9 Nashville Restaurants and Bars You Must Try

Rolf & Daughters Nashville, TN
Photo: Art Meripol

A plethora of restaurants have opened in Tennessee's capital city over the years, making it an official culinary destination.

Yes, Nashville still has its hot chicken and Southern-fried spots, but the city's food scene has only become more international and more community rather than tourist-driven. To really see it all, head to these nine spots.

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Experience Nashville's Growing Food Scene at These 10 Spots

02 of 10

Slim & Husky's Pizza Beeria

Slim & Husky’s Pizza Beeria
@slimandhuskys

The three entrepreneurs behind Slim & Husky's Pizza Beeria grew up in Nashville and are longtime friends—one slim and two husky. Some good-natured ribbing inspired the name of their business, and community influenced their vision, as the pizza joint welcomes an eclectic clientele to help revitalize its North Nashville neighborhood. Unconventionally shaped pies—oblong discs of house-made dough—get smeared generously with sauces and piled with fresh, local ingredients. Customization is encouraged, too, with a buffet-style line of toppings. While the partners have been expanding their empire, the original location—a small box of white-painted brick and ductwork with communal tables and local beers on tap—remains a favorite. As guests wait, a playlist ranging from OutKast to Salt-N-Pepa keeps heads bobbing. slimandhuskys.com

03 of 10

Pearl Diver

Pearl Diver
Robbie Caponetto

With a splash of neon to light up a formerly dull bit of East Nashville's Gallatin Avenue, Pearl Diver beckons as a place to escape. Four industry pros with lots of experience and roots in this city were inspired by ama (Japanese divers who look for pearls), and the decor takes you on a deep dive, too, with a lighting scheme and green-and-blue hues reminiscent of the fantasy film The Shape of Water. Palm-frond wallpaper, seafoam booths, and coral stools lead the way to the bar for such drinks as a classic daiquiri with rum, pressed sugarcane, and lime. Or head to the colorfully enclosed patio with a mai tai or El Padrino, made with Blanco tequila, fresh cucumber, serrano chili, agave, fresh lime & black salt. pearldivernashville.com

04 of 10

Lyra

Lyra
@lyra_nashville

Chef Hrant Arakelian and Elizabeth Endicott, a husband-and-wife duo, paid their dues for many years by working around town as a chef and cocktail creator. In 2018, the couple opened a space of their own, an homage to Arakelian's Middle Eastern family roots in Lebanon. While the restaurant has a sleek, airy, and hip environment, the food here is straight comfort. Drag fresh pita bread through a seasonal vegetables like green garbanzo and mixed mushrooms accompanying grilled chicken. Scoop up delicious Baba Ganoush from a whole-roasted eggplant with creamy tahini and red onion dusted with Aleppo pepper. The house-made bread, which is baked in a glowing, tiled, wood-fired oven, nods to Nashville's Kurdish community, the largest in the United States. It all makes Lyra the kind of place where you'll feel transported yet right at home. lyranashville.com

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Folk

Folk
Robbie Caponetto

Chef Philip Krajeck made his mark in Music City back in 2012 with Rolf and Daughters, which remains a favorite for locals and visitors alike. Then in 2018 he gave the area another gem, Folk. Located in growing East Nashville, this place turns out fresh configurations of seasonal ingredients in a space that feels equally fresh and light with its paper lantern globes, exposed brick wall, and humming open kitchen. The wood-fired pizzas with their patches of charred edges sometimes arrive piled with local produce or umami flavors such as the clam pie with bonito, chili, lemon, and parsley. goodasfolk.com

06 of 10

Chaatable

Chaatable
Robbie Caponetto

You might expect Maneet Chauhan—one of the city's brightest food stars with her television appearances, books, and restaurants—to be too famous to actually spend time in Nashville. But she can be spotted regularly in the kitchen or contributing to Brown in the South dinners, and she even gave a commencement address at Middle Tennessee State University. Her latest venture, Chaatable, opened with husband Vivek Deora, is dedicated to the street food of India (and nostalgic favorites from their upbringings there). Menu items include snacks like Desi Nachos and crispy okra chat. There are plenty of main dishes like Thali and kebabs. The space, chock-full of jewel tones and patterns, feels just as vibrant and high-energy as Chauhan's personality. chaatablenashville.com

07 of 10

Tailor Nashville

Tailor Nashville
@tailornashville

In late 2018, Nashville native and supper club maestro Vivek Surti put down roots in a brick-and-mortar space that seats about 40 people in a cozy Germantown nook. He has maintained an intimate atmosphere, even under a massive, 7-foot crystal chandelier that he found in his parents' garage. Surti, a first-generation son of immigrants, serves food that feels like home cooking–in other words, his grandmothers' own recipes—which he explains through stories between courses. Choose from two seating times, four nights a week, starting at $60 per person. tailornashville.com

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Henrietta Red

Henrietta Red
Andrew Thomas Lee

Local and seasonal produce appears in many forms on Chef Julia Sullivan's menu including snapper served with jerk spice and Thai basil, as well as smoked garlic sausage. It all pairs perfectly with general manager and sommelier Allie Poindexter's natural wine selection.

henriettared.com

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City House

City House Restaurant in Nashville, Tn
City House

Nashville native Chef Tandy Wilson's longtime local favorite is still as relevant as ever with Southern-Italian dishes interweaving Nashville-grown and sourced ingredients. cityhousenashville.com

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Rolf & Daughters

Rolf & Daughters Nashville, TN
Art Meripol

The first project of Folk owner Philip Krajeck, the cozy, hip farmhouse vibe keeps locals coming for housemade pastas, veggie-centric small plates, and expertly made cocktails that make use of preserves and put-ups. rolfanddaughters.com

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