From burnt ends to watermelon ribs, Music City’s barbecue scene has a lot to offer.

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When it comes to barbecue, Nashville isn’t Memphis. There’s no prototypical “Nashville style” of barbecue, and that’s okay. The fact that three major interstates cross within a mile of each other downtown means that Nashville features smoked meat specialties that are native to the regions at each end of those highways: St. Louis-style ribs, Alabama white sauce smoked chicken, tangy Carolina vinegar and tomato sauces, and yes, Memphis dry ribs. There are plenty of options out there; here are the best of the best.

Hattie B’s Hot Chicken

This restaurant serves the delicious hot chicken that Nashville is famous for. Hattie B’s started in Nashville but has gotten so popular that it has spread to other locations.

The best local restaurants in Nashville, TN - Hattie B's hot chicken, potato salad, and French fries

I tried the leg and thigh meal with potato salad and fries, and it did not disappoint! It was delicious, and they gave us pretty big portions. We couldn’t finish it all!

If you’ve never tried Nashville hot chicken, definitely give Hattie B’s a try!

Coffee & Breakfast 

Poindexter Coffee is a coffee shop located in the lobby of the Graduate Nashville—a trendy hotel that’s super popular for bachelorette parties or girls’ getaways because of the girly decor and rooftop pool and bar, White Limozeen. 

Poindexter Coffee is one of the most fun places to eat in Nashville, TN because they serve coffee, lunch, and all-day breakfast. Some of their menu items, like Buttermilk Biscuits and Smashbrowns, are made to order, but other options are grab-and-go. Poindexter Coffee also serves pastries, like croissants and muffins. 

I didn’t get breakfast here, but I did get an iced oat milk latte with their house-made spiced maple syrup, and it was delicious! I highly recommend stopping here for a coffee or breakfast before a day of adventuring around Nashville. 

Biscuit Love is one of the most fun places to eat in Nashville, and it’s absolutely a staple for breakfast or brunch you can’t miss while you’re in the city! 

Biscuit Love has three locations in The Gulch, Hillsboro Village, and Franklin, so no matter where you’re staying during your trip to Nashville, you should be able to get to Biscuit Love easily. We visited the Franklin location during a day trip to Franklin, and we loved our breakfast! 

You must try the “Bonuts”—donut holes made from biscuit dough served with lemon mascarpone and blueberry compote. They are so good! If you’re craving something savory, you should try the East Nasty or Princess. We tried the East Nasty, and it was tasty (but not as good as the Bonuts, of course). 

Frothy Monkey is a popular coffee, breakfast, and lunch café chain with several locations in Nashville, including 12 South, Downtown Nashville, Downtown Franklin, and East Nashville. They also have locations in Birmingham and Knoxville. 

Frothy Monkey makes all its food and drinks from scratch and sources its ingredients from local farmers and producers. For breakfast or lunch, you can enjoy breakfast sandwiches, omelets, toast, and more. They also have tons of coffee drinks to try, including traditional lattes and mochas, in addition to seasonal drinks. 

Crema Coffee Roasters is a tasty spot for craft coffee and a delicious breakfast in Nashville, TN. You can visit three locations across the city, but we visited the location in Downtown Nashville.

Crema Coffee Roasters is a premium coffee roaster, but they offer tons of fun drinks with their espresso. You can try a Vanilla Latte, Cuban, or Mocha if you’re looking for something fun to drink. I also loved my breakfast, the Seasonal Granola with Greek Yogurt. It was really filling!

Where to Eat in Nashville

There was a time when you could have described Arnold’s as a “hole in the wall.” Not anymore. Arnold’s is busting out of its britches and doubling in size. Why? Because the food is awesome.

This is where we had our first taste of Nashville food and had a little practice waiting in line. It was 11:30 am on Friday and the line was out to the street. Locals and tourists grabbed trays and picked out meats and side dishes and dessert, then found a spot at one of the tables. This is southern cooking at its finest…buttery mashed potatoes, barbecue chicken, green beans, pie. Oh my…delicious! Right then Tim and I knew that Nashville was going to be tasty!

Sadly, we only got one dish to split because we needed to save room for Biscuit Love, just a few blocks away. Today’s food tour had us visiting two different restaurants for brunch.

Arnold's Country Kitchen

Arnold's Country Kitchen

After waiting in line (again) we took our seats at the very trendy Biscuit Love restaurant.

