15 Neighborhood Restaurants in Nashville That Are Local Go-Tos

A spread at Geist | Credit: Kenzie Maroney

Any Nashvillian, native or transplant, knows that this city has no shortage of restaurant choices these days. Big names in the culinary world, nationwide chains, and everything in between have sought to stake a claim to the ever-expanding restaurant scene in Music City.

But nestled among the newcomers is a group of neighborhood favorites — the places that are consistently delicious, authentic to the city, and beloved by locals. These are the spots that keep diners coming back again and again (or maybe lately, keep them ordering takeout on the reg), and the ones that have comforted locals through the last year’s tragedies, from the tornado to the explosion.

They’re the ones that contribute to what Nashville is. These are Nashville’s local favorite restaurants.

Anatolia Turkish Restaurant (Lion’s Head)

Tucked into an unassuming strip mall, Anatolia is a hidden oasis of Turkish food. For first-time diners, try the comforting lamb stew, full of veggies and cubed lamb, baked in a stone oven, and served with rice pilaf. Don’t miss the creamy housemade hummus and fluffy pita, or Ezme, a dip of roasted bell peppers crushed with tomatoes, cucumber, garlic, parsley, onions, walnuts, and spices with a drizzle of Turkish olive oil. A true neighborhood gem, Anatolia delivers the flavors of the Mediterranean in every bite.

Dining at the restaurant: Indoor dining is available for lunch and dinner.

Takeout: Anatolia is open for takeout and delivery.

Bella Napoli (Edge Hill)

For those looking to expand their pizza palate beyond the average slice joint, Bella Napoli serves up Neapolitan-style pies made with high-quality ingredients ordered straight from Italy. Chef and owner Paolo Tramontano, former executive chef of another Nashville favorite, Valentino’s, settled in Edgehill Village to bring the flavors of his homeland to Nashville. The wood-fueled brick oven churns out pizzas in minutes thanks to the 900-degree heat, and they’re best eaten with a glass of one of the many Italian wines on the list. For pasta lovers, try the oven-baked lasagna, or the gnocchi alla Siciliana, a hearty dish of handmade potato dumplings baked with eggplant, fresh mozzarella, and parmigiano tossed in tomato sauce.

Dining at the restaurant: Indoor dining and outdoor dining in a charming courtyard is available.

Takeout: Bella Napoli is open for takeout and delivery.

615Chutney (East Nashville)

Credit: 615Chutney

What started as a food truck serving South Indian street food has now settled into a brick-and-mortar spot in East Nashville. Though the food truck still roams through the city, the owners answered the call for a great Indian restaurant on the east side of town; they’re serving up the classics like tikka masala and vindaloo, but accented with many less common finds such as dosa (savory filled crepes) and uthappam (pancakes made of rice and lentils, and topped with a variety of flavors). 

Dining at the restaurant: Indoor dining is open, as well as a spacious patio with a fire pit.

Takeout: 615 Chutney is open for takeout and delivery, as well as a special curbside option (a “carhop” will bring a tray that attaches to your window right to your car)

Jimmy Kelly’s (Midtown)

If you know, you know: Jimmy Kelly’s has been a Nashville mainstay for more than 80 years. Started in 1934, generations of Nashvillians have become regulars of Kelly’s, renowned for great steaks and generous whiskey pours. Situated in a stately Southern mansion, diners can expect a clubby, cozy setting, with Southern staples such as shrimp remoulade, barbecue prawns, and fried oysters in addition to a variety of steakhouse classics.

Dining at the restaurant: Indoor dining is available for dinner.

Takeout: In-person dining only. 

Riddim N’ Spice 

After the success of their food truck, brother duo Rashean Conawa and chef Kamal Kalokoh teamed up to open this colorful Carribean spot, serving dishes inspired by flavors from Cuba all the way to Trinidad and Tobago. The limited quarantine menu certainly doesn’t feel that way — the Island bowl is a customizable bowl with an array of proteins and toppings, such as “sweet n’ tangy” peppers and Cuban black beans. For spice lovers, the smoked jerk chicken might be the play, but don’t sleep on the barbecue jerk jackfruit; even meat eaters are fans of this plant-based delight.

