Nashville, Tennessee, is chock full of excellent places to eat. It is hard to decide which ones to try, due to the sheer number of them. Often, I venture out to the trendy new eateries, while other times I want food from classic Music City restaurants. You do not have to spend a fortune to have a fabulous meal. Nashville is a foodie’s city, but the restaurants on our list are sure to please every palate…and budget. Here are ten yummy restaurants in Nashville, Tennessee, that I think you will enjoy. All of them deliver great food for a reasonable price.
1. Lana’s Copper Kettle Cafe & Catering
Lana’s Copper Kettle is a bit off of the beaten path, but certainly worth the trek. It has a bit of curb appeal, but the real treasures lie inside
Copper Kettle’s menu is full of Southern-inspired favorites, staples, and side dishes to suit every desire. The ease of its cafeteria-style ordering allows for a quick and easy process, while the restaurant is warm and welcoming.
On my visit, I chose the Cajun Turkey Breast meal with sides of Macaroni & Cheese and Green Bean Casserole. My meal also came with a piece of homemade cornbread. Yum! The green beans were both rich and flavorful, and having turkey outside of a holiday is always a plus in my book. The food quality was top notch.
Copper Kettle’s prices depend on how many side items you choose. In my case, meat plus two sides were $8.50. Pretty affordable, eh? You can mix and match the daily specials or order everyday menu items.
2. The Pharmacy Burger Parlor & Beer Garden
This hipster burger and soda joint is a popular eatery with friendly bartenders and cool burger creations. You will love Pharmacy Burger’s pure cane sugar soda choices, like the Creamsicle soda (orange soda, cream, and vanilla syrup). I applaud Pharmacy Burger for using quality ingredients.
Foodies will go gaga over the Stroganoff Burger with mushroom, Swiss cheese, caramelized onions, and creamy béchamel sauce. It is amazing! Another good choice is the Chili Burger, rich and flavorful. Sandwich side dishes include tater tots, black bean & corn salad, hand-cut fries, or sweet potatoes.
3. Merchant’s, Est. 1892
Merchant’s is our family’s favorite and a must during any trip to Nashville. Merchant’s waiters have been hipsters long before being a hipster was a thing. After you are seated, your server will bring cold bottled water and ranch-flavored popcorn, a welcome treat while you are perusing the menu. A staple at our table is always the Duck Fat Tater Tots; traditional baby potatoes served with a trio of sauces (béarnaise, ketchup, and chipotle mayo). We also suggest the Baked Cheese: ooey-gooey yumminess with a side of sweet tomatoes and warm tortilla chips.
I love the convenience, impeccable service, stellar food choices, and upscale vibe at Merchants. While the prices are steep, it is worth the splurge. My new favorite dish is their Strawberry Salad: assorted greens tossed with blackened salmon, goat cheese, red onions, spiced pecans, mixed with a strawberry vinaigrette. It is delicious! Warning: this will probably become one of your favorite restaurants in Nashville, too.
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4. Chago’s Cantina
Chago’s Cantina is a Mexican and Pan-Latin dining spot in the Bellmont/Hillsboro Village neighborhood. It features both indoor and outdoor dining, making it a favorite place for locals. Chago’s Cantina is a beautiful restaurant without being pretentious. The menu is exciting and features a variety of entrees and a la carte choices. I recommend Chago’s tortilla chips, Queso Dip, and salsa for starters and any of their Street Tacos with rice and black or red beans for dinner.
My favorite thing at Chago’s Cantina is the Chile Relleno: a large poblano pepper stuffed with rice, black beans, and cheese, then heavily drizzled with poblano cream. Holy smokes, this is some good eating! Plus, they have one of the best vegetarian menus I have seen in Nashville. I thought that the tiny succulents on each table were a thoughtful and sweet touch. Chago’s is a Margarita specialty bar.
5. Pancake Pantry
The iconic Pancake Pantry has been a favorite for over 50 years now and is easily one of the yummy restaurants in Nashville that you can’t miss. It is one of the most popular restaurants in Nashville. The sight of the line wrapped out the door and around the corner is enough to make me cringe, but it is worth the wait. Local artwork hangs on the walls, and you may catch sight of a country music star.
Pancake Pantry’s mom and pop food keep people coming back time and time again. My choice for breakfast is the savory Sante Fe Cornmeal Pancakes: three stone-ground cornmeal pancakes cooked with cheddar cheese, bacon, and roasted green chilies, topped with warm maple syrup, Picante sauce, and sour cream. The flavor combination is both brilliant and unique.
