Where to Eat in Nashville Right Now
A new Korean spot, pizza and natural wine, and a vegan cafe relocates.
While Nashville has seen a rash of restaurant closings lately (Goodbye, Setsun! We’ll miss you, Eastland Cafe!), there’s still plenty to celebrate in the local dining scene. From new upstarts hyper-focused on specific dishes like dumplings to reliable haunts that continue to exhibit consistent excellence, diners have plenty of choices for whenever they feel like dining out or ordering in. Plus, we give you all the info on how to order takeout, dine in or out, and all the COVID-19 safety protocols you need to know. Without further adieu, here are some of the best restaurants in Nashville right now.
The gist: Regional Italian fare from the genius team behind Chicago’s legendary Spiaggia.
The food: The new Joseph Nashville Hotel lured a James Beard Award-winning chef to Nashville to open Yolan, the opulent property’s flagship Italian ristorante. Together with his wife Cathy who runs the beverage program, Tony Mantuano has quickly set the standard for Italian cuisine in Nashville with his inventive takes on classic pasta and meat dishes. Order a la carte from a menu of veggie and seafood antipasti plus more substantial primi and secondi such as breaded veal chops Milanese or a massive 36-ounce Kansas City Strip steak. Or you can go full tilt and order from the five- or eight-course tasting menu.
The cost: À la carte menu ranges from $17 starters to that $130 bistecca. Tasting menus range from $110-140.
How to order: Make dining reservations via Tock.
The food: You can almost smell the salt air while perusing the seafood-centric menu. (Okay, it’s really just the Cumberland River.) But Fry’s take on elevated “fish camp” fare features fresh shellfish and fish sourced from seas across the world plus some fun Southern accents. Start out with an order of whiskey-smoked salmon and one of the restaurant's signature “Plateaux” piled high with shrimp, oysters, smoked fish dip, and lobster before plunging into the bounding mains like whole roasted flounder under a pecan meuniere sauce or red snapper cooked “en papillote” -- that’s “in paper” if your high school French fails you.
The cost: Apps are $15-20, the seafood platters start at $65, mains are $30-50, and cocktails are no more than $13.
How to order: Make reservations through OpenTable
The gist: Bold global flavors served with a wry sense of fun.
The food: After decades running kitchens in some of Nashville’s most beloved restaurants, chef Deb Paquette shows little sign of slowing down. She continues to tantalize the taste buds of local diners with multiple layers of exotic international flavors as part of a tight menu at lunch and dinner. A spot at the long chef’s bar watching the team at work is more entertaining than a front-row seat at a Titans game. Although entrees rotate frequently, the cultish following of her roasted cauliflower appetizer will not ever let Paquette take that off the menu.
The cost: Appetizers under $20 with mains in the $25-40 range.
How to order: Order pickup or delivery via ChowNow or make reservations via OpenTable.
The gist: Internationally-lauded chef Sean Brock goes delightfully lowbrow at his new homage to one of his favorite types of cuisine -- gas station food -- at this converted coffee shop.
The food: You can’t go wrong with any section of the tight menu which revolves around biscuit sandwiches, burgers and the Oxford, Mississippi Chevron station specialty of chicken-on-a-stick. Brock has exhaustively investigated these dishes to come up with his versions, including a bacon egg and cheese biscuit topped with local favorite Gifford’s bacon, a fantastic griddled Joyburger made using the same Bear Creek Farm that Brock used to serve at Husk, and delightful fried chicken on skewers jazzed up with a tingly Momofuku spice blend.
The cost: A breakfast biscuits are $8-10, burgers and fried chicken sticks and sandwiches are $4-12.
How to order: Order takeout online or delivery through Postmates
The gist: Experimental and experiential tasting menu that is reinventing Southern cuisine.
The food: Nashville’s first and most acclaimed chef-driven tasting table has been around for a while. But it’s been reinvented under the auspices of a brand new chef, Brian Baxter, who earned much love working in the kitchens at Husk and Bastion until most recently heading to Atlanta as the opening chef at Kevin Gillespie’s latest project, Cold Beer. Baxter created a menu of whimsical Southern treats like a delicious globe of tuna and raw beef flavored with watermelon dashi or a tiny little tomato sandwich made in the style of a Japanese sando, finished with yuzu and hard boiled egg cream and served with some caviar to add eggs to eggs.
The cost: The 13-course tasting menu will set you back $145 with optional beverage pairings available and strongly encouraged for the full experience.
How to order: Make reservations through Tock
Butcher & Bee
The food: It’s the law that all meals at Butcher & Bee must begin with an order of the cultishly-popular whipped feta dip with fermented honey and black pepper. Then move on to B&B’s avocado crispy rice, an umami bomb with delightful textural contrasts between the fried Carolina Gold rice, collards, and peanuts set off with a zing of serrano chiles. Don’t sleep on the burger topped with calabrian salsa and -- you guessed it -- more whipped feta.