Dining at the restaurant: Indoor dining is available.

Takeout: Takeout and delivery are available.

The Treehouse (East Nashville)

The Treehouse’s whimsy and rustic charm is a fun departure from the common Nashville restaurant aesthetic of subway tiles and industrial finishes. Chef Richard Jones keeps things playful and interesting with a childhood-inspired menu of dishes such as the shake n’ bake pork chop and a PB&J hand pie with toasted peanut rubble, peanut butter mousse, grape jelly, and creamline milk. But there are also plenty of sophisticated dishes that show off his culinary chops, from beef tartare to roast chicken. The spacious heated patio is an excellent pandemic hang out spot, especially for happy hour, featuring an array of tasty snacks and cocktails for killer prices.

Dining at the restaurant: Indoor and outdoor patio dining with heaters and a fire pit.

Takeout: Takeout and delivery is available.

The Yellow Porch (Berry Hill)

For over 20 years, The Yellow Porch has been an anchor of the casual fine dining scene in Nashville, serving lunch and dinner in its charming Berry Hill location. The lunchtime menu is perfect for power lunching over a grilled salmon salad or a grass-fed burger; dinner transitions to more sophisticated fare, including an southern-inspired sweet tea brined pork chop with jalapeno mac and cheese, roasted cauliflower, North Carolina barbecue glaze, and peach chutney. It’s truly a something-for-everyone spot, one that has kept regulars lining up for years.

Dining at the restaurant: Indoor dining is available as well as a small garden patio. 

Takeout: Takeout, delivery, and family-style takeaway option available.

Jasper’s (Midtown)

Named after her Jack Russell Terrier, chef and owner Deb Paquette’s newest restaurant is designed to be a casual, friendly spot to grab a bite with friends and family. Like her beloved pup, playfulness and fun is the name of the game here, and so the space is equipped with shuffleboard, TVs, and even a game room for private events. The menu has a focus on shareables, but with Paquette’s unique culinary style, featuring masa dog enchiladas with all-beef corn dogs smothered in mole sauce, jack cheese, verde sour cream, green onions, and queso fresco, or the tempura-battered “caulipoppers” with pea pesto, feta cream, and red bell essence. Large plates are offered for the hungrier folks in your group, such as flatbreads, sandwiches, and entrees like a corn-crusted catfish filet. On the way out, score a snack for later from the housemade grab-and-go market and peruse the gifts and snacks from local purveyors.

Dining at the restaurant: Indoor dining available.

Takeout: Takeout and delivery available; grab-n-go market has sandwiches, salads, and treats ready to take. 

Credit: Jasper’s

Giovanni’s West (Belle Meade)

Hidden on the cusp of Belle Meade is a real neighborhood gem, far away from Nashville’s trendy downtown food scene. In 2008, chef Giovanni Pinato moved Giovanni’s from its Midtown Manhattan home to Nashville, and it has been beloved ever since for its Northern Italian food and friendly atmosphere. Standouts include fresh ravioli made daily, an ever-changing risotto of the day, and fresh seafood flown in from Greece and Portugal.

Dining at the restaurant: Indoor dining for dinner is available.

Takeout: Takeout and delivery are available. 

Park Cafe (Sylvan Park)

Today, Sylvan Park is a trendy neighborhood boasting a variety of shops and restaurants. But before the boom, there was Park Cafe, a chic but casual American bistro, serving seasonal dishes sourced from local farms and producers before it was cool. Happy hour is an ideal time to share some small plates, such as chorizo-stuffed dates and mushroom pizza. For dinner, choose from dishes such as the crowd-favorite shrimp and grits or the Asian-inspired salmon with Sichuan green beans, chile plum sauce, coconut rice, wontons, and grilled lime.

