The 15 Best Restaurants In Downtown Nashville 2024 - Nashville - The Infatuation (2024)

Downtown Nashville has plenty of tourist traps and places serving overpriced plates of hot chicken or barbecue, especially on Broadway. But if you know where to look, you'll find one of the best bakeries in the city, a killer fine-dining Italian restaurants, and more. Check out the Assembly Food Hall if you're with a indecisive group. Otherwise, you can't go wrong with any of these spots.

THE SPOTS

photo credit: Soundtrack My Drink

The 15 Best Restaurants In Downtown Nashville 2024 - Nashville - The Infatuation (1)

Yolan

Pasta

SoBro

$$$$

Perfect For:

Date NightsDrinking Great Wine

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Yolan is the best Italian restaurant in the city, and a place that’s extremely worth the splurge. You’ll find it on the ground floor of The Joseph Nashville hotel, tucked into a spot right off the lobby. They used to primarily do a tasting menu, but they’ve recently switched over to a seasonal a la carte format. Definitely start with an order of the sourdough focaccia before diving into plates of antipasti, cacio e pepe, bucatini all’amatriciana​, and perfectly rendered proteins. And the desserts here are just as impressive (sometimes even more so) than the mains. Top it off with a wine pairing of unique Italian varietals, and consider getting a room upstairs for the night.

photo credit: Casey Irwin

Sora At Skye Lounge

Sushi

Downtown

$$$$Perfect For:Corporate CardsSmall PlatesDrinking Great co*cktails

Sora, a rooftop spot in The Sheraton, is all about the sushi and the view—360 degrees of windows overlooking the city transport you, especially at night, to somewhere more like Seattle than Music City. It’s the perfect place to sip co*cktails with cheeky names like the Super Freak, a jalapeno, tequila, and pineapple number that’s sweet but not too sweet, and step outside the california roll comfort zone. The Bride roll comes generously draped in a yuzu crab mix, and they do a really good vegetarian maki full of hearty sweet potato, a silky corn creme brulee, and tempura fried carrot roll that we always keep talking about long after we leave.

photo credit: Husk

Husk

American

Rutledge Hill

$$$$Perfect For:Date NightsImpressing Out of TownersSpecial Occasions

Husk has been holding it down in Rutledge Hill for over a decade. It’s situated in a historic Victorian mansion that still feels authentically creaky and old in a really cool way. They changed chefs a few years ago, and while it took some time for the new crew to find its footing, they’re hitting their stride with new riffs on Southern dishes and old favorites like glazed pig ears and Benton’s country ham with soft rolls. Take your out-of-towners here—it checks off the “trying Southern food” box in an elevated, special way. If the weather’s nice, grab a table on the patio near the vegetable and herb garden and order a round of whiskey co*cktails.

Ophelia's Pizza + Bar

Italian

Downtown

$$$$Perfect For:Literally EveryoneFirst DatesOutdoor/Patio Situation

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Walk into Ophelia’s and you’ll see an over-the-top amount of framed photos and old Italian ads on the wall, along with the constant din of busyness from the kitchen. The only thing that breaks the spell is the occasional off-key rendition of “Any Man of Mine” wafting in from the party tractors a few blocks out. But it’s easy to tune that out if you just focus on the piatto mille dollari (or what we like to call the “ginormous charcuterie board”) and crispy pizzas with mortadella, bacon, and drizzles of truffle honey. Ophelia also makes one of the best desserts in the city: the insanely rich cannoli sundae made with ricotta ice cream.

photo credit: Eliza Kennard

Skull's Rainbow Room

American

Downtown

$$$$Perfect For:BrunchLive MusicClassic Establishment

Skull’s is a Nashville institution that’s located on Printer’s Alley, one of the city’s most iconic strips. It’s changed ownership a few times since opening in 1948, but the spirit remains the same: a classed-up dive with good booze, good music, and an even better lobster bisque. The place sees its fair share of tourists, but don’t let that deter you—the live jazz and weekly burlesque shows draw a local crowd, too (fact: everyone loves a good whirling tassel). The room is usually packed, so whether you’re on a date or flying solo, you’ll feel comfortable here, especially when a single-barrel co*cktail, perfectly seasoned rack of lamb or prime rib, and the aforementioned lobster bisque hit the table.