The cost: Mezzes and dips are $6-10, mains are $12-22, cocktails and wines by the glass are $12-16.
How to order: Make a reservation through Resy, order takeout through Upserve, or get delivery through Uber Eats
The gist: Just dumplings, noodles, and shaved ice—but the best of them all.
The food: Chef Trevor Moran burst onto the Nashville culinary scene during his stint running the kitchen at The Catbird Seat where he created inventive and beautiful dishes. His latest obsession has been perfecting the humble dumpling, and after years of research, his version of the Asian treat is extraordinary. The tight menu features a few dumpling options, some face-numbing noodles, roasted oysters and an exotic Japanese shaved ice called kakigori. But when you do what you do so well, there’s no need to clutter the menu with filler.
The cost: Dumplings for just $9, oysters for $14, noodle cups at $16, and $9 for the dessert ice.
How to order: Order takeout through Toast.
The gist: James Beard nominee Julia Sullivan serves fun unpretentious seafood dishes in a vibrant atmosphere that welcomes tourists and neighbors alike.
The food: While the atmosphere in the dining room and bar is delightfully busy, the open kitchen hums with quiet efficiency pumping out platters of shellfish from both coasts, dishes like Poppy’s caviar made from paddlefish roe with sour cream and a spring onion vinaigrette, delicious rich seafood curries, and some surprising Mediterranean-inspired dishes such as clams and nduja and panzanella with seasonal vegetables and mushrooms.
The cost: Small plates are $11-16, larger share plates top out at $26, and an impressive French wine list offers bargain glasses from $11-16.
How to order: Order curbside takeout or delivery through ToastTab
The gist: Veggie-centric meals served in a former church fellowship hall have many foodies in town worshipping at Hathrone’s altar.
The food: Hathorne continues to impress with its plant-forward menu of nuanced, internationally inspired dishes like a vegetarian mushroom gnocchi dish with pecorino, almonds and breadcrumbs, parsnip and fontina pierogies with braised red cabbage and fennel, or something as simple as glazed carrots topped with sunchoke hoisin sauce and green tomato relish.
The cost: Hathorne is always easy on the wallet with most of the menu in the $12-30 range with a few outliers like a dry-aged flank steak from Bear Creek Farm ringing in at $38.
How to order: Order takeout through Toast or make reservations on Resy.
Riddim N Spice
The gist: Soulful Carribean cuisine with plenty of heat and some vegan options are great reasons to visit this vibrant eatery.
The food: The cultural heritage of Riddim n’ Spice is clear if you know that the co-owners grew up working alongside their mother in the kitchen of Nashville’s favorite Caribbean restaurant, Jamaicaway. The brothers have moved from a food truck to their own bright space near Meharry Medical College where they are serving their own takes on island food. Build a bowl from a list of proteins including lamb, honey jerk chicken, curried shrimp, or vegan jackfruit and then pile on up to four toppings from a dizzying variety of veggies ranging from Cuban black beans to tangy peppers or queso fresco. The last decision is your desired heat level, but choose wisely because the fire ratchets up quickly as you move up the capsaicin continuum.
The cost: Bowls are $10-14 plate dinners are $10-18, quarts of the rum punch or cucumber lime cocktails are $15.
How to order: Order takeout through ToastTab
Two Ten Jack
The gist: Nashville’s most authentic Japanese izakaya experience leads diners on a food and drink journey from course to course.
The food: The idea behind opening a Japanese neighborhood pub in East Nashville was not only to introduce local diners to the cuisine of the traditional Tokyo izakaya, but also the entire gestalt of the experience. Ask your server to take you through it, matching beer, cocktails, and sake with small snack plates like edamame, seasonal pickled vegetables and dumplings, skewered meats and veggies cooked over a yakitori grill, and bowls of deeply flavorful ramen.
The cost: Small plates are $6-14, larger dishes and ramen bowls are $8-15, and cocktails are $10-11.
How to order: Make reservations through Resy or order takeout online
The gist: Southern and Italian food served out of a bustling open kitchen.
The food: There’s always plenty of action in the main dining room at City House where the high ceilings reverberate with the sounds of forks clinking noisily into plates of pasta, meats, and vegetables coming out of the open kitchen—which also contributes to the din. The festive environment is courtesy of City House’s no-fuss attitude toward creating soulful rustic Italian food featuring ingredients from the South. Sunday suppers are the best nights to visit when the kitchen goes off script to play around with new recipes.
The cost: Shareable starters range from $13-15, pizzas and mains $20-31.
