11 Favorite Restaurants In Nashville
The food scene has grown a massive amount in Nashville… it can actually be slightly overwhelming when trying to figure out what to try next.
I was born and raised in Nashville Tennessee. Well ok, right outside of Nashville, but still. While I haven’t lived full time in Nashville in a while, I still make frequent trips home every few months. I feel like every time I take a trip home, there’s a new and shiny restaurant to try (or 10). The Nashville food scene has grown drastically in the past few years. Sure, Nashville is known for fried chicken and mashed potatoes, but there is a new “foodie” group that has come to town.
I love a good gourmet menu. I am always willing to try new things and do consider myself somewhat of a foodie. But, I have to say, some of the new Nashville restaurant menus are like trying to read a foreign language. Google is definitely necessary when I see things like bottarga, pullet eggs and nasturtium (yes these items came off of a Nashville menu).
I think it is incredible how lucky Nashville is to have so many creative chefs and how it is evolving into a phenomenal food driven town. However, when I go home, I do tend to stay with some of my tried and true favorite restaurants. The kind that I don’t have to wonder what in the world is on my plate. Here is my list of my absolute favorite Nashville restaurants where you are guaranteed to have some amazing food. Yes, a few of these err on the side of “fancy” but trust me and give them a try, you won’t regret it!
Saltine is a gorgeous restaurant on West End. While they specialize in seafood, be sure to try a little bit of everything on the menu. I have to say I was most surprised by the hushpuppies with pimento cheese, a southern classic that Saltine absolutely perfected. Everything from shrimp and grits, to braised short ribs with a bordelaise sauce to perfectly battered fish and chips, there is a little something for everybody. And please oh please finish off the meal with their Banoffee Pie.
Located in the beautiful East Nashville area, Pomodoro is an excellent choice for a dinner night out. With an Italian driven menu, you are sure to leave with a full belly. Start your meal off with a delicious salad with crispy goat cheese and then move on to a delicious wood fired pizza or delectable pasta. The “pig and fig” pizza is my absolute favorite and the classic spaghetti pomodoro is not to be overlooked. Finish the night off with a classic Tiramisu or some warm chocolate cake.
Butchertown Hall has been a favorite in my family for a few years now. It is an absolutely gorgeous restaurant that has a beautiful outdoor seating area for those perfect Tennessee fall nights. Their menu has a bit of a Tex-Mex vibe to it and I can pretty much say I have tried almost everything on the menu and never had a bad meal. Their queso with chorizo is a must and the guacamole is also delicious. I would say they are most known for their smoked meats. If you’re feeling quite hungry, go for the Texas Trinity. A massive meal of smoked brisket, ribs and pulled pork. Looking for something a little lighter? Try the tacos or the smoked chicken with a side of roasted street corn.
This wouldn’t be a list of my favorites if there wasn’t some delicious Mexican food on it. Saint Anejo is another family favorite and man is it delicious. If you are looking for some of the best tacos in Nashville, you’ve found them. Their guacamole with mango is absolutely to die for as well as the queso topped with spicy chorizo. I have to say all of their tacos are perfect but the Korean Barbacoa and the Mahi Mahi with miso mayo are my favorites. The nachos are also on the top of the list, be sure to add some tasty short rib or some Nashville hot chicken if you’re looking to spice things up a little. Top off the meal with some delectable churros and you’ll be in the best food coma you’ve ever had.
This is a newby for my list but 100% deserves to be here. Southern meets German at this relaxed, fun restaurant located across the street from the Sounds Stadium. I have to be honest. I wanted to order every single appetizer on the menu. I’m going to call it elevated bar food and it was right up my alley. Homemade pretzels with beer cheese, garlic and parmesan belgian fries, fried cheese curds with buttermilk ranch and deviled eggs with “bacon candy” all had me drooling. They are most known for their BBQ and sausages. After much order anxiety, went with a classic bratwurst that was topped with a corn relish, avocado and buttermilk ranch. Absolutely get a side order of the crispy brussels or the jalepeno mac and cheese.
This one is probably the most “different” on the list but it is one of my absolute favorites. If you’re looking to try something a little bit different in a super hip restaurant, this pick in East Nashville is perfect. Their menu is designed to start from the beginning and work your way to the end. I always start off with the crispy brussels and takoyaki (a delicious hushpuppy with a miso butter). I generally skip the sushi (I always save up for the ramen!) but they do have an extensive list of delicious sushi options. Next is the yakitori course or “skewers”. Each skewer is fairly small so feel free to order a few. My favorites are the pork belly, corn with miso butter and the asparagus and bacon. And last but not least, the ramen. No this isn’t the ramen packages you used to eat in college. This ramen has the most amazing broths I have ever tasted and they are packed with delicious flavors. My favorite ramen is the pork but I add the charred corn from the vegetable ramen. Go out on a limb and try something different. You won’t regret it.
Milk and Honey is a great spot for breakfast, lunch or dinner! Their burrata and fig appetizer is an absolute must. All of their sourdough breads and cheeses are some of the best in Nashville, throw some fig preserves in with that and I am 100% sold. Milk and Honey has some great options for the health conscious like their Superfood salad with a delicious green tea poppy seed vinaigrette. They make all of their pastas in house and they are so so good. The roasted mushroom tortellini is my favorite but they are all worth trying. Be sure to stop by the pastry case on your way out and try their homemade pop tart or delectable macaroons.
I have been going to the Food Company in Green Hills for as long as I can remember. If you are in the Green Hills area, be sure to stop in for lunch, but be sure to get there early as the line can get pretty intense. Everything on their deli style menu is absolutely amazing but their tarragon chicken salad is what keeps me coming back. Whether you have it on delicious bread or a salad with the best raspberry dressing you’ve ever had, you can’t go wrong. If the soup of the day happens to be tomato basil, be sure to have a cup of that. If you need a little pick me up, have a glass of their fruit tea, it will give you more than enough energy for your day shopping in Green Hills.
This unassuming little restaurant is the home to some of the best tacos in Nashville. So good that you probably want to go for an early dinner or a late lunch just to avoid the massive crowds that pile in every day. I’m not even going to try to pick my favorites because it’s all good. Try any and every taco they have and be sure to get a side of plantains, because they are also amazing.
If you have been in Nashville for more than 5 seconds you have probably heard about Five Daughters Bakery. The home of the 100 layer donut gains more and more popularity everyday, rightfully so. With staple flavors like Milk Chocolate Sea Salt, Maple Glaze and Maple Bacon you’ll be instantly drooling. The 100 layer donut is somewhat of a cross between a classic donut and a croissant and I’m not complaining. Five Daughters always has a seasonal menu as well so be sure to see what the monthly specials are. They also have a full menu of Paleo friendly donuts as well. I also have to mention, you have to get their “Orange Quinnamon”. To this day I am still not exactly sure how to describe it but it is out of this world. Sort of a cross between a cinnamon roll and a croissant, then packed with an orange flavored punch. Just get it, and pro hack, take it home and microwave it for pure heaven.
Another must have sweet treat in Nashville is Jeni’s ice cream. While they have your classic ice cream flavors, they are also pushing the ice cream limits with flavors like Brambleberry Crisp and Fluffernutter Pie. The last time I was home I had their Gooey Butter Cake and Milkiest Chocolate and it was a match made in heaven. Be sure to get their waffle cone cookie or better yet, have your ice cream in a waffle cone. Just the smell of their waffle cones when you walk in the door will send you into ice cream heaven.