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Dumpling den Locust is a crowd favorite among local food experts
Delia Jo Ramsey/Eater Nashville

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Nashville Food Experts Share Their Go-To Restaurants in 2021

These consistent restaurants hit just right

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Welcome to the Year in Eater 2021 an annual tradition that looks back at the highs, lows, and in-betweens of the Nashville restaurant scene. Today, a few Nashville food writers, editors, and chefs share their most frequented restaurants of the year.

What was on your regular Nashville restaurant rotation in 2021?

Ellen Fort, senior editor and food writer at Saveur Magazine, former editor of Eater SF: The restaurant I returned to most was, hands down, Locust. I never tired of their dumplings, oysters, or steak tartare, and each visit brought some new delight, like periwinkle whelks or Belon oysters (hands down the craziest mollusk I ate this year, it’s like licking a delicious, salty battery). The small crew over there is the absolute best and I, for one, very much enjoy the unpredictable, loud-ass music. Nashville is lucky to have Trevor Moran and we must keep him here at all costs.

Nancy Vienneau, food journalist, Nashville Lifestyles Magazine: Love the pizzas at Smith & Lentz — that became one of our new regular take-outs.

Chris Chamberlain, food writer at Nashville Scene, Sounds Like Nashville, and other publications: Arnold’s on Mondays for fried chicken, Redheaded Stranger when I’m on the far side of the river, Martin’s before any event downtown, Thai Esane at 5th + Broad when I’m looking for something quick and delicious while running errands downtown, my kitchen table for 95% of all other meals.

Jackie Gutierrez-Jones, food and beverage writer at Eater Nashville, Nashville Lifestyles, Time Out, Lonely Planet: Diskin Cidery is probably sick of me at this point. I’m there for brunch and pre-dinner bites with the fam way more often than I care to admit. The food is top-notch, the service and entertainment (live music, drag brunch, games...) are on point, and their rotating cider flavors keep me hooked.

Delia Jo Ramsey, Eater Nashville editor: I mainly dine out only for dinner, and in 2021 Locust, Arnold’s After Dark, and Yolan were all regulars on the rotation. In daylight hours, on weekdays you can’t go wrong with a slice of pepperoni and an over-the-top gladiator from Joey’s House of Pizza, and if I’m being really real, I’ve survived the last 3.5 grief-stricken years via protein-loaded takeout smoothies, smoothie bowls, and juice shots from any and all locations of E+Rose on multiple days of the week.

Andy Little, executive chef at Josephine and James Beard semi-finalist: Bastion and Folk


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