Updated June 27, 2020.
My beloved Nashville has become THE destination! Now it’s the professional sports destination, the party destination, and the weekend destination! It’s always been the music destination, and people have finally discovered that it’s also always been the Southern foodie destination! From biscuits to hot chicken, Nashville has something for every taste, as long as you like to taste great food! Here are a few of the best places and foods to eat in Nashville, as advised by locals—my family and me!
Breakfast and Brunch
If Belle Meade Plantation is on your list of things to do, plan to eat at their restaurant while you’re at it! My whole family went for brunch one year after my husband and I flew in a few days before Christmas, and we definitely left full and happy.
My family is an eating family. Correction: the South is an eating family! We know good bacon and biscuits when we taste them, and Nashville Biscuit House on Gallatin Avenue in East Nashville has them. In fact, they were voted best breakfast in Nashville!
For something a little classier but that still has sweet Southern charm, check out newcomer Liberty Common! This was a new one for the whole family, and we all had amazing food and service! The decor is classic and stunning, and not only do they have an incredibly tasty brunch, they also offer afternoon tea every day! It’s a little art deco, a little bit French, a little bit British, and yet all-around Southern. Check out what we had!
I put this in the “lunch” section, but really it’s amazing for every meal, and they serve breakfast all day! I usually like to stay away from national chains when I travel, but Cracker Barrel actually started in nearby Lebanon, TN, and the Uncle Herschel went to the church where I grew up! So you could say it holds a special place in my heart and in the hearts of millions of Tennesseans! I recommend the chicken and dumplings!
So, rookies stand in line at Hattie B’s Hot Chicken. Folks in the know call Hattie B’s to order ahead. But locals go to Smokin’ Thighs instead! You can definitely get your thighs as hot as you like, or you can get them sweet. But by the time you’re done you’ll wonder why it took so long to realize you should skip the breast and go for the thighs!
The last time I was in Nashville it was graduation day for my cousin Emily! My aunt and uncle treated us all to a very fine dining experience at Mere Bulles, a family-owned, long-running seafood restaurant in a beautiful, historic mansion! The food was incredible (they do have more than just seafood, but why would you want anything but amazing seafood?!), and the setting truly can’t be beat.
Sweets, Snacks, and Coffee
You have to try a Goo Goo Cluster! It’s a uniquely Tennessee sweet filled with caramel, peanuts, and marshmallow nougat, then covered in milk chocolate. There are lots of variations to try, and even a whole dessert bar open from 10:00am-7:00pm daily!
I remember my first trip to the Frothy Monkey. It was a date in college that didn’t go anywhere, but I did like the coffee! They have fun flavors, huge cookies, and they even have an impressive selection of food for every meal! If you go to the one on 12 South, don’t forget to go around back and get your picture with the Nash TN mural!
This is a fun addition to the Nashville scene! You’ll find it among the hipsters in East Nashville, and you’ll love the amazing food they have. But I was there for coffee, and I was delighted to find a unique combination: blackberry and honey!
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