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Peter's Guide To Nashville's Vibrant Restaurant Scene


2017 Edition

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Peter's Guide To Nashville's Vibrant Restaurant Scene


2017 Edition

Nashville is known more for its music than its cuisine, but don’t let that fool you. Nashville is actually a total foodie town… randomly. What’s more is that Nashville’s hospitality industry has grown so large that it has now eclipsed the music industry in size. Nashville has more amazing food than you can eat in a year, and this article takes you through my 21 favorite restaurants in Nashville, in no particular order.

If you want a bigger database of restaurants to draw from, you should check out an organization called Nashville Originals. This is Nashville’s Independent Restaurant Association. Twice every year, they run and oversee Restaurant Week, during which all of their members offer great deals/specials. Throughout the course of this week, Nashville’s restaurants are packed with foodies trying to take advantage of the dip in prices. Also, Nashville Eater is a publication that is worth a look.

Anyway, since I’m such an awesome guy, I spent a lot of time and money going around Nashville, sampling all the food. Now that I’ve completed my rounds, I have some recommendations for you.

Nashville has a pretty wide spectrum of food to offer, ranging from down-home country cookin’ to upscale dining. In compiling this list, I did my best to run the gamut and be reflective of Nashville’s diversity. So whether you’re rich or poor, a local or a visitor, a vegan or a carnivore, there should be a few different places on this list that you’ll like.

Warning: some of this food is mind-blowingly, face-meltingly, earth-shatteringly good. It might be hard to go back to eating cereal and ramen every day after you let these places spoil you.

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23 Awesome Restaurants To Try In Nashville


Hope you're hungry!

23 Awesome Restaurants To Try In Nashville


Hope you're hungry!

1. ROLF & DAUGHTERS | $$$$ 

Address: 700 Taylor Street, Nashville, TN 37208
Hours: [5:30pm – 10:00pm | 7 days per week]
Reservations: +1 (615) 866-9897

In the heart of Germantown, a beautiful transitional neighborhood directly to the north of Nashville’s downtown, Rolf & Daughters operates in a beautiful converted brick building. The menu, quite frankly, is a bit over my head—it’s a sophisticated blend of dishes that, mostly, I had never even heard of. However, in spite of my culinary ignorance, it still all tastes amazing. I have a great time whenever I have the pleasure of coming here, and I’m not the only one. In 2013, Bon Appétit named Rolf & Daughters as their “#3 Best New Restaurant in America,” and business has continued to boom ever since.

Your seating options at Rolf & Daughters are on the patio, at the bar, or in the form of long communal tables that operate on a first-come first-serve basis. However, for all you planners out there, reservations are also available. It’s a pricey place, but I’ve always found it to be worth it. Check it out!


2. BUTCHERTOWN HALL | $$$$$  

Address: 1416 4th Ave. North, Nashville, TN 27308
Hours: [11:00am – 10:00pm | Monday – Thursday]
……….....[11:00am – 12:00am | Friday]
…...……..[10:00am – 12:00am | Saturday]
……...…..[10:00am – 10:00pm | Sunday]
Reservations: +1 (615) 454-3634

Also in Germantown, Butchertown Hall does business out of an absolutely gorgeous renovated warehouse. When I first arrived in Nashville, people would recommend Butchertown Hall to me, not so much for the food, but for the atmosphere. I had to check it out for myself, and when I did, I fell in love with the space. It somehow manages to maintain edgy and welcoming vibes simultaneously, and it fits in seamlessly with the fabric of Germantown. The aesthetic and culinary success of Butchertown Hall came as no surprise to the Nashville restaurant scene though, as it shares a developer/owner with Holland House and The Pharmacy (2 other awesome restaurants on this list).

Of course, the food is also great. As the name might suggest, Butchertown Hall’s menu is heavy on high-quality meat. To start with, they serve the biggest steak I’ve ever seen. That thing is a monster! Their burgers and pulled pork are also menu favorites, but there are also assortments of vegetables available as well for the less carnivorous among us. I recommend the corn on the cob.


