15 Best Restaurants in Sylva (NC)

Sylva, a quaint mountain town in the heart of Jackson County, is a thriving community renowned for its burgeoning brew scene.

Sylva is not only a center of brewing excellence but also a hub of civic and cultural importance in the region.

This city has a population of 2,618 people as of 2021. It is home to the famous Pinnacle Park, a 1,400-acre natural oasis reaching over 5,000 feet.

This city is also a destination of fun experiences, from delicious local cuisine to unique art galleries, shops, and rich historical sites.

Each corner of the town holds a special experience, whether it is indulging in the flavors of the town or delving into its rich history.

This guide has collected the best places to eat in Sylva, NC. Here are the best restaurants in Sylva, NC.

Best Restaurants in Sylva, NC

1. Lulu’s on Main

Lulu’s on Main

Lulu’s on Main has been a cherished fixture in Sylva since 1989. It captures the distinct character of this creative mountain community, personifying the special essence and welcoming ambiance in every aspect of its establishment.

The culinary creations of the executive chef, Chef Devin, are nothing short of a masterpiece. With top-notch, locally sourced ingredients to craft artistic and tasty cuisines, Chef Devin’s meals truly celebrate taste and flavors, leaving a lasting impression on patrons.

You can feast in the open air on a shaded patio with a view that is nothing short of spectacular. From this vantage point, enjoy the vibrant town of Sylva, North Carolina, and all ongoing activities throughout the year.

The menu features Thai chicken soup, muffuletta, Korean ‘Seoul’ BBQ, French onion soup, grilled cheese and fries, Lulu’s burgers, meatloaf, Italian pasta salad, and chicken piccata.

Indulge in a selection of bespoke spirits and expertly mixed adult beverages at their vintage-inspired mosaics bar.

Visit Lulu’s from 11:30 am to 3:00 pm, 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm on Mondays to Thursdays, and 11:30 am to 3:00 pm, 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm on weekends.

Address: 678 W Main St, Sylva, NC 28779, United States. Phone: +1 828-586-8989.

2. El Patron Mexican Restaurant

El Patron Mexican Restaurant

At El Patron, a family-run establishment, authenticity is at the forefront as they serve traditional Guadalajaran-style Mexican dishes.

This is one of the best places to eat in Sylva, NC because they utilize ingredients that are a product of cherished family recipes passed down through the years.

Their dedication to culinary excellence is evident in their commitment to using high-quality spices and seasonings. The frying oil is 100% pure vegetable oil, and their pico de gallo, salsa, and guacamole are prepared daily, ensuring that every bite is bursting with flavor and freshness.

The restaurant features a well-stocked bar, warm and attentive service, bountiful serving, a rich cultural ambiance, and complimentary Wi-Fi.

Savor the flavors of Mexico at every bite with nachos supreme, chicken fajitas, steak and shrimp, Arroz frijoles y Ensalada, pineapple chicken, taco salad, chimichangas, chips and salsa, and burrito Jose.

They operate on Sundays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 11:00 am to 9:30 pm and weekends from 11:00 am to 10:00 pm.

Address: 86 W Main St, Sylva, NC 28779, United States. Phone: +1 828-586-8805.

3. Colima Mexican Restaurant

Colima Mexican Restaurant

Culinary expertise and a deep-rooted sense of pride come together at Colima Mexican Restaurant, one of the top Sylva restaurants, to deliver an outstanding Mexican dining experience to lovers of Mexican cuisine.

With a reputation for creating authentic dishes utilizing healthy, quality food products, every bite promises a savory delight. Colima features catering services that cover any event. They are famous for happy-hour drinks, all-you-can-eat buffets, and healthy options.

Colima is where tradition meets flavor in every dish, which is portrayed on their menu. Enjoy steak fajitas with rice, refried beans, lettuce, and guacamole, chicken tacos, Colima especial, taquitos dorados, carne asada, and beef burrito with rice and beans

This establishment is open weekdays from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm and weekends from 11:00 am to 9:30 pm.

Address: 62 E Sylva Shopping Center, Sylva, NC 28779, United States. Phone: +1 828-586-9999.



ILDA is one of the best Sylva restaurants that blends the rich flavors of Southern Italy with the unique culinary traditions of the Appalachian region. This artisanal eatery is the culmination of the culinary vision and passion of a dedicated couple team.

