Dining Out

9 Noteworthy Tennessee Restaurants | Listen

By: Margaret Littman

Our top 9 Tennessee restaurants from tried-and-true classics to new hotspots

From Nashville to Memphis, Tennessee offers a diverse range of restaurants and cuisines. In the Local Palate’s 2024 Restaurants Issue, Tennessee writer Margaret Littman offers a guide to new and tried-and-true local spots with these 9 Tennessee restaurants.

5 New Tennessee Restaurants

iggy’s | Nashville, Tennessee

Brothers Matthew and Ryan Poli have created a restaurant that’s both high-end and laid back, centered on their love of fresh pasta and good wine. Grab a seat at the chef’s counter in the Wedgewood-Houston neighborhood of Nashville to watch them make their magic. A market—to take the perfect pastas home to cook in your kitchen—is in the works.

Bluff Cakes Confections | Memphis, Tennessee

What started as a pandemic pivot to sell giant stuffed cookies online turned brick-and-mortar in Memphis in 2023. Chloe Sexton’s more than 2 million followers rave over treats, such as the 7-ounce blue “Cookie Monster” treat that has two other cookies inside. Having a physical space allows her to experiment with new flavors and one-offs in a way she couldn’t when she was online-only.

The display case of cookies served at Bluff Cakes Confections, one of 5 new Tennessee Restaurants

Elsie’s Daughter | Chattanooga, Tennessee

Chloe Wright and Ryan Smith are known to Chattanoogans as the team behind The Rosecomb, so the city was excited to see what they would do with an old maintenance shed at the historic Chattanooga Choo Choo. Connected to the new Hotel Chalet, Elsie’s Daughter combines Appalachian ingredients and sensibilities with French-Belgian tastes resulting in a laid-back hotel bar vibe.

Serving Mussels and Oysters at Elsie's Daughter, one of 5 new Tennessee Restaurants
Image courtesy of Reed Schick

Little Coyote | Chattanooga, Tennessee

Erik and Amanda Niel, also owners of Main Street Meats, know a thing or two about smoking meat—so it stands to reason that smoked meats and fresh tortillas are the focus of their newest Chattanooga offering. More casual than their other spots, Little Coyote has lots of family-style options for sharing with friends and one of the best outdoor patios in all of Chattanooga.

A plated dinner table of foods served at Little Coyote, one of 5 new Tennessee Restaurants
Image courtesy of Our Ampersand Photography

Sparrow Wine Bar | Farragut, Tennessee

Cheese bites, desserts, charcuterie, and more cheese are on the menu at the relaxed, women-owned Sparrow Wine Bar in Farragut, just outside of Knoxville. The restaurant, which has more than 60 wines on the menu and a great happy hour, is adjacent to Euphoric Cheese Co., a shop that makes it easy to take your favorites home.

4 Tried & True Tennessee Restaurants

A plated grilled chicken with sautéed vegetables served at J.C. Holdway one of four tried and true Tennessee restaurants
Image courtesy of Joseph Lenn

J.C. Holdway | Knoxville, Tennessee

Wood-fired dishes, reminiscent of nearby Appalachia, are on the menu at this James Beard Award-winning spot in downtown Knoxville. The restaurant is named after the chef’s bachelor uncle, who dined out for every meal.

Plated pork chops and vegetables served at the Beauty Shop, one of four tried and true Tennessee restaurants
Image courtesy of Jacob Rogers

The Beauty Shop | Memphis, Tennessee

It sounds like a gimmick, but for more than 20 years The Beauty Shop has been running one of Memphis’s solidly dependable restaurants out of a former hair salon (once frequented by Priscilla Presley, no less). Check out the daily specials from seasonal ingredients written on one of the salon mirrors.

Family style dinner table at Peninsula.
Image courtesy of Dana Kalchnik

Peninsula | Nashville, Tennessee

Unexpected and inventive food from the Iberian Peninsula is on the ever-changing menu at East Nashville’s Peninsula. Dishes can (and should) be paired with one of the inspired gin and tonic choices.

Red Oak Bistro & Caffe | Gatlinburg, Tennessee

As a culinary destination, Gatlinburg is best known for pancakes, more pancakes, and fudge shops. Nested on the Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Loop, Red Oak Bistro & Caffe is a wooded escape from all that, with a menu of small Eastern European and Mediterranean dishes, complemented by a full wine list.

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