How to order: Book a table via Resy or order online.
The gist: Nashville hot chicken at its absolute finest plus some other proteins fired up with spice.
The food: Prince’s and Bolton’s have more history behind them and the Nashville hot chicken juggernaut chain of Hattie B’s gets more press, but nobody beats 400 Degrees when it comes to the combination of heat and flavor. Owner Aqui Hines maintains a consistency of heat levels and quality in her small kitchen, and legions of fans swear by her. In addition to the fiery fowl available in heat ranges from zero degrees (plain) to 400 degrees (insane), Hines also adds her delectable spices to fried shrimp and fish plus a fried porkchop that is the hidden gem of the menu.
The cost: Breast quarter sandwiches are $8, and nothing on the menu will run you more than twelve bucks.
How to order: Place carryout orders through the restaurant website.
Nicky's Coal Fired
The gist: Pizzas, pastas, and vegetables cooked in a massive coal oven with a view of the industrious cooking crew working in the open kitchen make for dinner and a show.
The food: Antipasti plates feature house-made charcuterie, pickled veggies, and exotic cheeses to perk up your appetite. Pastas are also handmade fresh and dressed with classic sauces and the option of adding an order of “Mama G’s Meatballs.” The roster of pizzas always includes both red and white sauce options plus a “pie of the day” that benefits from seasonal ingredients. The bar offers the best selection of Italian beers, wines, and spirits available in the area, and was serving Negronis and Aperol Spritzes before all the cool kids discovered them. Check out its weekend bagel pop-ups featuring treats cooked in that coal oven.
The cost: Starters range from $10-20 with pasta dishes priced from $18-22. Pizzas are sized and priced to encourage ordering more than one to share a few varieties for $15-19.
How to order: Order takeout through Tock or delivery through DoorDash.
Rolf & Daughters
The gist: Top of the list for inventive rustic Mediterranean food.
The food: When chefs visit Nashville from out of town, this Germantown eatery is almost always on their eat-inerary. Starting off with one of the most eclectic wine lists in Nashville designed to get your juices flowing for an extraordinary meal, Rolf & Daughters is a delight with salvo after salvo of small plates from the kitchen served in a welcoming space with a neighborhood vibe. Dishes exhibit unexpected bursts of flavor from ingredients preserved, fermented or pickled as part of chef Philip Krajeck’s culinary obsessions which change frequently. But that garganelli verde with pork ragout never seems to roll off the menu. Thankfully.
The cost: Snacks and apps for $5-10, small pasta dishes less than $20 and larger plates from $18-24.
How to order: Order for pick-up or delivery via Toast.
The gist: Inventive wood-fired pizzas are topped with Southern-inspired ingredients.
The food: The owners of the popular Biscuit Love restaurants have branched out to make a whole different kind of dough with their unique long-proof sourdough pizza crust recipe. The delightfully tangy crust is set off with toppings like pepperoni cups appropriately filled with their own spicy juices, peppery arugula and prosciutto from the East Tennessee bacon king Benton’s Smoky Mountain Hams, and an intriguing combination of lamb sausage, mozz, and mint on a pie named “The Rescuer.” Those that normally eschew pineapple on a pizza should at least give the “Pine Yapple” a try to experience the sweet/heat combo of pineapple agrodulce, pork sausage, and Fresno chile.
The cost: Pies run from $12-15, so you should have spare change left over to order a $7 app of pizza dough with whipped ricotta and a drizzle of local honey.
How to order: Open for dine-in service or order takeout and delivery online
The gist: Always exceptional Southern classics.
The food: Now that the beloved cinderblock Southern eatery has doubled the size of its dining area, even more people can brave the line to get in and order extraordinary meat-and-three offerings served from a steam table onto red plastic trays. Basically the only difference is that now the line can wait inside on cold days. Just remember the roster of daily specials: fried chicken on Monday, meatloaf on Tuesdays, Wednesday is for fried catfish, and Thursday is country-fried steak day. Chicken and dumplings are the play on Friday, or heck, just get the roast beef any day of the week.
The cost: $11.73 for a meat and three vegetables, but don’t forget mac n’ cheese counts as a “vegetable” at a meat and three.
How to order: Get plates to go or delivery through DoorDash, Postmates, or Uber Eats.
The gist: Nashville finally gets the legit breakfast taco joint it never knew it needed.
The food: From the same team that brought you Butcher & Bee comes this cozy homage to Southwestern breakfast tacos that features nine creative iterations of traditional morning meals tucked in a tortilla. Plus, you can enjoy an outrageous breakfast burrito overstuffed with scrambled eggs, chorizo, pork Hatch green chile sauce, tater tots, and a cheese blend. Those green chiles also top Redheaded Stranger’s cheeseburger, which ranks among the best in town.
