Nashville Food Guide: My Favorite Places to Eat in Nashville

When I think of Nashville one of the first things that come to my mind is...the amazing food and restaurants. And that’s why I created this Nashville Food Guide: so you know where to begin next time you visit Music City.

I went into mourning when we moved away from Nashville – not having all these amazing restaurants nearby saddened my inner foodie. (We’ve since discovered our local favorites.) Nashville has so many amazing options to find fresh and healthy foods.

Baby #3 is coming end of May so we decided it was a good time to make a trip to our favorite city. The city we called home. Although I love living by family now, I miss it a lot. I lived there for almost 8 years so it became home, a place that inspired me. I’ll spare you the sappy details of how amazing our Nashville friends are and much we loved our church and get to what you came for: the Nashville Food Guide!

nashville restaurant guide

Favorite Nashville Restaurants + New Ones

I’m going to be sharing some of my absolute favorite places to eat plus a few new restaurants that opened after move away. It was fun to revisit my favorite restaurants and try some new-to-me places that I’ve had on my list for a while now.

If you’re looking for a place to visit, with or without kids, Nashville is a fun city. Of course it’s known for its great music, but it also has adventure, sites to see, and of course, lots and lots of yummy food options. If you don’t consider yourself a foodie I may just turn you into one by the end of this post. And if you have an intolerance or are celiac, this Nashville Food Guide provides plenty of gluten-free options for you.

Burger Up

nashville burger

If you are in Nashville this is a must eat at restaurant! This is where you go when you want a good burger. This is my husband’s favorite burger place and I don’t say this lightly because he literally gets a burger anywhere we go...even at a fancy restaurant! So he’s tried a ton of burgers and Burger Up is his favorite place to get one. Shortly after they opened, my husband met one of the co-founders – you would’ve thought he was meeting Michael Jordan.

Along with your burger be sure to order their truffle fries because OMG they are the best fries everrrrr. We ate at Burger Up twice on this trip because we just can’t get enough of it.

They’ve got a gluten-free bun too which is really nice or you can go bunless which is what we often do.

If you have children with you, Burger Up provides a is a kid friendly atmosphere. They even bring fries and apple slices out before the food arrives to keep the kiddos happy.

What we ordered: Woodstock Burger with gluten-free bun & truffle fries.

Juice Bar

juice bar in nashville

This place will forever have my heart. And for more than one reason. John and Vui Hunt’s delicious juices and smoothies are rivaled only by their customer service. And no matter what part of the city you’re in, there’s a convenient location nearby. They now have 11 locations around the Nashville area. But I still love going to the original Juice Bar in Brentwood that was just up the road from where we used to live.

At the Juice Bar, they really listen to your health needs and want to make a smoothie/juice that helps benefit you and your body. So if you’re feeling a little under the weather or need a pick me up let the friendly staff know so they can customize a smoothie/juice for you.

I love everything about the Juice Bar...they’ve got fresh juices, smoothies, smoothie bowls, and goodies from local vendors that are so yummy. My all-time favorite smoothie is the Mint To Be and my top pick for a fresh juice is Sweet Greens. But I also love We Got the Beet and Orange You Glad...honestly, you just can’t go wrong. This used to be my favorite stop after a long run with my favorite running buddies!

What I ordered: Acai Bowl & Ginger Greens (for later!)


Healthy eats while traveling

If you want something fast, fresh, and healthy this is the place to eat. I think this is where I ate the most frequently when I lived in Nashville. Zoes is a Mediterranean restaurant that serves up lots of nutritious food that tastes good too. Not everything on the menu is gluten-free but you’ve got a lot to choose from if you are. Everything on the menu is flavorful.

My top picks are the Chicken Kabobs with rice and a side greek salad or the Greek Salad minus the pita bread. Zoes is another great kid friendly place to eat with lots of options for everyone to find something they love.

What I ordered: Chicken Kabobs with rice and a side greek salad

True Food Kitchen

best restaurants in nashville

This is a new-to-me restaurant that I’ve had my eye on for years now. I was so excited to get the opportunity to taste test from their Winter menu.

