The Best Restaurants in Nashville

We've eaten our way through the Music City to find Nashville's best dishes - and the restaurants in which you should be ordering them.

In the years that country music became internationally recognised, Johnny Cash and Dolly Parton made this their home. Now the likes of Nicole Kidman can be spotted out and about, casually doing her food shop, while recording studios cater to more diverse sounds than country. Nashville, Tennessee may well have earned its nickname of "Music City", but these days it's serving up more than the odd honkytonk for those boozing down Broadway.

"Most people have this idea of Southern food being unhealthy and greasy and calorie heavy, but it's so much more than that," says Nashville's greatest foodie export, chef Sean Brock, the man credited with redefining comfort food both in the city and beyond. Profiled in series six of Netflix's Chef's Table, Brock puts the ingredients, plants, preserves and old traditions of the South into the spotlight. Turning away from greasy fare, he focuses on good old-fashioned home cooking inspired by his grandmother and the culinary traditions of the Appalachian mountains. He first founded Husk, the now award-winning restaurant in Downtown Nashville and has since moved on to new ventures in East Nashville, which will open in early 2020.

After a building boom that resulted in a complete regeneration of the tired-looking Downtown district, Nashville's food scene has blossomed thanks to a slew of chefs and eateries eager to raise the city's culinary profile to match its star status. These are our favourite dishes, and where to try them.

These are the best plates in Nashville

restaurant

Husk

for shrimp and grits

The restaurant credited with elevating Southern fare in Nashville, Husk takes the otherwise bland shrimp and grits (a corn-kernel porridge) dish loved by locals and throws in extra flare. Here, grits is delicately flavoured pimento cheese, thyme, oregano, basil, garlic and a sprinkling of paprika and chilli powder. It looks as pretty as it tastes, with large, coral-toned shrimp elegantly plated atop the deeply warming cheesy grits and an explosion of pickled purple beetroot and microgreens.

Address

37 Rutledge Street TN 37210

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restaurant

Folk

for pizza

East Nashville is the place to head to for the young, hip and in-the-know. Step into this pizza joint housed in a former warehouse, and you'd be forgiven for thinking you're in East London, with its exposed brick, open kitchen and eccentric serving staff of musicians and actors. Pizza here is strictly thin crust, made from sourdough and with toppings sourced from within a three-mile radius of the restaurant. Try a classic iteration with tomato, mozzarella and basil with extra parmesan for a slightly saltier take on the classic.

Address

23 Meridian Street TN 37207

bar

Dive Bar

for cheese burgers

The best burger in Nashville is undoubtedly the one served up pool-side at The Dive Motel's Dive Bar (which is anything but). Clad in a swimsuit, you should expect to get messy as you tuck into a juicy hamburger. Add the "disco" shoestring fries with cheese, spring onions and the house "dive" sauce as a fun side order. If you're staying at The Dive Motel, enjoy your food in your room's aesthetic onslaught of more-is-more wallpaper and disco-ball lighting. Room service has never been more fun.

restaurant

Loveless Cafe

for biscuits

Southerners are obsessed with biscuits (no, not the British kind). A biscuit in the southern states of the US is essentially a scone - just a little less sweet. The only place to try these is the Loveless Cafe. Set in a former motel on the outskirts of town, the Loveless Cafe has become an institution since Lon and Annie Loveless first started touting their buttermilk biscuits here in the 50s. The recipe hasn't changed since then. Order the biscuit sampler platter and enjoy toppings such as country ham and fried green tomatoes.

Address

8400 HWY 100 TN 37221

restaurant

Parson’s Chicken & Fish

A relaxed, modern diner with an upmarket feel right by an active railway line, Parson's Chicken & Fish specialises in crispy fried chicken (and, you guessed it, fish) and does it oh-so well - a peppery coating gives way to only the most tender chicken. Chicken and waffles makes for a classic order, while those with a hankering for a burger can enjoy the chicken served in a rich brioche bun. Pair with a side of hush puppies and a beer cocktail.

Address

425 Chestnut Street TN 37203