Nashville Restaurant Guide

Everything You Ned to Know

Looking for the best Nashville food and places to eat? You’ve come to the right spot! Nashville is known for many things, but did you know the Nashville food scene is actually ranked among the top 10 best food vacations in the US from TripAdvisor? Nashville is, of course, the birthplace of Nashville Hot Chicken, but the food scene extends far beyond that! As the city has continued to change and grow, it has become a true culinary destination. The city offers delicious classic Southern cuisine, alongside just about any other type of cuisine you could want – from the simple to the divine. With endless restaurant options, choosing where to go can get a bit overwhelming. We hope this Nashville Restaurant Scene  blog helps you refine your itinerary to make it the perfect vacation! Here is a quick run down of our favorite spots.

Best Speakeasy


This reservation-only spot opened in 2009 as one of Nashville’s first serious craft cocktail bars. Today, it remains the classiest place to have a drink in Nashville. With its library motif, antique chandeliers, and an army of well-dressed barmen there to greet you, it provides an intimate environment, free from the distractions of a typical bar. The menu is a blend of Old World-style and bleeding edge cocktail craft, and organized by spirit with drinks listed from least to most potent. Fresh herbs, house-made bitters, crystal clear ice, and top-shelf booze are the key ingredients found on the dizzying and satisfying list of specialty cocktails available here.


Hidden in the depths of a 1920s boiler room in Edgehill Village is this gorgeous and unique speakeasy. The entrance is located in an alleyway, through a semi-secret yellow triangle door without any signage, and down a concrete spiral staircase gilded with gold railings. The dimly lit bar is designed within many of the original components like exposed brick, large blocks of cement, a towering smokestack, and high ceilings, providing hip and exclusive vibes. With its incredible cocktail list and unmatched character, it’s the perfect place to snuggle up with a date in a cozy booth.

Most Fun


Personally, we think this restaurant is one of the best kept secrets among the Nashville restaurant scene. Located under the Johnny Cash Museum in a one-of-a-kind, 9500 square foot space, the venue offers a magic-themed evening unlike any other. You will begin the magical journey by entering through a secret tunnel, transporting you back to the 1930s. After ordering drinks, you will be encouraged to explore the breathtaking venue, featuring a beautiful handcrafted bar, a multimillion dollar collection of art, European antiques and magic-related artifacts. The best part is, while exploring you get to be entertained by some of America’s top magicians who are stationed throughout the venue. Get ready for mind boggling illusions and tricks all evening long! The evening also includes delicious American cuisine, an extensive list of craft cocktails, and complimentary tickets to a full magic performance in the showroom. It is a true experience and a must-not-miss while visiting Nashville. Be prepared with a reservation well in advance, and be aware of the strict dress code policy and no photography policy.


This indoor-outdoor, hipster-cool hang out is a fantastical hybrid of a coffee house, bowling alley, restaurant, and beer garden. Yes, you heard that right! At any given time you may see the living room full of young entrepreneurs tapping away on their laptops, restaurant patrons devouring delicious Southern comfort food and craft cocktails, groups of friends singing karaoke and bowling at the six-lane alley, and a bar full of individuals experiencing one of the city’s best happy hours. If you haven’t gathered by now, this spot truly provides a unique and fun experience for everyone! Don’t miss Pinewood’s famous ‘Easy Like a Sunday Morning’ coffee cocktail!

Best Brunch


This chic, two-story, modern diner is one of the prettiest places to brunch in the city. Think, geometric floors and ceilings, through to the large mirrored birds on the walls. Since opening in 2016, it has served as a gorgeous and classic Nashville spot to catch up with friends, with dining both indoor and outdoor. But even more than the cool vibes, the restaurant offers delicious food with unique ingredient combinations. You can expect delicious diner-inspired dishes with names like “Rice, Rice Baby”, “Flock Yes” and “Don’t Worry, Brie Happy”. The Mockingbird is also well known for its cocktails, especially the punches. Some of our favorites include the “Punchin’ Bag,” (their grown-up take on a Capri Sun), the church punch, and the champagne in a pouch.


