The Biltmore Estate has such a wide variety of dining options, no matter your budget, you will find something that tantalizes your taste buds. I would suggest you download the app, this gives you a hands on guide of where you are and what culinary selections are available in that specific area. The app also provides a price key, $ being the lowest cost and $$$$ being your most elegant dining experience. Most of my eating occurred at the Village Social Restaurant, located inside the Village Hotel. Even if you are not staying at the Hotel I would recommend this restaurant as a delightful spot for a casual late dinner.
The Village Social Breakfast
If you are a coffee lover, hands down this was some of the best I’ve had anywhere. I am not sure if it was the combination of excellent water and bean, but it was smooth and full of flavor. I love cream and brown sugar in my coffee, and this was the first time that I used much less sugar, simply delicious. Depending on your package, breakfast includes any of the menu items. You will however pay if you enjoy a Mimosa or Bloody Mary. Be mindful, the portion size is very large so ask the wait staff if that item is something you could share or have a smaller portion if needed. The first morning I ordered the Social Breakfast which included (two eggs, heirloom potatoes, toast, thick cut bacon or sausage links), entirely too much food for me, but delicious all the same.
Blueberry pancakes were my choice the second morning, glad I asked because this comes as a stack of 6! I politely asked for just two and that was the perfect portion. The blueberries were still plump and full of tart sweetness, paired with another gallon of that spectacular coffee, I was ready for the day. Though I didn’t sample the Crab and Pesto Egg Scramble, my partners in crime enjoyed it both days. The portion was large enough for them to share, and it’s served with the heirloom potatoes that are perfectly seasoned and nicely baked.
Give yourself enough time to lounge and really savor the breakfast experience, this was a great opportunity to discuss the plans for the day and laugh at previous adventures.
If you are pressed for time, the Village Social does get busy since it is in the middle of the Village Hotel, make a reservation for breakfast and they will text you when a table becomes available. You can also find breakfast at The Kitchen Cafe, located in the lobby, they open at 7a.m. and this can be a quick grab and go option. Anything from fresh fruit, a smoothie, breakfast sandwiches and a bowl of oatmeal are on the menu.
High Tea at The Inn
High Tea is an experience that assaults the senses. You don’t simply sit down for a cup of the local leaf, this service requires courses, and time in between to sip and savor.
Our tea concierge did a lovely job explaining the menu, the courses and recommending tea pairings to match. I would suggest everyone at the table select a different flavor tea so you can sample and share. Loose leaves hold so much more flavor than bagged, you should have the opportunity to enjoy as many as you can.
Course 1~Savory Canapés
Wallkill Farms Smoked Salmon-Interesting combination, salmon was full of flavor and not salty, black shortbread paired perfectly.
Grilled Vegetable Wrap-Crisp vegetables full of flavor, accompanied by a bean spread, perfect option for vegans.
Cucumber Sandwich-Traditional, lemon dill cream was bright and flavorful, bread was slightly stale in my opinion.
Sausage Roll-Not my favorite at all, seemed a bad combination of flavors, but the Rosemary Pepper Katsup stood out alone.
Butternut Custsrd Tart- This was a definite no for my palette, just texturally wrong.
I’ve come to the conclusion that I didn’t need any of the savory canapés to accompany my tea, while I enjoyed a few of them, just a simple cucumber sandwich on fresher bread would have been enough.
Course 2~ Cheese Plate
Blushing Bunny- Black Bomber, Cedric’s Brown Ale, Ron’s Rye, Tomato Two Ways
I must admit I was very disappointed in the cheese plate, I was expecting a mini plate of various rich cheeses, this was more of a mini fondue. The flavors were very rich, but they didn’t seem to blend well together. The tomato flavors were the most dominant, not the cheese.
Course 3~ Sweet Canapés
Chocolate Linzer Cookie
Pumpkin Hazelnut Bar
My least favorite of all courses, I didn’t enjoy any of the sweet canapés. However, I can’t deny the fact that they are beautiful culinary creations. I did take a bite of each, the flavors were lovely, but I simply didn’t enjoy them. I also think by this time, I was slightly full from drinking two full pots of tea, eating many scones and all of the savory. The sweet simply didn’t sit well on my stomach.
Tea Service Summary
- If you love tea, this experience is a must! Take a few friends so that you can have some comical discussions about the canapés and laugh at the facial expressions you make while trying to act proper.
- Sample everything, when is the next time you will have this opportunity? No, you won’t like everything, but why miss out on something you might love.
- Do not eat before tea, this is a full meal, you will not be hungry for hours once you complete all courses.
- The wait staff was superb, make sure you tip them well and treat them with love and kindness. We went home with extra scones🥰
- This is an experience, don’t schedule a time where you need to rush. Put down that damm cell phone after you snap a few pictures and enjoy your company.
- Go sit out on the backside of The Inn and enjoy the view! I’ve attached a picture for you to enjoy!
The Village Social Dinner
After a day full of adventures, sitting down to a late dinner was relaxing and much needed. The Village Social is perfect for casual family style dining, chilling at the bar, or even a romantic date night. The menu provides a variety of appetizers that could be a light meal, vegan friendly options, but they are famous for the seafood and fresh meats. Since we dined both nights, I will highly recommend the Shrimp and Grits, The Village Burger with Cauliflower Salad, The Cheese Board and The She Crab Bisque.
If you are a lover of shrimp and grits, the Carolina Shrimp and Grits will delight! Low country sauce, half a dozen shrimp, cheese grits, garnished with green onions and hints of garlic. The low country sauce is very light, different from the traditional that accompanies this dish, and the marriage of flavors is perfect.
It’s very rare that I eat a hamburger, but since most of the meat is grown on site at the Biltmore, I figured this farm to table staple would be fresh and juicy. The Social Burger has a deep flavor that perfectly accompanied the semi bitterness of the cauliflower salad. Enjoy it with your favorite toppings, or none at all, its garnished with bacon-onion jam, white cheddar, and pickles. Non meat options are also available, black bean as well as a veggie.
Seeing the beauty of this Cheese Plate and Pickles made me completely forget my let down during tea. Not only was each selection full of flavor and sweetness from the light honey drizzle, those pickled vegetables were a lovely touch! Most times you see dried fruits, grapes and nuts, the grilled bread made this appetizer filling enough for a light meal or lunch.
She Crab Bisque, such a delicate bowl of culinary splendor that it’s served warm and not scorching hot. No, this is not your run of the mill bisque from a can, this is full of sweet lumps of crab and smooth creamy goodness. The toasted bread may not be needed if you are having the bisque as an appetizer, but as a meal it provides that extra bulk for satisfaction. Don’t ruin your meal by adding anything that will alter the flavor of the crab, its perfect in it’s simplicity.
Though we didn’t have time to experiment with the culinary delights at the other restaurants on the Biltmore Estate, I think it’s safe to say our selections were show stoppers. Every meal was delicious, the service was wonderful and the portions well worth the price. Make sure if you are visiting to check out the Downton Exhibit, you include the High Tea on your list of things to do. No, I did not enjoy all of the canapes, but both the sweet and savory scones were the best I’ve ever had. Make sure you experiment with more than one of the tea flavors, the cost of tea is a pretty penny, maximize the experience and enjoy it! If you enjoy a few sips of wine with dinner, buy the bottle that is in your room, it’s 19 dollars, one glass is 12, save those extra bucks and head over to the winery for another bottle! All in all, my dining experience was nothing short of what I feel like I would have enjoyed as a member of the family at Downton, and hey, that was the goal of the trip!
Much love from the brown girl, traveling the world, making something beautiful!
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