Known for its architectural charm and several restaurants that helped put Nashville’s dining scene on the map, Germantown consistently draws local diners, hungry travelers, and Nashville Sounds fans catching a Minor League Baseball game at the nearby First Horizon Park. Significant damage from the 2020 tornado couldn’t sink the historic neighborhood just north of downtown, so plenty of newcomers have further enhanced Germantown’s appeal. Get a taste of the best at these essential bars and restaurants.Read More
Where to Eat and Drink in Germantown
Just north of downtown, this neighborhood is one of Nashville’s top dining destinations and ideal for fans headed to a Nashville Sounds baseball game
Germantown has welcomed this Charleston-born chain to the neighborhood with open arms, and for good reason: O-Ku is one of Nashville’s top sushi destinations. Usuzukuri, hamachi nigiri, kung pao cauliflower, tableside Wagyu tobanyaki, and all manner of signature makimono rolls all make a stellar first impression, but you can also relinquish control with a chef’s-choice omakase tasting experience and a sake pairing.
The Nashville iteration of the Optimist, a seafood-focused restaurant from Atlanta-based chef Ford Fry, serves lobster rolls, oysters, ceviche, and an extensive selection of wine in a stylish reclaimed warehouse anchored by an open kitchen and expansive patio bar. Try the halibut en papillote or the whole roasted flounder with pecan meuniere.
Butchertown Hall — which won an Eater Award in 2015 for its gorgeous digs — brings its take on Texas barbecue and a modern approach to butchery to Germantown. Order anything with brisket: oak-roasted brisket tacos, brisket by the pound, brisket-grind double burger. Also, don’t miss the chorizo-crowned queso or top-notch margaritas.
5th & Taylor
Chattanooga restaurateur Daniel Lindley made a name for himself in Nashville with this warehouse-turned-restaurant. The menu is upscale, but not out of reach, with comforting dishes and familiar flavors ranging from bacon-wrapped quail to beer-can chicken and beef-cheek pot roast. When the weather is warm, snag a seat at the outdoor bar to sip on a cucumber gimlet or apricot-laced Old Fashioned.
Chef Vivek Surti’s cozy South Asian American restaurant has returned from a pandemic closure. Thursday through Sunday, your ticket to a seating at 6 or 8:30 p.m. includes a pre-set seasonal menu (and tax and tip) for your group with the option to add beverage pairings like the fruit tea punch that marries traditions from Nashville and India. Tailor’s spring menu includes ragda pattis (sometimes spelled differently, but featuring yellow pea and crunchy sev over potato cutlets), fried cod with curry, and shahi tukda with crumpets and pistachios for dessert.
Rolf and Daughters
A pillar of Germantown, Rolf and Daughters is a neighborhood establishment with national recognition that aptly labels itself as small, fun, focused, and seasonal. The ever-changing menu is anchored by the must-order house-made pasta, a smart approach to seasonal vegetables, sharable proteins, and sourdough with seaweed butter.
312 Pizza Company
Unlike the majority of Nashville’s pizzerias that focus on thin-crust pizza, 312 Pizza Company features Chicago-style deep-dish pies. Hearty versions like the Capone bake in cast-iron pans and come studded with sausage chunks, pepperoni, bacon, and Italian beef, but you can also get lots of options for vegans, vegetarians, and thin-crust lovers, as well as some of Chicago’s famous sandwiches, from a loaded Wrigley Dog to an Italian Beef.
Germantown houses the original location of Steam Boys, a small chain that spotlights Chinese comfort food rooted in traditional flavors and techniques with a vast selection of bao, dumplings, and noodles. For spice lovers, one hot dumpling bowl comes drenched in tingly Sichuan pepper sauce. Definitely order one of the many flavors of boba tea, made fresh daily.
In 2016, nearly a decade after City House opened, owner Tandy Wilson became the first Nashville chef to win a coveted James Beard Award for best chef, Southeast, making this one of Music City’s best-known restaurants. The homey but lively stunner serves contemporary Italian dishes with local flair, most notably a belly ham pizza baked in a wood-fired oven and then topped with a runny egg. This is also a perfect place to try sock sausage (aka sack sausage), a rare regional specialty.
The name Mother’s Ruin is a nod to a mid-18th-century nickname for gin, but the Nashville location of this New York-based bar pours much more than gin and serves killer snacks until late-night, too. Standouts on the cheeky cocktail menu include the Diddler on the Roof (a bourbon-based cider cocktail), a rotating Slushy du Jour, and pickleback shots for $8. Be sure to order the Old Bay-seasoned waffle fries.
With breezy interiors and an emphasis on seasonal cooking, Henrietta Red has become a must-visit destination for out-of-towners as well as a neighborhood hangout. Before sitting down to dinner, snag a seat at the bar for fresh or wood-roasted oysters. And don’t overlook the creative wine list or the brunch menu.
Monell's Dining and Catering
Get your Southern food fix at this all-you-can-eat, family-style institution where fried chicken comes with every meal (as it should). Monell’s is set in a Victorian-style home first built in 1905, so plan to arrive early for photos out front or in the adjacent garden. Locals know to go after hours for the unadvertised midnight country breakfast, available on Saturdays from midnight to 3 a.m.
Germantown Café has been a neighborhood anchor since opening its doors in 2003, even recovering from a two-year closure when its roof was blown off in the devastating 2020 tornado. The cafe provides reliably high-quality service and a mix of old-school menu favorites, like plum pork and French onion soup, as well as a few newer additions to mark its rebirth. Don’t skip dessert.
Emmy Squared introduced Detroit-style pizza to Nashville, which earned the casual Brooklyn-based chain an Eater Award in 2018 for Restaurant Import of the Year. Obviously those square-shaped pies with crispy edges are the highlight here, topped with anything from pepperoni and pickled jalapenos to kimchi and sausage, but you’ll also want to consider a burger.
Geist Bar + Restaurant
Germantown watering hole Geist boasts a chic interior, outdoor Champagne garden, and thoughtful drinks like sherry margaritas and guava daiquiri. Following a post-tornado rebuild and reopening, the bar and restaurant added a movable roof and heaters for year-round outdoor dining. The rustic menu got an upgrade as well and features dishes like grilled salmon in English pea broth for dinner and steak and eggs for brunch.
Von Elrod's Beer Hall & Kitchen
Specialty sausages and Southern barbecue platters follow fried cheese curds and house-made pretzels at Von Elrod’s Beer Hall & Kitchen. Slide into a communal table on the excellent patio for a stein of German or German-inspired pils and a snack before a Nashville Sounds baseball game at First Horizon Park.