Please note: Parking behind the Pancake Pantry is free, but you must obtain and place a receipt on your dashboard. Press option one from the pay machine for two hours of free parking.
6. MAFIAoZA’S Pizzeria & Neighborhood Pub
MAFIAoZA’S Pizzeria & Neighborhood Pub is a superb choice for Northern Italian food and pizza. This tastefully decorated and cozy restaurant offers delicious housemade pasta meals at affordable prices. The restaurant is highly romantic in an exposed brick setting, but not overly done so that families will still feel right at home here. MAFIAoZA’S bread is dense and chewy, paired with a side of tangy marinara sauce for dipping.
The Cugine, a chicken parmigiana meal, is fantastically drenched in creamy alfredo instead of the traditional red sauce. How about with Ol’ Blue Eyes, a portion of classic spaghetti and meatballs option? My pick is Piccoli Fantasmi with sacchettini “little purses” pasta stuffed with ricotta cheese and fresh basil. If those options don’t grab you, pizza is always an alternative offering. The menu at MAFIAoZA’S Pizzeria & Neighborhood Pub’s menu uses mobster-inspired names for their pizza and pasta dishes. Patio seating is available, too.
7. Josephine on 12th
Located in the trendy 12 South area, Josephine on 12th is an eatery that serves American farmhouse cuisine. Valet parking is available for a fee (a blessing in an area with limited parking). While the atmosphere is relaxed, stylish decor is one to be admired.
Start your meal with Peach Tartine. Creamy goat cheese, arugula, pecans, grilled peaches, and radish slices, drizzled with a thick balsamic, sit atop the toothsome bread. The multiple levels of married flavors in each bite made this dish sublime! Kudos to Chef Andrew Little for creating this divine dish. Entree selections like the Chicken and Biscuit (two pieces of fried chicken, biscuit, and fries) and Quiche are winning choices. The Quiche has creamy goat cheese, thyme, and comes with fries and a side salad. The prices are steep, but the food is worth it.
8. The Flying Saucer
Connected to the stately Union Station Hotel is the Flying Saucer Draught Emporium. This “chain taproom” features hundreds of collector saucers (plates) and outer space decorations.
Have the Saucer Dipster sandwich: shaved roast beef on a tasty roll with melted Swiss cheese. The stout au jus (dipping juice) is rich and perfect for dipping the billowy bread in. You must order the Loaded Rocket Tots: golden brown jalapeño bites dotted with goat cheese, crispy bacon, green onions, and topped with a fried egg. They are amazing! The Flying Saucer also serves German-inspired dishes. Check out the large selection of craft beers.
Since opening in 2015, the 12 South neighborhood’s bartaco restaurant is one of Nashville’s favorites. Buzzfeed claims they have one of the best tacos in America. Bartaco’s upscale street food menu and coastal vibe add to the ambiance of this hot spot. The salsa is incredibly flavorful, and the chunky guacamole is lip-smacking good. Both of these come served with bartaco’s tortilla chips; big, fat, freshly fried ones that do not crumble when dipped into the guacamole.
Bartaco’s Tuna Tatako (served on a lettuce leaf, no taco shells), Cauliflower Tacos, and Chicken Quesadilla are all excellent choices. Pair any of these with a side order of tasty plantains or grilled corn on the cob with lime, cayenne, and cojita cheese. Your server may even offer to remove the corn from the cob for you! It is all so tasty. Margaritas at bartaco are pricey, but their cheaper food prices make up for it. Who knows? You may even see country music royalty here.
10. Loveless Cafe
The Loveless Cafe is a bit of a trek from all the downtown Nashville attractions, and the lines are horrendous. With all that being said, it is still (65 years later) Nashville’s #1 iconic eatery with freaking fantastic food and a meal you have to experience.
From the mouth-watering homemade biscuits to the classic breakfast favorites we all know and love, you are going to leave here fully satisfied. If you are traveling with a group, consider having the family-style breakfast, which is enough for four guests easily. It comes with fresh fruit, bacon, sausage, home fries, sausage gravy, scrambled eggs, biscuits, and preserves. You can pay a bit more per person to add country ham, hash brown casserole, and stone-ground grits to your meal.
If you are at Loveless Cafe for lunch or supper, consider trying one of the daily specials such as Hot Chicken, Watermelon Ribs, or Smoked Beef Brisket. Save room for the honkin’ big homemade pies or cobbler a la mode.
Nashville, So Many Culinary Gems
With so many terrific eateries in Nashville to choose from, I hope this will narrow it down for you and that these ten yummy Nashville restaurants will please your palate. What restaurant do you recommend in Music City?