From their fun, fresh atmosphere to their menu loaded with options created with a healthy twist, the experience at True Food Kitchen is a breath of fresh air. The menu spoke my language because I’m always finding ways to make recipes healthy with simple ingredients. But their simple ingredients doesn’t mean simple flavor. Everything we ate provided a mouth full of flavor!

Dessert it a must at True Food Kitchen! All of their options are gluten-free (and vegan) and so delicious. We ordered two (because why not?!): Flourless Chocolate Cake and the Squash Pie. The Squash Pie might sound weird but think pumpkin pie with a twist (my pickier-than-most husband raved about it so you know it’s good).

The manager told us they lowered the sugar content by half while developing the recipe! I love that they’re conscious of their ingredients.

healthy desserts in Nashville

True Food Kitchen is allergy friendly with lots of gluten-free options and more than willing to make something gluten-free if it’s not already. I ordered the Ancient Grains Bowl with Salmon as my entree and they made it gluten-free for me.

True Foods maintains a seasonal menu so the Roasted Brussel Sprouts and Squash Pie aren’t on their Spring menu (their spring menu has a Key Lime Pie dessert that I tried in Kansas City and it’s sooooo good!).

What we ordered: For Drinks: Kale Aid & Health-Ade Kombucha For Starters: Charred Cauliflower & Roasted Brussel Sprouts For Entrees: Lasagna Bolognese & Ancient Grains Bowl with Salmon For Dessert: Flourless Chocolate Cake & Squash Pie

Jeni’s Ice Cream

ice cream in Nashville

When it comes to ice cream, Jeni’s is in a league of its own. This is my absolute favorite ice cream shop in all the world. (No, I haven’t been to that many but I will say Jeni’s Ice Cream is out-of-this-world good.)

They offer unique flavors (like Brandied Banana Brulee, Coffee with Cream and Sugar, and Brambleberry Crisp) and use high-quality ingredients. When you experience Jeni’s ice cream you truly taste the difference… it’s the creamiest, most flavorful ice cream you’ll ever experience. They offer dairy-free options and have lots of gluten-free flavors as well! So it’s a win-win situation all around. We visited Jeni’s twice during our recent trip to Nashville and totally regret not going a third time.

What I ordered: Darkest chocolate & Salted Peanut Butter with Chocolate Flecks (Cone is not gluten-free only used it as a prop for the picture.)

Five Daughters Bakery

paleo donuts in Nashville

This is such a fun place to get your donut fix whether you’re gluten-free or not. They also offer paleo donuts that are completely free of grains, gluten, dairy, and sugars. My girls think this is the best treat ever and repeatedly asked for more. Five Daughters Bakery has multiple locations. We enjoy going to the 12 South location because then we get to visit all the fun shops and other restaurants in the area.

12 South is one of my favorite areas in Nashville. It’s close to Belmont University, where I went to college so it’s fun to see how much it’s changed, grown, and improved over the years.

What we ordered: Cinnamon Sugar, Sunbutter Chocolate, and Chocolate Chip Sea Salt


gluten free italian food

This was our first experience at Mangia (Mahn-jah), but we felt like family the moment we walked through the door. I have never been to a restaurant like this: anything on the menu can be gluten-free {seriously…ANYTHING}! Usually there are just a handful of gluten-free options to choose from. But it was the best feeling of overwhelm to get to choose from an entirely gluten-free menu!

gluten free italian in Nasvhille

Mangia is a completely allergy friendly Italian restaurant. The owner’s wife has celiacs disease so they take every precaution when preparing their gluten-free food.

We We realized this would be a carb heavy meal, but it was fun to try a couple of different fried appetizers and amazing pasta dishes that we can’t normally enjoy due to gluten restrictions.

You have to experience the mac n cheese when you go to Mangia. It’s on their kids menu but Noah and I ate a lot off the girls’ plates! I’m not kidding when I say it was seriously the best mac n cheese we’ve ever had. It has fontina, house-made mozzarella, pecorino, and parmigiana...seriously, it’s amazing.

