Hello Nashville: Delia Jo's Music City Restaurant Bucket List

Hello Nashville,

Delia Jo here. We met in what feels like another life... so allow me to reintroduce myself. Since we last met, I moved to Texas for a job, fell for and married a Texan, and also fell in love with so many of the diverse restaurants that Dallas had to offer. That's when I launched this thing I've called Dining with Delia Jo where I share my favorite dishes and restaurants with the world, nearly 8 years ago. It was a whirlwind - and I fell into freelance food and then eventually travel writing, and I can finally say I'm doing something I absolutely love on a daily basis. Most of my family remained in TN and AL when I left, so while I LOVED Dallas and all that it entailed, it is time to make a move back "home", and Nashville, you're home for me once again. This time I'm bringing a +1 (okay +3 if you include the cats - Gordon and Jasper).

That's right music city, I'm back. And this time, I've got my fork in hand ready to eat alllll of the Nashville foods. You've had a culinary awakening in the 9 years I've been away, and I can't wait to make up for lost time in caloric form.

This list will be constantly evolving, sharing my progress, photos, and thoughts as I hit each of the spots I’m most excited to dine in Nashville. It will likely grow and change in the coming days as I add places you suggest and delete places I didn't care for.

You can think of this as my cheat sheet that I'll pull out every time my husband asks what I want for dinner. Be sure and check back in from time to time to see how I'm doing! Side note: My queso quest continues here in Nashville, so let me know if you have a place where I should try it.

BUCKET LIST PROGRESS REPORT: As of today (8 months in) I've checked off 76 of 101.

✓1. The Catbird Seat
    1711 Division Street
    Nashville, TN 37203

The menu here changes each and every night so I have nothing specific other than sheer giddy anticipation and excitement. This intimate and interactive chef-run restaurant came highly recommended by some of my favorite chefs in Dallas, so I'm confident this one will be one of my top picks in Nashville.

*Update. The Poli Bros are dominating Nashville cuisine. There's a reason this one was at the top of my list, and will remain here (even though it's really all in random order). Bookmark this one for any reason at all you find to celebrate, even if it's just a fancy Thursday and you want an adventure.

✓ 2. Henley
       2023 Broadway
       Nashville, TN 37203

Henley was our "welcome to Nashville" and "Paul's new job" celebratory meal. We first swooned for Chef RJ Cooper's culinary prowess in Washington DC, and we are so excited to live in the same city where he's cooking today. Everything he creates is art. Inquire about the Rabbit Hole to experience dining in Nashville at a whole new, personal level.

Update: Since our last visits, RJ has departed.  Chef Daniel is incredibly talented, and we look forward to more visits under his direction. And FYI you can still experience the one-of-a-kind Rabbit Hole hideen away at Henley.

✓3. Hattie B's Hot Chicken
       Various Locations in Nashville

Am I even a real Nashvillian if I don't start out by trying some legit Nashville Hot Chicken? I'll admit I was intimidated by the thought of long lines (Nashville, y'all love to wait in line for food- I do not) - so imagine my jubilant surprise during a busy week of unpacking when I saw Hattie B's pop up for delivery on Uber Eats. No lines, same classic flavors. Hot chicken - yes. Also don't miss the pimento mac and cheese, baked beans, and banana pudding to chase your spicy main dish.

4. Acme Feed and Seed
    101 Broadway
    Nashville, TN 37201

Excited to try: Rule the Roost (hot chicken sandwich), second floor sushi

✓5. The Southern Steak & Oyster
    150 3rd Ave S #110
    Nashville, TN 37201

Excited to try: Seared Sea Scallops, Oysters of course

6. Loveless Cafe
    8400 Hwy 100
    Nashville, TN 37221

Excited to try: I'm embarrassed I've never had the biscuits. Uber Eats, pretty please? :)

✓7. Husk Nashville 
    37 Rutledge St.
    Nashville, TN 37210

Excited to try: Menu changes twice daily.

