View of a main course meal in a restaurant in Nashville TN

19 Best Restaurants in Nashville (Where to Eat, by a Local)

Nashville’s culinary scene is constantly growing. It’s on par with what you’d expect from a big city. You’ll find restaurants in Nashville serving up everything from traditional Southern cuisine to upscale, fine international dining. 

The hardest part of dining in Nashville is deciding which restaurant to try next. There are so many amazing options that picking just a few Nashville restaurants when visiting can be overwhelming.

Here’s where I can help guide you to the best restaurants in Nashville with my local knowledge! I know that eating out is one of the best things to do in Nashville, so I put together this restaurant list to help your Nashville trip be the best experience it can be.

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19 Best Nashville Restaurants

Josephine

American | $$$ | Website | 📍 2316 12th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37204 | 📞 (615) 292-7766

View of breakfast meal option on a table at Josephine in Nashville
A few breakfast options at Josephine

When anyone comes to visit town, Josephine is my first choice for brunch in Nashville. Try the Josephine Benedict with country ham and brown butter hollandaise or the glazed cinnamon raisin biscuits. 

Of course, the dinner options at this elegant 12 South restaurant are also superb. If the apple cobbler is available on the menu during your dinner, make sure to save room for dessert.

The vibe at Josephine is elegant and upscale, but not intimidating. It’s a great choice for a romantic date or for a nice time out with friends.

👉 Pro Tip: Josephine is located on 12 Ave S in Hillsboro Village. If you have the time, check out the charming shops in the area, which is one of the best areas to stay in Nashville if you still need accommodations!

Redheaded Stranger

Tex-Mex | $$ | Website | 📍 305 Arrington St, Nashville, TN 37207 | 📞 (615) 891-7960

Two glasses of frozen margarita on a table in Redheaded Stranger
Frozen margaritas at Redheaded Stranger

If you are looking for Tex-Mex with a delicious, fun twist, head to Redheaded Stranger in East Nashville. The menu is small, but every single option is full of flavor. The tacos are fun and fancy, but the surprise hit is the cheeseburger topped with hatch chiles. 

The atmosphere is as unique as the food. The restaurant has a cool, laid-back vibe and a welcoming patio for outdoor dining.

The word is out about just how good Redheaded Stranger is, so peak dining hours can be crowded. My secret to avoiding the crowds is to head over mid-afternoon to enjoy margaritas and totchos on the patio.

👉 Pro Tip: If the crunchwrap is on the daily specials, order one before they sell out. The crunchwraps never stick around for long.

Biscuit Love

Breakfast | $$ | Website | 📍 1200 4th Ave N, Nashville, TN 37208 | 📞 (615) 490-9584

Blueberry bonuts on a plate at Biscuit Love in Nashville
Blueberry bonuts

This popular Nashville staple began as a food truck that offered traditional Southern food. The owners eventually expanded with two locations in Nashville and one in Franklin.

Biscuit Love is only open in the morning. It serves Southern dishes like biscuits with sausage gravy and shrimp and grits. Don’t miss out on delicious sides like the cheese grits and order at least one serving of bonuts (biscuit donuts with blueberry sauce) for the table.

This is the perfect spot for brunch during a girls’ Nashville trip.

City House

Italian | ($$) | Website | 📍 1222 4th Ave. N, Nashville, TN 37208 | 📞 (615) 736-5838

Located in Germantown, City House is a perfect choice for an intimate dining experience. Opened by James Beard Award Winner Tandy Wilson in 2007, the restaurant offers traditional Italian cuisine with a Southern flair.

Sunday nights are the most popular time to eat at City House thanks to the Sunday Supper Menu, a special selection that changes weekly. The menu stays fairly consistent throughout the rest of the week. I highly suggest ordering at least one pizza. 

Plan to book a reservation in advance to make sure that you get to enjoy the experience at City House. There is a limited amount of walk-in seating available at the bar, but it goes fast.

Assembly Food Hall

Food Court | $-$$$ | Website | 📍 5055 Broadway Pl, Nashville, TN 37203 | 📞 (615) 800-5395

View of a hot chicken with dip on a plate
Prince’s Hot Chicken (photo: Josiah True / Shutterstock)

Want to sample some of the best food in Nashville without leaving Downtown Nashville? Then stop by Assembly Food Hall. This newly opened establishment at Fifth + Broadway is the largest food hall in the U.S.

