Generally speaking, the main dishes on a menu are the ones that garner most of our attention. They are the ones that anchor the meal and the ones that we scope out on the menu before our arrival. However, more and more frequently we have found our eyes drawn to that first little section of appetizers – and occasionally we find that it’s as far as our eyes wander.
With apps on the mind, we polled our team, friends and trusted restaurant-goers to find out which Nashville appetizers serve the most delicious, addicting, come-back-again-soon-worthy creations … and we’re sharing them with you. Without further ado, the appetizers in Nashville that we currently can’t not order when we go out!
Nashville Appetizers We Love
Edley’s BBQ Nachos
Atop many SB employees’ lists were the famous Edley’s BBQ Nachos. Their housemade potato chips are topped with queso, BBQ pork, tomatoes, onions and sour cream, and we’ll warn that they are highly addictive. The indulgent dish is easily shared, but it’s an awesome meal on its own, too. You will definitely have leftovers!
Miel’s Marinated Olives
Whenever we go to Miel, which is often, we order the marinated olives. They are easy to share, served warm and always consist of a variety of sizes and types. They are a mainstay on their menu, which changes seasonally, so order these as an appetizer or to finish off a meal. Taste a variety of olives — Cerignola, Gaeta, Castelvetrano, oil-cured Moroccan, Picholine and Cornicabra to be specific – marinated in citrus, fennel, garlic and herb.
Von Elrod’s Fried Cheese Curds
Long tables and plenty of space for Saturdays in the sun, the atmosphere at Von Elrod’s Beer Hall and Kitchen begs for shareable apps. And while a housemade pretzel is an obvious (and delicious) choice, we often opt for the fried cheese curds. Served with a buttermilk dill ranch, that last bite will have everyone reaching.
We’ll admit, guacamole isn’t exactly a revolutionary appetizer. It graces many menus and remains a staple at every Mexican restaurant in town. However, we have to say, bartaco seems to have perfected the crowd-favorite dip. Not too creamy, not too chunky with the perfect amount of kick and the perfect amount of citrus — it’s a home run. No trip to bartaco is complete without it!
Pastaria’s Risotto Balls
When Pastaria arrived in Nashville, the risotto ball chatter began immediately. Whenever someone in the office mentioned an upcoming reservation, someone else would recommend the risotto balls. Well, the verdict is back, and they aren’t overhyped. The cheesy fried appetizer is served with both marinara and herb aioli. SB TIP: Two orders might be necessary.
Burger Up’s Fried Mac & Cheese Bites
Burger Up may be known for its fries and its burgers and its honey dijon (if you know, you know), but we’re here to tell you that you need to add just one more thing to the lineup: the fried mac & cheese bites. A savory mix of textures and flavors elevates our favorite comfort food from good to great. Trust us.
Two Ten Jack’s Crispy Brussels
Light and crispy with a giant depth of flavor, the Brussels sprouts at Two Ten Jack were on several SB staffer favorite lists. An easy addition to a big bowl of ramen or a few rolls of sushi, they are the item we can’t leave without ordering.
M.L. Rose’s Bottle Caps + Ranch Dressing
The ranch dip that accompanies the “bottle caps” at M.L. Rose is amazing. Yes, the fried okra, jalapeños and pickles that make up this dish can compete for best in Nashville, but it’s the ranch dip that steals the show. It’s super thick and addictive, and some Nashville songwriter should write a song about it. It’s that good.
Adele’s Crispy Shrimp
Wrapped in basil and feuille de brick (a thin pastry) then deep fried, the crispy shrimp at Adele’s are mouthwateringly good. They are served with Togarashi aioli and are a delicious way to start a meal at this popular spot.
Pinewood Social’s Fried Broccoli
This appetizer is so popular you’ll find it on Pinewood Social‘s brunch, lunch, dinner and afternoon menus! Broccoli is lightly fried, topped with lemon zest and served alongside sunflower aioli for dipping. It’s broccoli, so it’s healthy … or that’s what we tell ourselves, anyway!
Geist’s Bacon Brie Jam
Served hot in a skillet, the brie is still melting when it arrives at the table. Packed with bacon jam – and no shortage of it – the warm dip found at Geist is spread atop the accompanying bread. Guaranteed: You’ll enjoy every blissful bite!
Henrietta Red’s Poppy’s Caviar
Inspired by her dad’s recipe, Julia Keelin created an appetizer that is salty and creamy and simply delightful. Tennessee Paddlefish caviar is served atop sour cream and spring onion vinaigrette with crackers for scooping. The balance of flavors and textures is wonderful and is the perfect way to start any Henrietta Red dining experience.
Lyra’s Baba Ganoush
The baba ganoush at Lyra in East Nashville is served warm in the eggplant skin with sumac red onions. It arrives with Kurdish samoon bread, like a flatbread, which is delicious in its own right. Steeped in flavor, the combination is incredible!
Black Rabbit’s Rabbit Sliders
Pop down to Black Rabbit for a taste of something spectacular. Another app that topped many lists, the rabbit sliders are approachable yet decadent — like the ham rolls you grew up enjoying at a tailgate … with a grownup twist. Of course, we’d be remiss not to mention their housemade sourdough and vegetable spread, too.
Kayne Prime’s Popovers
It’s hard to steal the show at Kayne Prime, but the popovers make a case for it. Buttery and airy and rich, they’re more than just a complement to your meal — it’s truly incomplete without them. These beauties come out just before the entrees and you won’t find them on the menu. So, now you know to eagerly anticipate their arrival.
Sperry’s Salad Bar
A Nashville staple with old-school vibes, the Sperry’s salad bar is an experience we come back for. The salad bar maintains its classic feel with just enough special items to make it feel elevated. We recommend the pickled okra and Green Goddess dressing on every salad!
Etch’s Roasted Cauliflower
The roasted cauliflower at Etch is unique, delicious and (bonus!) gives back! The longtime customer (and SB staff) favorite with truffled pea puree, salted almonds, feta crema and red bell sauce is one we simply couldn’t leave off this list. A portion of each order sold benefits Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee.
Deacon’s Skillet Yeast Rolls
Warm and buttery and topped with just a bit of salt, the yeast rolls are a no-brainer way to begin each meal at Deacon’s. The golden brown rolls arrive in a hot skillet and complement a steak, salad or just a cocktail at happy hour.
Embers’ Ski Lodge Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts, it seems, are still having their moment around Nashville. If you find yourself in the 12South neighborhood and craving our current favorite green veggie, stop into Embers Ski Lodge for an order or two of their addicting crispy Brussels sprouts that are fried and tossed with butter and their Taos Tare sauce — they’ll convert even the most hesitant of veggie-avoiders.
Silo’s Deviled Eggs Three Ways
We’re long-time fans of the Deviled Eggs Three Ways at Germantown’s Silo. Changing daily, the combinations consistently deliver. From pineapple, jalapeño and bacon to pesto with pine nuts and gouda, each combination cleverly pairs flavors and textures for the perfect bite. Plus, they won’t fill you up before the main event!
What did we miss? Share your favorite appetizers in Nashville on Instagram and tag @styleblueprintnville or DM us there so we can spread the word!
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