What we ordered: For Starters: Mozzarella In Carrozza & Arancini For Entrees: Chicken Parmesan, Sun-Dried Tomato and Spinach Cream Pasta, Caprese Pizza on their gluten-free focaccia crust, and Mac n Cheese


If you’re looking for a great taco spot (because who doesn’t love tacos?!) Bartaco is the place to go. The atmosphere is a fun, beachy feel. And it’s in 12 South near Jeni’s Ice Cream so you can grab dessert afterward {you’re welcome}. We unfortunately didn’t make it to Bartaco this trip but I wanted to included it because it’s still a must try restaurant if you’re visiting the Nashville! You can check out their menu here.

We had a blast hitting up some of my favorite restaurants and even trying a couple new ones while in Nashville. I had to pinch myself a few times because who gets to work with amazing restaurants and try alllll the food and write about it?! Seriously, a foodie dream come true.

Download my Nashville Food Guide

I hope you get to visit this amazing city and be sure to download my Nashville Food Guide to eat so you don’t miss any yummy restaurants to fuel your adventure through Music City, one of my favorite cities ever.

nashville food guide

Nashville Coffee Shops

My husband has included a few of his favorite local coffee shops for all you coffee lovers. I’m not a coffee drinker, but he is a coffee fanatic {you might interpret that as a coffee addict}. To say he likes coffee is an understatement: he can be seen carrying a mug of piping hot coffee on the hottest days of August.


Crema holds a special place in my heart because it was the first coffee shop I experienced after moving to Nashville. In fact, Crema was my introduction to the third wave coffee culture. I hadn’t experienced great coffee until I enjoyed a cup of coffee at Crema. {Thank you Rachel and Ben!}

I remember the first time I went to Crema and ordered a cup of light roast coffee. They responded with, “How would you like it prepared?”

In my mind, I was thinking, “What does that even mean?” Isn’t it all prepared the same? Nope – they offered to make my coffee as a pour-over, in a French press, or a Chemex. At Crema, you get to enjoy a delicious cup of coffee while sitting in their beautifully remodeled diesel station. Leave your creamer at home – a cup of Crema coffee is chock full of flavor!

Stay Golden

Stay Golden is the result of 4 collective coffee minds. Together the quartet has over 30 years of coffee experience. When you visit one of Stay Golden’s two locations you step into something unique. As they explain, “Stay Golden is setting the new standard for coffee concepts in Nashville. We treat coffee, food, and cocktails as equals, rather than putting one above the others. When you enter our space, you know you can get specialty quality coffee, restaurant quality food, and craft cocktails.”

They don’t just serve a great cup of coffee. You can also partake from a full food and cocktail menu. But my favorite part about Stay Golden is their coffee soda. Three of Stay Golden’s owners helped create Matchless Coffee Soda. If you enjoy coffee and soda and haven’t tried coffee soda – you got to try it!

Coffee soda might sound strange if you haven’t experienced it. I know I was skeptical at first. But after trying a sample I had to order it. And now I’m hooked. Don’t think iced coffee when you think “coffee soda.” I’ve never been a big fan of iced coffee.

Coffee soda is the perfect marriage of refreshing carbonated hydration and coffee. It’s a delicious drink you have to experience to understand. And I highly recommend you order one when you go.

Barista Parlor

Barista Parlor is a coffee experience for all your senses. The delicious coffee is served with a hip, trendy vibe that will make you think you stepped into a hipster’s fantasy. If you enjoy iced coffee, this is the place to get it. Barista Parlor is notorious for their slow drip iced coffee — it takes 24 hours to process.

Every barista who serves you takes their craft seriously. Otherwise they wouldn’t work at one of Barista Parlor’s four Nashville locations.

If you want a great cup of coffee with an equally great atmosphere, check out Barista Parlor.


Whether you’re a first time visitor or have fallen in the love with the city like me, the Nashville Food Guide will help you know where to grab breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, and a great cup of coffee. Be sure to download the Nashville Food Guide PDF so you’ll know how to map out your Music City adventures!

About the author:

Kara Swanson is a certified nutritionist and founder of Life Well Lived. She is married to her best friend and the proud mother of three. Her passion is to make nutrition simple+easy+delicious!