The harmonious fusion of Southern Appalachian and traditional Italian flavors serve as the cornerstone for recreating the comforting and familiar experience of a home-cooked meal, reminiscent of the warmth and love at your grandma’s.

You can enjoy your meals indoors or outdoors and indulge in a custom cocktails menu at the bar on site that deftly mixes the storied history of Italian libations with the abundant, regional elements of Appalachia.

The menu at ILDA is a medley of tastes and textures that have been put together thoughtfully to appeal to all diners. It features charred carrots, shrimp, tagliatelli Bolognese, arancino, meatballs, carpaccio, tiramisu cake, red wine rigatoni, and spaghettoni amatriciana.

Drop by ILDA Thursdays through Sundays from 5:00 am to 9:00 pm.

Address: 462 W Main St, Sylva, NC 28779, United States. Phone: +1 828-307-2036.

5. South of Philly

South of Philly

South of Philly is a top Sylva restaurant that embodies the true spirit of community. This restaurant is driven by a mission of providing nourishment for every palate in the Sylva region, as well as in neighboring cities where they have additional outposts.

With a passion for serving beautiful meals prepared with ingredients sourced from local purveyors, the success of South of Philly is proof of the influence of delicious, community-minded cuisine.

This establishment provides a clean, pleasant environment for customers to enjoy their meals. Outdoor seating is also available for those who prefer to sit in the sun and people-watch while eating. And if you have somewhere else to be, you can always choose the takeout option.

The menu at South of Philly features boneless wings, chili cheese fries, spinach wrap, original Philly cheesesteak, chicken tenders combo, onion rings, Reuben sandwich, BBQ chicken Philly, and pulled pork hoagie.

Operating hours are Mondays through Saturdays from 11:00 am to 10:00 pm and Sundays from 11:00 am to 8:00 pm.

Address: 44 E Sylva Shopping Center, Sylva, NC 28779, United States. Phone: +1 828-586-0550.

6. Speedy’s Pizza

Speedy’s Pizza

Speedy’s Pizza, a Sylva institution since 1973, continues to reign as one of the best places to eat in Sylva, NC. With a reputation for serving up delicious pies, it has earned the loyalty of both the local community and the university students of Western Carolina for nearly half a century.

There’s nothing quite like enjoying a delicious slice of pizza while basking in the warm sun and fresh air, and at Speedy’s, there is a little patio up front where patrons can have their food. Speedy’s also features a takeout and delivery service.

Enjoy a creative menu with food options like calzones, chicken ranchero, chili and cheese hot dogs, lunch lasagna, chicken parmesan, and Greek Salad. Their menu includes veggie pizza, cheeseburger pizza, BBQ chicken pizza, and gourmet white pizza.

Visit Speedy’s Pizza from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm on Mondays to Fridays and Sundays from 4:00 to 9:00 pm.

Address: 285 W Main St, Sylva, NC 28779, United States. Phone: +1 828-586-3800.

7. Big Nick’s BBQ

Big Nick’s BBQ

With a quarter of a century of barbecue expertise, Tim Fisk imbues Big Nick’s BBQ with a rich tradition steeped in both personal history and culinary innovation.

Paying homage to his father, the eponymous Big Nick, who nurtured his passion for barbecue at a young age, Tim has honed his craft through a lifetime of learning and experimentation. He mixes his father’s wisdom with his unique flair, creating an authentic and imaginative dining experience.

No occasion is too grand or too intimate for this establishment to handle. From the professional atmosphere of office gatherings to the opulent splendor of weddings, their culinary expertise knows no bounds. So allow them to elevate your event with their mouthwatering barbecue.

At Big Nick’s, the flavors of the South are served with genuine hospitality, as Tim realized his vision of elevating barbecue to new heights. Enjoy chicken wings, brisket platter, fried okra, smoked wing platter, chicken breast, pork sandwiches, BBQ salad, and double cheeseburgers.

Big Nick’s welcomes guests every day from 11:00 am to 8:00 pm.

Address: 7 E Sylva Shopping Center, Sylva, NC 28779, United States. Phone: +1 828-631-3891.

