Where to try fresh Appalachian trout

No fish exemplifies the crisp, cool atmosphere of the mountains as much as fresh trout.

They live in the cold water of our small mountain streams, and their filets are light, thin, and flakey. Trout definitely tastes a “cut above” other freshwater fish like bass, tilapia or catfish.

If you are an angler, you probably already know the great creeks and rivers in West Virginia’s eastern highlands that teem with rainbow, brown, brook and even the elusive golden trout. For the rest of us who do not fish, but still want a taste of summer in the mountains, there are some fine restaurants in West Virginia to try trout.

So, forget about the salmon, steak or pork loin– next time you’re dining out, try out some trout!

1. Tamarack: a taste of West Virginia (Beckley)

Tamarack is a great place to spend hours poring over West Virginia books, arts, crafts and of course, foods.

While the “Taste of West Virginia” restaurant is set up like your standard food court, it boasts some high-quality culinary creations. Check out their local rainbow trout, pan-seared in a simple lemon butter. You won’t find that at any other food court!

2. The Greenbrier (White Sulphur Springs)

The Greenbrier is pretty much the dictionary definition of an upscale resort. With a hotel, casino, golf course, natural spring water spa and several restaurants, it’s West Virginia’s largest and best-known resort.

The Greenbrier’s main dining room serves local Mountain State trout with a flair. Sourced from Mountaineer Farms, a trout hatchery and farm 60 miles to the west, The Greenbrier’s rainbow trout is truly gourmet.

Pan-seared and served with truffled Angel Hair pasta, local ramps, bacon, squash, peas and even mussels and clams, this is an entree for the true freshwater and saltwater aficionado.

3. Elk River Inn and Restaurant (Snowshoe)

This is one of West Virginia’s finest restaurants, but it still has a nice casual vibe to suit its spot on Snowshoe Mountain ski resort. The restaurant gets its rainbow trout directly from the Mountain State Trout Hatchery in Franklin, about 60 miles to the east.

Sample the fish with an appetizer of trout spread– a concoction of smoked trout mixed with a spiced cream cheese and capers, then served over fresh greens with crostini crackers. Or you can order an entree of pan-seared trout with butternut risotto, wilted kale and sauteed leeks.

Actually, you should probably just go ahead and order both!

4. Bluegrass Kitchen (Charleston)

This Charleston institution has it all: antique decor, live music and an atmosphere that stays classy without being the least bit pretentious.

True to their down-home, from-scratch vibe, they serve local trout with organic grits and braised kale, with a bourbon mustard dill sauce. It’s true southern-mountain Appalachia.

5. General Lewis Inn (Lewisburg)

This historic family-operated inn in Lewisburg has got a lot going for it: antique-filled rooms, a beautiful location in the heart of the Greenbrier Valley and a great restaurant that sources most of its food locally— and their trout is most definitely local.

Although their menu changes, they feature the fish a lot— smoked trout on salads, pan-seared or also breaded and pan-fried.

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This post was last updated on July 24, 2020