Best biscuits in Nashville? Yup! At least at the restaurants we sampled. We ate biscuits with sausage gravy, yum yum, but the highlight were the bonuts.

Yes, you heard me right…bonuts.

Not quite a donut, not quite a biscuit, just a yummy fusion of the two, served with blueberry compote and cream. This place is going to be hard to beat!!

Biscuit Love

Biscuit Love Nashville

Sausage Biscuit Love

Bonuts Biscuit Love

The Southern is the place to go if you want an upscale restaurant with a gourmet menu and reasonable prices. The Southern is within walking distance of Broadway, located not far from the Schermerhorn Symphony Center.

We ate raw blue point oysters and drank wine at the bar while waiting for our table. For dinner, Tim and I shared the steak and blue cheese biscuits and the Southern burger. Both were amazing. Other items on the menu include Banh Mi Fish Tacos, Braised Beef Brisket, Nudie Suit, and Seared Sea Scallops. See their menu here.

The Southern

Pancake PantryThis is a breakfast, brunch, and lunch establishment frequented by the locals. It is located near Vanderbilt University and is another popular spot to wait in line. I had read mixed reviews about this restaurant but we were pleasantly surprised. Tim had French toast and I ate blueberry pancakes. Both were very good. And don’t pass up the hash browns. They serve over twenty different flavors of pancakes as well as other breakfast foods. Click here to take a look at the menu.

If you like breakfast food, the Pancake Pantry is worth the wait. If you had to choose between Biscuit Love and the Pancake Pantry, go to Biscuit Love. Bonuts!!

Pancake Pantry

This was another pleasant surprise. For a restaurant on Broadway in the hullabaloo of the Honky Tonks, Tim and I weren’t expecting much of this place. But oh, the food was so good. There were so many things on the menu that we wanted to try. According to our waitress, Merchants’ hottest dishes are the Chicken Fried Chicken and the fish tacos. Well, Tim went for the fish tacos and I ate the grilled salmon BLT. Both were very good.

If you need a break from Honky Tonking or are fueling before a night out at the bars, Merchant’s makes a convenient stop that offers gourmet, healthier alternatives to the typical Nashville southern cooking.

Merchants Nashville

Robert’s Western World is a Honky Tonk bar, and one of our favorites. Got the munchies and want live music? This is the place. Go for the fried bologna sandwich…a local favorite.

Over and over we kept hearing about Loveless Cafe, so much so that we couldn’t skip it. Tim and I were surprised to learn that one of Nashville’s most popular restaurants is located so far from downtown. In fact, Loveless Cafe is thirty minutes away from downtown Nashville by car.

We arrived during the lunch rush and were informed it would be an hour and forty-five minute wait for a table. Yikes!! Instead of waiting, we ordered carry out and sat outside at one of the picnic tables, getting our food in a much quicker 40 minutes.

Tim and I agreed that the Loveless Cafe did not live up to it’s hype. People rave about the biscuits and fried chicken. They were good but nothing stellar. And to wait so long for the food and drive thirty minutes outside of town? I wouldn’t do it again.

If you’re curious about what all of the commotion about Loveless is about, come see for yourself. Maybe you’ll have a better experience. But if you are short on time, eat at Arnold’s Country Kitchen, which has a similar menu with better food and you don’t have to leave the city. You don’t even need to have a car.

Loveless Cafe

People come here for the writers-in-the-round music performance but there is a dinner menu for those who come hungry. At Bluebird Cafe you can get good food. Healthy food. Yes, they’ve got chicken fingers and quesadillas, but you can also dine on veggies and hummus, caesar salad, and spinach and artichoke dip.

Bluebird Cafe

Stand in line again for some of Nashville’s best chicken. You can order your chicken with various levels of spiciness (heat) and add side dishes to your meal. Really want to add some heat to your chicken? I dare you to give their “Shut the Cluck Up” heat level a try.  Here’s the menu.

Hattie B Chicken

Etch is a modern, trendy restaurant that serves dishes like octopus and shrimp bruschetta, grilled lamb loin, and grilled filet. This is the most upscale restaurant on the list and consistently gets stellar reviews from its clients. With entrees in the $30 ballpark it can get expensive, especially once you add in drinks, but the food is delicious! They are known for their roasted cauliflower (yum!) and grilled filet. We tried both, but if you save room for dessert, we loved the ice cream sundae.   