8. Guadalupe Café

Guadalupe Café

One of the top restaurants in Sylva, NC, is the famous Guadalupe Café, tucked away amidst the lovely Smoky Mountains. Opened in 2004, this eatery has entertained diners with its fantastic fusion of international flavors and farm-fresh ingredients.

Guadalupe takes great pride in its farm-to-table philosophy, carefully sourcing rich, quality ingredients from local farms. From creamy dairy to succulent meats, Guadalupe’s dedication to supporting the community is evident in its partnership with skilled craftspeople.

Guadalupe’s menu expertly blends the rich and diverse flavors of the tropics and Caribbean in specialty cuisines such as the mango pork tacos bursting with flavor, goat curry, and plantains. Other dishes include peanut chicken, shrimp and grits, Phoenix rolls, red curry bowl, and pulled pork.

Visit Guadalupe on Tuesdays to Fridays from 11:00 am to 8:00 pm and Saturdays and Sundays from 10:30 am to 3:30 pm.

Address: 606 W Main St, Sylva, NC 28779, United States. Phone: +1 828-586-9877.

Check out our guide on restaurants in Bryson City, restaurants in Davidson, and restaurants in Bald Head Island for a fun meal time in North Carolina.

9. Old Western Boots Steakhouse

Old Western Boots Steakhouse

At Old Western Boots Steakhouse, the ambiance is of rustic elegance and laid-back nostalgia. Guests are invited to relish in the simplicity of a bygone era while enjoying an ultimate dining experience.

This restaurant prides itself on offering top-notch fare created from scratch utilizing fresh products sourced from the market. Each dish is a culinary masterpiece, a delicious journey through time and flavor.

The décor features the grace and splendor of the 1800s. Here, the ambiance is fun and merry, the food is exceptional, and the people are like family. Whether you are looking to spend quality time with loved ones or to host a gathering, Old Western Boots is the perfect destination for entertainment.

You can enjoy shrimp and grits, fried mushrooms, pecan-crusted trout, BBQ shrimp, grilled salmon, filet mignon, French onion soup, collard dip, wedge salad, steak and baked potatoes, and fried green tomatoes.

Boots Steakhouse operates from 4:00 pm to 9:00 pm on Wednesdays to Sundays.

Address: 64 Front St, Sylva, NC 28779, United States. Phone: +1 828-631-9713.

10. Zaxby’s Chicken Fingers & Buffalo Wings

Zaxby’s Chicken Fingers & Buffalo Wings

The creators of Zaxby’s set out on a mission with a humble aspiration – to offer a delectable array of wings, salads, and chicken fingers in an environment that exudes a unique and relaxed vibe, where patrons can fully embrace their individuality.

This modest idea blossomed into something much more glorious, ultimately birthing one of the best restaurants in Sylva, NC.

Zaxby’s is dedicated to serving you with excellence, whether you are celebrating a momentous occasion, enjoying a meal with loved ones, or grabbing a quick bite through the convenient drive-through service.

This is one of the best Sylva restaurants that offers wings, grilled chicken sandwiches, boneless wings, fried pickles, chicken fingerz platter, Zaxby’s signature sandwiches, the cobb, and a big zax snack.

Zaxby’s operates from 10:30 am to 10:00 pm daily.

Address: 284 E Main St, Sylva, NC 28779, United States. Phone: +1 828-631-3100.

11. Peking Gourmet II

Peking Gourmet II

Since its opening in 1933, Peking Gourmet II has stood as a testament to the culinary quality, providing patrons with an unmatched dining experience via its dedication to offering authentic, exquisite Chinese food at competitive pricing.

The talented chefs take delight in creating each meal from scratch using time-tested family recipes that are harmoniously combined with modern methods and ingredients to create a melody of tastes that tempt the palate.

This restaurant is dedicated to delivering top-notch dining experiences to the neighborhood, emphasizing takeout and catering and creating a delightful setting for all who visit.

Sit down and enjoy your favorite meals, from appetizers like fried wonton, BBQ spare ribs, shrimp tempura, and crab meat cream cheese to their chicken and beef dishes like curry chicken, Hunan beef, moo shu beef, chicken almond ding, and black pepper beef.

They are open from 11:00 am to 8:30 pm Tuesdays through Sundays.

Address: 385 Jackson Plaza, Sylva, NC 28779, United States. Phone: +1 828-586-2858.