1 Kitchen

American

Downtown

$$$$Perfect For:Quiet MealsGluten-Free OptionsFine Dining

If a restaurant and a spa had an illicit affair after one too many beers on Broadway, 1 Kitchen would be the result. It’s right off the lobby of the 1 Hotel and a great spot to grab some lighter co*cktails and bites after work. There's lots of natural woods and plants, along with dishes that lean toward the sneaking-spinach-into-your-peanut-butter-smoothie type of healthy. Gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan labels are all over the menu, and next to dishes like burrata and tomato carpaccio, pan-seared red snapper with okra soffritto, and roasted baby carrots with tahini. The co*cktails, with minimal ingredients and fresh juices, also feel like they might actually be good for you.

photo credit: Soundtrack My Drink

Rae's Sandwich Shoppe

Sandwiches

Downtown

$$$$Perfect For:Walk-InsLiterally EveryoneQuick Eats

Rae’s is a daytime-only, family-owned shop that’s been making a variety of sandwiches and soups for the office crowd since 2002. You’ll find hot sandwiches on New Orleans-style baguettes filled with things like slow-roasted corned beef, maple pork loin, and Italian chicken topped with artichokes. The small space on the ground floor of the 501 Union Building is mostly a to-go operation—there’s little in the way of seating—but before you head out with your sandwiches, pick up a side or dessert. Whether it’s a creamy potato or pasta salad from the cold case or some banana pudding, no meal from Rae’s is fully dressed without some accessories.

Bourbon Steak Nashville

Steaks

Downtown

$$$$Perfect For:Business MealsCorporate CardsFine Dining

Bourbon Steak is an innovator in the field of pre-meal bread baskets. And by that, we mean they’ve gotten rid of the bread altogether and replaced it with a trio of different fries and dips. Beyond the free spuds, you can look forward to fresh oysters, a pot pie filled with brandied Maine lobster cream, and a juicy Australian wagyu. The restaurant is on the 34th floor of the JW Marriott, and they definitely capitalized on that real estate. There are windows all around the room giving you a 360-degree view of the Nashville skyline, and the rest of the space looks like a jazzed-up hotel ballroom. Regardless of where you sit, the service and menu make you feel like you’re dining in an oligarch’s private villa.

photo credit: Eliza Kennard

Mimo

Italian

SoBro

$$$$Perfect For:Date NightsSpecial OccasionsFeeling Hot

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The Four Seasons’ Mimo had a pretty intense changing of the guard in 2024, and, honestly? It’s better than ever. The inside still feels like a modern Tuscan plaza with leafy potted palms and trees, bright sunlight streaming from the floor-to-ceiling windows, and sandy stone walls. The Italian food here is more of the coastal variety, though, and dishes tend to skew light rather than heavy—not a bad thing when you’re grabbing a bite before a show at the Ryman. Order the hamachi crudo with fennel, chili, and lemon oil in addition to the summery burrata panzanella with juicy pops of heirloom tomatoes. The creamy spring risotto or the Iberico pork pluma (this is the only place you’ll find this cut in Nashville) are standout mains that you can cap off with one of the best desserts ever: a dead-on replica of two Amalfi lemons made from white chocolate and filled with a lemon confit cream.

Etch

American

Downtown

$$$$Perfect For:Business MealsEating At The BarDate Nights

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You know those comfy pair of Vans in your closet that you refuse to give up? They may not be as cool as they were 10 years ago (daaaamn Daniel), but slipping them on always feels comfortable and effortless. That’s how we feel about Etch. It opened in 2012, and it’s still as good as ever. Plenty of wine-soaked business lunches go down here, as do solo dinners at the chef’s counter overlooking the buzzy kitchen. The food on the menu may not feel as edgy as it once did, but the flavor and quality always hit the mark. You’ll find the Etch standards on there—like the roasted cauliflower and the eponymous salad—along with some seasonal additions like a tomato galette or a za’atar-crusted venison. The wine list is interesting and features some unexpected picks, too.