✓8. Chauhan Ale and Masala House
      123 12th Ave N
      Nashville, TN 37203

I was a skeptic about finding good Indian cuisine in Nashville... but when Chauhan popped up as a "free to try" delivery option on DoorDash, after having read about it in multiple publications, I was excited to give it a shot. The Paneer Vindaloo was absolutely authentic, and the Garlic Parmesan Naan addictive. I also enjoyed the other fusion dishes we tried - the Kale Pakora Chaat and the Tandoori Chicken Poutine. So impressed already, and I'm sure it's even better in person.

✓9. Arnold's Country Kitchen
    605 8th Ave S
    Nashville, TN 37203

The only meat and three I've ever loved.

✓10. The Stillery
      113 2nd Ave N
      Nashville, TN 37201

Excited to try: Brussels Sprouts, Jalapeno Bacon Rangoons, Mac and Cheese, Hot Chicken Pizza

✓11. Vui's Kitchen
      2832 Bransford Ave
      Nashville, TN 37204

Went on a chilly night and really really enjoyed my bowl of pho. The beef was super tender. Loved that I could drink out of a fresh coconut. Next time I want to try the avocado shake.

✓12.  Eastern Peak
       536 Thompson Ln
       Nashville, TN 37211

Another successful Uber Eats endeavor (I swear, Uber eats doesn't pay me - but maybe they should be.) :)  We tried the crab rangoon, red curry, and drunken noodles and all were on par with what we require in a go-to Thai restaurant.

13. Battered and Fried
      1008 Woodland St.
      Nashville, TN 37206

Excited to try: Boston Clam Chowder, Oysters, Chef's Fish and Chips

✓14. Smokin' Thighs
      611 Wedgewood Ave
      Nashville, TN 37203

Smokin' Thighs was another Uber Eats experience for us, (I'm telling y'all - a Godsend when you're moving) and we were SO impressed with this applewood smoked chicken restaurant. From our "Thighs on Texas Toast" (we added jalapenos, mushrooms and all three cheeses) to the slaw, loaded potato salad, and roasted pile o' corn, they're doin' it up right at Smokin' Thighs.

✓15. Urban Grub
      2506 12th Ave S
      Nashville, TN 37204

Excited to try: Raw oysters, wood-fired oysters, charcuterie, wood oven mushrooms, lobster blt flatbread, shrimp and grits, Kentucky lamb chops, chocolate peanut butter tart

✓ 16. Biscuit Love
          3 locations: in Franklin, the Gulch, and Hillsboro Village

The Bonuts were the highlight of my trip to Biscuit Love, as was the fact that I came 40 minutes before closing and skipped the line. Y'all crazy with your food lines, Nashville. The Gertie (biscuits + chocolate gravy + peanut butter + caramelized banana jam + pretzel crunch) was also legit.

✓17. Flipside
      2403 12th Ave S
      Nashville, TN 37204

Excited to try: Tater Tot Nachos, "Elvis Lives" style Jack's Best Chicken, Sprecher Orange Dream Float

✓18. Martin's BBQ Joint
      several locations

Solid pulled pork, brisket, wings. My new go-to BBQ joint? Done.

✓19. Puckett's Grocery
         multiple locations

Honestly, it's been 9+ years since I last ate at Puckett's Lieper's Fork, so I'm prime for another visit to tell y'all what I think.

20. 5th and Taylor
      1411 5th Avenue N
      Nashville, TN 37208

Excited to try: duck wings with truffle honey and thyme, sausage cheddar biscuits, steamed mussels, cast iron chocolate chip cookie with ice cream and peanut butter, fried apple pie

✓21. Sinema
     2600 8th Ave S Suite 102
     Nashville, TN 37204

Excited to try: Chilled charred octopus, Prince Edward mussels, Burrata salad, pesto ravioli, scallops, duck breast, filet mignon trio, hummingbird cake

✓22. Proper Bagel 
         2011 Belmont blvd
         Nashville, TN 37212

I couldn't be more excited about Proper Bagel, unless they opened another location so I wouldn't have to wait in line on the weekends. I never found a bagel place this awesome in Dallas, and it will be on my regular rotation during the week.

