One of my favorite parts of vacation is going to local restaurants and trying some of the authentic, local cuisine. Of course, when you try new things, you find some good and you find some that are not-so-good. So, if you are looking for good food, here are some of the best places to eat in Nashville.
This post contains sponsored content from Visit Music City. Please know that all opinions are mine alone and are honestly conveyed.
Last year, my family went on a walking food tour of Chicago when we vacationed there over spring break. And, I have to say, we absolutely LOVED it! So, we decided to do a walking food tour of Nashville and taste all of the local favorites! I am convinced that a food tour is the best way to learn a bit of history of the city that you are visiting, as well as, taste the iconic local cuisine!
If you do an internet search, you will find a lot of walking food tours of Nashville. We went with the Gray Line of Tennessee Taste of Nashville Walking Food Tour.
Taste of Nashville Walking Food Tour
This tour was a walking tour, but everything was very close, so we didn’t feel like we did that much walking. I think they told us that the tour was about a mile in total. We had our three kids with us, ages 14, 11, and 8, and they all enjoyed getting to taste the foods as well. I have to say, this food tour really gave us a lot of food! Even my ever-hungry 14-year-old got full!
Hard Rock Café
The tour starts off at the iconic Hard Rock café with a slider. But this slider has a bit of a Tennessee flare because it is topped with a crispy onion ring, bacon, and a bourbon barbecue sauce. Delicious!
Some people credit the revitalization of lower Broadway to Jack Cawthon—known as the Bar-B-Que King of Nashville—who opening his restaurant, Jack’s Bar-B-Que, in 1989. He went from starting out as a Nashville caterer in 1976 to restauranteur in 1989 and is still active in the business today. And if you stop by and taste the food, you will understand why it is legendary! They have several signature barbecue sauces, so there is something for everyone’s pallet. The food is delicious and reasonably priced. If you are looking for good bar-b-que, a stop by Jack’s is a must!
Savannah’s Candy Kitchen
On the food tour, we had a quick stop by Savannah’s Candy Kitchen, where we got to sample a bit of a fresh made pecan praline. Very good, but very rich… You only need a bit to cure your sweet tooth! This candy store also offers several bulk candies, and my kids found the biggest dum dums I’ve ever seen!
Merchant’s Restaurant and Grill
The Merchant’s Restaurant and Grill was the stop approximately mid-way through the tour. So, we actually got to sit for a few extra minutes here as our guide told us some of the history of the Merchant and also a bit about Nashville. We saw the room that Johnny Cash stayed in back in the day, when the attached building next door was an inn, and we heard the story behind the name, “Merchants.” The Merchants started out as a pharmacy, then became an affordable hotel option for the traveling merchants that would come into Nashville, thus giving the establishment its current name. The opening of the current upscale Merchants Restaurant in the late 80’s was also part of the revitalization of lower Broadway.
At this stop on the tour, we were able to try three signature dishes:
Homemade Potato Chips with warm Pimento Cheese Dip. I am a fan of pimento cheese and typically eat it cold, but having it in this warm dip was so delicious!
Tater Tots fried in Duck Fat—so they are extra crispy!
And a Southern-Style Deviled Egg. This deviled egg has ham pureed in with the yolk filling and it is served on a pickle. I’ve never had a deviled egg like this before… and it was so good!
Goo Goo Shop
I’ve heard of Goo Goo Clusters, but never tried one until now—and boy, have I been missing out! No joke, my husband and I have found our new favorite candy bar! The original Goo Goo Cluster, made with a roundish mound of caramel, marshmallow nougat, fresh roasted peanuts and real milk chocolate is a delicious, rich combination of pretty much everything sweet that I love!
Perhaps the most interesting fun fact that we heard at this stop was that at the beginning of it creation, no one knew what to actually name the Goo Goo Cluster. The stories differ a bit, but the idea is that it is called a Goo Goo Cluster because they are so good, people will ask for them from birth!
Acme Feed and Seed
Don’t let the name food you, Acme Feed and Seed is not a farm supply store, but rather, an eclectic, farm-inspired restaurant with good homecookin’! Here, we got to try another iconic Nashville food—spicy chicken! I was a bit hesitant to try “spicy” chicken, but I found the heat to not be overbearing, and in fact, I really liked it. It had just the right amount of kick for me to be able to enjoy it without my mouth being on fire!
You might also want to check out some of the other great sightseeing tours that the Gray Line of Tennessee offers, including:
- General Jackson Showboat Tour
- Nighttime Trolley Tour
- Grand Ole Opry (behind the scenes)
- Homes of the Stars
- City Tour
- Honky Tonk Tours
- Country Music Hall of Fame + RCA Studio
- Historic Mansions and Gardens Tour
- Historic Tennessee Tour
This. Is. A. Must. I literally don’t have words to describe how much I loved this place. I really wish there were a Biscuit Love near where I live. If there is a line out the door (and there probably will be…) don’t let that stop you. They give you menus to look at while you are in line, then you order, they seat you, and your food is served to you very shortly after you are seated. So, for as busy as they are, the process goes pretty quickly.
Everything we had was soooo delicious. My husband and I split our breakfasts so we could each have some sweet and savory.
My husband got the Southern Benny—an open-faced buttermilk biscuit topped with shaved country ham, and 2 over easy eggs (which we asked to be scrambled instead), and topped with sausage gravy.
I got the Lily—buttermilk biscuit French toast, topped with lemon mascarpone, blueberry compote, and topped with a house syrup. And I also got a side of cheese grits, because well, I’m visiting the south and I couldn’t help myself!
You guys…. If I’ve ever had a meal that had me wanting to pick the plate up and lick it, it was this one! But just in case you are wondering, I restrained myself.
I didn’t take a picture of it, but I got the fruit tea… which was delicious! And you can get free refills on the tea… so you can take one to-go!
And, the kid’s meals were good value for only $6.99.
We went to the Biscuit Love in the Gulch, one of three Nashville locations. While you are in the Gulch, you may want to also stop for an Instagram photo op in front of the iconic wings…
The Solario Cantina is located in the Gaylord Opryland Hotel, and you don’t have to be a registered guest at the hotel to dine here. We found this restaurant as we were walking through the hotel and decided to stop in for a mid-afternoon bite to eat. This was some of the best Mexican food we’ve ever had and it was reasonably priced.
We tried a few different types of tacos: barbacoa, carnitas, and chicken, as well as some chips and queso.
And my son ordered a Mexican hot dog, also called a bolillo, which was wrapped in bacon and topped with mustard, cheese, cilantro, and a chile on the side!
Amazon Rainforest Café
The Rainforest Café is a fun restaurant to eat at! If you’ve never been to one, the entire restaurant looks like an Amazon Rainforest. And every 15 minutes or so, some of the animals in the rainforest start to move and make noise. It really is a neat experience!
The menu is American cuisine. I had the shrimp dinner with three types of shrimp: coconut shrimp, bacon-wrapped shrimp, and shrimp scampi.
Enjoy some delicious food on your trip to Nashville!
Any restaurants that I missed? What is your favorite place to eat in Nashville?