We asked seven of Nashville’s most passionate food lovers where they love to eat — and what they love to order. These folks know a thing or two about the local food scene and are gracious enough to share their wisdom with us today. They share their most craved dish, favorite place to grab a cocktail, place they can’t stop talking about, long-time favorite restaurant and top recommendation for out-of-towners. Clear your schedule because their answers will have you ready to tackle Nashville’s restaurant scene, one meal at a time.
Food lover: Nashville Authority
Most craved dish: Burger Up‘s veggie burger and truffle fries! Absolute best veggie burger in the city.
Favorite place to grab a cocktail: Old Glory. It has the most amazing atmosphere located behind an unmarked door in a glamorous, revamped boiler room. Whenever I go there, I always feel like I’ve stumbled across somewhere secretive and exciting. I definitely recommend the Fino Bae!
New place you can’t stop talking about: Char. It’s a classy breath of fresh air located right in the middle of Green Hills with delicious seafood options.
Long-time favorite restaurant: Mafiaoza’s. Forever my place to take visitors for dinner on their first night in Nashville. It has a homey vibe with large portions perfect for carbo-loading before a night out. And, you can take a nice stroll around 12South for dessert!
Top recommendation for out-of-towners: Broadway. I know it’s cliché, but if you’re visiting Nashville for the first time, you have to go! Plus, there is a bar option for everyone, no matter what vibe you’re looking for — old country, new county, club, low-key, you name it. Personally, I recommend FGL House for a party, Nashville Underground for a chill hang and top of Whiskey Row for skyline selfies.
Food lovers: Hayley and Emily of Nash Ventures
Most craved dish:
Emily: Truffle fries from Burger Up. They are hands down the best fries I’ve had — plus their homemade sauces are the perfect pairing.
Hayley: The whipped feta from Butcher & Bee … legit could eat this by the spoonful.
Favorite place to grab a cocktail:
Hayley: Yeah, I would definitely have to agree with Emily about the Palomas at Urban Cowboy/RBQ — both are two of my favorites as well. However, I also really like Attaboy in East Nashville and being able to craft a special cocktail by answering what ingredients you like. It’s such a cool experience, and I have always liked what the bartender makes me!
New place you can’t stop talking about:
Emily: Well the Catio Nashville hasn’t opened yet, but I am so excited for it. I love all the baked goods that Lee makes, and I can’t wait to see the vision come to life. But I also love East Park Donuts & Coffee! It just opened near our house in East Nashville, so I am pretty much always tempted to swing by on my way to work.
Hayley: Bourbon Steak on the rooftop of the JW Marriott Nashville! It’s seriously the best steak/seafood I have ever had … 100% worth the splurge. Also, the craft cocktails and panoramic views of the skyline are absolutely incredible!
Long-time favorite restaurant:
Emily: Butchertown Hall — I think I have tried just about everything on their brunch menu.
Hayley: Cafe Roze! I love their matcha lattes, brunch and overall aesthetic.
Top recommendation for out-of-towners:
Emily: Biscuits at Ruby Ann‘s and rooftop drinks on Broadway. (I know it seems cliché, but every out-of-towner needs to experience the craziness of Broadway at least once and see those rooftop views.)
Hayley: Definitely agree with Emily on this one! Nashville has so many great choices of rooftops from the Broadway bars to all the cool hotels, and each place is so unique. Plus, they all provide the perfect backdrop for “drink in the air” photos.
Food lover: Karen-Lee Ryan, Walk Eat Nashville
Most craved dish: The whipped feta at Butcher & Bee!
RELATED: Walk Eat Nashville’s Karen-Lee Ryan
New place you can’t stop talking about: Woolworth on 5th, which shines a light on a painful yet pivotal time in Nashville’s history, in a reimagined space that offers a welcome table for all.
Top recommendation for out-of-towners: Black Rabbit for the drinks, the food and the overall vibe. And, it’s downtown but feels a world away from Broadway.
Food lover: Delia Jo, Eater Nashville
Most craved dish: Otaku’s Tennessee Tonkotsu Ramen. When I moved from Dallas, where I tried a new ramen place every other week, I was pretty sad to see a lack of ramen options here. But that Tennessee Tonkotsu with the perfectly cooked egg and pork confit is definitely my most-ordered dish in town. I add a heavy-handed dollop of both the chili paste and chili oil because I love all things spicy.
