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.
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.
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.
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.