Food & Drink

Healthy Nashville Restaurants You'll Actually Want to Eat At

Published On 06/22/2016 Published On 06/22/2016
Cheeseburger at Burger UP in Nashville
Courtesy of Burger UP
Avo

Avo

Midtown

This restaurant not only offers one of the most creative and delicious raw vegan menus, but it's also committed to working with the most sustainable and environmentally conscious local farms and businesses. It also takes top honors for crafting one of the most surprisingly popular cocktails in town: the delicious AVOcado margarita.

AMOT Eatery

East Nashville

AMOT serves the East Nashville neighborhood with healthy, Southern-inspired dishes. Its brunch and lunch menu also comes with raw and gluten-free options, and its dinner menu changes daily (it’s chef-inspired) to incorporate the best, farm-fresh ingredients.

Sunflower Cafe Nashville

The Sunflower Cafe

Midwood

When they claim it’s vegetarian and vegan food done right, they mean it. Sunflower Cafe has been a staple for veggie eaters since it opened in 2012. Menu highlights include vegan barbecue with gluten-free, house-made buns, and veggie burgers with eight topping combinations to choose from. Try the Arugula Bistro with lemon dijon aioli, or the Aloha with sweet chili pineapple compote.

The Wild Cow

Lockeland Springs

The Wild Cow serves raw, vegan food that’s as good for the body as it is for the soul. Every month it chooses a local charity and donates 10% of its total sales. The entire menu is vegan (unless you choose to add dairy), and who says eating healthy has to break the bank? It offers deals like a high-gravity beer, veggie burger, and chips for $10.

Butcher & Bee Nashville

Butcher & Bee

Edgefield

Thanks to Butcher & Bee, which opened last year, you don’t have to head for the border when in need of that fourth meal. The Charleston-based, mezze-style restaurant stays open till 1am on the weekends. For the late-night menu option, go with the KFC sandwich.

Epice

12 South

Epice features Lebanese cuisine chock-full of exotic spices, herbs, roasted vegetables, whole grains, and fresh fish. Sample the vegetable brochette, the spiced fish with caramelized onions and vermicelli rice, or the pistachio-encrusted lamb, for the meat eaters.

Burger UP

Burger Up

12 South, Belmont/Hillsboro

Burger Up sits atop many best-of lists for its beef burgers sourced from Triple L Ranch in Franklin, TN, but the Marathon Burger, made with quinoa and black beans, is one of the best veggie options in town. It also offers gluten-free buns and, if you want, will put your patty on any of its seasonal salads. Go for the chopped kale or beet & arugula for an even healthier dish.

Coco Greens

Midtown

Coco Greens is a one-stop wellness shop where you can order a detox juice cleanse, pick up a healthy lunch to go, and even have your chakra balanced all during your lunch hour. The cafe features appetizers, salads, sandwiches, and vegan desserts you can order online and pick up anytime. Carb haters love the mac & squash, quinoa stir fry, and the raw zoodles and sauce.

Calypso Cafe

Sylvan Heights

Calypso Cafe has served fast, affordable, and healthy food for more than 20 years. With three locations across Nashville, Calypso’s menu has something for every diet, whether you’re low carb, low fat, gluten-free, vegan, or vegetarian. The black bean salad alone covers 60% of your daily vitamin C needs. Throw in a signature fruit tea and I’m pretty sure you’ll reach 100%.

Fido

Fido

Hillsboro West End

This coffeehouse and casual restaurant focuses on locally sourced, seasonal ingredients, advertising “Nashville’s finest mix of organic, exotic & junk foods.” From breakfast to the nightly specials, the menu features fresh produce, dairy, and protein from farms across the region. The Tennessee nachos, Tennessee poutine, and the Local Burger are a few of our favorites.

Sloco

12 South, Belmont/Hillsboro

Any day you can devour a sandwich and not feel the least bit guilty about it is a good day. Sloco disregards the processed, mass-produced ingredients and fills each sandwich with only the best local, organic “real” foods. And you’ll only find produce that’s in-season. Order the vegan sub with quinoa meatballs, the slow-roasted veggie sandwich with marinated seasonal vegetables and tofu spread, or the vegan BLT.

Juice Bar Belle Meade

Juice Bar

Green Hills (& other locations)

This franchise opened its first store in Brentwood in 2013 and now has expanded to six locations throughout Nashville (and several more across 14 states). Juice Bar is the perfect stop for not only fresh-pressed juices, smoothies, and juice cleanses, but the ready-to-go foods are filling and delicious. Try the superfoods salad with kale, spinach, quinoa, sunflower seeds, and fresh lemon juice, the vegan pad thai, or the spring rolls, with the most addictive peanut dipping sauce you’ll ever have.

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1. AVO 3 City Ave., Nashville, TN 37209 (Sylvan Park)

This restaurant in Midtown has an entirely plant-based menu with local produce, and it's all served raw (nothing is heated over 118 degrees to preserve all the enzymes, vitamins and nutrients in your food). Enjoy some vegetarian pad thai, lasagna or tabbouleh salad in a modern, rustic setting with bare concrete floors and wood paneling. Better yet, pair it with an avocado margarita or any one of AVO's amazing beer or wine options.