12. The Rivers and Rails

The Rivers and Rails

Szymanski, the operator of this fine dining establishment, imbues each dish with a careful consideration to detail, honed by his upbringing and a profound cognizance of the reputation that accompanies every plate.

With a steadfast dedication to fostering a warm ambiance, River and Rails creates a sense of familiarity and comfort akin to being in one’s abode. To this end, various entertaining activities are regularly scheduled, giving patrons ample opportunities to revel in good company.

From the seasonings and herbs to the sauces and dressings that adorn them, Rivers and Rails Tavern ensures that the dishes are prepared skillfully. The menu features farmhouse chicken, chicken tenders, buffalo chicken sandwiches, and garlic parmesan truffle fries.

Operating hours are 11:00 am to 11:00 pm every Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. You can also catch them on weekends from 11:00 am to 12:00 am.

Address: 2 Dills St, Dillsboro, NC 28779, United States. Phone: +1 828-367-1225.

13. Cook Out

Cook Out

Founded in 1989, Cook Out has stood the test of time, consistently delivering fantastic meals to patrons from far and wide. The brand has grown and flourished over the years, branching out to multiple locations across the country and cementing its reputation as one of the top restaurants in Sylva, NC.

Cook Out features comfortable outdoor seating, takeout, drive-through, wheelchair-accessible services, a kids’ menu, high chairs, and late-night food.

Enjoy tasty dishes like cheeseburgers, white cedar cheese omelets, French fries, crispy spicy chicken fillets, Cook Out hotdogs, char-grilled chicken breasts, and onion rings.

Visit Cook Out from 10:30 am to 3:00 am on weekdays and 10:30 am to 4:00 am on weekends.

Address: 1391 E Main St, Sylva, NC 28779, United States. Phone: +1 828-586-1040.

14. City Lights

City Lights

City Lights holds a profound significance within the Sylva community. For generations, residents and travelers have visited the bookstore, drawn by its vast selection of vintage and brand-new books, special gift items, and lively literary gatherings.

And as a fitting complement to the literary haven, the café offers a sumptuous array of fare and libations, making it one of the top Sylva restaurants for bibliophiles and foodies alike.

Customers are treated to a range of delightful amenities, including a spacious terrace that can accommodate up to 20 guests and is even dog-friendly. You can even stay connected at this establishment with free Wi-Fi.

City lights also feature a selection of locally produced art that may be purchased, adding to the pleasant and distinct atmosphere of the restaurant.

Enjoy bagels, fish tacos, egg benedict, cheese quesadilla with salsa and chips, quiche, banana Nutella crepe, tuna melt with a side salad, Mexican rice bowl, and pup bowl with rice and turkey when you choose to dine with them.

They are open from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm on Sundays and 8:00 am to 3:00 pm on Mondays to Saturdays.

Address: 3 E Jackson St, Sylva, NC 28779, United States. Phone: +1 828-587-2233.

15. Josh’s Backstreet Takeout

Josh’s Backstreet Takeout

For over two decades, Josh’s Backstreet Takeout has served the Sylva region. Its menu boasts a distinctive flavor often described as a fusion of Asian influences and impeccable taste. It has since become a cherished eating establishment for food connoisseurs in the community.

Despite the absence of indoor seating arrangements, Josh’s Backstreet offers a unique take on the dining experience. However, the town has thoughtfully designated a lovely picnic spot close to the restaurant, providing an attractive al fresco option for customers.

The menu features crunchy noodles, butterfly garlic shrimp, cheddar cheese, marinated chicken, sesame garlic cabbage, cabbage and mushrooms, and butter garlic shrimp.

Drop by from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm, Mondays through Thursdays.

Address: 605 Mill St, Sylva, NC 28779, United States. Phone: +1 828-585-9131.

Want to know more top places to eat in North Carolina? Here is a guide on restaurants in Bryson City, restaurants in Kure Beach, and restaurants in Wilmington for a fun meal time.

Plan a Trip to Sylva, NC

Uncover the gastronomic delights that the charming town of Sylva offers by indulging in some of the best restaurants in the city.

This city is a gastronomic paradise, offering many mouth-watering options for both sit-down meals and grab-and-go-snacks.

Whether you’re looking for a luxurious dining experience or a quick bite on the go, you can be sure that Sylva will not fail to impress and satisfy your palate.