Top 5 Must-Try Restaurants in Nashville!
Updated: Sep 28, 2022
Having moved to Nashville almost 10 years ago and a self-proclaimed foodie, I love trying new restaurants and exploring different ethnic food. Nashville is home to over 2,200 restaurants. How can you possibly choose? Here are my five current favorite restaurants in the city ---
UPDATED: Chaatable has recently closed. They are currently looking to relocate, but in the meantime check out their sister restaurant Chauhan Ale & Masala House.
If you have seen the Food Network, you are probably familiar with Chopped judge Maneet Chauhan. She opened Chaatable, an Indian street food restaurant, in Nashville in 2018 following several other successful restaurants. As a James Beard award winning chef, I was thrilled to see a new concept from her. And I must say, it’s my favorite one yet! Chaatable is a colorful atmosphere, filled with bright umbrellas hanging from the ceiling and a wall full of bracelets. The menu has undergone a few iterations, but there are several favorites that remain. If you are unfamiliar with Indian street food, this fusion menu is very approachable, and I’d invite you to try something outside your comfort zone! My favorite items are Chaatable Bhel, Shammi Sliders and for dessert, the Gulab Jamon. You MUST have a pani puri (or puchka) which is a well-known snack in India. Order the Dahi Puri or Puchka. Fill with the tamarind water and eat the whole puff at once. Wait for the explosion of flavor! You can also make-your-own thali --- anything with the mouthwatering coconut curry sauce is excellent. Go with a group and be prepared to share! Top
While we wait for their new location on Meridian (near another favorite restaurant), this Charleston transplant has set up a pop-up shop at the Dive Motel in East Nashville. If you know me, you know I’m a sucker for hole-in-the-walls and anything Asian. XiaoBao definitely fits the bill! The food is a fusion, combining flavors and cooking styles from China, Vietnam, Japan and Thailand. Their fried mochi is a savory spin on a Japanese dessert, with lemongrass pork and nuoc cham dipping sauce. The hand pulled noodles with beef brisket is a throwback to my fav Uighur noods in Xi’an and come well-seasoned and spicy. They have a few rotating specials, and I look forward to an expanded menu when they move into a more permanent space. In the meantime, check them out at the Dive Motel and grab a drink at the retro bar while you wait for your order!
When you think of homemade pasta in a casual atmosphere, look no further than Pastaria. While they have pizzas and other entrees, it is the hand-cut, fresh pastas that shine! Order an Italian wine (even the house red is delicious) and make sure to request some of the thick-cut bread and dipping oil! My favorite main is the pistachio ravioli served in a browned butter sauce. Not to be left out, the strozzapreti is their take on a traditional Bolognese, very hearty and filling. But save room for dessert – they have brought back the Nutella Fudge Cake and always have rotating gelato flavors in stock! Reservations aren’t required, but definitely recommended. This restaurant is very kid-friendly, and the patio is a great addition on a warm night.
How can you recommend restaurants and not have a Mexican option? Two words: CRUNCH WRAP. My mouth waters just typing it. While not on the official menu, Red Headed Stranger offers 3 versions of their original crunch wrap made fresh to order with their homemade flour tortillas. The Dr. Pepper sauce is a must-try on any taco! While not a traditional menu item, the crowd loves the green chili cheeseburger as well. The atmosphere isn’t anything special, but the fast-casual spot is a must if you are in East Nashville or looking for some tasty eats.
I’m not a big fan of the downtown Nashville bar strip, but the new 60 Vines on the top floor of the Assembly Food Hall on 5th and Broadway is a wonderful addition to the restaurant scene. As the name suggest, the restaurant offers 60 different wines on tap, rotating and available in various pours. Make sure to get a reservation and request a table by the windows overlooking the Ryman. The outside space is perfect for an Instagram-worthy picture while sipping a cocktail or a custom wine flight. This is a great place to share several appetizers with your girlfriends or enjoy an intimate date-night with your bae (do people still use that word?). I love the bacon wrapped dates, crunchy Brussels, meatballs and pan roasted mussels. If you come for weekend brunch, be sure to indulge in the make-your-own mimosa bar with fresh fruits, juices and fizz. The orange morning bread and fig & prosciutto pizza are both crowd pleasers