Mexican lovers, rejoice! This is another Nashville favorite and we gave it a try on our most recent visit to Nashville. Honestly, Tim and I didn’t think it quite lived up to the rave reviews it receives. Mas Tacos is located outside of downtown Nashville, so you will need a car or an Uber to get here. The tacos were very good but it may not be worth going out of your way to eat here, unless you really love tacos. 

Mas Tacos

Skull’s Rainbow Room is Nashville’s only downtown jazz lounge. It’s been around since 1948, located in Printer’s Alley not far from the Honky Tonks. This is a great spot in Nashville to go for drinks, music, and dinner. Just make sure you make your reservations in advance. Visit their website here.

Skulls Rainbow Room

1. Rosie Food & Wine

Nestled in Hendersonville, this wine bar serves thoughtfully prepared plates and exquisite vinos in a cozy environment.

Don’t let its size deceive you.

Although it’s small, this 60-seat chef-driven joint is one of the most tantalizing casual spots to eat in the area.

Not only does it serve wonderfully plated Spanish and Italian-inspired bites, but it also offers decadent desserts and wines.

Their short ribs are a culinary masterpiece.

Braised in red wine, these ribs are succulent, tender, moist and abundant in deep beef flavors.

A Weekend Getaway in Nashville + Where to Eat

Some people go to Nashville for the music. Or so I hear.

This second visit to Music City, however, was for me all about the food. My first time passing through, I had had my first mouth-burning bite of hot chicken, I sampled a meat-and-three, and then cooled said mouth off with a Jeni’s ice cream in Hillsboro Village (also, Pancake Pantry…hello!)

So one could say I whet my appetite for Nashville on that quick stop through a few years ago. When I found myself in Memphis this year, not a whole lot could stop me from going back — fork and knife in hand — for more.

From nights out in East Nashville to my first honky-tonk experience (ok, maybe it was also a little about the music,) to a Nashville Eats food tour, to restaurants and some of the best places to eat in Nashville, plus multiple stops at the same barbecue joint…it’s incredible how much you can learn about a city’s food scene in just a handful of days and 3-5 daily meals!

eating hot chicken in nashville

So, what are the classic must-haves for a foodie weekend in Nashville?

best bbq in nashville  martin's bbq in nashville, tennessee

Nashville Restaurants You Have To Try On Vacation

I won’t even lie, the food scene in Nashville was a huge part of why we decided to move our little family across the country. At this point, I think all my followers know how big of a foodie I truly am and how much I love trying new places.

I love exploring new cuisines and trying hole-in-the-wall dives and well-known restaurants with fun, new and unique dishes. I have made a round-up of my FAVORITE places in Nashville and Franklin now that I am a local and all *wink wink* The list has an assortment of fancy, fun, good for date nights, and more!

The Best Fried Chicken In Nashville & Maybe Anywhere In the World

Best Restaurants in Nashville Edley's Bar-B-Que 4

Waldo’s Chicken & Beer is arguably the best fried chicken I have ever had and chef Jackson says it is definitely the best. No hoke joke every time I go I hear someone tell them that… and this is in Nashville!

If you want a place that is more known only to locals and a touch off the standard tourist path, then you have to go to this place. Their whole motto is “always made from scratch” and you can honestly tell!

Their batter is honestly perfect, it is so light flavorful and then the chicken is juicy and it absolutely is cooked to perfection. You can tell this is handcrafted and freshly made each day vs. most places I have tried in Nashville or anywhere.

Best Restaurants in Nashville Edley's Bar-B-Que 4

You have to try this standard chicken sandwich, their chicken fingers with multiple homemade sauces or my favorite the fowl mouth sandwich. The foul mouth is spicy as heck but maybe the best sandwich I have ever had.

I will modify it slightly by adding pickles as well as knocking out some jalapeños from the coleslaw so I don’t die. Wow, you have to try and and be amazed.

They don’t just do fried chicken either if you want to be kinder to the waistline, they also do amazing fire-roasted chicken. Either way, if you want chicken, they have it and some of the best ever!

Their sides are also great and you could drink all of their sauces. If you want drinks too you have to try their from scratch margarita or any of the ton of local brews they have on tap.

Best Restaurants in Nashville Edley's Bar-B-Que 4

One of the reasons their chicken is the best on earth is because of their pickle brine that they brine the chicken in. The pickle brine adds so much flavor, tenderness and of course since pickles are my favorite food, this just makes even more sense.