Located in a former auto garage in the Gulch (yes, you heard that right), this farm-to-fork spot has an open, cool, and welcoming feel that perfectly reflects its California inspiration! The restaurant features an open kitchen, white quarter-sawn oak bar, chef’s counter, spacious dining rooms, and a heated outdoor dining patio. For $32 per person you can enjoy one of the best breakfast buffets with classic brunch items, or choose from a separate menu for an additional cost. Keeping things interesting, the restaurant consistently changes the menu each season, focusing on seasonal comfort foods sourced from local farms.


Coming from the same group as The Catbird Seat, this Germantown staple is popular among locals for its excellent dining experience! The menu is innovative, standing out both for its simplicity and its clever take on classics. Starting with something sweet, like the monkey bread, and topping it off with a savory dish, like Poppy’s Caviar, defines brunch at Henrietta Red. In terms of the atmosphere, you can expect a backdrop of white-tiled floors, blonde wood and navy banquettes, with a lively and communal bar room up front, followed by an open-kitchen dining room. If you’re in town on a weekend, brunch at Henrietta Red is a must.

Best Culinary Experience


Nashville’s first tasting-menu-only restaurant, which opened in 2011, is the place to be for a truly incredible dining experience! Located up the stairs from the Patterson House, and through a narrow hallway, are 23 seats in a U shape around a ‘show kitchen’. Here, guests sit and admire the chefs as they prepare and plate a nine course tasting menu. Now, this is not the spot we recommend to those who like to play it safe with food, as each night offers a different menu and experience. But for our foodies, the experience provides so much more than just a meal. It is an incredibly clever, exciting, and entertaining experience, where menus don’t really exist and multi-course meals and drink pairings are full of delight and surprise. We highly recommend booking a reservation as far out in advance as possible to score a seat in this exclusive, boutique restaurant.


This stylishly, rustic, tried-and-true eatery in the heart of 12 South has been a Nashville staple since 2012. The menu is a combination of southern traditions, an extensive raw bar, fresh fish and seafood, fresh shucked oysters, smoked and grilled meats and vegetables, and more. It’s not only a great dinner spot, it’s also one of our favorite spots to grab brunch! You can expect elevated takes on the classic brunch dishes, such as crab beignets, Tennessee Strawberry Sticky Buns, and shrimp & grits. Further enhancing the experience, the menu is constantly changing, making it a great place for sampling and sharing new dishes with friends. Urban Grub offers a feeling of coziness with its private cabanas and its many fire pits, as well as the open air atmosphere in the beer garden.

Best BBQ


For as much as Nashville’s food scene has changed, barbecue will always be a constant, with no shortage of options around town. Everything from the pulled pork, pulled chicken and chicken sandwich, to the potato salad, bean salad, and cornbread is prepared in-house and is absolutely delightful. The service is fast, the food is impeccable, the happy hour is great, and it provides for a perfect, casual Nashville experience. But don’t just take our word for it – the chain, which opened in 2011, is already a 4 time winner of ‘The Best Bar-B-Q in Nashville’  and has expanded to five different locations.


At Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint, “whole hog barbecue” literally means roasting a 200-pound hog in its entirety every day. With customized pits in each of his locations, pitmaster Pat Martin aims to uphold this dying art by smoking seasoned, whole hogs over hickory wood for 24 hours prior to serving. The result is mouthwatering tangles of the sweet, smoky meat and charred bits by the platter. Even Guy Fieri described the pork as “beyond juicy, moist and flavorful.” The menu is further accompanied by smoked chicken wings and smoked turkey, plus an array of the pitmaster’s homemade sides, like broccoli salad and baked beans. At the Downtown location, you’ll also find a sprawling, landscaped beer garden.

Best Spots With Live Music


Dating back to the 1940s, this speakeasy-style lounge offers elevated American fare, craft sips, live jazz music, and nightly burlesque shows. It is one of the most celebrated and acclaimed dining experiences in Music City and the cornerstone of Nashville’s historic Printer’s Alley district. Located in the basement of the historic Southern Turf building, guests flock to taste, sip and experience the legendary dining and entertainment in Nashville’s only downtown jazz lounge. You can expect some of the best craft cocktails in Music City and an award winning dinner menu showcasing Coastal fusion of American cuisine.


