Food & Drink

The 11 Best Dishes in Nashville

Published On 02/18/2015 Published On 02/18/2015
Courtesy of Beth Sachan
Courtesy of Arnold's Country Kitchen
Courtesy of Etch
Courtesy of Midtown Cafe
Lockeland Table
Courtesy of Mas Tacos
Courtesy of Tabitha Tune
Chris Chamberlain/Thrillist
Chris Chamberlain/Thrillist
Chris Chamberlain/Thrillist
Courtesy of Caroline Allison
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1. City House 1222 4th Ave N, Nashville, TN 37208 (Germantown)

The James Beard-nominated City House has become a Nashville staple for its creative spin on Italian dishes. The weekly Sunday Supper with its ever-changing lineup is always a hot event, but be sure to make reservations in advance. This Germantown spot is also a great place for wine lovers. Its small, secluded bar is a great place to meet with friends for a quick glass after work, and even solo diners can have a great experience sitting at the pizza bar with a glass of Sangiovese and watching the talented kitchen work the wood-fired oven.

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2. Arnold's Country Kitchen 605 8th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37203 (8th Ave)

This classic meat-and-three has been keeping the masses fed for more than three decades, with cafeteria-style meals like catfish, chicken, dumplings, fried green tomatoes, cornbread, etc., which will only run you about eight bucks a meal. While the line can get long and sometimes even stretch out the door, it moves quickly and is absolutely worth the wait. Don't miss the banana pudding, though the scratch-made chess or chocolate pies aren't shabby, either. Important note: the small, red restaurant is only open for lunch on weekdays so plan accordingly.

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3. Etch 303 Demonbreun St, Nashville, TN 37201 (Sobro)

Etch is the go-to destination to kick off or cap off an evening of Downtown fun for those looking for a fine-dining experience near the various sporting and entertainment venues in the surrounding neighborhood. Chef Deb Paquette loves to have fun with her food and shares the joy by using bold spices and dramatic flavors to create exquisitely plated meals. If you're not in the mood for a full meal, their happy hour menu is worth checking out, complete with some small plates, draft beers, and featured wines.

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4. Midtown Cafe 102 19th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37203

Located in Midtown (obviously), this New American eatery and cafe features a slew of tasty dishes for lunch and dinner, as well as a solid list of desserts (the homemade bread pudding is a must), not to mention a wine list that runs three pages deep.

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5. Lockeland Table 1520 Woodland St, Nashville, TN 37206 (East Nashville)

A true community restaurant and bar, Lockeland Table is essentially the neighborhood clubhouse for East Nashville residents seeking a convivial atmosphere and soulful food. The menu at Lockeland is highlighted by Italian and American dishes, all with a Southern twist and an eye toward seasonal, sustainable, and local ingredients whenever possible. The reconstructed exterior is a homage to the original 1930s H.G Hills dry goods store.

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6. Mas Tacos Por Favor 732 McFerrin Ave, Nashville, TN 37206 (East Nashville)

Mas Tacos Por Favor is East Nashville’s snug, corner taco shop where the lines are long and the tacos are cheap. The one-time food truck draws diners from across Nashville in search of the best, most authentic meal their 10-spot can buy. The chalkboard menu features food made from scratch, like tamales, tacos (try the quinoa-sweet potato tacos, Guy Fieri said so), pozole verde, and of course, homemade horchata to round out the meal. Be prepared to wait in line, the Mas Tacos secret is out.

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7. Thai Esane 907 12th Ave South, Nashville, TN 37216 (12south)

This 12South Thai spot features an extensive list of entrees, giving you plenty of options depending on your choice of meat and spice and noodles verses rice.

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8. Pepperfire 2821 Gallatin Pike, Nashville, TN 37216 (East Nashville)

Offering a great mix of flavors, like pepper and cumin, and a respectable level of heat, this East Nashville resto is beloved by locals, but it's not as known among the tourists coming to town in hopes of a hot chicken fix.

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9. Josephine 2316 12th Ave S., Nashville, TN 37204 (12south)

Josephine has gained quite a following thanks to its French bistro cuisine and regional American dishes. Chef Andy Little has been exciting Nashville with his brand of cooking, particularly during his weekends-only 10x10 special prix-fixe dinners where some courses arrive at the table plated on a long plank. Josephine's prides itself on being a fuss-free elegant eatery, and we appreciate their minimal industrial decor and casual yet high class vibe.

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10. Union Common 1929 Broadway, Nashville, KY 37203 (Nashville)

Union Common is located where Division meets Broadway in Midtown in lofty space with a triangular dining room where cars stream by on both sides of the restaurant. The art deco interior and cool jazz playing create the perfect ambiance and backdrop for a creative menu designed for sharing large format steaks, served pre-sliced for easy distribution around the table.

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11. Martin's Bar-B-Que Joint 3108 Belmont Blvd, Nashville, TN 37212 (Music Row)

This Belmont meatery does an array of BBQ deliciousness (brisket, turkey legs, fried bologna sandwiches, etc.), but its claim to fame is the classic pulled pork BBQ sandwich drenched in the Sweet Dixie Sauce. Martin's is definitely in the top ranks for the best BBQ in Nashville.

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