✓23. Kitchen Notes
      250 5th Ave S
      Nashville, TN 37203

Excited to try: Nashville Hot Chicken and Waffles, Pimento Grilled Cheese, Low Country Blue Crab Cake,  Music City Mud Pie

✓24. Henrietta Red
      1200 4th Ave N
      Nashville, TN 37208

Excited to try: Oysters, Mussels, Braised Lamb, Crab Dip

✓25. Peninsula
      1035 W Eastland Ave.
      Nashville, TN 37206

✓26. Lockeland Table
      1520 Woodland St
      Nashville, TN 37206

Excited to try: Red Thai Curry Steamed PEI Mussels, Fried Gulf Oysters, Empanadas, Local Fall Greens, Nicoletto's Pappardelle with Butternut Squash Cream, Peanut Butter Jelly Pie

✓27. Kayne Prime
      1103 McGavock St
      Nashville, TN 37203

✓28. Deacon's New South
      401 Church Street
      Nashville, TN 37219

We visited Deacon's New South on the day of their official grand opening, and must compliment the entire team of the service, food, and timeliness of our dining experience. We enjoyed everything we tasted and can't wait to return for more of the scallops, oysters, and the decadent chocolate cola cake with butter frosting.

✓29. Night Train Pizza
      600 9th Ave S Suite 100
      Nashville, TN 37203

Night Train Pizza is sorta new in town, just like me, and I couldn't wait to give it a shot. Between the Rocky Mountain Express shown above - which they've aptly nicknamed "A Campfire in the Gulch" to their Detroit Style namesake Night Train pizza, I know I'll be returning frequently.

30. The Pharmacy
      731 McFerrin Ave
      Nashville 37206.

Excited to try: Cheeseburger

31. Mas Tacos Por Favor
      732 Mcferrin Ave
      Nashville, TN 37206

Excited to try: elotes and fried avocado taco, horchata latte

32. Eastland Cafe
      97 Chapel Ave
      Nashville, TN 37206

Excited to try: Fried Green Tomato Napoleon, Salt Roasted Beets, Goat Cheese Brulee, OK I WANT EVERYTHING.

✓33. Otaku Ramen
      1104 Division St
      Nashville, TN 37203

Say Hallelujah y'all - I've found my go-to ramen spot in Nashville. I slurped on their own extra special "Tennessee Tonkotsu" complete with juicy pork confit. Sold.

✓ 34. Two Ten Jack
          1900 Eastland Ave #105
          Nashville, TN 37206

I don't care what you're doing right now, stop and GO GET THE GARLIC BUTTER NOODLES. I am sorry for yelling, but really, they had me a crab butter. Ramen is good, I liked it once I added some chili paste for some spice. But the Garlic Butter Noodles will be a dish I dream about while shivering in the cold Nashville weather.

✓35. The Mockingbird
121A 12th Ave N
Nashville, TN 37203

Popped in for Happy Hour and tried the Rice Rice Baby, brussels, and Don't Worry Brie Happy (come on - with names like this aren't you curious?)

36. Puffy Muffin
      229 Franklin Rd
      Brentwood, TN 37027

Excited to try: Baked goods!

✓37. Bastion
      434 Houston St
      Nashville, TN 37203

Bastion is a prime destination for the culinarily adventurous. Take, for instance, the chicken liver waffle cones above, for a good example of the type of creative genius you'll find when dining at Bastion.

✓38. City House
      1222 4th Ave N
      Nashville, TN 37208

Pizza, pasta, Sunday Supper. Love everything they're making happen at CH.

39. Cafe Bosna
      5751 Old Hickory Blvd
      Hermitage, TN 37076

Excited to try: Homemade Spinach Dip,  Soups, Jaeger Schnitzel, Stuffed Grape Leaves, Spinach Pie, Baklava

✓40. Tupelo Honey
         2000 Meridian Blvd #110
         Franklin, TN 37067

I've long been a fan of Tupelo Honey, and couldn't be happier there's a location just south of Music City, in Franklin. My go-to dishes are the Pimento Cheese Nachos, Blackberry Habenero Ribs, and the Honey Dusted Fried Chicken, oh, that fried chicken.

✓41. Barcelona Wine Bar
      1200 Villa Pl #110
      Nashville, TN 37212

The sort of situation that time-warped me back to my time abroad in Spain. Tapas, wine list, sangria - all beautifully executed.

