Enable JavaScript to run this app.
Skip to main content
OpenTable logo
A photo of Nashville-bc-blogarticle-greats thumbnail

9 restaurants that scream “Nashville”

Some might assume that Music City’s best restaurants offer a one-note culinary experience—but they would be wrong. Although Nashville has a deep cultural connection to Southern food, a recent influx of new restaurants has stretched the minds and palates of the city.

There’s a time-honored fried chicken joint that has braved recessions and a pandemic to cement Nashville’s place in the food world. But there are also newcomers bringing fresh ideas to the table: An acclaimed chef serves inventive Indian fusion food in the Gulch. Tapas and Iberian wines shine at a transportive Spanish place in Sylvan Park.

Together, these dozen restaurants make up The Greats: a list of old and new restaurants that offer a snapshot of the best of Nashville dining right now. Whether you’re native to the city, a transplant, or a tourist, make sure to visit the 9 places that help make Nashville great.

A photo of Red logo
Kellie Walton Benz
8 Restaurants
Updated March 29, 2023
Restaurants:Loveless Cafe, Germantown Cafe, 404 Kitchen
Price Range:$$ - $$
Cuisines:Southern, American, Modern European
Neighborhoods:Bellevue, Germantown, The Gulch & North Gulch
A photo of Loveless Cafe restaurant

Loveless Cafe

Price: Moderate
1695 reviews

Loveless Cafe is a true Nashville original that has served its iconic biscuits and jams since 1951. What began as a humble roadside destination with a few picnic tables is now an empire of Southern hospitality that includes the onsite Loveless Motel and the Hams and Jams shop. In addition to Annie Loveless’s original biscuit recipe and famous house-smoked country ham, the cafe’s all-day breakfast menu has Southern classics such as country-fried steak with white gravy and fried chicken and waffles. Biscuits might be the star of the show here, but don’t overlook the supper menu of hits such as pulled pork smoked with Tennessee hickory wood and stellar sides including creamed corn and fried green tomatoes.

Not available on OpenTable
View More Info
A photo of Germantown Cafe restaurant

Germantown Cafe

Price: Moderate
2162 reviews

Pandemic closures and restrictions were tough on every business in 2020, but this beloved cafe had to face yet another setback: In March of that year, a tornado tore through Nashville, damaging the Germantown Cafe and much of the surrounding neighborhood. After nearly two years, the local favorite reopened with its charm intact. Regulars rejoiced at the return of its original Southern-inspired menu items such as marinated tenderloin with plum sauce, mashed potatoes, and haricot verts. A popular happy hour on the cafe’s scenic patio makes the place an especially sought-after perch in the warmer months.

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of 404 Kitchen restaurant

404 Kitchen

Price: Moderate
Modern European
The Gulch & North Gulch
2216 reviews

James Beard Award-nominated 404 Kitchen anchors Nashville’s growing Gulch neighborhood and serves locally sourced New American dishes. Its industrial-chic dining room is as elegant and unpretentious as the cuisine. Start your evening with a brown butter-rinsed old fashioned at Gertie’s, 404’s first-floor whiskey bar, which has one of the best curated selection of whiskies in the South. Notable entrees include cooked local trout wrapped in smoky, salty Benton’s ham, topped with chow chow relish and crispy salt and vinegar potatoes.

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of Chauhan Ale & Masala House restaurant

Chauhan Ale & Masala House

Price: Moderate
The Gulch & North Gulch
4778 reviews

As celebrity chef Maneet Chauhan’s first of many restaurants in Nashville, Chauhan Ale and Masala House is a city stalwart that delivers imaginative Indian fare infused with the flavors of the South. With exposed brick walls and colorful lighting, the decor here is almost as inviting as the scent of the chai and spices that greets you at the door. Hot chicken pakoras and lamb keema papadi nachos mingle with more traditional South Asian dishes such as tandoori chicken and paneer. The creative brunch menu also draws crowds: try the sweet dosa pancake with saffron-liqueur soaked berries and cardamom whipped cream with a vindaloo-spiced bloody mary for a punchy start to your weekend.

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of Valentino's Ristorante restaurant

Valentino's Ristorante

Price: Expensive
1740 reviews

Despite shifting to a new location in 2019, Valentino’s retains the warmth and charm that earned it Nashville classic status after opening in 1992. From antipasti to pasta to hearty entrees, the menu is packed with Italian favorites offering something for everyone. Worthy starters include cantaloupe wrapped in prosciutto and drizzled with local honey and olive oil and scampi al forno, tender shrimp swimming in roasted garlic and lemon butter. The sign of a restaurant’s staying power lies in loyal diners, which Valentino’s has in spades—after an evening of top-notch wine and outstanding Italian fare, it’s easy to see why.

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of Lola restaurant


Price: Moderate
Sylvan Park & Sylvan Heights
404 reviews

Tapas hotspot Lola quickly became a neighborhood staple after opening in 2021, thanks to its Seville-in-Sylvan Park vibes. Not to mention perks such as a buzzy social hour held on weekdays from 4 pm to 6 pm. The modern and airy dining room feels like a place you might stumble into on an adventurous Spanish bar crawl. Simple but elegant small plates include bravas (spicy potatoes) with hot sauce and aioli and the flavorful montadito (mini bread rolls) with slow-cooked beef, onion jam, garlic aioli, and pickled mustard seeds. The Iberian flair extends to the bar with a strong selection of Spanish and Portuguese wines and cocktails.

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of etch restaurant


Price: Expensive
Contemporary American
Downtown / Sobro
7822 reviews

Deb Paquette became Tennessee’s first woman to qualify as a certified executive chef over 30 years ago. She now leads some of Nashville’s best restaurants, including Etch. The modern downtown restaurant has two private dining rooms, a full bar, and a separate area where diners interact with Paquette during meal service. Her eclectic New American menu features bright flavors and layered dishes such as Argentinian beef tenderloin with kale, fennel, radicchio, pistachio parmesan crumble, sage aioli, and rosemary butternut purée, and a Korean-influenced bulgogi pulled pork sandwich.

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of City House restaurant

City House

Price: Expensive
1358 reviews

Nashville’s Germantown neighborhood has grown to become one of the best for dining, and City House led the charge when it opened in 2007. The home-turned-Italian restaurant is set on a quiet, unassuming street. But its vibrant, brick-lined interiors pack a punch. As does its kitchen, steered by eight-time James Beard Award-nominee Tandy Wilson. Wilson claimed the prize for Best Chef Southeast in 2016, making him the first in Nashville to earn that distinction. City House’s menu standouts include bread gnocchi, linguini with roasted mushrooms, fennel fonduta, charred greens and parmesan, and a collection of pizzas that some argue are the best in town.

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

  • About Us
  • Blog
  • Careers
  • Press
  • Delight more diners
  • Open for Business Blog
Join us on
  • Privacy Policy
  • Terms of Use
  • Cookies and Interest-Based Ads
  • Cookie Preferences
Copyright © 2023 OpenTable, Inc. 1 Montgomery St Ste 500, San Francisco CA 94104 - All rights reserved.
OpenTable is part of Booking Holdings, the world leader in online travel and related services.
Booking Logo
Priceline Logo
Agoda Logo
Rentalcars Logo
OpenTable Logo