Nashville Guide: A Local's Guide to the Best Restaurants

Atleast 5 times a day I get a comment/IG DM/tweet saying the same thing and it usually goes along the lines of "Hey I'm visiting Nashville soon, where should I go?" Literally wish I was exaggerating, I get so many questions about this and I always say, "go check out my blog." So here's to hoping someone actually reads this because this has been 2 years in the making.

Now one thing I should note before getting started, Nashville isn't known for their salads. Nashville is known for their southern food, so you'll see a lot of it here in this list. There are a lot of vegan and vegetarian friendly restaurants, I am neither of those so these are just my personal favorite places to eat when I want some damn good food. Let's talk about my favorite restaurants in Nashville because eating is my favorite pastime. Good food is my love language and we have a lot of it here.

Also is it weird that Jack's BBQ is in my picture for this blogpost but not actually a featured restaurant? I've never been... Oops. Guess I should try it sometime.


Sky Blue Cafe- East Nashville

Located in the cutest little neighborhood in East Nashville, this restaurant gets pretty popping on the weekends and for good reason! I have 0 complaints about this restaurant... actually I wish it was larger so I could eat there all the time and wouldn't have to worry about a wait. The wait is nothing close to what you'll experience at the tourist trap places that I refuse to mention in this post!

What do I get? The peanut butter and jelly stuffed French toast and a side of breakfast potatoes because as you'll learn, I am a huge potato fan. Love me some potatoes. The PB&J stuffed French toast is life changing though and very filling. Now I am craving it as I type this. Great.

Pinewood Social- Downtown(ish)

Honestly probably the best place to go if you're from out of town because tourists love this place. It's photogenic and the food is delicious. In the summertime they have a frose that's available outside & it's delicious. Nothing is as good as a frose in the summertime.

What do I get? Avocado toast and a side of breakfast potatoes or fries. Depends on the mood. Probably my favorite avocado toast in Nashville honestly.

The Diner- Downtown

Are you staying downtown and want somewhere in walking distance that can accommodate a lot of people? Want to be walking distance to Broadway? Go to The Diner. The Diner is 6 levels and each level has a different menu. I've only tried the main Diner menu so don't hold me to the other ones!

What do I get? Hot chicken waffles. Duh. But my dad said he had one of the best omelets there so if you're into those, definitely try those out. I just personally love the flavor of the waffles here, they have such an interesting batter. 10/10 would recommend. Don't recommend for dinner though.

Tenn 16- East Nashville (CLOSED)

I'm going to let you in on a little Nashville-resident secret by telling you all about this place. I've only ever been for brunch (but I've definitely been dying to try it for dinner too) and you can go there for Sunday brunch without any ridiculous wait. Now in Nashville that is nearly impossible to find. The only downfalls are they only serve brunch on Sundays and also you have to be 21+ to go. 

What do I get? I've sampled a few things on the menu but my favorites are the Hot Chicken Biscuits or the Chicken & Waffles. I almost always get the hot chicken biscuits when I go because it is some damn good spicy hot chicken with honey. As I type this my mouth is watering... For those who don't like spicy foods, the chicken & waffles are not served with hot chicken, just regular fried chicken. Also as a side definitely substitute the hashbrown casserole for the fries because it is as good as Cracker Barrel's hashbrown casserole. Y'all know how much I love Cracker Barrel so I don't say that lightly.

Rush Bowls- Gulch (CLOSED)

The best acai bowls in Nashville. Now I am not going to say it's better than the acai bowls I ate during my time of living in Los Angeles, but it's pretty damn good. I usually just do a pickup order or get it delivered via Postmates or UberEats (yeah in this town, we have both... nbd.)

What do I get? I get a summit bowl with soy milk (lactose intolerant, yay) topped with bananas, granola and my favorite thing, their homemade peanut butter. If they sold their peanut butter, I would be the first to buy it. It's so refreshing, I don't know how peanut butter can be refreshing but it just is.

Lunch & Dinner

The Stillery- Downtown/Broadway + Midtown

Oh my heavens, this restaurant is amazing. Not only is this one of my all time favorite restaurants in Nashville, but it's also located right off Broadway, the street that has all the honky tonk bars, so if you're visiting Broadway this place is a must! The wait can get pretty long on the weekends (just like every restaurant in Nashville) but you can often snag a seat for 2 or 3 at the bar. It's a pretty traditional bar food menu but they also have pizza that is apparently very good!

What do I get? always get the hot chicken mac & cheese. The hot chicken isn't very spicy if you don't like anything too hot. My boyfriend isn't a big spicy food person but even he can handle it. If you are a fan of the spice, be sure to ask for it extra hot! Once they bring it out to you, let the mac and cheese cool off a little so the cheese gets all settled and creamy! It's literally heaven.

The Pharmacy- East Nashville

Honestly, probably my favorite restaurant in Nashville and anytime I have visitors it is the first place I take them. Hands down the best cheeseburger (or veggie burger for all you vegetarians) you will ever eat because the bun is a cloud of dough sent down for Jesus himself.

What do I get? I'm partial to just a basic cheeseburger with ketchup, beer mustard, *drolls on laptop* and hot sauce. I know, a very odd combination but I just really freaking love beer mustard so any opportunity I have to put that on something, I utilize it. Order with sweet potato fries or tater tots and your meal will not disappoint.