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2. AMOT Eatery 1100 Fatherland St, Nashville, TN 37206 (East Nashville)

This East Nashville restaurant serves brunch, lunch and dinner inspired, of course, by Southern cuisine. Although the South has never been good at embracing the gluten-free lifestyle, AMOT Eatery made it happen with an entire menu full of fare like chicken and waffles, shrimp and grits and (yes, really) red velvet crepes that you can chow down on without sweating over the calorie count — all artfully presented in modern, rustic environment.

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3. Sunflower Cafe 2834 Azalea Pl, Nashville, TN 37204 (Berry Hill)

Inside a cutesy little pastel-yellow house in Berry Hill is one of the best vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Nashville. The Sunflower Cafe uses fresh and local products to deliver and entire menu full of affordable and healthful offerings like veggie burgers, wraps and bowls, and the amazing specials change daily. Its pristine dining space overlooks a garden full of small trees, shrubs and flowers, making it the perfect destination for a lunch outing if its sunny.

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4. The Wild Cow 1896 Eastland Ave, Nashville, TN 37206 (East Nashville)

One of Nashville's most well-known vegetarian and vegan restaurants, The Wild Cow is constantly inventing creative dishes like lentil bowls, chipotle seitan tacos, and tofu buffalo grinders for the city's herbivores. The kitchen sources all of its (mostly organic) produce from local farms and makes all sauces, dressings, and broth from scratch, so if you ask where your food came from, your server will likely know.

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5. Butcher & Bee 902 Main Street, Nashville, TN 37207 (East Nashville)

Butcher & Bee in East Nashville is a hip American restaurant with a hidden second floor that looks down on the bustling main bar and dining area like a secret skybox with great booze. The cocktail menu's got spirits like mezcal and pisco, which might be unfamiliar to many casual drinkers but should be a part of any proper drinking repertoire. Pair 'em with some small plates of creative eats with a distinct Mediterranean flair.

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6. Epice 2902 12th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37204 (12south)

This Lebanese eatery, appropriately named for the French word for "spice," has affordable, simple and authentic offerings for brunch, lunch and dinner. Minimal in both its interior and its dish presentation, Epice creates gorgeous dishes like rice pilaf, sirloin and lamb shank, all molded, stacked and drizzled to perfection. Word of advice: don't leave this place without having any hummus. It's kind of their thing.

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7. Burger Up 2901 12th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37212 (12south)

Don't be fooled by its name, Burger Up is a sleek, upscale burger joint with (almost) guilt-free menu items -- contrary to your standard burger shack -- and an unbeatable happy hour to boot. Burgers are made with locally-raised beef and sustainable ingredients for a gourmet, healthy alternative to your favorite greasy patty. Start with some fried mushrooms before you bite into the quinoa and black bean burger, or the turkey and avocado burger -- and by now you've figured out you can enjoy it on a gluten free bun.

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8. Coco Greens 212 Louise Ave, Nashville, TN 37203

Located inside a wellness center and health spa in Midtown Nashville, Coco Greens is a vegan cafe focusing on health foods. It opened as a smoothie and juice joint in 2013 and still serves blended concoctions with alkaline water, coconut water, almond milk and fresh fruits and vegetables made to energize, boost your immune system and defend your cardiac health. It also serves up a slew of vegan and mostly gluten-free menu options like macaroni with squash sauce, black bean burgers and quinoa salads.

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9. Calypso Cafe 3307 Charlotte Ave, Nashville, TN 37209 (West End)

Calypso Cafe in Nashville's West End serves delicious, Cuban-inspired health food that won't break your budget. With fast and friendly service — these guys are dedicated to remembering your name and habitual order — this spot serves whole rotisserie chickens, some of the best salads in the city (the vegetarian black bean salad is always a hit, even with meat-eaters), and Red Stripe, because beer qualifies as a health food, too.

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10. Fido 1812 21st Ave S, Nashville, TN 37212

This breezy café located smack dab in the middle of Hillsboro Village is a favorite among Vanderbilt students, and with good reason: the specialty coffee drinks and all-day breakfast plates. Although the lines look long the space is large, and the food arrives quickly (you'll order at the counter and a server will deliver your meal). The chef whips up one of the best, underrated beef and lamb burgers in town, and the daily specials are always on point.

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11. Juice Bar 2122 Green Hills Village Dr, Nashville, TN 37215 (Green Hills)

Juice Bar is chain of ... well, juice bars, all over Nashville that offers juices, smoothies and shots made with whole fruits and vegetables (bought directly from local farmers). Choose a juice or smoothie from the menu (go for the Sweet Greens or the Berry Good) or simply create your own — pick a base, two fruits or veggies and, if you're feeling adventurous, throw some parsley or cilantro in there, too. Just don't overlook the vegan pad thai while you're there; the peanut sauce is to die for.

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12. Sloco 2905 12th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37204

Home to Chopped Champion Jeremy Barlow, Sloco in Belmont is not your average sandwich shop. Every sammy here is made with seasonal, locally sourced ingredients, and its all fresh-pressed. With plenty of tables inside, a patio and The Meet Room bar next door, this is the perfect lunch spot to sit back, have a beer and enjoy a vegetarian BLT with Sloco-brand organic mustard or a hot vegan sub with quinoa meatballs.