Superior burger at Butcher and Bee

Foodie guide to Nashville: where locals eat and drink

It might be known as Music City but Tennessee’s capital has other strings to its bow, including a food scene big on spicy fried chicken, scallop crudo and caramel clusters

Looking for restaurants in Nashville? Want to know where to eat the in the Tennessee city? Local food writer Jennifer Justus shares her insider tips for the best restaurants in Nashville, along with where to find the best fried chicken, seafood and cocktails. 

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Best fried chicken in Nashville – Bolton’s Spicy Chicken & Fish

Some Nashville hot chicken joints are as famous as the town’s country stars, and deservedly so. But Bolton’s Spicy Chicken & Fish is a more laid-back locals’ favourite. Order a plate of cayenne-spiced fried chicken on white bread or a slab of hot fish scattered with mustard, onion and pickles.


Best burgers in Nashville – Butcher & Bee

As well as superior burgers and sandwiches (fried avo, trout melt, grilled cauli with harissa) and a bounty of locally grown ingredients, Butcher & Bee is also known for its mezze dishes – try the turnip cacio e pepe, or the grilled radish with green tahini and shallot butter.

Superior burger at Butcher and Bee
Superior burger at Butcher and Bee

Best food market in Nashville – Azadi International Food Market

Surprising but true: Nashville is home to the largest Kurdish population in the United States. Drive down Nolesville Pike and you’ll find markets like Azadi International Food Market brimming with dates, lentils and pistachios, and the scent of freshly baked flatbreads wafting from their in-store bakeries. 391 Elysian Fields Ct (00 1 615 315 0940)


Best European cooking in Nashville – Kuchnia & Keller

It’s apt that Kuchnia & Keller is in Germantown, an area of the city settled by German immigrants. Chef-owner Aaron Clemins uses Tennessee ingredients to pay homage to his German and Polish heritage with comforting dishes such as cabbage paprikash and beef goulash with rye spätzle.

beef goulash with rye spätzle at Kuchina and Keller
Beef goulash with rye spätzle at Kuchina and Keller

Best cocktails in Nashville – Black Rabbit

Velvet, leather and exposed brickwork tip a hat to neighbouring Printers Alley, and its associations with printing presses, gambling and drinking. Straddling the line between bar and restaurant, Black Rabbit serves craft cocktails and small plates including rabbit rolls – buns stuffed with rabbit terrine, mustard and poppy seeds.


Best cosy restaurant in Nashville – Treehouse

A former home in East Nashville, Treehouse has a warm, dinner-party vibe, with a fairy-light-strewn bar and rustic seating. Chef Jason Zygmont turns out Insta-worthy dishes: think scallop crudo in a dainty moat of spiced pork broth with jerusalem artichokes and nasturtiums.

Downtown Nashville
Downtown Nashville

Best chocolate shop in Nashville – Goo Goo Cluster

Howell Campbell created the iconic Goo Goo Cluster – a nougat, caramel, peanut and chocolate cluster – in 1912. At the Goo Goo Cluster shop you can buy various varieties, or make your own in one of the store’s chocolate classes.

Goo Goo Cluster shop
Goo Goo Cluster shop

Best bakery in Nashville – Dozen Bakery

What began life as a pop-up has blossomed into a bricks-and-mortar bakery and café, the Dozen Bakery. Fill up on buttery croissants, madeleines and scones, or grab a baguette and a barley salad, zesty with lime and the crunch of greens and crushed peanuts.


Best seafood in Nashville – Henrietta Red

Peek in the kitchen at hot new dining spot Henrietta Red and you’ll find chef Julia Sullivan and her mostly female team calmly turning out on-point plates of wood-roasted oysters, or trout with white beans, rocket and dill vinaigrette, to a buzzy crowd.


Best distillery in Nashville – Green Brier Distillery

Think Tennessee whiskey and Jack Daniel’s probably comes to mind. But before Prohibition, Green Brier Distillery sold more of the hard stuff than Jack. Brothers Charles and Andy Nelson revived the family business in 2009 and tell their family’s American Dream story over tastings on their distillery tours.

Nashville

HOW TO GET TO NASHVILLE

British Airways launches direct flights from Heathrow to Nashville in May 2018. Return fares will start from £641 (ba.com).


WHERE TO STAY IN NASHVILLE

Double rooms at the sleek Noelle hotel cost from $232 per night, room only (noelle-nashville.com). More info: visitmusiccity.com


TRUST OLIVE

Nashville-based writer Jennifer Justus is the author of Nashville Eats – a collection of stories and recipes from Music City. She also leads tours for Walk Eat Nashville (jenniferjustuswrites.com).


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Photographs by Sam Angel, Christen Clemins, Getty