The Best Local Restaurants in Nashville

by Michael Stern

Avoid the tourist traps and overly-trendy spots, and opt for fantastic meals in these quintessential Nashville eateries that will be the highlight of any visit. Don’t be discouraged by the line of customers waiting to get in the Pancake Pantry. It moves fast, and forking into sweet potato pancakes with ginger cream syrup makes the wait worthwhile. Lunch at Arnold’s Country Kitchen is a taste of mid-south meat-and-three at its finest; a counter stool at the Elliston Place Soda Shop is a blast from the past (try the banana pudding!). If you are a spicy food lover, you can’t miss Nashville’s famous Hot Chicken, which was invented at Prince’s.  A short trip to the edge of town takes you fried chicken and country ham at the red-checked tables of the Loveless Cafe; and for a nightcap (and a superb cheeseburger) to round out the day, stop into Vanderbilt students’ favorite hangout, Rotier’s.



Pancake Pantry

Best pancakes in Nashville, Tennessee: pancakes of sweet potato with cinnamon cream; Caribbean buttermilk; wild blueberry; Swiss chocolate ... and so much more.


Arnold’s Country Kitchen

Arnold's is one of the best restaurants in Nashville, Tennessee, for a meat and 3 meal, from fried chicken and veggies to chocolate pie and banana pudding.


Elliston Place Soda Shop

A soda shop and meat-and-three lunch room, Nashville's Elliston Place serves Southern fare from country ham & biscuits to fried chicken and lemon icebox pie.


Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack

Nashville hot chicken was created at Prince's, which still serves the best. Even mild is hot. Hot is thermonuclear!

Must Eats

Loveless Cafe

Nashville's legendary country-style cafe got famous for its fried chicken, biscuits, and preserves, but now The Loveless Cafe has a broad downhome menu.



Rotier’s burgers, served on French bread, are monumental, but don't ignore excellent plate lunch at this beloved Nashville institution.