M.L.Rose- Berry Hill + West End + North Gulch

I clearly love cheeseburgers and their cheeseburgers here are no freakin joke. These cheeseburgers are not comparable to The Pharmacy, to me they are total opposites. M.L.Rose is such a bar, almost Applebee's vibe, restaurant that turns into a 21+ restaurant on the weekends after 5pm. Plus they have  sweet potato waffle fries. Need I say more?

What do I get?  Nashvegas Burger. I hate myself for saying that when I order it because I hate when people refer to Nashville as Nashvegas but nevertheless, this cheeseburger has pimento cheese and BBQ sauce on it so I get lost in the sauce and pimento cheese.

Hattie B's- Midtown + West End + Melrose

You can't come to Nashville and not get hot chicken. My personal favorite place is Hattie B's (but Pepperfire is a runner up in East Nashville) but you will almost always have a wait. Pro tip: skip the super long line by going to the other locations and not the Midtown one. I haven't been to Midtown since the Melrose location opened. Even if you don't like spicy food theres still something on the menu for you, they serve southern chicken which has 0 spice! I know plenty of people who have gotten that before and love it. Also if you go on Sunday's, they do a chicken and waffles option which I have yet to try in my 2 years of living here. We tend to avoid Hattie B's on the weekends simply because the lines can get a little crazy. Cody and I literally eat here once a week, please don't judge me for that information.

What do I get? I get level hot, hot chicken tenders with a side of fries and a side of their banana pudding. Their mac & cheese is also very delicious but ever since Cody got to banana pudding one day, we haven't looked back.

Taco Mamacita- Edgehill

Definitely Americanized Mexican food but so damn good. Located in Edgehill Village close to Midtown and Belmont, it's such a cute area and a great place to sit outside for a margarita in the warmer months.

What do I get? I switch it up between the Sloppy Jose tacos, which are like a Sloppy Joe with jalapeños and Fritos and the Hot Chicken tacos. Word of advice though, if you don't like spicer things, don't get the Hot Chicken tacos because they are actually spicy (sometimes, depends on the day I suppose.) Always get the street corn off the cob and queso because duh.

Barcelona Wine Bar- Edgehill Village

Located right next to Taco Mamacita is another amazing restaurant that my friends recently introduced me to. It's a tapas type restaurant and honestly is such a vibe for a girls night out. They have an amazing drink menu and plenty of options for food for all types of eaters.

What do I get? I don't remember exactly what I got but I do know I got the green beans (yum) and this meatball type tapas. They were delicious. I've only been once so I don't have the biggest knowledge of their menu but I've heard nothing but great things about pretty much everything.

Martin's BBQ- Downtown + Belmont Area + Midtown

My favorite BBQ place in Nashville! Oh my goodness, it's so hyped up and for good reason. We take anyone visiting from out of town here because I feel like it's essential to get BBQ in the South. Pro tip if you're coming on the weekend, check the bar for seating and skip the forever long line. There's even bars upstairs so check those too!

What do I get? They took my favorite thing off the menu, they once had a burger with jalapeños but they've since gotten rid of it... RIP. But now I get just the basic pulled pork sandwich and their fries. Then I get a side of the Devils Nectar (yes, I am insane) BBQ sauce (and yes it's actually spicy) and dip my fries in that and pour half of it on my BBQ sandwich. By the end of the meal my mouth is on fire but it's chill.

Henley- Midtown

Definitely one of the more classy establishments on my list of favorite restaurants and definitely pricier than the others on this list. It's so good though, if you have a special occasion you're celebrating, this place is a must!

What do I get? Get one of their fancy cocktails, I never remember what I get honestly. For an appetizer get the hushpuppies because wow, they are amazing. Spicy but amazing. And their fries literally brought me back to life at one point. They have the best seasoning on their fries, wow I can't even type right now because my mouth is salivating thinking about the fries. Truthfully I can't remember what entrees I've had but everything I had was amazing so I feel like you can't make a wrong choice here. Finally end the night with some banana pudding. It's damn good.

Slim & Husky's- Germantown

So I don't like pizza. Yeah, I'm one of those weird freaks in this world who don't really eat pizza. The pizza I like is few and far between and this is a pizza place I actually like. You make your own pizza, sizes are slim and husky. Pretty self explanatory.

What do I get? A slim pizza with their spicy red sauce and jalapeños!

Pastaria- West End/Midtown

My favorite Italian restaurant in Nashville, hands down. This place is amazing. From their bread, to appetizers, to wine, pasta and desserts, everything is impeccable!

What do I get? You have got to try the risotto balls for an appetizer, they will change the game for you and your view on appetizers at an Italian restaurant. I'm such a traditional girl though and for my main entree I always get bolognese. Their bolognese is so good!

2 years of eating and this is what I have to show for my years in Nashville. I hope this was useful to my out-of-towners who are visiting Nashville this tourist season. My biggest advice for you is to not fall victim of the tourist traps, there are so much better restaurants than what the basic people will tell you to go visit. Biscuit Love? Heck no. Go to Tenn16 instead! 

What Nashville guide would you all want to see next? Let me know in the comments below and also be sure to leave your favorite Nashville restaurants below as well! 



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