Try local favorites like Coco’s Fresh Italian, Hattie Jane’s Creamery, Prince’s Hot Chicken, Pharmacy Burger, and Steam Boys. Besides restaurants and bars, Assembly Food Hall also has three stages for live performances.

The food hall is a perfect stop for lunch or dinner while sightseeing in Downtown Nashville or before a show. 

👉 Pro Tip: Check Assembly Food Hall’s website to see if there are any live music events or watch parties happening.

Arnold’s Country Kitchen

Southern cuisine | $ | Website | 📍 605 8th Ave. S, Nashville, TN 37203 | 📞 (615) 256-4455

Meat and potato in a self service restaurant

Head to Arnold’s Country Kitchen for some of the best traditional Southern food served cafeteria-style. You’ll get to select your choices from favorites like chicken and dumplings, fried chicken, meatloaf, turnip greens, creamed corn, and mac and cheese.

The menu rotates each day of the week. If you go on a Friday, don’t leave without trying the fried catfish. The restaurant is opened daily for lunch and has recently expanded to include some dinner hours.

Arnold’s Country Kitchen is located in the Gulch. Since it’s loved by locals and visitors, the line may look long. Don’t worry, though. The line moves quickly, and it’s totally worth a little wait.

Butcher & Bee

Mediterranean | $$ | Website | 📍 902 Main St, Nashville, TN 37206 | 📞 (615) 226-3322

View of a whipped feta on a plate in Butcher & BEe
Butcher & Bee’s whipped feta

Locals in East Nashville constantly rave about Butcher & Bee. The Mediterranean and Middle Eastern-inspired restaurant offers a modern, cozy atmosphere that’s perfect for couples as well as for larger groups.

Butcher & Bee specializes in sourcing fresh, local ingredients and elevates simple dishes to the gourmet level. All the dishes on the menu are delicious, but the mezze is where the restaurant really shines. Order several appetizer options to share with the table. Be sure to order the whipped feta. 

Don’t be surprised if you find yourself coming back to Butcher & Bee more than once on your trip. It truly is one of the best dining spots in Nashville.

Mas Tacos

Mexican | $ | 📍 732 McFerrin Ave, Nashville, TN 37206 | 📞 (615) 543-6271

If you’re looking for an authentic taco shop in Nashville, head to Mas Tacos in East Nashville. The menu is simple, but there’s plenty of tacos, tamales, and soups available. Try two of the most popular orders – the fried avocado taco and pulled pork taco. 

You order at the window outside, and then, either wait inside or outside for your order to be ready. There’s not too much indoor seating, so a lot of people take their food to-go. If the weather is nice, I suggest getting your order and heading to one of Nashville’s many parks.

👉 First Time in Nashville? Don’t miss all our free Nashville travel guides!

Hattie B’s Hot Chicken

Chicken | $$ | Website | 📍 112 19th Ave s, Nashville, TN 37203 | 📞 (615) 678-4794

View of a fried chicken and a macaroni in Hattie B's Hot Chicken in Nashville
Spicy chicken tenders

You can’t leave Nashville without sampling some hot chicken. There are lots of places in Nashville that serve great chicken. To me, Hattie B’s stands out because of the quality of the sides. 

You’ll get high-quality, juicy chicken along with delicious sides like greens, pimento mac and cheese, or cole slaw. Go easy on the spice levels because the hottest options truly are hot. If you don’t like spicy foods, you can always get the southern option. This is just fried chicken with no added spice.

Hattie B’s has several locations. The West Nashville location is usually a little less crowded, but expect a line at peak lunch and dinner hours no matter which location you visit.

Butchertown Hall

American/Tex-Mex | $$ | Website | 📍 1416 4th Ave N, Nashville, TN 37208 | 📞 (615) 454-3634

View of nachos and dip on a table in Butchertown Hall
Butchertown Queso

For meat lovers, Butchertown Hall in Germantown is the place to go. You’ll find amazing tacos along with a wide variety of barbecue. If you’re going with a group, order a couple small plates, like the guacamole and queso. Then, try some of the by-the-pound smoke meats. Both the pulled pork and the smoked brisket are excellent.