3. PINEWOOD SOCIAL | $$$$$  

Address: 33 Peabody Street, Nashville, TN 37210
Hours: [7:00am – 1:00am | Monday – Friday]
……….....[9:00am – 1:00am | Saturday – Sunday]
Reservations: +1 (615) 751-8111

Categorizing Pinewood Social was tricky. Indeed, their facilities not only include a full-service restaurant, but also a coffee shop, a bakery, a bar, and a f**king bowling alley. Oh, and they also have a place where you can play bocce ball outside on the patio. AND a pool. As I outlined the 3 Nashville guides I was going to write, I couldn’t decide where to include Pinewood Social. In the end, I chose to include it on the restaurant guide, but you should know that this place is a chameleon. Indeed, Pinewood Social truly has something for everybody, and it is probably equally well suited for a night of drinking as it is eating.

When you enter Pinewood Social, there will be a small coffee shop on your left, selling the usual assortment of caffeinated drinks and baked goods. Farther inside Pinewood Social you will find academic looking tables cluttered with Nashvillian entrepreneurs typing away on their MacBooks. The centerpiece of Pinewood Social is a large square bar, selling beer, wine, and spirits. Around this, restaurant tables are set up and servers walk back and forth. A further walk will bring you into a small, vintage bowling alley. Outside there are christmas lights strung up over a country club-esque bocce ball area. And beyond that you will find the aforementioned pool, as well as a food truck. Exhausted yet? You can check out Pinewood Social’s menu here.


4. HOLLAND HOUSE | $$$$

Address: 935 West Eastland Ave., Nashville, TN 37206
Hours: [5:00pm – 10:00pm | Monday – Wednesday]
……….....[5:00pm – 12:00am | Thursday – Saturday]
……….....[Closed Sunday]
Reservations: +1 (615) 262-4190

Owned by the same Nashville restaurant guru that owns The Pharmacy and Butchertown Hall, Holland House is about as cool and classy as it gets. The interior is adorned with colorful paintings and extravagant chandeliers. The atmosphere at the bar is almost as cool as the bar tending staff mixing your drinks. The menu is pricey, but there’s more to this place than meets the eye.

Because Holland House is pretty upscale, I was a little worried about being able to take pictures here. But when I explained what I was doing, the general manager gave me an impromptu tour of the facilities, during which I actually learned a lot!

  1. In the back of the restaurant, behind closed doors, is The James Room (pictured below), reserved for special events and private parties.
    • The room draws it’s name from Jesse James, who apparently spent time hiding out in East Nashville as he fled from justice.
    • During his 5 years residency here, he went by the alias Thomas Howard.
  2. The folks at Holland House grow some of their own ingredients in the gardens on their patio, and are actively involved with Nashville’s green/healthy living community.

The restaurant is, objectively, very cool, but I think the best thing about this whole place was how welcomed I felt. Some of these places were a little less cool about having photos taken of their space. So, to me, my visit to Holland House demonstrated that the people who run the place are about as down-to-earth and approachable as it gets. These are rare qualities in a restaurant so cool and fancy.


5. THE PHARMACY | $$$$$ 

Address: 731 McFerrin Ave., Nashville, TN 37206
Hours: [11:00am – 10:00pm | Sunday – Thursday]
……….....[11:00am – 11:00pm | Friday – Saturday]
No Reservations—First Come, First Serve

I’m a guy who has eaten a lot of burgers in his day, but the Pharmacy makes a good case for being the best burger I’ve ever had. It’s not for the faint of heart though; it’s big! Get it with a side of sweet potato fries, and you’ll die happy. However, while burgers are their specialty, their menu also includes high quality German sausages, which always get good reviews.

The Pharmacy is also a beer garden, offering a bigger selection of imported beers than anyone should ever try. There is extensive outdoor seating for the warmer months of the year, which is nice, but during the winter (and sometimes the summer too) you should expect at least a short wait. However, the advantage of The Pharmacy is that if you can find a seat at the bar, you can be served immediately. With a small group, I’ve never not been able to find seats at the bar, but I can’t promise that you’ll be as lucky.


