When people think of going out in downtown Nashville, they usually envision Broadway’s raucous pedal taverns, honky-tonks, and rooftops rather than high-quality food at intriguing restaurants. But the influx of visitors in recent years has helped draw excellent new options to augment some existing charmers. Dining out in the city center has never been better, whether you want Italian fine dining or comforting fried bologna sandwich. Here are downtown Nashville’s top restaurants.Read More
15 Great Places to Dine Around Downtown Nashville
The blocks surrounding Broadway offer everything from Italian fine dining to comforting fried bologna sandwiches
The Farm House chef-owner Trey Cioccia now has two downtown restaurants under his belt with the addition of this cozy Printer’s Alley cocktail den — and both have solid happy hours. Black Rabbit is an ode to a bygone era, with both decor and menu reflecting that aesthetic. Standouts range from the signature rabbit rolls to a grilled Caesar to a smoked rib-eye with mustard-seed chimichurri.
Also featured in:
Skull's Rainbow Room
The original Skull’s Rainbow Room from the 1940s, a legendary hangout and performance venue, shuttered in 1999. The Printers Alley icon reopened in 2015 with nightly live jazz, late-night weekend burlesque, and many of the vintage touches of the original. The revamped dinner menu features luscious lobster bisque, prime rib empanadas, and an excellent garlic honey-glazed pork chop.
Rae's Sandwich Shoppe
A line is a common occurrence at this longstanding deli on Union, open only for lunch most weekdays. Find standout versions of hot sandwiches like Cubans, Monte Cristos, and hot brown handhelds all served on New Orleans-style French bread alongside original creations, soups, and salads.
Also featured in:
Walk up to the Daddy’s Dogs late-night window in historic Printers Alley to try Nashville’s top dogs during a night out. Choose classics like the New York- or Chicago-style dog or get over-the-top originals like the Big Daddy topped with cream cheese, bacon, pickle, grilled onion, jalapeño, and Daddy’s secret sauce.
Also featured in:
D’Andrews Bakery & Cafe
Nashville native David Andrews moved back from NYC in 2016 and opened his first shop downtown. At D’Andrews, you can grab an espresso, nitro cold brew, or latte with homemade syrups to go with decadent rotating pastries including double-butter croissants, blueberry corn muffins, and brioche pecan cinnamon buns. The breakfast and lunch cafe also makes an enticing assortment of salads, soups, and sandwiches, including a BLT, a pimento grilled cheese, and egg sandwiches, all on house focaccia.
Robert's Western World
Before Broadway’s streetscape was overtaken by three-story mega-bars named after modern country music stars, Robert’s Western World has consistently offered old-school country music and rockabilly for those seeking a true Nashville honky-tonk experience. And while this is undoubtedly more bar than restaurant, Robert’s $6 Recession Special — a fried bologna sandwich with an icy PBR and Moon Pie for dessert — is an iconic Music City meal.
Fifth + Broadway
Massive mixed-use development Fifth + Broadway added dozens of excellent dining options for those visiting the popular honky-tonk strip. Standalone highlights include locally grown chains Hattie B’s Hot Chicken and Slim & Husky’s (the pizzeria made history as the first-ever Black-owned restaurant to open on Broadway) plus the wine-soaked Sixty Vines and the glamorous Twelve Thirty Club, which offers live music and food across several floors. The Assembly Food Hall here also offers a staggering variety of stalls and seating areas across multiple levels, including local favorites like Thai Esane, Saffron the Indian Kitchen, Steam Boys, Donut Distillery, and Prince’s Hot Chicken — creator of the iconic Nashville hot chicken.
The Southern Steak & Oyster
Once upon a time, this was one of the only places in town with an oyster bar. Today, it still remains a local and tourist favorite for its refined Southern dining experience and top-notch street-level patio — even as other oyster bars have cropped up around town. Chase the briny bivalves with thoughtfully prepared traditional dishes like fish and grits, fried chicken with collards and country ham gravy, and steak blue cheese biscuits.
Revered chef Deb Paquette has a knack for bold flavor, which Etch showcases charmingly in unexpected dishes like octopus and shrimp bruschetta and Moroccan bastilla with saffron eggplant, vegan ricotta harissa carrot ribbons, and almond fennel orange pesto. Perhaps the most popular dish is the roasted cauliflower, available at lunch and dinner with truffled pea puree, salted almonds, feta crema, and red bell pepper sauce. Here, long-time pastry chef Megan Williams turns out meal-closing gems like a pear hazelnut tart on shortbread crust and various housemade ice creams.
Martin's Bar-B-Que Joint
Martin’s is an easy place to recommend to folks with a hankering for Southern barbecue. Pitmaster Pat Martin is keeping the West Tennessee tradition of whole-hog barbecue alive and well, growing his Nolensville-based restaurant into a chain spread across several states. The downtown Nashville location has a mammoth beer garden in the back, providing tons of seating, games, and a stage for live music. Don’t miss Martin’s quintessential pulled-pork barbecue sandwich; other hits include wings, wet or dry ribs, brisket sandwiches, barbecue bologna sandwiches, and Redneck Tacos on cornbread hoecakes.
Nashville scored big when James Beard Award-winning chef Tony Mantuano and wine expert Cathy Mantuano came to town. The powerhouse couple brought a fine dining Italian menu to the Joseph hotel along with sumptuous wines, standout service, and a welcoming atmosphere. Try a chef’s tasting menu — there’s even a rare vegetarian version — or order any of the pasta options a la carte and save room for jaw-dropping desserts from executive pastry chef Noelle Marchetti.
Live jazz is one of the main draws at this casual fine dining destination in the downtown Marriott Courtyard. But the oysters, mushroom risotto, and prime rib know how to hold their own. The sleek Art Deco-ish dining room gussied up in black and gold also serves a stellar duck confit empanada, peach bacon glazed pork chop, and New Zealand rack of lamb with chamomile gastrique.
Joe Muer Seafood - Nashville
Joe Muer brings fresh, sustainably sourced seafood to downtown Nashville, marking this Detroit-based newcomer’s first venture outside of Michigan (where it’s been a staple since the 1920s). You’ll find a raw bar with shrimp the size of your fists and mains like lobster pot pie, ginger-seared Hawaiian yellowfin tuna, and king crab legs on the daily menu. But make plans to visit for “golden hour” weekdays from 4 to 6 p.m. — just as the setting sun pours into the ritzy restaurant, Joe Muer offers a handful of discounted snacks and drinks in the bar area only.
Mimo Restaurant and Bar
Southern Italian cuisine and techniques are on display at this bright, airy expanse of the Four Seasons lobby downtown. Potted palms and trees lead the way to a stark open kitchen, where you can watch the staff carefully execute Michelin-starred chef Aniello Turco’s beef carpaccio, clam risotto, and charred branzino. Don’t forget an order of Mimo’s house-made focaccia bread with olive oil-whipped butter — you’ll want it for sopping up the intricate sauces on your plates.
Situated a few blocks south of Broadway in a historic house built in 1879, Husk has been dishing up rustic Southern fare with an emphasis on sourcing ingredients only found in the South. Chef Ben Norton’s menu utilizes in-house pickling and garden-fresh herbs and produce to deliver hearty standouts like shrimp and grits, country ham, pimento cheese, cheddar biscuits, and catfish that bring back diners time and again.