Discover the Best Restaurants in Nashville

It’s been said that music is food for the soul, and nowhere is that truer than in Nashville. But Music City has more to offer than great harmonies. From local institutions to rock star chefs, this town delivers a delicious variety that will satisfy any palate. No matter where you dine, you’ll find that the tea is sweet, the chicken is hot and the service is just as fine as the food.

Where to Find the Best Places to Eat in Nashville

Whether you’re looking for breakfast, lunch, dinner or all three, read on to learn about some of the best restaurants in Nashville.

Breakfast

Photo by Jeff Covey on Unsplash

Loveless Café

Loveless Café has been dishing out classic southern food for more than 60 years. They serve lunch and dinner, but they are best known for their country-style breakfast. The breakfast platter has every southern fixing you could imagine, like their famous country ham and eggs with red-eye gravy. Each platter comes with your choice of grits, hashbrown casserole, or home fried potatoes and hot biscuits. Oh, the biscuits. You’ll feel like you’re sitting in Grandma’s kitchen with that hot, flaky, buttery goodness and thick chocolate milk sipped out of a Mason jar. Be sure to swing by the gift shop next door to pick up some of their pancake mix and a jar of homemade preserves.

Biscuit Love Gulch

Biscuit Love first started out as a food truck, traveling around the city. But after gathering a faithful following, owners Karl and Sarah Worley opened a more permanent location in the vibrant Gulch neighborhood. Its southern-style, made-from-scratch menu is locally sourced and creatively inspired. They’re best known for their Bonut – a fried biscuit dough, tossed in sugar, topped with a lemon mascarpone and served over a blueberry compote. The East Nasty – a buttermilk biscuit topped with a fried boneless chicken thigh, aged cheddar and sausage gravy – was named the best sandwich in America by Bon Appetit

Pancake Pantry

Pancake Pantry has been a Nashville institution since it opened its doors in 1961. The current owner’s father, Robert Baldwin, developed secret family recipes that are still used to this day. Combine that with fresh-milled Tennessee flour from the Great Smoky Mountains and batters and syrups made fresh every morning and you get 23 different varieties of pancakes that locals and tourists alike keep coming back for. From everybody’s favorite Silver Dollar buttermilk pancakes to the decadent Chocolate Sin crepes, the range of flavors is vast and delicious. There’s a reason the line is long, but it’s always worth the wait.

Lunch

Arnold’s Country Kitchen

Nashville is best-known for country music, but it’s contributions to the culinary world include the classic meat-and-three. Arnold’s Country Kitchen is one of the best restaurants in Nashville when it comes to this iconic southern-style food tradition, and that’s not just the locals talking. It won a James Beard America’s Classic award and has become the gold standard for buffet-style meals. You’ll see people from all walks of life lining up around the building for a taste of fried chicken or black-eyed peas. The selection changes each day with a rotating menu, so you’ll get a wide variety of delicious options to choose from. Just remember, this quaint red restaurant is only open for lunch on weekdays. So, get there early!

Martin’s BBQ

Not all barbecue is created equal. There are plenty of joints in town, but Martin’s is one of the best places to eat in Nashville if you’re looking for the West Tennessee tradition of whole hog barbecue. Pitmaster Pat Martin has gained a massive following since opening his first restaurant in 2006, and his food is beloved by locals and tourists alike. The aromas wafting from the smoker pit have people ordering dishes like the classic pulled pork BBQ sandwich soaked in Sweet Dixie Sauce, beef brisket, wet and dry ribs and the list goes on. It’s the kind of finger-licking goodness you expect to find in the South.  

Photo by Blake Guidry on Unsplash

Bolton’s Spicy Chicken & Fish

You can’t mention the best restaurants in Nashville without talking about one of the most famous local specialties. Hot chicken is not just a passing food trend in Nashville, it’s a way of life. And Bolton’s Spicy Chicken & Fish is one of the best places to find it. With a slightly heavier breading than some, the chicken isn’t quite as sticky, and even the “mild” version packs a pretty strong punch. The chicken and fish are both served up with southern-style sides like turnip greens, baked beans, potato salad and corn on the cob. If you’re looking for a place to impress an out-of-towner, Bolton’s is the spot to go.

Dinner

Pelican & Pig

This cozy dinner spot owned by husband and wife team Nick and Audra Guidry is perfect for a date night or an evening out with friends. The highlights are the wood fire oven, a dedication to using fresh, local ingredients and an 80-year-old sourdough starter. The menu changes based on available ingredients, but some of the current favorites are the Nashville hot fried cheese, the Creole BBQ shrimp, and the French onion fingerlings. Vegetables like the wood-grilled broccolini with shallots and chile crumble are listed as shareables, but you’ll probably want to keep them all to yourself. 

Pinewood Social

When you first hear about it, Pinewood Social seems like a mashup of a whole lot of things that shouldn’t go together. It’s part restaurant, part coffee shop and bar, part bowling alley, part social club, part co-working space – all blended together in a converted trolley barn. But it has become one of the best places to eat in Nashville for locals, visitors and even music celebrities. Serving up hot appetizers like smoked jalapeno chicken wings, mains like pan-fried pork chops and delicious cocktails with a heavy pour, Pinewood Social leaves nothing to be desired…except that you’ll want to keep coming back for more.

Puckett’s

A local favorite with Americana vibes, Puckett’s is best known for its barbecue and live music that just so happens to be worth the visit itself. Along with a drink from the fully stocked bar, try the cherry wood smoked baby back ribs, shrimp and grits or fried green beans, which might be the best thing on the menu. If you’re looking for dainty and fancy cuisine, Puckett’s is not the place. But if you want down-home, southern style cooking with a live band playing music that speaks to your soul, then you’re definitely in the right spot.

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