Favorite place to grab a cocktail: I think the thing that has impressed me the most since moving back to Nashville a year ago is the cocktail scene here. I don’t think I’ve had but one bad cocktail in this town. I can confidently order an Old Fashioned at most any bar here and be happy with it. My favorite places for cocktails are Old Glory, Henley, Attaboy and Henrietta Red. Favorite hidden gem: etc. in Green Hills.
New place you can’t stop talking about: Bourbon Steak. The views, the design, the food, wine and cocktails, and service are all absolutely raising the bar for Nashville dining, and I’m pretty excited about it.
Long-time favorite restaurant? Thank heavens for Margot. The Nashville dining scene would be a ghost of itself without her East Nashville institution.
Top recommendation for out-of-towners? Arnold’s and Prince’s. There are very specific things people are looking for when they visit, and these two staples helped put Nashville on culinary maps worldwide.
Food lover: Matt Niehoff, Experience Nash
Most craved dish: The garlic noodles at Two Ten Jack. I am beyond addicted — super simple, perfectly al dente noodles with just the right amount of garlic and creamy crab butter. I need them at least once a week!
Favorite place to grab a cocktail: Currently, I can’t get enough of Attaboy. Although they don’t have a menu, it’s where I was introduced to my new favorite cocktail, the Wardays: gin, apple brandy, Carpano, green chartreuse — balanced, delicious and boozy.
New place you can’t stop talking about: Folk. I think we’ve been seven times? The shishitos are unbelievably good, and we get the soppressata pizza every. single. time.
Long-time favorite restaurant: City House, hands down.
Top recommendation for out-of-towners: Don’t miss Henrietta Red for either dinner or brunch — phenomenal menu, absolutely stunning space. One of Nashville’s best!
Food lover: Justin Rearden, The Reardenstein Collective
Most craved dish: The simple pasta and French fries from Cafe Roze. Without a doubt! Since they are right around the corner from my house, you can frequently find me at the bar catching up with the staff and ordering those two dishes with a classic Vesper martini.
Favorite place to grab a cocktail: The Fox Bar. Unfortunately, I don’t have a favorite cocktail here. Why? Because they update their menu each month with a new theme, so there is always something new and exciting to try.
New place you can’t stop talking about: Lyra. I love that more and more restaurant owners are embracing new cuisines and are shying away from putting a Southern twist on everything. Lyra is a great Middle Eastern restaurant on the east side, and they have the best pita in town. And be sure to check out their incredible daily happy hour for great deals on cocktails and snacks.
Long-time favorite restaurant: City House. Hands down, the most consistent restaurant in Nashville. I know that when my wife and I go in for dinner, we are going to be treated like family, and the food is going to be just as good, if not better, than it was last time we dined with them.
Top recommendation for out-of-towners: People say you can’t come to Nashville without trying hot chicken. I think you can’t come to Nashville without trying Mas Tacos. Yes the line is long, but that’s a clear sign they are doing something right.
Food lover: Courtney Hood, Blonde Voyage
Most craved dish: In the fall, I want nothing more than a bowl of cacio e pepe, and in the summer there’s nothing better than a tomato sandwich. Of course, you can find the best tomato sandwich in town at Urban Cowboy Public House.
Favorite place to grab a cocktail: 404 Old Fashioned at Gertie’s Bar … It has brown butter and toasted pecan syrup. It’s a game changer.
Long-time favorite restaurant: Without a doubt, City House. From the convivial atmosphere, Sunday Suppers and the genius that is Rebecca Turshen (Pastry Chef), I can’t get enough of this place.
Top recommendation for out-of-towners: Out-of-towners can get a true taste of Nashville and Southern hospitality at Arnold’s Country Kitchen. It doesn’t matter what you order, you will leave with satiated appetite and a smile on your face. Of course, it wouldn’t be Nashville without hot chicken. Skip the line and place an online order at Hattie B’s. After they get their Nashville fix, I tell them to head over to City House and don’t leave without dessert!
Thank you to these locals for sharing their insider knowledge. Now, we eat!
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