Answers from Our Experts (3)
Nashville’s best food experiences span a range of cuisines, showing how diverse Nashville’s culinary culture has become. Here’s our list of bites not to miss:
1. Marché Artisan Foods is part East Nashville café and part marketplace, and its sunny interior reflects works well for both. The ambiance and menu match: When you step inside what feels like a bustling European café with wicker chairs and cozy dining spaces mixed with rustic farm tables for larger groups, you’ll instantly be in the mood for Marché’s European-influenced menu that focuses on simple, seasonal cuisine.
2. Situated in Nashville’s Sylvan Park neighborhood, Park Café has taken up residence in a renovated house. The café’s several small dining rooms are warmly and dimly lit and filled with imaginative, colorful paintings and artful light fixtures, which impart a sense of cozy privacy. The restaurant transforms Southern-style comfort food and American cuisine into tasty new creations that sound familiar enough not intimidate new diners and interesting enough to entice guests with more experienced palates.
3. West End Avenue’s Bombay Palace transports diners to another continent where words like “masala” and “paneer” are commonplace, but in Nashville, Bombay Palace rises far above commonplace, despite its humble strip-mall location. Whether you stop by for the buffet lunch or come for a more upscale meal in the evenings, the authentic Indian food and service won’t disappoint.
4. Bro’s Cajun Cuisine brings Louisiana to West Nashville. And it gets credit for authentic food - jambalaya or fried catfish, anyone? - and authentic hospitality served up from its open-air kitchen to patrons in the restaurant’s three dining rooms.
5. The Yellow Porch really does have a porch, giving diners a choice between cozy indoor seating or alfresco seating that offers a view of the garden whose produce populates the eclectic new American cuisine. The restaurant’s bright, cheery dining room is a popular lunch destination that transitions to a darker, cozier, sexier ambiance in the evening, perfect for romantic dinners.
Any food lover visiting Nashville has to try the city’s indigenous specialty, hot fried chicken, and the best place is at the source, where it was invented, Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack – but don’t let your ego get in the way even the mild is very spicy. “Meat and Three,” is a more widespread Southern food traditional, but Nashville is its epicenter, coupling your choice of a Southern main course like country ham, pork chops or chicken fried steak with three rib-sticking sides like macaroni and cheese, collard greens and creamed corn. Many traditional places feature communal tables, and this is the case at Monell’s, close to downtown. The Loveless Café is a renowned institution that serves meat and three at dinner, but is more famous for its incredible breakfasts, especially its world famous biscuits, excellent country ham and oddities such as BBQ pork and eggs. Memphis overshadows Nashville when it comes to barbecue, but there is still plenty of great smoke going on, and with a convenient downtown location, Jack’s is a good place to start. Nashville is currently at the forefront of the “New Southern” gourmet movement, and great places to try fine dining featuring the best of southern ingredients and cooking styles are the critically acclaimed Catbird Seat, Capitol Grille and Lockeland Table.
If you're looking for a food "experience" Nashville has plenty to offer. From high-end chefs to hole-in-the wall treasures, look no further than these story-worthy bites.
1. The Catbird Seat. If you can manage to score a highly coveted reservation with famed chefs Josh Habiger and Erik Anderson—you're in for a treat. A prixe-fixe menu with optional drink pairings, The Catbird Seat gives youthe birds' eye view into the kitchen. Watch as Josh and Erik whip up multiple courses, using exotic ingredients, eye-popping flavors and unexpected twists on original fare. It's an experience unparalleled in Nashville.
2. Prince's Hot Chicken Shack. On the other end of the food "experience" spectrum you'll find Prince's—a James Beard Award nominated restaurant steeped in southern history, grease, and lots and lots of heat. Stand in line late at night for your chance at spicy fried chicken served on smushy white sandwich bread. Then you'll know what the craze is all about.
3. Bluebird Cafe. With a menu complete with traditional sammies, sides, and drinks to slosh, the Bluebird cafe has gained noteriety for its regular appearance on ABC's new show, Nashville. But it's been iconic long before hitting the t.v. screen. Every night, enjoy live music in the round as you imbibe a glass of wine or a cocktail. But don't talk during the performances. That's a big no-no.
4. Mas Tacos Por Favor. Once Nashville's premier food-truck, Mas Tacos Por Favor has parked it in East Nashville. Now, it's brick-and-mortar (and not much more) location still offers it's delicious tacos with just the right amount of kick. Don't walk away without at least one fish taco. Open Tuesday, Thursday for lunch and Friday for lunch and dinner. Saturdays, brunch is offered from 9 until 3.
5. The Peach Truck. Tennessee isn't exactly known for its peaches—we leave that to our southern sister, Georgia. But thankfully, married duo Stephen and Jessica Rose are bridging the gap, bringing fresh peaches to Nashville straight from Stephen's family farm in Georgia. Every summer from May - late July, these two huff it old-school in his green Jeep Gladiator, offering passersby a taste of true summer sweet. One brown bag of peach truck peaches runs for $6.