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What and where to eat in Nashville: a guide through its best restaurants

Have you really visited Nashville without trying its food? From its traditional dishes with meat and chicken to its renowned desserts, we propose a tour through the city’s best restaurants to grab a bite of the local culinary culture.

Best restaurants in Nashville

Looking for the place to start your Food Tour Nashville? Here are some alternatives to have a tasty experience:


This restaurant opened its doors in 2019 thanks to the efforts of chef Mailea Weger, who thought of a place where you could have from brunch to dinner. It is famous for its cozy atmosphere, its wine list (which focuses on natural options) and its desserts.


Despite not having a reservation system, and the fact that it only serves lunch Friday through Monday, Kisser always has a crowd at its doors. This is what happens when chefs Leina Horii and Brian Lea elaborate a menu that includes vegan and gluten-free dishes as well as traditional Japanese food, such as onigiri (rice balls with filling), soba noodles, chicken katsu and ramen, among others.

What was born as a pandemic shutdown project opened in 2023, and it has gained notoriety and popularity in every Food Tour Music City ever since.

Big Al’s Deli

Comfort, hospitality and savory breakfast and lunch menus: just some of the factors that added to this restaurant’s fame. Here, you can find some of the Southern classics, from jerk chicken to shrimp, Tuesday through Saturday.


Honoring their family roots, Hrant Arakelian and Elizabeth Endicott created a menu that is both vegan-friendly and that offers Middle Eastern recipes. Here, you can taste lamb manti, hummus and baba ghanoush, as well as pistachio ice cream for dessert. Do not miss out on the cocktail set and on the Turkish coffee.


This restaurant is named after chef Sean Brock’s grandmother. Both the place and the menu depict Brock’s Appalachian upbringing, for it serves dishes that come with Appalachian salt-risen bread, for example. The scenery is completed with historic photographs, patchwork quilts and folk-art collections hanging from the walls.

City House

It took some time since City House’s opening until, in 2016, Tandy Wilson finally won the James Beard Award for best chef. Since then, it has become one of the city’s most celebre restaurants, known for its Italian flavors with local air, like a thin-crust pizza cooked in a brick oven and topped with ham and runny eggs. It has also gained notoriety for its baked goods, like icebox cakes and pies with pastry chef Rebekah Turshen’s signature on them.


Another of the recipients of the James Beard Award, chef Tony Mantuano joined forces with wine expert Cathy Mantuano and opened this restaurant. The menu includes both Italian recipes (mostly known for its pasta) and the sweetness of pastry chef Noelle Marchetty’s (yet another semifinalist for the James Beard Award) desserts. 


Trevor Moran opened this shop in 2020, and was later awarded with the Eater Award for best new restaurant. It has also gained popularity due to its dumpling and kakigori (a style of shaved ice) menu. From spiced noodles and tuna ham crisp, the dishes served often vary, but the quality continues.

Bourbon Steak

Here, you will be able to enjoy both the food (which include everything from steaks poached with butter to cocktails and bourbon pecan pie) and the view, for it is located 34 stories above the city. 


With 24 seats available, only through reservation, Bastion is known both for its food and for its drinks. Here, Josh Habiger (a James Beard Award semifinalist) is famous for its 15 dishes menu, filled with traditional dishes with a new twist (with ingredients such as wild fennel, bee pollen and brown butter).

Nashville’s Traditional Dishes

Not sure what to order? Here are some local classics: 

Nashville Hot Chicken

Perhaps the most famous Nashville delicacy, this approach to the well-known chicken includes using a cayenne paste sauce, then fry it. The result? A plate that takes spiciness to another level. 

Meat and Three

When ordering this dish, customers have to choose a type of meat (that goes from meatloaf to chicken, without missing out on ham, beef or brisket) and an alternative of three sides to accompany it (cheese, mashed potatoes, peas or collard greens are some of the options). 

Biscuits and Gravy

While these light, bread-based biscuits often appear throughout different meals (at breakfast, but also at lunch or dinner) and with different toppings (such as butter or jam), the Nashville way is to smother them in gravy.


Both a Nashville and an overall Tennessee classic, this dish is also known as Southern Barbecue and can be found in a variety of ways: from ribs with sauce or brisket to pork, they all share the slow cooking.

Fried Catfish

Fried in oil and served with lemon juice and pepper, the Music City is known for serving it alongside tartar sauce or ketchup, as well as with pickles.

Fried Pickles

As it happens with fried catfish, a lot of Nashville dishes are accompanied by pickles. These usually come sliced thinly, fried after having been coated with a mixture of garlic or onion, pepper and salt. The result is a snack that is both crispy and tasteful. 

Fruit Tea

To have a complete culinary experience, you can try this traditional drink. While it is a black tea, it includes lemon, orange, or pineapple juice. It can also be served with mint and cane sugar. 

You can try some of this dishes in restaurants such as Brave Idiot (renowned for its burgers and its hot chicken), Bolton’s Spicy Chicken & Fish (house of what is thought of as the hottest hot chicken in the city) and Monell’s (famous for its fried chicken and its Southern sides). 

From Italian influence to Middle-Eastern recipes, without missing on the Southern classics: the Music City has a wide variety of restaurants for a hungry tourist that wants to know the local culture through its unique cuisine.

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