While Nashville boasts a wide range of eateries serving Southern favorites, Music City is the home of the classic “meat and three” meal, which includes a choice of meat as well as three side dishes. Nashville is also the birthplace of Hot Chicken, a fiery dish originally concocted in a failed attempt to inflict suffering. When visiting Nashville, you can treat yourself to a wide assortment of delicious down-home and fusion dishes.
In addition to its hot breakfast bar, Mitchell’s Deli offers a range of artisan sandwiches, house-made soups and a salad bar for lunch and dinner. The eatery features indoor and outdoor patio seating as well as quick courteous service, which keeps wait times to a minimum.
Featuring a casual French ambiance, Marché is renowned for its weekend brunch menu. The popular eatery is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The French and European-inspired brunch and dinner menus change based on the availability of fresh local ingredients. There is often a long line for brunch.
Housed in a 1930s-era Five Points filling station, the Margot Café serves a rustic Franco-Italian weekday dinner and a Sunday brunch menu in a warm casual atmosphere. Anchoring the burgeoning East Nashville food scene, the café adjusts its dishes based on the season. Seating is limited, so reservations are required for peak times.
Serving an American and German-inspired lunch and dinner menu, the Pharmacy Burger Parlor and Beer Garden is a combination burger joint, soda shop and German-style beer garden. In addition to its famous burgers, the eatery serves sweet potato fries and homemade fountain drinks. The trendy restaurant fills up fast during the warmer months.
Starting out as a popular food truck, Mas Tacos Por Favor has flourished into a brick-and-mortar cantina serving a wide-ranging menu of tacos and other authentic Mexican street foods. Mas Tacos is a utilitarian eatery with limited indoor and outdoor seating. The cash-only restaurant is open for lunch and dinner.
The three flying pigs on the marquee identify the home of Jack Cawthon’s Bar-B-Que, a restaurant that offers a variety of regional barbecue styles as well as award-winning sauces. One of the best barbecue joints in Music City, the eatery is open for lunch and dinner.
Paradise Park Trailer Resort is a trailer park-themed diner serving a traditional American menu of burgers, sandwiches, salads and desserts. The eatery is open from lunch until the wee hours of the morning. The diner has a playful casual atmosphere.
The first floor of the multi-story Acme Feed and Seed food and entertainment venue is a popular restaurant. There is also an open-air rooftop bar that offers marvelous views of Broadway and the Cumberland River waterfront. The upscale casual venue is open for lunch, dinner and late-night dining.
Housed in a former hotel, Merchant’s is a multi-level restaurant serving an American menu. While the second floor is an upscale full-service restaurant that is open only for dinner, the lower level is a casual, airy bistro open for lunch and dinner.
Featuring an eclectic fusion-style cuisine with American, Asian and contemporary European influences, Etch is open for lunch and dinner. The restaurant features an open-kitchen design for casual elegant dining. Complimentary valet parking is available for dinner patrons.
Housed in a historic mansion, Husk features a menu that changes daily based on the availability of local ingredients. The upscale Southern farm-centric restaurant is open for lunch and dinner. Reservations are recommended.
Located south of SoBro in the Rutledge Hill neighborhood, the Hermitage Café is a classic American diner featuring four-person booths and a Formica counter. It is an early morning spot for night owls seeking coffee and late night revelers looking for a meal before heading home. The cash-only diner is open just for breakfast.
Situated two blocks south of the capitol, Puckett’s Grocery and Restaurant offers a Southern-inspired breakfast, lunch and dinner menu. The high ceilings and rustic furnishings evoke images of a bygone American era. The eatery features large portions of moderately priced favorites as well as live music in the evenings.
The James Beard Foundation “American Classics” award recipient in 2009, Arnold’s Country Kitchen stands out as one of Nashville’s top “meat and three” restaurants. Housed in a red cinder block building, the eatery is a lunch-time favorite. The cafeteria-style restaurant features a menu of Southern and soul food classics.
Seating up to 56 patrons, the highly acclaimed 404 Kitchen is housed in a re-purposed shipping container. Open for dinner, this eclectic eatery offers a contemporary interpretation of traditional European cuisine with an emphasis on fresh locally sourced ingredients. In addition to indoor seating, the restaurant also has a glass-enclosed patio.
