaurant welcomes guests April – December and seats nightly, 5 to 9:30 p.m. Be sure to make a reservation in advance.  

Lakeside Restaurant owner, Laura Huerta, has crafted a seafood haven in Highlands since 1987.p.m.  The menu showcases options such as butter-roasted lobster tail and seafood pomodoro, that can be paired with flavorful sides like gruyere mac and cheese or cheddar jalapeno grits. Nestled just off Main Street, this hidden gem offers upscale dining, an extensive wine selection, and handcrafted cocktails with a beautiful view of the mountains and Harris Lake. Its lakeside location enhances the outdoor dining experience, making it a picturesque setting for enjoying a dinner in the mountains. Operating from March through December, Lakeside welcomes guests Tuesday through Saturday, starting at 5:30 p.m. 

These restaurants that have firmly established themselves as must-visit destinations within the community, are a large part of what makes dining in Highlands special. Whether you're craving seafood at Lakeside Restaurant or a meal at Wolfgang’s Restaurant & Wine Bistro, these places have become go-to spots in town. From classics like On the Veranda to favorites like Paoletti’s, these spots e staples for locals and visitors alike.