Nashville, often referred to as “Music City,” is not only famous for its vibrant music scene but also for its diverse and delectable cuisine. The city’s gastronomy is very varied and offers everything, from Southern comfort food to innovative dishes that push the boundaries of traditional fare.
In this article, we will embark in the best Nashville food tour to explore its culinary scene and the best places to eat; so get ready to savor the rich and flavorful cuisine that this Tennessee city has to offer.
Hot chicken: Hattie B’s Hot Chicken
Nashville hot chicken is an iconic dish that has captured the hearts (and taste buds) of locals and visitors alike. And when it comes to hot chicken in Nashville, Hattie B’s Hot Chicken is a must-visit.
With multiple locations throughout the city, Hattie B’s serves up crispy, spicy chicken in varying heat levels to suit every palate. From mild to “shut the cluck up,” you can choose your preferred level of heat and savor this fiery delicacy along with classic Southern sides like mac ‘n’ cheese and collard greens.
BBQ: Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint
Nashville’s barbecue scene is legendary, and Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint is a standout in this area. This beloved barbecue spot offers a mouthwatering selection of smoked meats, including pork, brisket, and ribs, all cooked low and slow to perfection.
The signature “Redneck Taco” is a must-try; it’s a generous portion of smoked meat served on a cornbread hoe cake with all the fixings. The atmosphere at Martin’s is very casual and rustic, complementing the homemade flavors of its barbecue.
Biscuits: Biscuit Love
Biscuits are a Southern staple, and Biscuit Love has elevated them to an art form in Nashville. With a focus on local and seasonal ingredients, this charming eatery serves up creative and delicious biscuit dishes.
Try the “Bonuts” (fried biscuit dough with lemon mascarpone and blueberry compote) for a sweet start to your day, or indulge in a “Princess” (hot chicken on a biscuit with pickles and mustard) for a savory treat that embodies the city’s love for hot chicken.
For a farm-to-table dining experience that celebrates the flavors of the South, Husk is the place to be. Located in a historic mansion, Husk’s menu focuses on locally sourced and seasonal ingredients, with an emphasis on Southern ingredients.
Chef Sean Brock’s vast experience can be tasted in dishes such as the crispy pig ear lettuce wraps and the catfish with field peas. The restaurant’s commitment to showcasing the best of Southern cuisine has earned it numerous distinctions and a spot on the must-visit list for food enthusiasts.
Craft cocktails: The Patterson House
Nashville’s culinary scene extends beyond food, and craft cocktails are a significant part of the city’s identity. So no Nashville food tour is complete without trying one of these delectable beverages.
The Patterson House is a well-known cocktail establishment that elevates mixology. It’s the ideal spot to unwind after a day of city exploration with a wide selection of handcrafted drinks and a warm, welcoming ambiance. Try their signature “Holland House Smash” or ask the skilled bartenders to create a custom cocktail tailored to your preferences.
International flavors: The Pharmacy Burger Parlor & Beer Garden
While Nashville’s cuisine is deeply rooted in Southern tradition, it also embraces international flavors. The Pharmacy Burger Parlor & Beer Garden combines the best of both worlds.
This German-inspired beer garden serves up mouthwatering burgers alongside an impressive selection of craft beers. The “Farm Burger” made with Tennessee beef, bacon, and a fried egg is a crowd favorite. Pair it with a classic German-style pretzel and one of the many beers on tap for a satisfying meal.
Gourmet dining: The Catbird Seat
For a truly unique and upscale dining experience, make a reservation at The Catbird Seat. This intimate restaurant offers a tasting menu that showcases the creativity and culinary artistry of the chefs.
Seated at the kitchen counter, you’ll have a front-row view of the chefs as they prepare each course. The menu changes regularly and features innovative and seasonal dishes that will tantalize your taste buds and provide a memorable gastronomic experience.
Desserts: Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
Every culinary journey must have a sweet ending, and Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams offers some of the most delectable ice creams in Nashville. Their artisanal flavors range from the classic “Salty Caramel” to the adventurous “Brambleberry Crisp”. Using high-quality ingredients and creative combinations, Jeni’s ice creams are a delightful treat that will satisfy any sweet tooth.
Southern comfort: Arnold’s Country Kitchen
Arnold’s Country Kitchen is a cherished Nashville institution, where Southern comfort food reigns supreme. This meat restaurant, owned and operated by a family, has been serving soul-satisfying dishes for generations.
The concept is simple: choose a meat and three sides from a daily rotating menu. Expect classics like fried chicken, meatloaf, and catfish, accompanied by sides such as collard greens, mac ‘n’ cheese, and cornbread. The homely atmosphere and the warm, welcoming staff make Arnold’s a beloved spot for locals and a must-visit for anyone seeking an authentic taste of Nashville.
Ethnic eats: Mas Tacos Por Favor
Nashville’s culinary scene extends beyond Southern cuisine, and “Mas Tacos Por Favor” is a testament to the city’s love for international flavors.
This taco joint offers some of the best tacos in town, prepared with fresh, locally sourced ingredients. The menu features a variety of fillings, including slow-cooked carnitas, spicy fried avocado, and smoky barbacoa. Be sure to try their elote (Mexican street corn) for a burst of flavor and their homemade agua fresca to complement your meal. The vibrant and casual atmosphere at “Mas Tacos Por Favor” embodies the spirit of Nashville’s food culture.
Classic diner: Loveless Cafe
Loveless Cafe, located just outside of Nashville, is a beloved diner steeped in history. Known for its iconic biscuits and Southern hospitality, Loveless has been serving travelers and locals alike since 1951.
The legendary biscuits, made from a secret recipe, are flaky and buttery. They pair perfectly with Loveless’s house-made preserves and country ham. While the biscuits are the star, the menu offers a wide range of Southern favorites, including fried chicken, barbecue, and a variety of comforting sides. The rustic charm and delicious fare make Loveless Cafe a true Tennessee treasure.
Nashville’s culinary scene is a reflection of the city itself, diverse, vibrant, and full of personality. Whether you’re indulging in the fiery heat of hot chicken, savoring the smoky goodness of barbecue, or delighting in creative twists on Southern classics, Nashville’s cuisine is a culinary journey that will leave you craving more.