A contemporary restaurant focused on steaks, seafood, and signature cocktails, with a modern southern flare with distinct spirit and charm.  The large, warm and stylish dining room is complimented by a lively piano bar, featuring nightly entertainment and a jazz trio during Sunday brunch. Brass, marble, wood, and deep red tones create an intimate, modern atmosphere. Menu highlights include USDA Prime and Choice cuts of meat, home-style sides to share, and a selection of fresh seafood.

Best Asian


Kennie’s favorite Indian place in the city and an overall must-not-miss! The menu, created by celebrity chef Maneet Chauhan, blends traditional Indian cuisine with Southern flavors, exuding creativity and precision in the preparation of the cuisine.  The Goan Curry Mussels and Chicken Tikka Masala are absolute musts and perfect for sharing. Chauhan also has its own signature beers thanks to its own brewery, Mantra Artisan Ales, and an exquisite cocktail list that incorporates Indian spices and herbs. With its downtown location and lively, animated atmosphere, it is the perfect spot to gather with a group of friends for a delicious meal!


From the unique Sake Bar, to the double sided central bar surrounded by round secluded booths, Virago’s newly renovated space provides a seductive interior and an energetic lounge scene. The space also includes one of the city’s best patios and dozens of private gathering places, offering something for everyone. Beyond the elegant and edgy scene, trendsetters flock here for the delicious fresh sushi, extensive menu of small and shared plates, and the city’s most expansive Japanese whiskey and sake lists.

Best Casual Spots


For over 30 years, The Row has been a hangout spot for singers & songwriters who have helped shape country music history. Located in Midtown, in close proximity to Downtown, this is the perfect place to relax, listen to live music, taste 20+ southern draft beers, and eat delicious home cooked Nashville inspired dishes. We highly recommend grabbing a seat under the tent on the outdoor patio and ordering ‘The Row Poppers’, a mouthwatering blend of deep fried hickory bacon, jalapeño pimento, and maple bourbon glaze.


This food-truck-turned-restaurant in East Nashville is a small, cash-only taco shop and a staple among locals. You can expect a super colorful interior and an overall beachy feel, along with the best street-style tacos in the city. You truly can’t go wrong with any of them! Stop by for lunch while exploring East Nashville, and don’t be alarmed if you encounter a long line.

Additional Recommendations

Choosing out top recommendations for each category was incredibly difficult, as there are so many amazing places to eat in Nashville! This city is a true culinary delight for foodies. Thank you so much for reading, we cant wait to hear about your favorite Nashville restaurants! And just for fun, we thought we would include some of our other favorite spots in our Nashville Restaurant Scene blog that didn’t quite make the cut:


Asian Spots

  • Sunda
  • Acme Feed & Seed
  • O-Ku Sushi
  • The Smiling Elephant
  • Thai Esane
  • Bite a Bit Thai & Sushi

Chill spots

  • Butchertown Hall
  • Party Fowl
  • Bastion
  • The Pharmacy
  • Five Points Pizza
  • Urban Grub

steak house

  • STK
  • Kayne Prime
  • Oak SteakHouse
  • Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse
  • Carne Mare
  • Southern Steak & Oyster


  • Gojo Ethiopian
  • OSH Uzbekistan
  • Hai Woon Dai Korean BBQ
  • Taj Indian
  • Edessa Turkish
  • San Luis Carniceria


  • Milk & Honey
  • Josephine
  • Henrietta Red
  • Biscuit Love
  • Butcher & Bee

More Brunch

  • The Sutler
  • Tavern
  • Marche
  • Hopsmith Tavern
  • Lou

New American

  • Cafe Roza
  • Makeready L&L
  • Chef & I
  • Sambuca
  • Rolf & Daughters


  • Bartaco
  • Saint Anejo
  • Nada
  • Taco Mamacita
  • Chuy’s

Like What You See?

We love sharing our recommendations — especially for one of our favorite cities like Nashville! For more information about visiting Nashville, check out our Nashville Travel Guide. And be sure to head over to our Destinations page for many more worldwide, comprehensive travel guides!

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