6. 5TH & TAYLOR | $$$$$ 

Address: 1411 5th Ave. North, Nashville, TN 37208
Hours: [5:00pm – 10:00pm | Monday – Thursday]
……….....[5:00pm – 12:00am | Friday – Saturday]
……….....[10:30am – 2:00pm + 5:00pm – 9:00pm | Sunday]
Reservations: +1 (615) 242-4747

Located in the center of Germantown, this restaurant does business out of a large renovated warehouse on the fringe of a huge, mysterious, (and I’m pretty sure) abandoned industrial park from the turn of the century. Because of this, it has and undeniably industrial vibe to it, but that is where the edginess ends. Inside, around a giant statue of General Francis Nash (Nashville’s namesake), customers dine by candlelight on crisp white table cloths. A colorful assortment of art is hanging from every wall and outside on the patio people laugh and drink beneath christmas lights. It really is an awesome vibe.

Opened in April of 2015, 5th & Taylor recently celebrated its 1st birthday. So it hasn’t been around long, but it’s been making some serious waves in Nashville. Since its opening, it has been featured by publications including Bon AppétitVogueElle DécorForbesCondé Nast Traveler, and many more. Well now they can add Peter’s Big Adventure to the list, because I absolutely love this place. The menu, featuring a wide array of southern food, is a on the expensive side, but don’t let that deter you! 5th & Taylor has a huge bar. Stop in for a drink!


7. MAS TACOS POR FAVOR | $$$$

Address: 732 McFerrin Ave., Nashville, TN 37206
Hours: [11:00am – 8:00pm | Monday – Friday]
……….....[10:00am – 3:00pm | Saturday]
……….....[Closed Sunday]
No Reservations—First Come, First Serve

An East Nashville fixture, Mas Tacos is a summer favorite of all taco-loving Nashvillians. The space itself feels authentically Latin. It’s modest in size so when it gets crowded, you might be hard-pressed to find a space to sit. But that’s kind of part of the charm. East Nashville is edgy and transitional and Mas Tacos exemplifies all of that. Indeed, Mas Tacos seems to have been part of East Nashville scene since the dawn of Nashville’s coolness. They also make some mean tacos, so next time you’re hungry in Nashville, go eat some tacos with the Kool Kids.

With a huge population of Latin American migrant workers, Nashville is an unexpected haven for Latin food. The number of Latin restaurants in Nashville is poised to surpass the number of American restaurants, which was, to me, a surprising fact. Much of this migrant population lives a ways outside the city though, so out in some of the more economically challenged suburbs you can find some randomly amazing restaurants. However, if you don’t feel like making that drive, Mas Tacos is a great option that’s relatively close into the city.


8. LOCKELAND TABLE | $$$$

Address: 1520 Woodland Street, Nashville, TN 37206
Hours: [4:00pm – 10:00pm | Monday – Saturday]
……….....[Closed Sunday]
Reservations: +1 (615) 228-4864

Few restaurants are cozier than Lockeland Table. It’s located on a quiet, leafy corner of East Nashville, but as soon as you open the doors, that’s where the quiet ends. Inside, Lockeland Table has a bustling, warm, communal, feel. Seriously, the amount that happens inside this restaurant is completely disproportionate to the modest space that they have to work with, and I say that in the best way possible. The tables and chairs have been selected and arranged by the Tetris Gods so that Lockeland Table can be filled to the brim every night of the week (except sunday).

Their menu is Southern/American cuisine, with a constant rotation of delicious specials. Last time I ate at Lockeland Table, I ordered a charred cornbread from the specials menu, which came hot out of the oven, and wow. But you don’t have to take my word for it; a laundry list of publications from all around the Western World have paid their respects to Lockeland Table, including Forbes, the LA TimesSouthern Living, even BBC. That’s just the beginning of the list though. So if you’re getting dinner in East Nashville, or even just drinks, you should seriously consider Lockeland Table.