Dining at the restaurant: Indoor dining and outdoor dining on a covered, heated patio is available.

Takeout: Takeout and delivery are available.

Geist (Germantown)

When 2020 hands you tornadoes and the coronavirus, you could throw your hands up in defeat. Or, you could open a year-round Champagne garden, like Germantown favorite Geist did to the delight of the surrounding neighborhood. Situated in a historic blacksmith building, it’s chic yet inviting space is meant to make diners feel at home and at ease. The large patio and Champagne garden boast fire pits and an outdoor wood-burning brick fireplace, as well as a retractable patio covering, making it a chill and safe spot to unwind during the pandemic. Dinner and brunch menus are European-inspired with comforting classics such as filet mignon with Lyonnaise potatoes and broccolini, or braised rabbit tagliatelle with roasted tomato pesto, toasted pistachio, pecorino, and black truffle. 

Dining at the restaurant: Indoor and ample outdoor dining in the garden and heated patio is available.

Takeout: Takeout and delivery is available.

Chicken

Geist | Credit: Kenzie Maroney

Midtown Cafe (Midtown)

Since 1987, Midtown Cafe has been known as one of the best spots in town for a business lunch or a great night out. Seasoned Nashville restaurateur Randy Rayburn has kept the menu current but with all the classic dishes diners keep coming back for, such as meatloaf and locally sourced rainbow trout with roasted red potatoes, sautéed spinach and crawfish cream sauce.  In addition to lunch and dinner, there’s breakfast daily with a bevy of egg dishes and French toast topped with Jack Daniels peach compote and whipped cream. A truly dedicated regular could dine there all day if they were so inclined (and they might be).

Dining at the restaurant: Indoor dining available

Takeout: Takeout and Delivery are available. 

Chateau West (Midtown)

Driving down West End, one might do a double take at the Chateau-styled stone building, nestled next to a strip mall with a wedding atelier and a Dairy Queen. But once inside, diners are taken back to a time when fine dining in the U.S. almost certainly meant French cuisine, complete with white tablecloths, fresh flowers, and classic dishes such as chicken coq au vin and boeuf bourguignon. The drama of it all adds to the experience; try a bubbling fondue pot full of brie, honey, and truffle oil, or the chateaubriand for two, a prime center-cut filet seared and carved tableside with seasonal vegetables, roasted potatoes, and béarnaise sauce.

Dining at the restaurant: Indoor dining is available.

Takeout: Takeout and delivery is available.

Puckett’s Grocery (Franklin)

What started as a tiny, country grocery store out in Leiper’s Fork has turned into a perennial favorite for Nashville’s true signature dish: meat and three. It’s now expanded for breakfast, lunch, and dinner serving barbecue, fried chicken, and sweet tea at each one. Located in the heart of Historic Downtown Franklin, come for live music in the evening, and fill up on fried green tomatoes, shrimp and grits, and cobbler.

Dining at the restaurant: Indoor dining available; get food to go and sit outside on the patio (no table service outside).

Takeout: Takeout and delivery available.

The Southern V (North Nashville)

This family-owned restaurant takes classic Southern soul food into a whole new world: plant-based vegan cuisine.  Husband-and-wife team Tiffany and Clifton Hancock started out selling fluffy vegan donuts at the Nashville Farmers Market, but soon expanded into savory dishes, including their own version of Nashville hot “chicken” and “sausage” and biscuits (made with seitan, of course). Their location in the Buchanan Arts District brings a missing element to the neighborhood and locals have embraced the food, vegans and non-vegans alike. 

Dining at the restaurant: Temporarily closed for dine-in.

Takeout: Accepting online orders only.

Alice Fort Shearon, a native Nashvillian just returned home after 15 years in Brooklyn, is a tie dye artist, food enthusiast, and desperately ready to eat out again.