They are located in Germantown in Nashville at 1120 4th Ave North and they also opened a restaurant in Tulsa, Oklahoma! They are famous for from scratch entrees, homemade sides and award winning sauces!

This place is no frills, comfortable and even has multiple TVs if you want to watch the game. You can even bring your dog to their patio while you stuff yourself and enjoy one of their many cold beers on tap.

Bolton’s Spicy Fried Chicken and Fish

Bolton’s has been on our Nashville must-try list since watching the “Fried Chicken” episode of David Change’s Ugly Delicious. It is a small restaurant with a handful of tables and a window where you place your order. Bolton’s is the definition of a hole in the wall and a place you might drive by without even realizing it. Their chicken and fish come as either a sandwich or plate and their sides are classic southern traditions with the exception of spaghetti which we still don’t get. But be cautious when ordering. The mild is hot so we can only speculate how spicy the smokin’ hot is but to quote David Chang “It was one of the worst, maybe one of the most painful experiences I’ve ever had in my life.”

624 Main St,

What to do during a weekend in Nashville?

At the top of my list is taking a trip to McKay’s Bookstore. If you have never been, this is one of the largest used bookstores in America and it is my all-time favorite place to visit.

I spend countless hours here when I go. I take all my older books that I want to trade in and they give me credit for those to spend on other books I am wanting. Their prices are amazing — so definitely go here! They have more than just books — movies, music, toys, and so much of all the good stuff. It is a definite must-visit place when you go to Nashville.

One of my favorite things is driving all over Nashville and checking out their amazing murals.

The city is known for its artistic murals like the wings that can be found in the Gulch — and it’s right near one of the most amazing restaurants ever (you’ll hear more about that below).

Nashville has some amazing places to shop — from Opry Mills to downtown by the Bridgestone area (we love going down there and parking and then walking the street visiting all the shops!)

Of course, when in Nashville, one must try on cowboy boots. Found the perfect pair at a discount!

Another great shopping experience in Nashville is the antique shops that are located all over the place. If you search the internet for Nashville Tennesse antique shops, you will find many that are filled to the brim with beautiful trinkets.

This year I finally got my taste of the Nashville Flea Market and it is AMAZING! On the 3rd or 4th weekend of every month, vendors come together all under one roof for the flea market.

It can be overstimulating, but I promise if you just take it one building at a time, you will love visiting here. So much to do and see and all it costs is just the fee for parking.

Okay — so now that you know a little bit about what to do in Nashville, let’s talk about these amazing restaurants!

Where to Eat:

Collective Espresso

Coffee addicts flock to Collective Espresso for coffee in its purest form with a relaxing neighborhood atmosphere. Made to order with no syrups, just pure robust, flavorful coffee. Get your caffeine fix at the Over-the-Rhine or Northside location or scout the mobile unit throughout town.

Holtman’s Donuts 

This family ran donut business began in 1960 in the Greater Cincinnati area and has received numerous local and national accolades. Donut lovers arrive early to grab the made-from-scratch creative concoctions like Maple Bacon, Fruity Pebbles, German Chocolate and numerous other specialty donut flavors. All you need is one bite of a Holtman’s donut to fall in love!

Taste of Belgium

Waffles are king at the Taste of Belgium. The delectable waffles, created from traditional Belgian recipes, are some of the best I’ve ever eaten! Serving a unique mix of Belgian and American classics, try one of their most popular menu items, chicken and waffles.

Maplewood Kitchen and Bar

This California-inspired brunch spot features locally roasted coffee, cold pressed juices and fresh, organic ingredients. Serving healthy and flavorful dishes, in a white-washed woodwork West Coast-style space, foodies will savor every delicious bite at Maplewood.

City View Tavern

Opened in 1875 and suitably named for its sweeping views of Cincinnati’s skyline, City View Tavern can be found in the hills of Mt. Adams. This unpretentious bar is known for its Bloody Mary’s, delicious burgers, laid-back atmosphere and awesome patio views.


Located in Over-the-Rhine, this industrial style gastropub serves up cold beer, craft cocktails and hot dogs with a twist. Imaginative hot dog concoctions with creative names, piled high ingredients smothering the all-beef hotdog makes it acceptable to use a fork and knife to savor every bite. You can’t go wrong with any of the hot dog creations at Senate…start your meal with the Poutine, you won’t be disappointed!