9. SINEMA | $$$$

Address: 2600 Franklin Pike #102, Nashville, TN 37204
Hours: [4:30 – 11:00pm | Monday – Thursday]
……...…..[4:30pm – 12:00am | Friday – Saturday ]
……….....[10:30am – 2:30pm | Sunday]
Reservations: +1 (615) 942-7746

Sinema was originally built in the 1940s as a movie theater, but was later closed and re-purposed by a production company for Nashville’s musicians to hold photo shoots. This production company kept all of the original interior design of the former theater, but eventually the building was abandoned. It sat around as a forgotten relic for years before it was bought again in 2008. And finally, in 2014, the doors were opened once more, but this time as a restaurant. Sinema was quick to garner attention from Nashville’s foodie community, promptly earning the “Stone Cold Stunner” design award from Nashville Eater.

Walking through Sinema’s doors is a step back in time. Indeed, it feels more like opening night of a Marilyn Monroe film than it does a restaurant in Nashville, Tennessee. The designers behind this culinary gem didn’t have too much work to do though, as most of the theater’s interior remained mostly untouched, if in bad repair. On the first floor there’s an upscale restaurant whose menu includes a variety of foods ranging from Blowfish to Brie. The upper level is a “lounge” that looks like the kind of place that Cary Grant might have hung out. On the walls, via a collection of projectors and TVs, classic movies are screened daily in the background. Drinking a cocktail in this amazing space with Pulp Fiction as my backdrop was not a bad night. Even though the restaurant itself isn’t in the nicest area, it more than compensates for the ugly pawn shops that surround it with it’s dated mystique. Put Sinema on your list!


 10. MITCHELL DELI | $$$$

Address: 1306 McGavock Pike, Nashville, TN 37216
Hours: [7:00 – 10:00pm | Monday – Saturday]
……….....[8:00- 4:00pm | Sunday]
No Reservations—First Come, First Serve

Mitchell Deli is a refreshing, down-to-earth Nashville staple. Buried down the forested backroads of East Nashville, this place might take the cake for my favorite lunch spot (although it stays open until 10pm). Mitchell Deli has a strange homeostasis to it, providing the perfect escape from almost any sort of atmospheric conditions. Indeed, it gives much-needed relief from the hot southern summers and refuge from the cold Nashville winters. And for everything in between, they have outdoor seating in the shade of a thick roof.

There’s an old Nashvillian story that floats around about Mitchell Deli running out of food on the first day they opened. Lolz so maybe they got off to a rough start, but since then they’ve gone above and beyond to earn a place in the hearts of foodies in East Nashville and beyond. Indeed, it’s hard to enter Mitchell Deli without springing for one of their amazing sandwiches because the whole place smells like meat and cheese, and I say that in the best way possible. It’s at the top of the sandwich game not just in Nashville, but according to a recent Thrillist article, in all of the U.S. They ranked it as number 16 in their list of the best sandwich shops in America, so if that doesn’t sell you on this place then I’m out of ideas. JUST TRY A DAMN SANDWICH!  [Menu]


11. LOVELESS CAFÉ | $$$$

Address: 8400 Tennessee Highway 100, Nashville, TN 37221
Hours: [7:00am – 9:00pm | 7 days per week]
No Reservations—First Come, First Serve

Loveless Café is quite a hike outside the city (check out the map at the bottom to see for yourself), but has become something of a Nashville icon over the years nevertheless. There was a time when it took 45 minutes of driving through Tennessee’s back-woods to get to the Loveless Café, but today that drive is mostly suburbia. However, the Loveless Café has managed to hang on to its country vibe nevertheless. It helps that their property is big enough to include a large barn.

Loveless Café is perhaps the best place to check out on this entire list if you are after the classic “southern” experience. Their menu includes an all-star cast of southern favorites, from catfish, to pulled pork, to grits. It’s all amazing, but the item that tends to get the best reviews out of their whole menu are the biscuits that they will cart out to you before you are served your main course. Personally, I think they’re good… but they’re just biscuits. There are also campy gift shops full of southern keepsakes and festive jams, if you are looking for a souvenir.

Word to the wise: It’s a long drive out there, and it’s likely that there will be a long wait once you arrive. They do not accept reservations, so you might want to call ahead and ask about the wait before you get on the road.


