Nashville Best Eats
The first time we went to Nashville, eating well was on the agenda. We planned our meals meticulously, and left the city with, yes, well-earned respect for a city that clearly loves food, but also lots of credit to our mad research skills.

It’s sometimes hard to know how much of us eating well in a place has to do with the place itself versus us being very discerning and, let’s face it, picky consumers.

The second time we went to Nashville we barely cracked open a Google search. With a big family holiday in store and competing interests and budgets and tastes, we honestly weren’t expecting to be blown away by the food again. We were planning to be good family members and go with the flow, only nudging the crew in a direction if specifically asked.

nashville weekend mas tacos

Boy, did we underestimate this city.

Day after day we emerged from random restaurants, some that we had vaguely heard about or that a missing family member texted us that we should try (yes, this happened), wowed. Are we just great at walking into the right restaurant at the right time? Or is Nashville just so jam packed with good food that you really can’t go wrong?

Friends, it’s the latter.

Now that we’ve been to a bunch of Nashville restaurants (just scraping the tip of the iceberg of course), here is a short list of favorites. Add them to your list! Or, better yet, just wander into whatever place you see that is bustling and you’ll almost surely leave satisfied.

Dino’s – As Drew’s parents describe, this is a dive bar that you probably wouldn’t wander in, and if you did, you’d likely want to leave. But if you’ve been told via text that this dive out in East Nashville is home to the nation’s third best hamburger, you should stay. Order the burger – either plain or Animal-style or Joe-style (all are fab), worry about the heart attack later. Is this the third best burger I’ve ever tried in my life in the US? Who knows, but the combination of tartar sauce and Velveeta has sure made an impact on my memory.

Mas Tacos Por Favor – I’ve loved everything I’ve ever eaten at Mas Tacos, but the pozole really stole my heart. What I don’t love is the crazy queue out the door and standing in said queue during the winter.

nashville weekend posole

Butcher & Bee – We arrived at this Mediterranean/Israeli inspired restaurant for a late lunch, after several days of consuming only French fries and other fried foods. The menu full of salads and freshness scratched an itch we didn’t realize we had. Special shout out to the chicken shawarma sandwich and the seasonal roasted carrots. The inspiration that the kitchen draws from Ottolenghi (the London restaurant, and series of cookbooks, that has achieved global cult status) it evident and welcome.

Five Points Pizza – One of the best take-out pizza experiences of the past five years. If you love garlic-y pizza, this place is for you. Each slice was drenched in the stuff, but no one in our family was complaining.

Mitchell Delicatessen – And then there was the day when we went to the deli and ate our sandwiches in mesmerized silence, passing them around the table, bulging eyes and rapid nodding. The corned beef reuben, a classic, was perfectly executed and the award of most creative addition to the deli menu goes to the BBQ Asian Tofu. The stress of wondering if a table would open up in time for us to eat our meal inside versus in the car was the only bummer.

Over Easy Cafe Asheville

Hattie B’s – I’m just mentioning this Nashville staple to reiterate that it was just as good the second time as the first. The pimento mac & cheese side dish is actually my favorite part of the whole experience.

After two successful visits to Nashville, we’re starting to doubt that the city is even capable of terrible meals. Honestly the internet raves about this city and its food so consistently and with such fervor that we struggle to find one bad word.

Shoot us a note if you’ve had a bad meal in Nashville, so we can be reminded that the city is full of mere mortals who misstep every so often. Thanks!

nashville weekend hattie b

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  • January 15, 2018

    I lived in Nashville for 7 years before heading off to travel the world in 2012. So keeping in mind that the city has changed immensely since I was last there (can’t believe it’s been over 5 years!), I have to say that yes it is (or at least, was) possible to have bad meals there. When I lived there, the city was still very much a black hole for a lot of international cuisine, and I had some really terrible Indian, Thai & Chinese food while living there. (That said, I also had some very good Indian, Thai, Korean, Mexican & Vietnamese food…) I also had some terrible “southern food” and modern American food, too.

    I used to consider myself something of a food expert when it came to Nashville, but it’s been so long since I was there and the city has changed so much that I think a lot of my old favorite haunts are no longer in business and I don’t recognize most of the places on your list as most of them didn’t exist 5 years ago. Mitchell Deli was a thing, but not a big deal, and I only visited Más Tacos Por Favor once (and didn’t think the food warranted the long lines back in 2011!). When I think of hot chicken in Nashville, I always think of Prince’s or Bolton’s (which also does hot fish!), and I feel like a visit to Nashville is never complete without a visit to its old-school establishments like The Loveless Café (those biscuits), Monell’s (family style meat & three) & Arnold’s Country Kitchen (James Beard Award Winner… amazing fried green tomatoes).

    Bottom line: There’s a lot of good eating to be done in Nashville. Whenever I make it back there, I think I’ll have a hard time making time for both the shiny new cool kids on the block and my old favorites!
    Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) recently posted…Five Years AwayMy Profile

    • January 17, 2018

      Oh bummer, you left at the exact time the food renaissance happened! We moved back in December 2011 and it was a good year from then before the food movement really began. Prior to that, it was as you mentioned: Prince’s and Arnold’s and Monell’s and Loveless that got all the attention (all are still worthy stops now, but thank God this city has more than just Southern comfort food!).

  • January 15, 2018

    Oh my gosh I love Nashville so much! I wouldn’t say I had a bad meal but I did find Husk to be somewhat disappointing. Next time you’re there I highly recommend checking out Chauhan Ale & Masala House if you haven’t already. So good!
    Kacy recently posted…Ava’s Pizzeria in St. MichaelsMy Profile

    • January 17, 2018

      I 1000 percent agree. Not my favorite and is never on my list of recs to anyone.

      But Chauhan on the other hand is a delight!

  • January 17, 2018

    Nashville seems like it has lots to offer, Julie. All of these foods seem finger-licking. This would be my ultimate food guide when I go to Nashville!

  • January 17, 2018

    You hit so many of my favorites, Julie! Well done. I love that you just stumbled into a few of those, too.

    On your third visit, can we finally have drinks, please? =)

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