The cost: Tacos are $3.95 apiece, burritos are $8, andburgers are $6-10.
How to order: Open for patio and dine-in service or order takeout by calling 615-544-8226
The gist: Neighborhood cafe helmed by a Nashville original serving continental classics.
The food: There’s not much use in checking the online menu at this cozy Five Points bistro built in a 1930s building that was once a service station. That’s because chef and owner Margot McCormack changes up the selections daily based on whatever fresh produce and proteins she finds that meet her stringent specifications. Once she has picked out the best of the best, McCormack crafts dishes inspired by French cooking informed with Southern sensibilities. In addition to fun Sunday suppers, the restaurant also throws periodic theme dinners around chefs or cookbook authors who are admired by the kitchen staff.
The cost: Starters for $6-14 and main dishes from $18-28.
How to order: Book a table through Resy or place carryout orders through Mar TOGO.
The gist: Rolf & Daughters chef Philp Krajeck has taken his talents across the Cumberland River to open Italian-influenced Folk.
The food: Krajeck and his staff have a particular talent with funky, fermented flavors that show up in the pizza dough, vegetables, and pastas that they serve at Folk. Don’t look for your typical pepperoni pie on the menu as the kitchen specializes in more exotic ingredients like fermented mushrooms, seasonal squash, or house-made sausages. You won’t miss that ’roni a whit once you dig into the lemony clam pizza with chili, bonito flakes, and parsley.
The cost: Pizzas are $15-20 and vegetable side dishes are $12-14.
How to order: Patio is open (with no service) to enjoy online takeout orders or get delivery through Postmates, Uber Eats, or DoorDash
The gist: Casual elegance and innovative cuisine.
The food: Even though the popular 12South neighborhood is still sometimes overrun with giggling gaggles of bachelorettes, Josephine remains an oasis of fine dining and refined service on the outskirts of Crazy Town. Chef Andy Little leads a talented kitchen staff as they prepare plates of innovative takes on Pennsylvania Dutch food prepared with classic techniques. From the bar staff that is attentive without being intrusive to the sweet treats they send patrons home with after paying the check, Josephine’s attention to gracious treatment is laudable, and the food is next-level good.
The cost: Starters range from $11 for cornbread to a $22 cheese plate, vegetable plates, soups and salads for $14-17 and entrees from $26-33, plus a whole roasted chicken for two at $56
How to order: Make reservations on OpenTable.
The gist: Rustic down-home fare and pizzas served in a convivial environment.
The food: The bar and dining room at Lockeland Table is almost always full of neighborhood residents chatting to one another while enjoying fine food and drink, but even if you enter as a stranger, you’ll probably leave with some new friends from this convivial eatery. A roaring wood fire in the pizza oven further warms the ambiance, and the specialty pies that emerge from the infernal heat are ideal for splitting as an appetizer unless you’re too selfish to share. The rest of the menu features Southern fare with international accents like the mandatory app of chicken liver pâté on Tuscan bread or the rack of lamb with fava beans.
The cost: Small plates from $10-15, pizzas $14-16, and main courses $22-36.
How to order: Call 615-228-4864 for dining reservations or 615-619-6006 to order curbside pickup.
The gist: This second outpost of the elegant Colorado-based steakhouse serves beef raised on its own ranch with all the classic accoutrements.
The food: The decor in the massive three-story E3 Chophouse is rustically bold and modern, but the menu is decidedly old school. From chilled shrimp cocktails to baked oysters to a “so simple it’s brilliant” dish of bacon with apple/jalapeño jam and salted peanut crumbs, the appetizers bring a smile to the face of avowed meat eaters. Salads are also impressive, especially the classic Caesar that can be prepared tableside by request. Of course, the highlights of the menu are the steaks -- cuts of premium dry-aged beef cooked to order and served with a choice of optional toppings and sauces.
The cost: Appetizers and small plates are $16-26, premium steaks are $44-66, steakhouse sides like creamed spinach or truffle fries are $12-15 apiece.
How to order: Make a reservation on OpenTable
The gist: Modern Middle Eastern food served in sultry environs in a converted grocery store is a delightful addition to the East Side.
The food: From artisan bread perfuming the air as it bakes in a wood-fired oven to several varieties of hummus to heavily -spiced vegetable plates and inventive meats and seafoods, Lyra merits multiple visits. Particular standout dishes include lamb kefta kabobs under a fruity amba glaze, trout fried in a chickpea batter, and M’ahani lamb sausage and mussels served with tomato sauce and an herbal Lebanese garlic sauce.
The cost: Dips and hummus are $7-10, veggies are $9-15, and mains are $15-27.
How to order: Make a reservation through Resy