While Nashville is widely known as the “Music City” – music isn’t the only thing that makes Tennessee’s largest city famous. Nashville is also a foodie’s paradise – with everything from traditional Southern cuisine to upscale, fine dining. Whether you’re renting an apartment in Nashville, staying at an Airbnb for the week, or just passing through, you’ll want to check out the city’s best hidden food gems.
Maybe you’re looking for a menu that will make your mouth water, an insta-worthy dining experience, or a sweet treat to end the night – regardless, we’ve got you covered. We asked Nashville locals to share their favorite foodie spots in the city, and they delivered. Keep reading to see what they had to say.
Menus to satisfy the foodie
Nashville’s restaurant scene is exploding and continues to grow every year. Here is a list of hidden food gems in Nashville with menus that won’t disappoint and where the locals go time and time again.
“As a self-proclaimed ‘foodie,’ I highly recommend Southside Grill. It’s located in South Nashville and is open for dinner seven days a week and brunch on Sundays. The menu is phenomenal, but we have our favorite dishes that we specifically order every time we visit. Top three suggestions: get the grilled octopus for an appetizer – it’s life-changing. For an entrée, the Brasserie Chicken on parmesan risotto (absolutely amazing) and the Scottish Salmon is always cooked to perfection.” – Woodmont Realty
Prince’s Hot Chicken
“There’s a reason that all the tourists clamor for Nashville Hot Chicken. We often venture to South Nashville to fill up on the original at Prince’s Hot Chicken. I can only go mild, but many brave the Extra Hot.” – Nesting in Nashville
I Dream of Weenie
“I Dream of Weenie is a go-to local hot dog food truck in East Nashville. These are not your average hot dogs but are available with toppings like macaroni and cheese and hash browns. Customers can sit on picnic tables near the food trucks. Veggie dogs are also available.” – The Nashville Mom
The Southern Steak & Oyster
“If you ask a local Nashvillian for their recommendation for dining in downtown Nashville – The Southern Steak & Oyster is top of mind. The BBQ Shrimp has a sauce so good that you’ll want to arm wrestle anyone who tries to take the plate away before you’ve sopped everything up with one of the cheddar and scallion biscuits. The deliciously smokey Baby Back Ribs are so tender they fall off the bone, and you can eat them with a fork. The Southern is as true to Nashville as you can get. After ten years of business, it’s watched the city grow up around it and remains a favorite to locals and tourists alike.” – The Southern
Butcher and Bee
“One of my favorite places in Nashville is Butcher and Bee. Their menu is seasonal, creative, so flavorful, and never disappoints. Their hidden gem food item is whipped feta which was once described to me as “the reason I get out of bed in the morning,” and I was delighted to learn that was an extraordinarily accurate statement.” – Marsh House
The Loveless Cafe
“The Loveless Cafe in Nashville bills itself as “classic Southern food.” The menu features country ham, pork chops, and the best fried chicken you’ve ever had. (When I asked our waitress if the fried chicken was good, she looked at me like I was crazy). Accompanying every meal is two side dishes. Your choice includes favorites such as turnip greens, fried okra, sweet potatoes, and the delicious Loveless biscuits. I ate four of them.” – Travel Past 50
“Located in a Victorian house in Nashville’s historic Germantown, this is where you need to go for all-you-can-eat Southern comfort food breakfast, lunch, and dinner served family-style. As Monells says, “enter as strangers, leave as friends.” It might have something to do with the biscuits, chicken, and cheese grits. Here you have a food experience that lets you walk away with a feeling you will remember forever, the perfect expression of Nashville culture.” – Taste Journey Travel
“Walking into Frothy Monkey East’s all-day cafe, warm smiles and top-notch hospitality will greet you. Set on a cozy corner in the Lockeland Springs neighborhood, this versatile spot is perfect for coffee dates, family meals, or happy hour. Frothy’s full-service cafe serves breakfast through dinner, beer and wine, and their own locally roasted coffee. The menu is full of fresh, quality ingredients from local farms and purveyors and Frothy Monkey’s artisan bread and pastries.” – Frothy Monkey
Two Ten Jack & Emmy Squared
“When it comes to restaurants, I will almost always recommend Two Ten Jack in East Nashville. You can’t go wrong with any of their unique Japanese-inspired dishes or perfectly curated cocktail menu. But if you want an insider tip on a hidden Music City gem, it’s the Le Big Matt burger at Emmy Squared – locations in Germantown, The Gulch, and Green Hills. Emmy Squared is known for its delicious take on Detroit-style pizza. Still, the burger will leave a long-lasting impression.” – Listen! It’s Vetrano
“Experience farm-fresh, traditional southern dishes located just a couple of blocks from the heart of Music City. Take a journey back to your grandmother’s kitchen with homemade biscuits, and family recipes passed down for generations. With signature dishes including Sourdough Pancakes and Tennessee Patty Melt, you will not want to miss this favorite in downtown Nashville.” – Kitchen Notes Nashville
Foodies who want an Instagram-worthy experience
If you’re looking for restaurants that offer not only delicious eats but also a picture-worthy vibe, here is a list of local gems in Nashville that offer just that.
“Mangia Nashville is one of Nashville’s most unique dining experiences. At Mangia, you will experience a 10-course price fixe Italian wedding feast complete with singing and dancing.” – Mangia Nashville
Hampton Social, Pinewood Social, and Adele’s
“Nashville has several great foodie spots, so it’s difficult to pin down just one. One of my favorites has to be Hampton Social – I just love the bright, airy decor and Instagram-worthy flower wall. I’d recommend Pinewood Social for brunch, which features a bowling alley and serves yummy breakfast items such as brûléed grapefruit and avocado toast. And for New American fare, check out Adele’s, a farm-to-table restaurant serving innovative dishes made with fresh ingredients.” – Pommie Travels
Arnolds After Dark
“Arnolds isn’t a hidden gem, but their pandemic shift to their late-night offerings still is. Get some amazing specials like their hanger steak on galena cheese grits or smoked and flash-fried BBQ chicken. You can routinely catch karaoke and comedians there at night also.” – The Moody Foody
“If you’re looking for a neighborhood bar with a backyard feel that serves some of the best pizza in town, look no further than Public House. This spot attached to the boutique hotel Urban Cowboy is filled with locals sitting around bonfires in the winter and under the shaded trees in summer. The perfect late afternoon cocktail with a delicious salad and shared a wood-fired pizza.” – MC Squared Luxury
End with something sweet
Sweet treats after a meal is always satisfying. You can either browse the menu wherever you are or try the one below if you’re looking for a local favorite.
East Park Donuts and Coffee
“If you have a sweet tooth, you can’t go wrong at East Park Donuts and Coffee. You can tell that East Park makes their products with love and creativity, and you can taste the high-quality ingredients in menu staples like the strawberry-frosted “EP” (have you ever watched The Simpsons? It looks just like Homer’s go-to snack). Other menu gems include the “Brown Butter,” which is the perfect blend of sweet and salty, and the “Maple Bacon,” which is every bit as savory as it sounds.” – Underground Music Collective
Nashville locals know best
Whether you’re visiting or living in Nashville – this lively city is full of hidden gems for foodies. There’s something for everyone, from mom-and-pop eateries to unique new concept restaurants. Try these delicious local spots, and let us know what you think.