Nashville Essentials

This guide to Nashville's best places to eat, drink, check out music and more makes sure you get the most out of your stay.

Photo courtesy of Nashville Convention & Visitors Corporation Nashville's popular Fido restaurant serves up organic, local foods.

Food and Drink Essentials: Best Places to...

Nashvillians are having a love affair with Publix, which began locating stores here around mid-decade. There are several Nashville locations, including 4320 Harding Road. Green Hills and Cool Springs residents are loving their Whole Foods outlets, and the Green Hills Trader Joe’s, at 3909 Hillsboro Road, is full from morning to night. For Hillsboro village residents, Harris Teeter, at 2201 21 st Ave. South, is the place to shop. Visitors staying in downtown hotels and residents snapping up the growing crop of downtown condos don’t have to go far to meet their grocery and deli needs at the H.G. Hill Urban Market, a company native to Nashville, located in the Viridian building at 415 Church Street.


  • Vietnamese – Head for Charlotte Avenue where the Vietnamese places like Miss Saigon, 5849 Charlotte, cluster.
  • Indian – It’s all on the West End Avenue corridor, including Bombay Palace, 2912 West End Ave.
  • Thai – Two of Nashville’s go-to Thai restaurants are The Smiling Elephant (seriously, what a great name!), 2213 8th Ave. South, and Siam Cafe, 316 Mccall St., just off Nolensville Road.
  • Mexican – Most Nashvillians agree that La Hacienda, 2615 Nolensville Road, is the best of a big bunch.
  • Ethiopian – Gojo Ethiopian, 415 W. Thompson Lane, is Nashville’s highest-profile African restaurant, where the lunch buffet is second to none.
  • Mediterranean – Several good Mediterranean restaurants are speckled around Nashville, but one of the best is Istanbul Restaurant, 2631 Nolensville Road. Good value for a great meal, and they’ll treat you like family.

Athens Family Restaurant
2526 Franklin Pike
It'll remind you of New York’s coffeeshops, serving sandwiches, chops, omelets and authentic Greek food to cab drivers, clubbers, med students, strippers and third-shift workers at the nearby bakery.

Cafe Coco
210 Louise Ave., off Elliston Place
Open 24 hours a day, Cafe Coco attracts the full gamut of Music City’s colorful residents to its coffeehouse/restaurant/music venue. From their famous Turkey Rockefeller to create-your-own pizzas to pancakes paired with coffee or on-tap beer, Cafe Coco knows how to do late-night food.

Photo courtesy of Nashville Convention & Visitors Corporation The Frothy Monkey serves coffee and food at three locations in Nashville.

Not so many years ago, Nashville’s coffeehouse scene consisted mostly of Starbucks and the locally-owned Bongo Java/Fido trifecta. But in recent years, independent coffeehouses have been multiplying almost like rabbits. Many feature tasty cuisine to accompany their gorgeous lattes and creative interiors. Some of the best of the best:

  • Bongo Java/Fido Three locations, all are Nashville institutions: 1812 21st Ave. South (Hillsboro Village); 2007 Belmont Blvd. (Belmont University area); and 107 South 11th (East Nashville’s Five Points). “Bongo” Bob Bernstein was a barista before barista was cool. For nearly 20 years, he’s been roasting his own beans for Fido in Hillsboro Village and Bongo Java on Belmont Boulevard, and now for Bongo Java East across the river in East Nashville. Food’s good, too.
  • Frothy Monkey2509 12th Ave. South, part of the ever-so-cool 12South trendiness and with newer locations in Franklin and on 8th Ave. South.
  • Eighth and Roast2108A 8th Ave. South, recently relocated to a higher traffic area but still specializing in single cup brew methods to rave reviews.
  • Crema15 Hermitage Ave., on the south edge of downtown proper, with beans roasted in-house and often sourced straight from the farmer.
  • Edgehill Cafe1201 Villa Place, conveniently located just off Music Row with plenty of space to study or get creative.
  • Ugly Mugs1886 Eastland Avenue in East Nashville, featuring artwork from local artists and music from local musicians.
  • Barista Parlor 519B Gallatin Ave., over on the East side from whence it’s garnering buzz on Facebook newsfeeds and beyond.

Yazoo Tap Room
910 Division St.
After outgrowing their original brewery that was located in a century-old car factory, Yazoo relocated to the Gulch where they added a 40 barrel brewhouse. Nashvillians are proud of their local elixir!  The tap room is open for a few hours Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday so you can drink the ambrosia at its source.

Blackstone Brewery
1918 West End Ave.
Great beer joins good food and convivial atmosphere.


Oak Bar
231 Sixth Ave. North
A tiny jewel of a bar in the underbelly of the majestic and historic five-star Hermitage Hotel, located a block away from the Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC) and close to Nashville’s famous honky tonks.

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