Findlay Market 

 As Ohio’s oldest continuously operated public market, Findlay Market has been providing locally sourced farm fresh produce and foods since 1852. More than 40 indoor merchants sell meat, fish, produce, flowers, artisanal, ethnic and specialty foods. Findlay Market is an easy way to sample the local flavors of Cincinnati.

Camp Washington Chili

Chili piled high upon spaghetti, hot dogs or French fries and topped with cheese, onions or beans makes the perfect lunch time meal. Eat with a fork and learn the Cincinnati-style chili terms to customize the hearty comfort food. Serving award winning chili since 1940, Camp Washington Chili is the best place to savor the local delicacy, Cincinnati-style chili.


Located in an underground hideaway in Downtown Cincinnati, Sotto creates traditional Italian cuisine with modern twists and fresh seasonal ingredients. Rustic décor and a romantic atmosphere whisks you away to Italy while the delectable food is love at every single bite. Save room for the delightful handmade ricotta donuts served with three creamy sauces. Book reservations in advance as Sotto is one of the most sought-after meals in town.


An ode to European cuisine with American flair, this contemporary fine-dining restaurant creates one-of-a-kind meals with the freshest ingredients of the season. Although the food may be the star of the show, the attentive staff can be awarded best supporting roles as attention to detail with artful simplicity is the motto at Boca.

Orchids at Palm Court  

As Ohio’s only AAA Five Diamond Restaurant, Orchids at Palm Court is Cincinnati’s go to restaurant for luxurious fine-dining experience. Serving only the finest, freshest ingredients, each course is a culinary masterpiece. With its location in the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza Hotel in Downtown Cincinnati, the stunning 1930’s art-deco grandeur architecture accompanies the opulent meal nicely.

Also try these awesome can’t miss Cincinnati foodie hotspots: Salzaar, Mita’s, Nada, The Eagle, Eli’s BBQ, Moerlein Lager House, Montgomery Inn Boathouse and Jeff Ruby’s Precinct.

Fun Places to Eat in Nashville

One of the interesting things about the restaurants and cafes is how varied the cuisines are! We had more typical Southern food, of course, but also French, Japanese, and a Mexican-American fusion that I think needs to happen in LA ASAP…

But let’s start with coffee because I always do! A dear friend Alyssa of RunwayChef (she and I went to Charleston together!) told me I had to go to Barista Parlor. There are actually a few locations around the city, including Germantown, Marathon Village, and in The Gulch.

We went to the one in East Nashville. I had no idea about the area, but it was really nice to drive through this fun, local area of Music City that isn’t overcome with that downtown vibe! The coffee and tea are tasty. Their menu offers a variety of biscuits to munch on. I’d suggest sharing one – they were heavier than I expected!

We also visited Crema who roasts their own coffee. Their shop is near downtown and tucked into, currently, a construction zone. There’s plenty of parking (2 hours free with a ticket from the machine) and it’s a local favorite!

The coffee and tea were delicious, of course, and I loved their assortment of goodies. There was plenty of seating, but it’s a popular place with locals to be sure!

Another local coffee shop find was Killebrew, located in the Thompson Hotel. I got a basic cafe au lait that morning and totally fell in love with the coffee.

Oh and the sweet potato donut with marshmallow cream (me, yes, I know it’s a shocker). And then the blueberry cornmeal muffin that we saved for later was positively delicious too. (No surprise this place is on my fun places to eat in Nashville). 

Killebrew sells Revelator Coffee – a Southern coffee roaster that’s embracing its southern roots and history. Since I enjoyed the coffee so much and because my husband and I always bring home coffee beans, I bought a bag…

I picked the DuBois bag of beans, which made do a little happy dance. My PhD is in black American history, so I was VERY familiar with black rights activist W.E.B. DuBois. It was a friendly flash from my past!!

When you think downtown Nashville, a slew of bars with live music should immediately come to mind. And even on a Sunday night in January with small snow flurries in the air, music fills the air!

Besides enjoying a show at the famous Ryman Theatre, that Broadway scene wasn’t for us – well, besides buying a caramel apple at the candy store (maybe two!). Not far from the “strip,” however, are a variety of places to enjoy some great food in a calm atmosphere.