✓42. The Perch Creperie
      multiple locations

I visited the Green Hills location on a Sunday afternoon and was smitten by the savory grilled veggie creation as well as the peanut butter banana crepe shown above.

✓43. Bartaco
      2526 12th Ave S
      Nashville, TN 37204

Ain't no queso happenin' here but everyone loves it. I'll say I do love the ribeye taco and the elotes -cut off the cob.

✓44. Five Daughters Bakery
      multiple locations

✓45. Etc Restaurant
         3790 Bedford Ave
         Nashville, TN 37215

Etc. has seasonal cocktails, a good wine menu, and a menu with global inspiration in every dish. We raved about the Grilled Aji Octopus, Vietnamese Short Rib, and Cobia dishes we shared.

✓46. Josephine
      2316 12th Ave S
      Nashville, TN 37204

47. Mangia
      701 Craighead St
      Berry Hill, TN 37204

Excited to try: Black and White Pizza

48. Retro Sno
      Food truck

Excited to try: Stuffed Sno Balls!

49. Chateau West
      3408 West End Ave
      Nashville, TN 37203

Excited to try: Oysters Sardou, Foie Gras Terrine, Escargot, Fondue, French Onion Soup, Blackberry Salmon, Spiced Lamb Rack (Have I mentioned how much I love French food?)

50. Princes Hot Chicken
     123 Ewing Dr #3
     Nashville, TN 37207

Excited to try: THE original home of Nashville Hot Chicken. Before the bachelorettes and self-named 3-story Broadway monstrosities, there was OG Princes. Moment of silence, please.

✓51. I Dream of Weenie
      113 S 11th St
      Nashville, TN 37206

52. Le Sel
      1922 Adelicia St
      Nashville, TN 37212

Excited to try: Baked Oysters, Steak Tartare, French Onion Soup, Bear Creek Farm Steak

✓53. Thai Esane
      907 12th Ave S
      Nashville, TN 37203

It's now my go-to for Thai delivery. Have only tried the classics, and they're excelling at each.

✓54. Dozen Bakery
         516 Hagan St #103
         Nashville, TN 37203

Went on a chilly Saturday when trying to find a place without a line outside the door. This place had only a line inside the door - so - we breathed a sigh of relief and went about enjoying our egg breakfast dishes and fab pastries.

✓55. Answer
      132 46th Avenue North
      Nashville, TN 37209

Excited to try: Arancini, Mussels, Bucatini

✓56. Colts Chocolates
      609 Overton St
      Nashville, TN 37203

Excited to try: Um, all of it.

✓57. Fin & Pearl
      211 12th Ave S
      Nashville, TN 37203

Excited to try: All of the oysters, Trout Toast, Jamaican Jerk Ribs, Crab Dip, Mussels, Herb-Crusted Salmon, Surf N Turf, Chocolate Peanut Layer Cake

✓58. Adele's
      1210 McGavock St
      Nashville, TN 37203

Excited to try: Meatballs, Bruschetta, Kale Salad, Tagliatelle, Grilled Steak

59. Milk and Honey
      214 11th Ave S
      Nashville, TN 37203

Excited to try: Cinnamon Roll, Shakshuka, Hodgepodge Hash, Fried Chicken Biscuit, Spicy Bianca Pizza

✓60. The Well Coffeehouse
      multiple locations

They had me at awesome coffee for a good cause. Every purchase at The Well goes to help source clean water for people in need. Bonus points because they have a legit awesome Cuban and Cortado.

✓61. Salt & Vine
         4001 Charlotte Pike
         Nashville, TN 37209

✓62. Etch
      303 Demonbreun St
      Nashville, TN 37201

The Roasted Cauliflower was the sleeper dish here. I didn't know until after a few visits that it was a must-try. I enjoy sitting at the bar here on a whim and dining my way through the menu. Deb's creativity, as always, shines.

