Photo above courtesy of Bistro Roca Facebook

As part of our travels, we like to find locally-endorsed, unique spots to eat. Blowing Rock was no exception. During a wonderful conversation with Sam at the BRAHM (Blowing Rock Art & History Museum), Lee and I got a few tips on coffee shops and dinner options. One suggestion that got our attention was the Bistro Roca. Sam suggested it as having great food for reasonable prices. Luckily, it wasn’t too fancy because all we brought were our hiking clothes and boots. So, our minds were set.

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After exploring the museum and checking out The Blowing Rock and the grounds of Moses Cone Manor, we headed toward the restaurant right near the Glen Burney Falls trailhead. It truly is a neighborhood restaurant, which is probably why the parking for the Bistro is VERY limited. Lee was not excited about trying to find a place to park and was almost ready to bail. Oftentimes, I’m okay to adjust our plans, but for some reason, I wanted to try out this restaurant. So he was gracious enough to park in the trailhead parking and we began our small trek to the restaurant.

Bistro Roca has a bar with a limited menu and unlimited drinks where you can grab a drink and even an appetizer while waiting for your table. We were pleasantly surprised to hear our names called after only about a 10-minute wait.

We sat at a cozy table in the corner where Kaitlyn took great care of us. She was patient and gracious and answered all our questions about the menu options, which appetizers we might want to try and to grab extra sides we wanted to try that didn’t exactly come with our meals.

The menu had a lot of recognizable foods but with a fun twist. For example, they have appetizers like calamari and spring rolls or entrees with salmon and pizzas, but toss in chestnut grits, chorizo hash browns and a wood-burning stove for the pizzas and you can see the distinctive touches. Lee and I opted for the Roca Spreads as an appetizer; The name screamed local and with the description of a baguette with a variety of spreads and jams it was an easy choice. We were not disappointed. We chose the smoked pimento cheese and the bacon jam; yes, that’s right.. BACON JAM – an absolutely wonderful combination and a great little morsel as we talked and waited for our entrees.

Lobster roll; Maine lobster claw, lemon aioli, brioche

Lobster roll; Maine lobster claw, lemon aioli, brioche

Salmon (GF) w/ herbs de provence, chestnut grits, smoked olives, shaved brussel sprouts, basque pepper sauce

Salmon (GF) w/ herbs de provence, chestnut grits, smoked olives, shaved brussel sprouts, basque pepper sauce

Chorizo hash browns

Chorizo hash browns

We chose two different entrees so we could share a few bites and get to try more things. Lee chose the salmon with smoked olives, shaved brussel sprouts, and a basque pepper sauce all laid on top of chestnut grits, and Kaitlyn helped us order a special side of chorizo hash browns that were not technically a side dish (so grateful, they were delicious). I decided on a lobster roll with a Caesar salad. Both meals demonstrated a fun combination of foods; even with Lee’s harsh past with olives, the smoked olives in his meal created a different level of flavor. We ate, shared, and enjoyed the atmosphere and both were grateful we took a chance on the Bistro Roca.

Learn More About Blowing Rock

When you find a good restaurant, it’s hard not to want to go back all the time, but with so many other options, we might have to continue to branch out until we hit them all. In the meantime, make sure you check out the folks at Bistro Roca and ask for Kaitlyn. She did a fantastic job taking care of us and allowing us to get the full experience of this wonderful place.

For more options of restaurants in the area, make sure to check out our website, Eat and Sleep in the Smokies.

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