Even though the food has a Tex-Mex theme, Butchertown Hall, has a great selection of German beers and other craft beers available. 

You’ll see very few tourists. Butchertown Hall is the perfect place if you want to eat great food like a Nashville local.

Lockeland Table

American | $$$ | Website | 📍 1520 Woodland St, Nashville, TN 37206 | 📞 (615) 228-4864

To feel the most like a local in Nashville, go to Lockeland Table in East Nashville. You’ll feel like you belong as soon as you walk in the door. In addition to the welcoming atmosphere, the food here is truly exquisite. You would expect a restaurant of this quality to only cater to adults, but the kids’ menu is quite good as well. This is the perfect place for a special family evening.

I’d suggest going during Lockeland Table’s Community Hour if possible. The restaurant’s version of happy hour includes great prices on some of their tastiest snacks and drinks. The proceeds go to support local Nashville schools.

Five Points Pizza

Pizza | $$ | Website | 📍 1012 Woodland St, Nashville, TN 37206 | 📞 (615) 915-4174

A slice of pizza on a plate at Five Points Pizza in Nashville
Slice of the day at Five Points

You might be surprised to discover that you can get a good-quality NY-style pizza in Nashville, but at Five Points, that’s exactly what you’ll find. 

Five Points Pizza is so popular that there are actually two locations in Nashville. The West Nashville location is larger and has better parking. The East Nashville location is centrally located and has a lot of character. At both locations, you’ll find a great atmosphere, good pizza, and craft beer on tap. Make sure to get an order of the garlic knots along with your pie. 

At lunchtime, head to Five Points for the lunch specials. You’ll get one of the most delicious lunches in Nashville for less than $10.

Catbird Seat

American | $$$$ | Website | 📍 1711 Division Street, Nashville, TN 37203 | 📞 (615) 810-8200

Foodies looking for a culinary adventure should put the Catbird Seat at the top of their list. The restaurant in Downtown Nashville offers a chef’s tasting menu in an intimate environment.

The current chef at The Catbird Seat is Brian Baxter, who previously worked at Husk and Bastion. The tasting menu is built around seasonal ingredients and features many carefully prepared courses. 

Plan to make reservations in advance to enjoy one of the shared meals at this 36-seat restaurant.

The Continental

American | $$$$ | Website | 📍 1000 Broadway Suite 101, Nashville, TN 37203 | 📞 (615) 622-3225

A Hors D’oeuevres in The Continental
Hors D’oeuevres

Located in the Grand Hyatt hotel in Downtown, The Continental is a luxury fine-dining experience. The restaurant is Nashville chef Sean Brock’s take on mid-20th century upscale hotel dining. It’s an experience you don’t want to miss when visiting Nashville.

The prix fixe menu has diners choose their entrée and dessert from a menu that changes seasonally. Dishes like caviar and oysters are served during the different courses. The dishes are undeniably excellent. Every course is so well-done that it’s impossible to pick a favorite. 

Make reservations in advance to ensure that you get a table. There’s also bar seating available, but be aware that the menu at the bar is different. It’s still excellent food, just not the same dishes.

Liberty Common

American | $$ | Website | 📍 207 1st Ave S, Nashville, TN 37201 | 📞 (615) 649-8900

View of a brunch meal in Liberty Common
Brunch at Liberty Common

Liberty Common is yet another Nashville restaurant that offers an awesome brunch experience. The restaurant has a French brasserie vibe with a modern Southern influence. Liberty Common is open all day, but, in my opinion, the brunch menu is absolutely the best.

The menu includes classics like steak frites and croque madame. The on-site pastry chef keeps customers supplied with an abundance of fresh biscuits, pastries, and dessert options. You really can’t go wrong with anything on the menu.

If you’re in Nashville on a bachelorette party or on a girls’ trip, then Liberty Common is a must-visit among the best restaurants in Nashville.

