Where to Eat and Drink in Nashville

This Tennessee city's food scene couldn't be hotter 

Little Octopus

Music City may be best known for crooning ballads and cowboy boots, but it’s the boundary-pushing food scene that now brings visitors back, and back again. What started as a homegrown movement among young chefs and artisanal producers is now drawing marquee names, with branded venues opening at a dizzying rate.

That said, it’s the upstarts who bring the party, highlighting the bounty of Tennessee’s farms and ranches as they put their own spins on Southern traditions or create unforgettable dishes from international inspirations. 

Restaurants

Prince's Hot Chicken Shack

In Nashville, the must-try dish is undeniably hot chicken, and tiny Prince's Hot Chicken Shack is where the dish was born. Invented, so the story goes, to punish a philandering boyfriend, hot chicken even has its own festival and cooking competition (held every year over the July 4 weekend). It's as spicy as the name suggests and quite addictive. 

Peg Leg Porker 

A billowing cloud of aromatic smoke from the open pits lets you know you’ve arrived at this barbecue hot spot, tucked away in the formerly industrial part of The Gulch district. Aficionados respect owner and pitmaster Carey Bringle’s allegiance to Tennessee’s “que” traditions, and, whether you choose the West Tennessee dry ribs or the pulled pork, you will, too. 

Little Octopus 

The newest arrival in chef-impresario Sarah Gavigan’s foodie hub, POP, Little Octopus has an internationally inspired small-plates menu full of the unexpected. Try the Jamaican-influenced pepper pot topped with a flaky crust. 

Le Sel

French cuisine, yes, but that’s only part of the story; Midtown’s Le Sel eschews the traditional heavy sauces of French fare in favour of lighter, ultra-fresh options, including a seafood raw bar. 

Rolf and Daughters 

A destination must-do since it opened in Germantown four years ago, Rolf and Daughters pushes pasta beyond all expectations.

For something really special, try the garganelli topped with pork ragout.

1838

Rolf and Daughters

Bars with Live Music 

3rd and Lindsley

Vince Gill plays at 3rd and Lindsley every Monday (as The Time Jumpers), and that tells you all you need to know about this popular haunt where the drinks are strong and the music is stronger. 

Bluebird Cafe

Every music fan should visit the iconic Bluebird Cafe, recently made famous by ABC’s TV show Nashville, but long known for giving a firmament of stars their first gigs.

The Family Wash

For a more local experience, head to the listening room at The Family Wash, where patrons go to catch buzzy bands on the rise—and to partake of the artisanal craft beer and cocktails. 

Sweet Spots

Five Daughters Bakery

Five Daughters Bakery is where locals are always begging staff (unsuccessfully) to reserve one of its coveted 100-layer doughnuts.

Dozen

For delicate lemon madeleines and incredible scones, head to Dozen, a Wedgewood-Houston bakery-café that continues to draw in the crowds. 

Olive and Sinclair

While Goo Goo Cluster may have put Nashville on the candy-making map, it’s Olive and Sinclair that’s now winning awards for confections like duck fat caramels and Bourbon nib brittle. This East Nashville bean-to-bar chocolate factory also offers tours.