Nashville’s trendy Gulch neighborhood didn’t have many attractions beyond Station Inn until 2012 when the Music City’s food scene saw staggering growth. Today, the action-packed Gulch has plenty of places to discover the city’s culinary charms — new and old. In a neighborhood characterized by growth, the dining scene is layered with possibilities for hungry locals and visitors. Here, barbecue and biscuits mingle with sushi and pakoras. While there’s always a new kid on the block, don’t overlook the long-standing spots that have given the Gulch its strong culinary foundation.Read More
Where to Dine in (and Around) the Gulch
Top stops in the action-packed neighborhood
Chauhan Ale & Masala House
Travel just north of the Gulch to find three eateries by famed celebrity chef Maneet Chauhan. This one, bearing her name, marries a traditional approach to Indian dishes with an appreciation for Southern ingredients. Before diving into the desi fare section, make a pit stop at the appetizers for gol guppa shots. The Mockingbird and Tánsuŏ are Chauhan’s sister restaurants in the neighborhood.
Setting the standard for quality sushi in the city, Virago has held court on McGavock Street for nearly 20 years. Even in its newer digs just steps away from the original restaurant, the stylish joint continues to uphold its longstanding reputation. The pork belly bao and crunch truffle roll with panko shrimp, cream cheese, truffle mayo, and unagi are favorites.
This restaurant’s name honors Jonathan Waxman’s late mother, and its kitchen celebrates seasonal ingredients showcased in comfort food. While some items, such as the meatballs, kale salad, and roasted chicken, have rightfully held their place on the menu since the restaurant’s opening, new dishes are introduced each season. Dinner is the main draw, but that said, the Sunday brunch buffet is a tasty way to wind up the week.
New York City restaurateur Anthony Scotto launched his first solo venture in the Gulch with Luogo, a light and airy stretch of space featuring a lemon grove mural and an expansive outdoor patio. The menu features Italian classics with a heavy emphasis on Mediterranean ingredients, such as potato and zucchini chips topped with melted gorgonzola cheese, a grilled margherita pizza, and entrées like pappardelle with duck ragout and grilled sausage.
Biscuit Love Gulch
Here, biscuits come every which way — fried and tossed in sugar, for instance, or filled with fried chicken, cheese, and sausage gravy. Each of the restaurant’s five locations (four in Tennessee and one in Alabama) draws crowds daily because no one can resist the smell of freshly baked biscuits.
Right next to his Nashville location of the Dutch, famed NYC restaurateur Andrew Carmellini brings a restaurant inspired by his early career at two-Michelin-star San Domenico in Emilia-Romagna, Italy. Carne Mare is modeled after an upscale Italian chophouse, specializing in hand-selected cuts of steak and serving plates like spicy crab lettuce cups; octopus carpaccio; Milanese cowboy veal chop; and baked spumoni for two, flambéed tableside. Sit at the bar for a classic steakhouse experience.
One of the city’s more stylish spots to stay, The Thompson Hotel houses two restaurants: one more polished, the other more upbeat. Marsh House is an all-day kitchen specializing in seafood-forward dishes steered by Southern flavors. As you polish off chargrilled (or raw) oysters and shrimp toast followed by seafood mains paired with seasonal cocktails, admire the modern décor with art deco elements. Upstairs, L.A. Jackson, the indoor-outdoor rooftop bar and restaurant, buzzes with energy as drinkers discuss which small plates to share and their plans to come back for weekend brunch.
Emmy Squared - Gulch
Named Eater Nashville’s Restaurant Import of the Year in 2018, Emmy Squared has been celebrated by locals for introducing Detroit-style pizza to the Gulch. It should come as no surprise that the must-orders here are square-shaped pies, but you’ll also want to consider the award-winning Le Big Matt burger.
The Gumbo Bros
This New Orleans-style fast-casual spot slid into the former Bar Otaku in 2021, bringing the Gulch a destination for hurricanes and frozen purple drink, po’boy happy hours, crawfish boils, and of course, gumbo. The po’ boys begin with New Orleans’ own Leidenheimer Bakery French bread with choices of fried shrimp, catfish, roast beef with debris gravy, fried green tomatoes, or some combination of the above. Its gumbos — chicken and sausage, crawfish, seafood, and gumbo z’herbes — claim to undergo a 14-hour cooking process.
A Chicago import, Sunda has gained a reputation locally for its swanky interiors and the menu’s Southeast Asia influence. Two standouts on the long list of hot and cold dishes are the crispy rice topped with wagyu and the tuna roll stuffed with yellowfin tuna, escolar, fried shallots, and spicy mayo. The weekend brunch features traditional Filipino dishes like lumpia and longanisa alongside a towering 32-ounce Bloody Mary topped with a bao bun, handroll, and grilled cheese.
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The 404 Kitchen
What started as a shipping container with only 56 seats, 404 Kitchen was once the hardest reservation to secure in town. Now in a larger space, seats are much easier to come by, but diners can still expect the same well-executed Southern dishes, like pimento cheese on housemade crackers, warm baked cornbread with sorghum butter, and whole smoked fried chicken. Stop by Gertie’s Bar for a whiskey before heading upstairs to experience the culinary creations of chef Matt Bolus.
Peg Leg Porker BBQ
You don’t need to be a barbecue aficionado to understand that Peg Leg Porker is down-right delicious, but if you appreciate the art of barbecue, you’ll admire pitmaster Carey Bringle’s dedication to the craft. Either way, you will be left licking your fingers and asking for another rack of dry-rub ribs. If you are going back for seconds, order the pulled pork sandwich.
St. Vito Focacceria
Inspired by the food baked and served on the streets of Sicily by the nuns of the monastery of San Vito more than 700 years ago, St. Vito is churning out sfincione pizza (served whole and by the slice), meatball hoagies, and porchetta sandwiches thanks to the creativity of Chef Michael Hanna. Located in the former home of Colt’s Chocolates, the sfincione dough is 100% hydrated, naturally leavened, and fermented through a long cold bulk method before it’s mixed with fontina cheese and baked.
Otaku Ramen Gulch
Seeing a ramen bowl-sized gap in the Nashville restaurant scene, Sarah Gavigan debuted Otaku Ramen in East Nashville before it landed permanently in the Gulch. The shoyu tonkotsu with pork confit is heavenly, while the tantanmen is an excellent choice for vegetarians. Those interested in more than noodles should check out the hot chicken buns; the hokkaido milk tea boba is a highlight as well.
Tennessee Brew Works
Yes, Tennessee Brew Works knows its way around some hops, but the kitchen here just about steals the entire show from the beer. Just about all of the components of the menu are made in-house and often incorporate the brewery’s beer. To start, order the charcuterie board with Southern Wit bread before segueing into a Ceasar salad using their 1927 IPA dressing. Round out the meal with their Five Beer burger which incorporates five different brews into different components of the burger.