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First up for us was Liberty Common, which had JUST opened a few weeks before our trip. It’s a French-inspired cafe and bar. The decor is sublimely cute (never have I shared an image from a restaurant bathroom)!

The dishes are a French-American South fusion, which I think is so much fun. Served with the trout almondine were grits and green beans! I assume brunch is amazing there and I can see it becoming a popular hot spot in no time!

Just down from Liberty Common is The Green Pheasant – a Japanese restaurant with tremendous flavor. If you’re like me, you’ll have to google a few words on the menu. But, actually, our waitress was quite helpful at pointing out some highlights on the menu.

We were caught off guard by a Japanese restaurant in Nashville, but it didn’t disappoint – an evening of delicious fun finished with mochi ice cream. Oh. And the decor was pretty fantastic too! 

And last, but far from least, on my list of fun places to eat in Nashville was Butchertown Hall in Germantown. So here’s the basic rundown. It’s slow-cooked southern meats at a Mexican restaurant. Yep. Take two great things and throw them together!

It’s just that amazing (and something I hope happens in LA very soon). We shared a salad, tried four of the tacos, and gobbled down the apple cobbler – like ladies of course!

You’ll need reservations. And if they’re all booked up online, try calling the restaurant. We got a table reserved even though the app said they were full.

My only critique here was that the lighting was difficult for me to get good photos (as you can see). So, I apologize that my photography and editing skills aren’t THAT amazing, but trust me the food is tasty, tasty!

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How we made this best Indianapolis restaurants list

People often ask us, what are the best restaurants in Indianapolis? Here’s our take: it’s hard to give a specific answer because it depends on what the occasion is (night out on the town? dinner with kids?) and where you are in the city. Because of that, our list of best Indianapolis restaurants is fairly large and organized by neighborhood. We’ve noted why we like them and what occasions they’re best for; we’ve also included Indianapolis breweries and coffee shops.

Alex and I have lived here for 14 years and eaten at a lot of Indianapolis restaurants. However, there are new restaurants in Indianapolis popping up each day! So, this is not an exhaustive list: it’s just the places to eat in Indianapolis we’ve been to multiple times and would recommend. Also disclaimer: our areas of most expertise are Broad Ripple restaurants and restaurants in downtown Indianapolis. There are lots of great restaurants in other areas– for example, the West side has lots of international food options that we’ve only just begun to explore! If you see a best Indianapolis restaurant you think we should try, give us a shout in the comments!

Buffalo cauliflower wings at Twenty Tap (Broad Ripple restaurant)

From burnt ends to watermelon ribs, Music City’s barbecue scene has a lot to offer.

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15 Best Places to Eat in Knoxville, Tennessee

If you’re in the mood for some truly delicious pizza, then you need to head to A Dopo Sourdough Pizza.

This cozy little dinner spot in Knoxville is known for its incredible Neopolitan-style wood-fired pizzas, which are made with locally sourced ingredients, freshly made mozzarella, and a unique, scratch-made sourdough crust.

Trust us, once you’ve had a taste of these pies, you’ll be hooked!

Customer favorites include the Calabrese (with red sauce, house-made mozzarella, spicy salami, fresh basil, Castel Vetrano olives, and chili oil) and the daily pizza special that’s unique and changes daily.

Enjoy your pie with a glass of their fantastic selection of Italian wines on tap and in the bottle. And, don’t forget to save room for A Dopo’s scrumptious small batch gelato, made with local milk and cream.

There are always a few top contenders for the best burger in town, but you’ll always find Stock & Barrel near the top of the list. And it’s no wonder why – these burgers are made with locally-sourced, pasture-fed beef that’s topped with an array of delicious & unique toppings.

“The Elvis” comes topped with (you guessed it) peanut butter, fried banana, and bacon.

Or, try “The Farmhouse,” with beef, cheddar, an over-easy egg, bacon, tomato, onion, and garlic aioli. If you’re not in the mood for beef, they’ve also got a selection of chicken, turkey, lamb, and salmon options. Burgers are served with house-made fries or beer-battered onion rings.

Stock & Barrel is also known for their extensive selection of Bourbon. In fact, they were recently recognized by The Bourbon Review as one of America’s Best Bourbon Bars for 2022.

Kefi is a favorite among locals for its delicious Greek cuisine and high-end atmosphere. The menu features all of your Greek favorites, like dolmades (stuffed grape leaves), spanakopita (spinach pie), kebabs, and falafel.