12. BARTACO | $$$$

Address: 2526 12th Ave. South, Nashville, TN 37204
Hours: [11:30am – 12:00am | Monday – Saturday]
……….....[11:30am – 11:00pm | Sunday]
No Reservations—First Come, First Serve

Located in the heart of 12 South, Bartaco is, you guessed it, a taco restaurant. It’s the second and final taco restaurant that I’m going to add to this list, but I’m going to take this chance to reiterate that Nashville is the unexpected taco capital of the South. Nashville has a huge community of Hispanic immigrants. This demographic is growing quickly, with that influx carrying with it the benefit of amazing Latin food. And Bartaco is an extremely American-ized, commericalized, gentrified version of that… almost to a fault, but not quite. It’s right in that sweet spot.

In addition to their tacos (which, I will admit, are actually amazing) there are two major reasons that Bartaco stood out enough that I put it on this list. The first is the atmosphere. With a strong clean-cut theme consisting of only the colors blue and white, and enormous woven baskets for lights, Bartaco is like the Vineyard Vines of taco restaurants. The servers dress accordingly, clad in blue and white like sailors. The second thing that Bartaco is known for is their margaritas. Some say that Bartaco serves the best margarita in Nashville, but you’ll have to try it for yourself to be sure. You can read their menu here.


13. COCHON BUTCHER | $$$$

Address: 1120 4th Ave. North #101, Nashville, TN 37208
Hours: [11:00am – 10:00pm | Monday – Thursday]
……….....[11:00am – 11:00pm | Friday]
…...……..[10:00am – 11:00pm | Saturday]
……...…..[10:00am – 4:00pm | Sunday]
No Reservations—First Come, First Serve

Cochon Butcher is actually headquartered in New Orleans, but for their second location, they chose to branch out to Nashville. As the name might suggest, the menu is meat-heavy, but if you’re not into that, don’t worry! There is something for everybody.

Cochon Butcher is not fast food, but they will serve you high-quality food extremely quickly, so it’s a great place to stop by for lunch! You’ll order at the front, and then they’ll bring you your food when its ready, so it’s not the most formal of places. They also have a full service bar, if you feel like a night cap, or some casual day-drinking. Of all the drinks on the menu, my favorite is pretty simple: Mexican Coke. That makes it sound like cocaine, but no – it’s just regular Coca-Cola but without all the American chemicals added to it. It’s better for you, and it’s a helluva lot tastier too. It’s just like drinking Coke in Mexico! Or, basically any other foreign country I guess. Truth be told, Mexican Coke is served in a lot of placed around Nashville, but it was Cochon Butcher that turned me on to it, so I’m rambling about it here.


14. EDLEY’S BBQ | $$$$

Address 1 (East Nashville): 908 Main Street, Nashville, TN 37206
Address 2 (12 South): 2706 12th Ave. South, Nashville, TN 37204
Hours: [11:00am – 10:00pm | 7 days per week]
No Reservations—First Come, First Serve

Edley’s BBQ is the quintessential BBQ experience that you want to have when you visit the South. Whenever somebody visits Nashville and requests BBQ (as they always do), this is my go-to recommendation, and I’m not the only one. With two locations on either side of the city, in areas called 12 South and East Nashville, Edley’s is a well-established local favorite.

You will order up front and then your food will be brought to you. If you feel like having a drink, the bar operates separately. They have a great menu, but personally, I’d recommend the pork sandwich or the platter. Top it off with their hot BBQ sauce and I think you’ll feel pretty good about your Nashville experience.


15. LULU | $$$$

Address: 313 Jefferson St, Nashville, TN 37208
Hours: [8:00am – 2:00pm | Monday – Thursday]
……...…..[8:00am – 10:00pm | Friday]
……….....[11:00am – 10:00pm | Saturday]
……….....[8:00am – 10:00pm | Sunday]
Reservations: +1 (615) 540-0444

From the mind of Miranda Pontes, who gifted Nashville with other hotspots such as Frothy Monkey (which you can read about on Peter's Guide To Nashville's Coffee Scene) and Burger Up, Lulu only just opened in May of 2017. Unsurprisingly, Nashvillians have been quick to accept Lulu into their hearts, pouring into Germantown on a daily basis to see what all the buzz is about. I was one of those curious Nashvillian foodies, and I have nothing but good things to report. 