Henrietta Red

Seafood | $$$ | Website | 📍 1200 4th Ave N, Nashville, TN 37208 | 📞 (615) 490-8042

For a chic, trendy dining experience, try Henrietta Red in Germantown. Even though Nashville is nowhere near a coast, this restaurant manages to offer an array of delicious seafood options, including a raw oyster bar.

The menu focuses heavily on fresh ingredients, and every vegetable-based dish is incredible. The quality is no surprise given that chef/co-owner Julia Sullivan is a James Beard Award Semifinalist. 

Henrietta Red is a popular dinner spot, but it’s worth going early to catch the oyster happy hour. It’s a great spot for a girls night.

You can also stop by to enjoy the weekend brunch. There are plenty of unique savory and sweet options on the menu to satisfy everyone.

Once Upon a Time in France

French | $$ | Website | 📍 1102 Gallatin Ave, Nashville, TN 37206 | 📞 (615) 649-8284

Duck confit dish in Once Upon a Time in France
Duck confit, a classic French dish

Experience Paris without the trans-Atlantic flight at Once Upon a Time in France. This welcoming neighborhood bistro in East Nashville is run by a French father and son duo.

You’ll get classic French bistro fare like coq au vin, confit de canard, and steak frites. The menu is small, but every dish on it is excellent. Naturally, you can choose a perfect drink to go along with your meal from the carefully curated wine lists as well.

As a traditional French bistro, Once Upon a Time in France does not take reservations. The dining room is small. You can get there early to ensure that you get a seat. Or, head over to The Authentique across the street. While at the wine bar, you can put your name on the waitlist for Once Upon a Time in France and relax with a glass of wine until your table is ready.

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The Optimist

New American | $$$ | Website | 📍 1400 Adams St, Nashville, TN 37208 | 📞 (615) 709-3156

View of seafoods on a tray in The Optimist
The Opportunist plate at The Optimist

If your idea of a good dinner out involves plates piled with oysters and seafood, then go to The Optimist. You might not expect amazing seafood in Middle Tennessee, but the seafood here is fresh and delicious. You can’t go wrong with one of the plateaux that let you get a sampling of oysters, shrimp, and lobster. 

The restaurant feels like a quirky, upscale fish camp. The upstairs is filled with sea creature murals and it’s one of my favorite dining rooms in Nashville. 

The patio bar, Jacqueline, is also a cool experience if you’re just looking for cocktails and a light snack. It’s the perfect start to a date night.

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Chauhan Ale & Masala House

Indian | $$ | Website | 📍 123 12 Ave N, Nashville, TN 37203 | 📞 (615) 242-8426

View of a Tandoori chicken with naan in Chauhan Ale & Masala House
Tandoori chicken with naan

For an experience unlike any other in Nashville, head to Chauchan Ale and Masala. The restaurant by award-winning chef and Food Network star Maneet Chauhan blends her love for traditional Indian cuisine and Southern cuisine.

Diner can try tasty Indian fusion options like hot chicken pakoras or methi malai mac n cheese. The one dish you absolutely have to try is the tandoori chicken poutine. The fries are excellent by themselves. When they’re cover in tandoori chicken, makhani sauce, and cheese curds, you won’t be able to stop eating.

👉 Pro Tip: Consider stopping by for the Sunday brunch. The restaurant offers a great selection of unique sweet and savory breakfast options.

FAQs

Where do the locals eat in Nashville 2021?

The locals in Nashville eat mostly at restaurants outside Downtown. Five Points Pizza, Lockeland Table, Butchertown Hall, and Mas Tacos are just a few of the places that locals love.

What is the most elegant restaurant in Nashville, TN?

The Continental is one of the most elegant restaurants in Nashville. Other great elegant restaurant choices are Henrietta Red, Josephine, Once Upon a Time in France, and The Optimist.

What good restaurants are in Downtown Nashville?

For good restaurants in Downtown Nashville, go to Assembly Food Hall. It’s filled with selections from the best restaurants in Nashville. For a more upscale experience, visit The Continental.

***

There are plenty of excellent restaurants to discover in Nashville. Hopefully, this guide gives you a good starting point as you begin to enjoy the best restaurants in Nashville.

To help plan the rest of your Nashville visit, be sure to check out this guide of the best things to do in Nashville.

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