There are usually long lines outside the popular Biscuit Love restaurant, especially on weekends when an hour-long wait is common. Established as a food truck, the brick-and-mortar eatery is known for its Southern fare. Open for breakfast and lunch, the restaurant has a fast-casual atmosphere.
Chauhan Ale & Masala House – Located in an old brick garage and managed by Chopped judge and Iron Chef competitor Maneet Chauhan, this creative Indian restaurant serves vibrant dishes and craft cocktails that will change any traditional thoughts you had about Indian food. 123 12th Ave N
Serving Music City’s signature recipe, Hattie B’s Hot Chicken offers a menu that also dials back the heat for patrons who prefer a milder version of the classic dish. This casual counter-service eatery is open from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. They offer sandwiches, platters, sides and dessert favorites like cobbler and banana pudding.
After touring the nearby historic RCA Studio B, stop by DeSano Pizza Bakery for a slice. The staff serves delicious mozzarella and tomato pizzas baked in the restaurant’s 5-ton ovens, which were handmade in Italy. This no-frills pizzeria is open from 11 a.m. until the dough runs out.
Located in the 12 south neighborhood a block south of the Gulch, Thai Esane features traditional Thai and Laotian dishes, including family recipes. The casual restaurant has an upscale interior as well as a large patio for outdoor seating. The affordable eatery is open for lunch and dinner.
Las Paletas serves gourmet Mexican-style Popsicles and other cold refreshments made from all-natural ingredients, such as pineapples, strawberries and limes. The menu, which includes fruit and cream paletas, changes each day based on seasonal availability. This dessert bar is open from 11 a.m. until the early evening.
Featuring a 10-course tasting menu, Josephine is a contemporary restaurant that offers a Pennsylvania Dutch-inspired menu. Foodies can enjoy entrées like scrapple, rabbit and beef cheeks. In addition to dinner, the restaurant serves brunch on weekends. Patrons can request booth, table or outdoor patio seating.
Monell’s offers lunch and dinner throughout the week as well as a country breakfast on weekends. Serving a menu featuring Southern favorites, Monell’s is housed in a charming two-story brick Victorian-style house. You will feel like you stepped back in time during this all-you-can-eat, communal-style meal. The house rules are simple. Pass to the left, and turn off your cell phones once you are seated. There is a longer wait for diners after church on Sunday mornings.
In 2013, Rolf and Daughters was named the third best restaurant in the nation by Bon Appétit magazine. Open for dinner, the eatery serves modern peasant food with Mediterranean and Northern Italian influences that feature local and seasonal ingredients. This popular restaurant is housed in the 100-year-old Victorian-style Werthan Bag factory building. While a communal table is available for walk-ins, reservations are highly recommended.
Open only for dinner, City House is consistently ranked as one of the top restaurants in Nashville. Tucked away in a 19th-century edifice, the casual restaurant offers Southern-style Italian cuisine that includes homemade sausage and pizza baked in wood-fired ovens. Reservations are required and may need to be scheduled weeks in advance.
Serving breakfast and lunch, the Pancake Pantry is an extremely popular eatery in Music City. The small family-owned restaurant draws tourists, locals and celebrities alike. It is a perennial favorite on numerous Nashville restaurant lists. Arrive early because the line for the delicious sweet potato pancakes and country breakfast begins to form at 8 a.m.
Drawing patrons from every strata of Nashville since 1927, Brown’s Diner holds the oldest beer license in Music City. Built around an old trolley car, the austere diner serves a menu of American classics. It is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., except Sunday when it closes at 9 p.m.
The roadhouse-style, music-themed The Row eatery offers a menu of Southern and soul food favorites. The eatery opens for breakfast and stays open until midnight. In addition to inside seating, the restaurant has a covered alfresco patio. There are live musical performances in the evening.
Home to the original recipe for this hometown dish, Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack serves up this spicy entrée from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and until 4 a.m. on weekends. A Nashville legend for more than seven decades, the eatery does not have table service. Patrons stand in the long line and place their orders at the cash-only counter. There is limited seating in the small storefront restaurant.
Situated 20 miles southwest of downtown, the Loveless Café is housed in a former motel. Busloads of patrons stop by each day for the luscious meals based on Annie Loveless’ 60-year-old recipes. Expect a long wait during peak meal hours at this popular tourist destination.