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Nashville, Tennessee is home of country music, great barbecue, fun nightlife and the famous ‘Hot Chicken Sandwich.’ As soon as I stepped foot in this Country Music Paradise, it immediately hit the top of my ‘favorite cities’ list.
Not only is Nashville an absolute blast to visit, it’s also a city that offers fantastic restaurants on literally every street corner. For a foodie like myself who loves to try new places, I couldn’t wait to go out and eat in Nashville.
I visited this gorgeous town as a tourist on a girl’s trip with one of my closest friends, and I was lucky enough to have lists and lists of local favorites sent to me from wonderful people who call Nashville home. Because of them, we ate like queens on this vacation and I felt compelled to share our foodie finds with you!
Here’s my list of 15 of the best places to eat in Nashville! I hope you enjoy!
You guys. This is decadence at its finest. I kind of want to cry just thinking about how amazing Five Daughters Bakery is. These are, without a doubt, the fluffiest, crispiest and most divine donuts I’ve ever tasted. The flavors change monthly, giving you more variety than you could ever dream, but Maple Glaze, Chocolate Sea Salt, Maple Bacon and Vanilla Sugar are menu staples – and for good reason. Whatever you do, don’t skip this place!
This hot spot opened its doors in 1975 and has been feeding pancake fanatics ever since. If you visit Pancake Pantry on a weekend morning, you should expect to wait in line with all of the locals. But let’s be honest, what good thing isn’t worth waiting for? Try their famous (and for good reason) Sweet Potato Pancakes or Banana Bread Chocolate Chip Pancakes. If you’re craving something slightly more traditional, there are 21 other satisfying pancake options to choose from.
This popular coffee shop is known for more than their coffeehouse drinks like the White Monkey Mocha and Rosemary Honey Latte. They also offer tasty sandwiches, oatmeal, soups, salads and omelettes. One of their most popular menu items is The California: two eggs atop sourdough bread with avocado, sprouts and homemade salsa.
You’re going to see a small theme throughout this post, because Nashville really loves their ‘Hot Chicken’! It is their signature dish and is served at many of the restaurants in the city, but Hattie B’s takes the reign for some of the hottest and the tastiest. From Southern (no heat) to Shut the Cluck Up (burn notice), you’re bound to find the perfect level of heat to suit your cravings. Try their Hot Chicken Sandwich or a Chicken Thigh Plate with a side of Red Skin Potato Salad or Pimento Mac & Cheese. Finish off this unforgettable meal with Hattie B’s famous Banana Pudding.
5. Biscuit Love
We ordered the Bonuts at Biscuit Love and they were life-changing. This is what it really means to eat in Nashville. Bonuts are delicious balls of fried biscuit dough rolled in sugar on top of blueberry compote. They are served with a lemon mascarpone on top and are bound to make your mouth water even before the first bite.
The huge plate of deliciousness directly next to the Bonuts is the Princess: A biscuit sandwich with Nashville’s signature hot chicken, pickles, mustard and honey. Weird combination, right? I thought so too – until I tasted it. It was one of the best sandwiches I had ever had.
There are four of these ice cream shops throughout Nashville which attests to how much people love to eat it. The atmosphere is fun and comfortable and the ice cream is always on point. They offer the traditional ice cream flavors as well as some that might cause you to do a double take. The Brambleberry Crisp tastes like a warm homemade cobbler while the Queen City Cayenne packs a little heat. Try the Wildberry Lavender, Riesling Poached Pear Sorbet or the Sun-Popped Corn to bring a little bit of diversity to your day.
If you want to eat in Nashville, and eat fresh, The Nashville Farmers’ Market is a must-see while visiting. You won’t get any more ‘fresh’ than these farm-direct products. Spend the morning tasting and talking with dairy farmers, cheese-makers, bakers and food artisans. Make sure to take some honey, jams and jellies home with you!
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This place offers food & fun! Take a dip in the pool or go old-school bowling while tasting some of Pinewood Social’s delicious food and drinks! Start off with the Honey Sriracha Wings appetizer (served with a delicious dill yogurt for dipping), then feast on the rich Lobster Roll and finish your meal off with the melt-in-your-mouth Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie.
9. Proper Bagel
When you walk in the door of Proper Bagel, you’ll find that it’s not just any ordinary bagel joint. Large mounds of cream cheese in unique flavors fill up a deli case alongside fresh fish and salads, giving even the pickiest eater an endless list of options. Some of the most unique cream cheese flavors that you must try include (but aren’t limited to): Dill Pickle, Cookie Dough, Lavender Honey and Maple Bacon.
10. Mas Tacos
This unassuming little taco joint is a favorite among locals and serves the best fish tacos, sweet plantains and tortilla soup in town. Make sure to take cash because they don’t accept cards (I kind of love that) and definitely go right before the lunch hour hits in order to beat the crowds.
11. ACME Feed & Seed
At ACME, the food and the music are both worth going, and staying, for. This massive, warehouse-esque building has three levels: the bottom floor offers live music and a full menu, the second has a sushi bar and a lounge and the third level has a gorgeous rooftop view overlooking the Cumberland River.
ACME’s menu is full of delicious options – make sure to order a roll from the sushi bar as an appetizer and then head downstairs for the Rule the Roost. This delicious “Hot Chicken” sandwich comes with green peppercorn aioli, american cheese and pickles on white bread and is served with hand-cut fries. Don’t forget to pile on the abundance of BBQ sauces and mustards that they offer – you won’t regret it!
Calling all pizza-holics. This place is always packed but if you snag a seat up at the bar you won’t have to wait in line. Make sure that you go with a big appetite and a fun crowd. Their famous Garlic Knots and Habanero Cream Sauce Pie (with an extra side of habanero if you can handle the heat) will blow your mind.
13. High Garden Tea
Although High Garden Tea may offer some baked goods, you will likely spend most of your time sipping rather than eating. We stumbled upon this magical little place by accident and I’m so glad we did. High Garden Tea feels reminiscent of something out Harry Potter with tree branches and greenery hanging overhead and shelves of literally hundreds of different herbal infusions and teas that you can drink in-house or take home with you. Like Kombucha on tap? They have that, too!
If you want a fun, vibey coffee shop that serves great espresso while also offering every ounce of due respect to the farmers who roast their coffee, CREMA is your place. You’ll find bloggers on their laptops, strangers sharing stirring spoons and caffeine-addicts rushing in before work to get their morning drip. You won’t regret trying their coffee cake, quiche and a cuban coffee.
15. Otaku Ramen
If you haven’t ever tried real ramen, this should be the first place you stop. Otaku makes traditional ramen with regional ingredients. The fun part: They challenge you to eat your ramen within a 10-minute window in order to get the peak flavor out of every bowl. Start your meal off with Chicken Buns and then slurp away at the Spicy Miso or Tennessee Tonkotsu bowls.
HAVE YOU SEEN THE NASHVILLE & FRANKLIN GUIDE to the best food, fun, & self-care?
I want to share these local favorites with you so that you have THE best trip to Nashville and Franklin (if you choose to stop by our cute, quintessential town!)
I will update this booklet as new spots pop up to reflect those changes! You have *LIFETIME ACCESS*, so you can regularly check back in to see where the new hot spots are.
Thank you all for stopping by Sparrows & Lily! Do you have some favorite Nashville restaurants that I didn’t include? I would love to hear all about your favorites in the comments below!