photo credit: The Twelve Thirty Club

The Twelve Thirty Club

American

Downtown

$$$$Perfect For:Special OccasionsLive MusicBig Groups

People seem to only associate The Twelve Thirty Club with the fact that Justin Timberlake is part owner. But that does a complete disservice to this three-part venue (it’s a honky-tonk, supper club, and rooftop terrace) with great live music and an even better sweet cream cornbread. The supper club, though, is the place you should bring your old college friends and their spouses when they visit, because they’re in their 30s and not putting up with Kid Rock’s Big Ass Honky Tonk nonsense. Order a round of crisp, dirty martinis and then segue into that aforementioned cornbread and some burrata or a seafood tower. Then that live act will really kick in. People will start dancing. You’ll get some champagne for the table, and maybe some mains—the sushi and Chilean sea bass are solid options—but maybe you just join in and start dancing, too.

Bakery/Cafe

Downtown

$$$$Perfect For:Walk-InsLiterally Everyone

If you’re downtown and want a little treat, D’Andrews is the spot. It sells some of the most beautiful pastries in the city: marshmallow-topped s’more croissants, gooey chocolate chunk cookies, and sticky pecan cinnamon buns. The coffee drinks here—like cappuccino and a nitro cold brew—are great, too. Sometimes, the pastries rev up your appetite instead of quelling it (we’ve been there). If that’s the case, order one of the breakfast or lunch sandwiches made with the shop’s homemade focaccia bread. This is also the place to pick up a cake or some other fanciful pastry for a special occasion, like a baby shower or an office birthday celebration (Brian from IT always gets that buttercream one from Kroger, and it sucks).

Joe Muer

Seafood

Downtown

$$$$Perfect For:Happy HoursBusiness MealsSpecial Occasions

Joe Muer’s is a throwback steakhouse, where waiters with bow ties pull out your red velvet tufted chair, and couples sit at a gilded bar drinking frosted martinis served by a guy named Mac. If the decor hasn’t already clued you in, this is definitely a place for a special celebration, except steaks aren’t the focus here (although they have a few that are quite good). It’s all about the seafood, which is flown in fresh daily—landlocked state be damned. The shrimp here are practically the size of a ribeye, the king crab legs generously hang off the edge of your plate, and a crab-stuffed Atlantic flounder is the kind of oceanic inception we fully support. And when the dessert cart stacked with cakes, pies, and pastries comes wheeling toward your table, this isn’t the time to say “no thanks.”

Martin's Bar-B-Que Joint

BBQ

Downtown

$$$$Perfect For:Walk-InsLiterally EveryoneQuick Eats

You’re roving around downtown with a hungry group, and the consensus is clear: barbecue, and only barbecue. In that case, head to the multi-story Martin’s. There are several around Nashville, but the downtown location is the OG, and the best. That means the chances of you standing in line are high, but it moves fast. After placing your order for some sliced brisket (cross your fingers it hasn’t sold out), pulled pork, mac and cheese, and hoecakes, find your way to a table and wait for the avalanche of dishes. There’ll be a bunch of different sauces in bottles on your table, but you don’t really need those—the barbecue stands on its own. And if you happen to catch Martin’s on a day when there’s live music on the schedule, it feels like quintessential Nashville.

photo credit: Eliza Kennard

Robert's Western World

Bar Food

Downtown

$$$$Perfect For:Big GroupsClassic EstablishmentLive Music

Robert’s Western World is one of the few honky-tonks that harkens back to when Broadway wasn’t owned by every A-list country singer. It feels like it’s been around forever, and in Nashville, where new concepts open and close at the drop of a hat, it kind of has. The building’s lived many lives (as a warehouse, steel guitar factory, boot shop), but today, it’s a great spot to pop into during the day with some friends and family, listen to some bluegrass or country, and fuel up with a legendary Nashville meal deal: Robert’s recession special. For a bargain price of $6, you get a fried bologna sandwich, a Moon Pie, Lays potato chips, and a PBR. At night, it’s adults-only and a perfect place to listen to some music, sip a beer (don’t even try to order a co*cktail here), and get a glimpse of the music style that launched Nashville to fame.

The 15 Best Restaurants In Downtown Nashville 2024 - Nashville - The Infatuation (2024)
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