Lulu is sort of a one-stop-shop when it comes to eating. Their menu includes full (healthy) meals that would be appropriate for breakfast, lunch. or dinner, but that's only part of what Lulu has to offer. They also run a bakery where you can buy delicious pastries and cookies, as well as a full-service coffee shop where you can get an iced coffee out of a Kegerator. Lulu has a great atmosphere and good food at a flexible price point. The staff members are some of the friendliest I've ever had the pleasure of meeting, and the bathrooms are works of art. The only downside here is parking: be ready for a struggle. 


16. CHAUHAN ALE & MASALA HOUSE | $$$$

Address: 123 12th Ave N, Nashville, TN 37203
Hours: [11:00am – 2:30pm/5:00pm-10:00pm | Monday – Friday]
……….....[5:00pm-11:00pm | Saturday]
……….....[11:00am – 3:00pm/5:00pm – 10:00pm | Sunday]
Reservations: +1 (615) 242-8426

In an industrial brick building on the western outskirts of Nashville’s downtown, Chauhan Ale & Masala House is an Indian-Fusion restaurant. Ironically, one of the premier items on their menu is the steak. Luckily, the Hindu sacrilege of this has apparently not deterred Nashville’s sizable Indian population from accepting this establishment into their hearts. Indeed, during my visit, a significant portion of the guests were, in fact, Indian themselves. And isn’t that the true litmus test of an ethnic restaurant in America?

Since Chuahan Ale & Masala House’s much-anticipated opening in 2014, it has been been featured in a laundry list of publications, ranging from Food Network to Playboy. It actually received OpenTable‘s “Diner’s Choice Award” in 2015, and it’s no wonder. Hailing from Punjab (a province in Northwestern India), the restaurant’s head chef and main founder is the famed TV personality/author/philanthropist/etc. Maneet Chauhan. So, if you couldn’t have guessed this by now, the food is pretty great. And the restaurant itself is beautiful inside! It smells like paneer in there, so show up hungry!


17. BURGER UP | $$$$

Address 1 (12 South): 2901 12th Ave. South, Nashville, TN 37204
Address 2 (East Nashville): 970 Woodland St, Nashville, TN 37206
Hours: [11:00am – 10:00pm | 7 days per week]
No Reservations—First Come, First Serve

In the green heart of 12 South, a beautiful little neighborhood on the west side of Nashville, past Vanderbilt and Belmont, you’ll find Burger Up. As you may have been able surmise, Burger Up specializes in burgers, but these aren’t just any burgers. These are gourmet burgers, made from only the finest materials. Their meat comes from cows that lived pampered lives grazing the fertile pastures of rural Tennessee. Their condiments have been carefully concocted so that even their ketchup has a unique taste. The menu overall is pretty spectacular.

Here’s an unsolicited Burger Up factoid. The restaurant was originally opened by a married couple, but after a few more years of marriage, they got divorced. Shortly afterwards, in 2012, the husband broke into the restaurant (broke through the front windows of his own restaurant) in the middle of the night with a handgun, and ended his life. Of course this tragedy came as a shock to the 12 South community, but to transplants like me, this event is the object of morbid interest. I debated whether or not I should even include this story, but what the hell. If Nashville Scene can write about it, so can I.

It really is a great place though. The food, the bar, the atmosphere, the location—it’s all on point.


18. TWO TEN JACK | $$$$

Address: 1900 Eastland Ave. #105, Nashville, TN 37206
Hours: [4:00pm – 10:00pm | Monday – Thursday]
……...…..[4:00pm – 11:00pm | Friday – Saturday]
……...…..[Closed Sunday]
Reservations: +1 (615) 454-2731 [parties of 5 or more]

Two Ten Jack is the only Asian restaurant on this list. You don’t tend to visit the South in search of Asian food, but if you’re not feeling up to eating big, greasy slabs of meat, you should definitely check out Two Ten Jack. It’s a beautiful Japanese restaurant in the heart of East Nashville. Much of the interior is done with natural wood, and the walls are decorated with beautiful Japanese tapestries. If the weather is nice, you can sit on the patio under the lights they have strung up. However, if the weather is less than ideal, inside is nothing if not cozy and atmospheric. Many of their seating is set so that you can enjoy your food by the light of classic, black and white, Japanese films being projected onto the wall.