But Kefi also offers some unique takes on traditional Greek dishes, like the “Octopodi,” grilled octopus served with fava beans, rainbow chard, and slow-roasted tomato.

Favorites are the Spicy Feta, Hummus, and Saganaki.

And, of course, no meal at Kefi would be complete without one of their famous Greek cocktails, like the “Age of Kronos” (ouzo, fresh lime juice, and strawberry thyme simple syrup) or the “Santorini” (white rum, Dolin blanc, guava nectar, lime juice, and coconut cream).

Be sure to save room for the baklava.

OliBea is a great choice for breakfast and brunch in Knoxville.

This local favorite is known for its creative and delicious Southern-inspired dishes and is therefore a popular place to visit on a weekend trip to Knoxville.

The menu changes seasonally, but you can always count on some kind of breakfast burrito, a scrumptious breakfast biscuit, tacos, and exciting & unique daily specials from the chef.

One day you might find savory zucchini bread french toast on the menu and the next, you’ll have a country-fried steak sandwich topped with onions, fried cheese sticks, scrambled eggs, and steak sauce.

OliBea also has a great selection of fun cocktails that change as often as their menu, so you have every reason to keep coming back for more!

If you’re looking for a delicious, affordable meal, look no further than Sticky Rice Cafe. This cozy little cafe is known for its fantastic Laotian cuisine.

The menu features all of your favorites, like pho, Pad Thai, and curries. But they also have some unique and lesser-known dishes that are definitely worth trying, like the “Noodle Bowl” (rice noodles and lettuce cilantro mix with your choice of meat or tofu, veggies, egg, and sauce) or the “Papaya Salad” (shredded green papaya, cherry tomatoes, fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, and hot chili peppers).

Sticky Rice Cafe is the perfect place to go if you’re looking for a quick, tasty meal that won’t break the bank.

Sweet P’s Barbeque and Downtown Dive is a great choice if you’re looking for some delicious barbecue.

This local favorite is known for its “low and slow” smoked meats, like pulled pork, ribs, and chicken, combined with soul food classics like mac and cheese, greens, beans, and tater salad. And, of course, no meal at Sweet P’s would be complete without one of their famous sauces. Choose from Thick (a sweet and tangy sauce), Hot (a hot and spicy sauce), or Thin (a vinegar-based sauce).

Whatever you do, don’t dare leave without trying the banana pudding. It’s the perfect way to end your meal.

If you’re a fan of Asian fusion, you’ll be happy to know that Knoxville has an exceptional Asian fusion restaurant. Kaizen is known for its creative and delicious dishes that combine the best of Japanese, Szechuan, and Thai cuisine.

Some of the menu favorites include the Steamed Buns (with options like Bang Bang shrimp, tofu, Kimchi BBQ chicken, and more), Pork Belly Fried Rice, and Dan Dan Noodles (chilled lo mein with ground pork, black soy, black vinegar, toasted chili oil, pickled cabbage, and Szechuan peppercorns).

Kaizen has a fantastic ambiance and a really cool vibe but it fills up quickly (it’s a popular spot for a reason!) so plan to get there early.

Farmacy is a great choice if you’re looking for a farm-to-table, scratch-made, southern cookin’. This restaurant is known for its fresh, local ingredients and delicious comfort food.

The menu changes seasonally, but you can always expect to find dishes like Nashville Hot Chicken, Shrimp & Grits, and a variety of fresh salads with scratch-made dressings. And don’t forget to try one of their famous desserts, like the Bourbon Pecan Bread Pudding or the Strawberry Cream Cake (the owner’s family recipe!).

Farmacy is the perfect place to go if you’re looking for a tasty, home-cooked meal made with fresh, natural ingredients.

Balter Beerworks is the perfect place to go if you’re looking for a great meal made from scratch and a cold beer. This local microbrewery serves up some of the best beers in town, as well as a menu of delicious pub fare.

It hardly seems fair to call it pub food, though. The menu features scratch-made burgers, sandwiches, fresh salads, and entrées like bourbon pork belly, blackened fish tacos, and shrimp & grits.

Plus, they serve up one of the best weekend brunches in Knoxville. Be sure to try the Fried Green Tomato Benedict (with a buttermilk biscuit, fried green tomato, pimento cheese, poached eggs, hollandaise sauce, smoked paprika, parsley, and breakfast potatoes) or the Chicken & Waffles (fried chicken, whipped honey butter, powdered sugar, syrup & honey drizzle).