63. Seafood Sensation
      2719 Jefferson St Ste E
      Nashville, TN 37208

Excited to try: Crab Boil

✓64. Nadeen's Hermitage Haven
         3410 Lebanon Pike
         Hermitage, TN 37076

This place wasn't on my bucket list, but I drove by and found it one day and decided it should be on yours. Someone laughed at us last week when we asked where to find a good Philly Cheesesteak in Nashville. I made it my mission to discover it. Lucky for me that was east when we drove by this spot in the Hermitage that just opened in September.  Cocktails + Comfort food made well with high quality ingredients. Their full menu will be rolling out very soon.

65. Ken's Sushi
      Murfreesboro Pike
      Nashville, TN 37217

Excited to try: Spicy Pork Ramen, Sushi Pizza, Sushi Salad

✓66.  Frothy Monkey
          multiple locations

Digging the coffee scene in Nashville. Frothy Monkey has some excellent signature coffee concoctions.

67. Red Bicycle Coffee & Crepes
      Locations in Woodbine and Germantown

Excited to try: Mexi Breakfast Crepe, Maple Bacon Crepe, Basic Sweet Crepe, Hot Chicken Tacos

✓68. Rolf and Daughters
      700 Taylor St
      Nashville, TN 37208

One of the must visits when in Nashville, the pastas and the chicken (that one surprised me) were the highlights of my meal.

69. Mere Bulles
      5201 Maryland Way
      Brentwood, TN 37027

Excited to try: Sunday Brunch, Battered Artichoke Hearts, Stuffed Mushroom Caps, Tomato and Brie Bruschetta, She-Crab Bisque, Ribeye, Phyllo-Wrapped Sea Bass

70. Yeast Nashville
      805 Woodland St, 300
      Nashville, TN 37206

Excited to try: Kolaches!!!!!!!!! Nashville needs kolaches! Give me all of the kolaches and nobody get hurt.
             -Sincerely, a New Texas Transplant

✓71. Butcher & Bee
         902 Main St
         Nashville, TN 37206

The Whipped Feta will most definitely be included of best things I ate this year. I was caught off guard by the menu, but impressed. Sat at the Chef's table and enjoyed my experience, and every experience since.

✓72. 55 South
      Locations in Brentwood and Franklin

Excited to try: Chargrilled Oysters, Fried Oyster Nachos, Gumbo, Smoked Queso w/ Brisket (I'll be the judge of that ; ) ) , Crawfish Mac and Cheese, Gator Boudin Balls, Lemon Pepper Crab Fries, Fried Green Tomato and Pimento BLT, Bananas Foster Bread Pudding

✓73. Marche Artisan Foods
      1000 Main St
      Nashville, TN 37206

Excited to try: Grilled Cheese, Pulled Pork Sandwich, Apple Cider Sangria

✓74. Margot Cafe & Bar
         1017 Woodland St
         Nashville, TN 37206

It's been years since I've been here, so I can't wait to reconnect.

✓75. The Yellow Porch
      734 Thompson Ln
      Nashville, TN 37204

✓76. The Grilled Cheeserie
      2003 Belcourt Ave
      Nashville, TN  37212

The Grilled Cheeserie had been on my list for awhile now, and I'm happy to report it's everything I thought it would be. Get the tots, the soup, the sandwich, the milkshake. The whole deal.

77. The Treehouse
1011 Clearview Ave
Nashville, TN 37206

✓78. Peg Leg Porker
         903 Gleaves St
        Nashville, TN 37203

The must visit for Memphis-y ribs in Nashvegas.

79. 404 Kitchen
     507 12th Ave S
     Nashville, TN 37203

80. Skull's Rainbow Room
      222 Printers Alley
      Nashville, TN 37201

✓81. House of Kabob
       216 Thompson Ln
       Nashville, TN 37211

✓82. Edley's Bar-B-Que
        multiple locations

Another pulled pork phenom.

✓83. Nicky's Coal Fired
         5026 Centennial Blvd
         Nashville, TN 37209

✓84. Five Points Pizza
         Locations now in East Nash and West Nash

✓85. DeSano Pizza
        115 16th Ave S
        Nashville, TN 37203

✓86. Von Elrod's
        1004 4th Ave N
        Nashville, TN 37219

Music City meets Munich. Read my full write-up on Von Elrod's here.