Upon sitting down you will be served the traditional wet towels, which will be warm or cold depending on the weather outside. After that it will be time to order. If you’re not well versed in Asian food, the menu might be a bit daunting, but at Two Ten Jack, you really can’t go wrong. The food is all amazing. In fact, Two Ten Jack was voted to have the city’s best sushi by the Nashville Scene.


19. LE SEL | $$$$

Address: 1922 Adelicia St, Nashville, TN 37212
Hours: [Closed Monday]
……….....[11:00am – 1:00am | Tuesday – Friday]
……...…..[10:00am – 1:00am | Saturday – Sunday]
Reservations: +1 (615) 490-8550

Brought to us by the same folks behind Pinewood Social & the Patterson House (in the nightlife guide), Le Sel was opened for business less than a year ago, in October of 2015. They weren’t messing around with this one either. This place is gorgeous! GORGEOUS I TELL YOU! You’ll forget you’re in Nashville as soon as you walk in. Whether you’re sitting in the restaurant, the private dining room, or the cocktail lounge, you’ll be on a quick trip to France for the duration of your meal/drinks.

Le Sel calls its style “New French,” and its menu is curated accordingly, focusing on the simplicity of modern French cooking. They open for brunch, serving a highlight reel of French breakfast favorites, and stay open through dinner, well into the night. I’d just as soon come here to go out for drinks as I would for food. It’s versatile like that, and its got the kind of atmosphere that will make you want to stay all night.


20. CITY HOUSE | $$$$

Address: 1222 4th Ave N, Nashville, TN 37210
Hours: [5:00pm – 10:00pm | Monday]
……...…..[Closed Tuesday]
……….....[5:00pm – 10:00pm | Wednesday – Saturday]
……….....[5:00pm – 9:00pm | Sunday]
Reservations: +1 (615) 736-5838 [parties of 4 or less]

Much of Nashville’s restaurant scene is focused on the cuisine of the American South, so global influences are a welcome addition to the city’s culinary landscape. Operating in a beautiful converted brick warehouse in a leafy enclave of Germantown, City House is arguably the premier Italian restaurant in Nashville. In fact, it’s just a short walk from many of the other Germantown restaurants above!

City House’s menu is pretty pricey, and their extensive wine list covers just about every region of Italy. By these standards, City House clearly falls into the category of “fine dining,” but it manages to maintain a communal, down-to-earth feel nonetheless. This is largely thanks to the fact that there is an open kitchen where you can watch your food being made. If you get a spot at the counter, you can watch pizza dough being tossed, and eventually baked in giant brick oven while you wait for you food. Being Italian myself, City House felt less like a swanky restaurant and more like an enlarged version of the kitchen during the family reunions of my childhood—the smells, the noise, the heat of the stove.


21. Silo | $$$$

Address: 1121 5th Ave N, Nashville, TN 37208
Hours: [Closed | Monday]
……….....[4:00pm – 11:00pm | Tuesday – Saturday]
……….....[10:30am – 2:00pm/4:00pm – 11:00pm | Sunday]
Reservations: +1 (615) 750-2912

SILO opened for business in 2012, and quickly established itself as one of Germantown's (and Nashville's) best upscale restaurants. Headed by Clay Greenberg, a graduate of the International Culinary Institute and former executive chef at Virago, SILO has received numerous accolades in the past few years, including Best of OpenTable 2015. SILO has two patio seating areas, which are amazing during Nashville's warmer months but the real story here is not outside. SILO's unique interior was designed by national award-winning architect Greg Ibañez. This dark, wooden, minimalist aesthetic sets the right tone for a fine dinner, so let's talk about the food. 

Head Chef Kristin Beringson found her way to SILO after winning an episode of FoodNetwork's Chopped. She and her staff curate a delicious farm-to-fork menu, most of which is sourced from local farmers around Middle Tennessee. Sustainability is a big priority. SILO's cuisine has a distinct Southern Influence, but it definitely does not all fit into the same box. Everything they serve is amazing, but I can personally recommend that you try their filet steak, grits, lemon & ricotta ravioli, as well as their meat/cheese pairings. If your order includes the latter, ask them about their apple jam. It blew my mind.  


