Tennessee

Restaurants in Tennessee

From barbecue to James Beard-nominated fine dining, restaurants in Tennessee fit every cuisine profile and can appease even the pickiest taste buds. These are some famous Tennessee restaurants and cuisines to try:

Tennessee barbecue is all about the pig. Throughout the state, you’ll be able to find juicy, smoky pulled pork, served on a plate or between two buns. If you head over to Memphis, you’ll also get your hands on Memphis-style ribs. These are served “wet” – basted in sauce before, during, and after the slow cooking – or “dry” – seasoned with a flavorful rub.

The state also has more than its fair share of down-home joints. This ranges from classic “meat and three” spots throughout the state that’ll ladle up famous Southern and soul specialties, like fried okra and cobblers, to simple fried chicken shacks. An amazing specialty in the state is Nashville’s hot chicken: the fried poultry here comes extra spicy and, therefore, extra delicious.

There’s also plenty of fine dining throughout the state. Memphis, Nashville, and Chattanooga all play host to James Beard-nominated chefs, creative cocktails, and playful takes on classic French, Italian, and American cuisines.

Open since 2002, and full of students from nearby colleges, Central has a breezy, spring-break feel and outdoor deck seating to match. Order a pork plate with extra “bark” (the dark, heavily smoked crust).

Locals line up for a superb rendition of chopped pork on a bun, as well as excellent grilled short ribs.

Snack on the thin-crust pizza at this local joint located in a former artists' studio in north Nashville's up-and- coming Germantown neighborhood

Southern bistro and bar

Start off the day with an omelette sepcial like the organic corn and tomato with fresh mozzarella at this French bistro and gourmet market in hip East Nashville.

Mention to locals that you’re heading to Cozy Corner for barbecued Cornish hen—rich and moist all the way through—and you’ll get plenty of head-nodding approval. Although the grilled rib-tips get their share of attention, it’s the burnished little bird that rules this roost.

Asian-inspired restaurant and sushi bar

A local chain that’s been around since 1952, Tops makes for a nice introduction to Memphis eats. No matter where you are in the city, you’re near one. The hickory-flavored chopped sandwich combo with mustardy slaw and beans will fortify you while you plan the rest of your ’cue odyssey.

Smoke rings are evident in these perfect pulled-pork sandwiches, which are topped with carrot-flecked slaw and suffused with a medium-hot sauce.