While Music City has long had a reputation for stellar nightlife and hot chicken (fried chicken smothered in hot sauce), it wasn’t until a few years ago that Nashville became a gourmet destination, too. The booming dining scene offers a selection of cosmopolitan restaurants that wouldn’t feel out of place in San Francisco or New York. Gourmands used to thinking of Nashville as just another part of flyover country will doubtless be pleasantly surprised.
Eager to eat my way through the city’s best, I made dinner reservations months in advance, setting some calendar alerts to get online the day reservations became available. Alas, even with that foresight I was unable to score a table at the Catbird Seat, one of the city’s most acclaimed restaurants. (An excellent excuse to return someday soon!)
Here are some of my favorite discoveries in Nashville, which offer everything from excellent pizza to creative tasting menus. Locals leave the hot chicken for tourists, and I suggest that you do, too.