22. HUSK | $$$$

Address: 37 Rutledge St, Nashville, TN 37210
Hours: [11:00am – 2:00pm/5:00pm-10:00pm | Monday – Thursday]
……….....[11:00am – 2:00pm/5:00pm – 11:00pm | Friday]
……….....[10:00am – 2:00pm/5:00pm – 11:00pm | Saturday – Sunday]
Reservations: +1 (615) 256-6565

Next, we have Husk. Husk might be the end-all be-all of southern cuisine, but food like this does not come cheap. Make no mistake—this is an upscale restaurant, and eating here will require you to spend some money. So if you have something on the horizon that warrants a big night out to dinner, this might be the place. Aaaand now that we’ve gotten the subject of money out of the way, we can get into the fun stuff!

Located just outside of downtown Nashville, down a quiet side-street, Husk does business out of a beautiful, historic southern mansion. Of course, they have made some state-of-the-art renovations to the space, which have turned the interior into a masterpiece of contemporary dining. Husk strikes the perfect balance between modern and classic, managing to retain the mansion’s classic southern feel in spite of their many upgrades and modifications. But the main thing here is the food. THE FOOD! It’s to die for. If I ever end up on death row, Husk is on my shortlist for my last supper. It’s that good. The menu changes slightly day to day, but the main dishes remain mostly the same. Personally, I recommend the steak.


23. THE CATBIRD SEAT | $$$$$ 

Address: 1711 Division St, Nashville, TN 37203
Hours: Check availability
Reservations: +1 (615) 810-8200

Hidden through a random, out-of-sight door, and up a small elevator, you’ll find The Catbird Seat. The Catbird Seat is the top of the culinary mountain in Nashville. La crème de la crème. It is the most expensive, most exclusive, most intense dining experience you can have in this city. But if you want to eat at The Catbird Seat, you’ll have to make reservations a few weeks in advance (at minimum). You’ll have to pay ahead of time, and the cost is $115.00 per person, not including drinks. The drink menu ranges from nice beers for $6 or $7, to $25+ glasses of champagne.

So it’s expensive, but you get what you pay for. The menu changes every few weeks, and the food is cooked right in front of you. They literally ship ingredients in from all over the world for each meal. During my visit, we were served a 9-course meal by at least 5 different servers over the course of about 2 hours. These courses were inventive, to say the least. For me, the highlight was a dish of sunflower seeds that had been stripped of their shells and prepared in such a way that they mimicked risotto. It’s hard to describe exactly how it tasted, but it’s going to haunt me. So if you have cause for celebration and cash to blow, try out The Catbird Seat! You will not regret it!

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And a Last Few Things...


One of them will save you some money. 

And a Last Few Things...


One of them will save you some money. 

ALL 23 RESTAURANTS ON THE MAP

If you can’t tell, Nashville has a lot of restaurants. The crazy part is that this guide easily could have been twice as long. I had to make some tough calls! So now that we’ve reached the end of the road, let’s take a moment to recognize a few other amazing restaurants that got left off the guide…

HONORABLE MENTIONS: 

  1. Biscuit Love [Refreshing southern brunch in The Gulch]
  2. The Standard [Fancy, formal dining in a historic Nashville home]
  3. Prima [Also fancy, but less expensive, and they take walk-ins]
  4. Avo [Awesome vegan food]
  5. Arnold’s Country Kitchen [Tourist attraction of choice]

Even though I didn’t do a full spread for them, these are all incredible restaurants as well, each with its own reputation in Nashville. More food for thought! (get it?)

If you'd like to learn more about Nashville, I'd encourage you to check out the guides to nightlife and coffee!

And for the track of the day, we'll throw in a little bit of southern flavor from a Nashville-based artist... 

ℹ️ Track of the Day 🔀 

WANT TO TRY OUT THESE RESTAURANTS & STAY ON A BUDGET?