And don’t forget to wash it all down with one (or more) of their $1 mimosas.

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If you’re looking for a truly unique dining experience, look no further than J.C. Holdway. This restaurant is known for its wood-fired cuisine and southern hospitality served up by James Beard Award-winning chef, Joseph Lenn.

The menu features seasonal dishes made with locally sourced ingredients, like the Grilled Pork Shoulder Steak (corn, snapped beans, romesco & pickled peppers) and the Wood-Fired Whole Sunburst Trout (with grilled okra, bagna cauda, beurre blanc & crispy onions).

But the real star of the show is the wood-fired oven, which Chef Lenn believes imparts a unique flavor that can’t be duplicated with gas or electric cooking. If you’re looking for an unforgettable dining experience, J.C. Holdway is the place to go.

Hands down, the best fast food burger in Knoxville! (And some would argue it’s the best burger, period). Burger Boys is the perfect place to go if you’re looking for an inexpensive, delicious burger.

This local drive-thru restaurant is known for its fresh, never-frozen beef burgers that are cooked to perfection and made fresh daily. And, every burger comes with free fries! The menu features a variety of burgers, chicken sandwiches, wings, fried chicken, catfish, and freshly made sides like mashed potatoes, green beans, collards, mac & cheese, and potato salad.

There’s also homemade cheesecake and sweet potato pie. It’s no wonder Burger Boys is a local favorite!

Cafe 4 was a pioneer in the revitalization of Knoxville’s Market Square scene, having opened nearly a decade ago when the area was not nearly as desirable to be in as it is now.

Their mission to bring hospitality and high-quality local eats to Market Square has been a success, as the cafe is now one of the most popular places in Knoxville to eat.

The menu features a variety of brunch, lunch, and dinner items made with fresh ingredients. And, they’re known for their killer mac & cheese. If you’re looking for a great meal in a relaxed setting, Cafe 4 is the place to go.

Simpl. is a great option if you’re looking for a fresh, clean, farm-to-table meal that’s made from scratch. This restaurant is committed to using fresh, local ingredients to create simple, seasonal dishes that are tasty and satisfying. The menu features weekly specials, small plates, large plates, and burgers.

Fan favorites include the Pastrami Fries (fries loaded with pastrami, chives, and BBQ sauce), Pork Belly Tacos (smoked pork belly with black bean puree, queso fresco, pickled slaw, and salsa), and the ABC Burger (double beef patties, double bacon, avocado, cheese, and aioli on a Paysan bun served with fries).

They also serve up a scrumptious weekend brunch with more brunch cocktails than we have room to list here!

Our list wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t mention the stomach-rumbling soul food served up at Jackie’s Dream.

This restaurant is known for heaping portions of comfort food classics like fried chicken, catfish, ‘Knoxville’ hot chicken, oxtails, mac & cheese, greens, cornbread, and some of the best fried green tomatoes you’ve ever had.

Save room for a homemade dessert!

Don’t be fooled by this non-descript little place in a tiny strip mall — Jackie’s Dream is the real deal. And, it’s affordable too! The only thing better than the food is the service, from Jackie herself.

Last but not least, we have Chivo Taqueria, a relatively new restaurant that’s quickly become a Knoxville favorite. This taqueria specializes in creative, Mexican-inspired street food made with fresh, local ingredients, working directly with East Tennessee farmers. What’s more, they grind their own corn flour in the traditional spirit of the Nixtamal process.

The menu features tacos, burritos, quesadillas, tortas, and salads. Plus, they have a full bar with an impressive selection of tequila and cocktails.

Our favorite thing on the menu is the Limp Brisket taco, which features barbacoa brisket, goat cheese, onion, jalapeño, and cilantro. That said, the house-made chips and guac on their own are worth the trip in.

And that concludes it!

These are just a few of the best restaurants Knoxville has to offer. So whether you’re in the mood for some comfort food, wood-fired cuisine, or just a good ol’ burger and beer, you’re sure to find something to your taste in this great city.

Featured image courtesy of Cafe 4, Knoxville.

Three Brothers Coffee

A hip, trendy coffee shop that offers a variety of coffee, teas, and food. The mural here is very popular and a makes a great Insta worthy photo spot!

Location: 2813 West End Avenue, Nashville, TN 37203

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