✓87. Pastaria
     8 City Blvd
     Nashville, TN 37209

✓88. Midtown Cafe
         102 19th Ave S
        Nashville, TN 37203

✓89. Bobbie's Dairy Dip
        5301 Charlotte Ave
        Nashville, TN 37209

✓90. Bakersfield
         201 3rd Ave S
         Nashville, TN 37201

These next few got added to the list late because they opened after our move. But each merits a spot on your Nashville Restaurant Bucket List.

✓91. Emmy Squared
         404 12th Ave S
         Nashville, TN 37203

Emmy's is cranking out Detroit style square pies and easily one of the best burgers I've consumed. Read full details on my adoration for Emmy Squared Nashville here.

✓92. Folk
         823 Meridian St
         Nashville, TN 37207

Good service. Good Nduja Toast. Good clam pie.

✓93. Geist
        311 Jefferson St
        Nashville, TN 37208

✓94. Kuchnia and Keller
         1300 3rd Ave N
         Nashville, TN 37208

I love a good success story. And that's really what Kuchnia and Keller is. It's different for Nashville and I like that.

✓95. L27 Rooftop Lounge - Located on the 27th floor of the Westin
         807 Clark Place
         Nashville, TN, 37203

Order the mashed avocado, fried olives, and the lobster roll. Thank me later.

96. Makeready
      200 4th Ave N
      Nashville, TN 37219

97. Nashville Underground
      105 Broadway
      Nashville, TN 37201

In a sea of Broadway #touristtraps, Nashville Underground truly shines, not only because it's literally new and shiny (seriously - check out the pretty bathroom floors, ladies), but also because of the food. Different menus can be found on different levels, but when dining on the first or second floors, don't miss Lynne's Truffle Mac and Cheese (add the hot chicken) and the real Southern Banana Pudding. On the rooftop? Opt for the Black Pepper Shrimp, Tuna Poke, and Steak Tartare. Yes, you can eat downtown...and even on Broadway and leave happy at least one decision.

✓98. Sunda
         592 12th Ave S
         Nashville, TN 37203

I truly feel that Sunda's opening is possibly the most exciting opening of the year in Nashville. Sunda upped the game as far as sushi quality and freshness, while also killing in with other exciting and well-executed dishes from the Phillippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.

✓99. Saltine
        1918 West End Ave
        Nashville, TN 37203

✓100. Tavern at Bobby - inside the Bobby Hotel
           230 4th Ave N
           Nashville, TN 37219

✓101. Woolworth on 5th
           221 5th Ave. North
           Nashville, TN 37219

One of Nashville's most historically important spaces, Woolworth on 5th is a Nashville must visit- ask Oprah! Don't miss the Mac and Cheese or the Sweet Potato and Kale soup (each has a nice kick).
I adore my friend Hunter Premo's take on the space, the story, and it's importance to Music City today.

✓Bonus: Walk Eat Nashville food tours

Say you have just 48 hours in Nashville. Perhaps you’ve always lived here and are stuck in a restaurant rut. Admittedly, this doesn’t usually happen to me but I know lots of people who get stuck going back again and again to the same places. Perhaps you have friends visiting and they want to experience as much of Music City as they possibly can. Or maybe you just really freaking love food (raises own hand).

My numero uno recommendation for the “how to best eat Nashville in one weekend" would be to book a tour with Walk Eat Nashville - the award-winning walking tour where you literally lunch and learn, while also getting some exercise. The food-focused tour was founded by a journalist, Karen-Lee Ryan, and each tour is led by a fellow food writer, so you are truly experiencing Nashville with an expert on the matter. Each tour I have experienced has provided me with a wealth of new information about the Nashville restaurant scene, and as a girl who needed to immerse quickly (and now especially so given my newest role with Eater), Walk Eat Nashville gave me the info and the experiences I truly needed. There are currently tours in East Nashville, Midtown, Downtown, and there's a new Nashville Eats tour centered around Jennifer Justus' cookbook by that name.

Well, if you've made it this far, thanks for that, and happy eating, should you choose to embark on this journey with me.

Nashville, I look forward to making it count this time. Let's make some craveable memories together.


Delia Jo


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