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5 cutting-edge restaurants to visit now in Nashville

A photo of Red logo
by OpenTable team
Updated December 14, 2022

Nashville’s dynamic food scene offers more than just hearty Southern plates. Though hot chicken and meat and threes still make up the restaurant scene here, they no longer define it.

An eco-conscious sushi spot downtown champions ethical sourcing and transparency. A Hillsboro cafe with a top-notch brunch spread became Nashville’s first upscale CBD retailer when it opened its doors in 2019. At a cocktail den on the West End, drinks are downright artistic, topped with fresh flowers and fragrant oils.

At some of Nashville’s most unique places, innovation isn’t an afterthought—it’s embedded into the restaurants’ DNA. Read on for a list of five of Nashville’s most cutting-edge spots to book right now.

A photo of Thistle & Rye restaurant
4.4 (59)
$30 and under
Contemporary American
About the restaurant
When this indoor/outdoor dining room opened at the Conrad Nashville in September 2022, it became the talk of the town thanks to its avant-garde cocktail experience from food and beverage director David Lim. Any drink from Thistle & Rye’s menu is a work of art, but the hermitage is a true masterpiece. The lilac-colored mixture of gin, orange-flavored triple sec liqueur, elderflower liqueur, lemon juice, and lemongrass is strained into a water pipe, then capped with fresh flowers and smoked with fragrant oils before arriving in a crystal coupe. The cotton candy sky is a close second, mixing heavily shaken cream with citrus and egg, causing the concoction to rise until a stiff, foam pillow forms on top. With a drink in hand, bask in the golden-hour glow on the expansive balcony. Thistle & Rye’s epic sunset views also make it one of Nashville’s most coveted spots.
Top review
Dined 2 days ago
We love the casual yet upscale atmosphere at Thistle & Rye. Our party of 6 sat inside as it was 8 million degrees outside. We shared lots of apps, we all had the cod sandwich. The cocktails were fun, our eats delish! Our server, Samantha was patient and gracious as we were definitely “extra”then a larger group settled in at the next table. They were hilarious, needless to say Sam had her hands full and by all accounts handled everything perfectly! Thank you, our evening was great fun!
A photo of 404 Kitchen restaurant
4.5 (2374)
$31 to $50
The Gulch
About the restaurant
Acclaimed chef Matt Bolus brought his skills to Nashville in 2014 with the opening of 404 Kitchen, which earned a James Beard nomination for Best New Restaurant that same year. The first location was housed in a shipping container; tables were built from the container’s original floors and candles were crafted from rendered beef fat (cut from meat deliveries). The unique, European-inspired restaurant, along with its iconic candles, continues to push the envelope. In 2018, it moved to an LEED-certified industrial home in the Gulch. Crowds come for the chef-driven menu and impressive bar, housing the largest collection of limited-edition whiskeys and bourbon in the Southeast. Pair a rare beverage with selections from the farm-to-table menu, beginning with pork belly and mushroom toast, a burrata salad with spiced lemon vinaigrette, and soul-soothing mains such as trout and roasted half chicken.
Top review
OpenTable Dinervip
Dined on Jul 2, 2024
Great experience from beginning to end. Service was friendly, food was excellent (pork chop stole the show, catfish bites were not my favorite), and cocktails were perfect. Will return.
A photo of The Electric Jane restaurant
4.5 (508)
$31 to $50
About the restaurant
Nashville’s Gulch district welcomed a sensual new supper club in 2022. Known for its creative prowess, The Electric Jane delivers culinary excellence alongside nightly live music. The modern dining room is as electric as its name suggests. Illuminated accents and colorful lights set the stage for an evening of intimate performances (recently featured musicians include Kyndle Wylde and Stevie Brock). On the menu, showstoppers are the ceviche-style shrimp cocktail and the “cheese on fire” starter, flamed tableside. What sets the versatile venue apart, however, is its hearty late-night menu offering globally inspired bites, bottles, and cocktails until curtain call on Fridays and Saturdays. Must-tries include the Jane smash burger smothered in the restaurant’s tangy secret sauce, or a thick-crust, Detroit-style pizza topped with ricotta and calabrian chiles.
Top review
Dined on Sep 17, 2023
We had a party of 7 for brunch. This place is a gem. Great music. The band that was playing was amazing! Most of us ordered BLT and it was delicious. Highly recommend.
A photo of Blue Sushi Sake Grill - Fifth + Broadway restaurant
4.5 (485)
$30 and under
About the restaurant

Blue Sushi Sake Grill, with outposts in over a dozen American cities, isn’t just about innovative, Asian-inspired plates—it’s also a vocal sustainability advocate. The menu teems with both traditional and specialty nigiris, sashimi, and maki, even featuring vegan options. As a reflection of the brand’s Conscious Earth program, the menu includes all seafood sourcing details, such as the location and method. The baked sea bass, which comes from Antarctica, stars in the restaurant’s itchy sea bass nigiri, which also includes spicy crab mix, serrano peppers, cilantro, and ponzu sauce. The interiors are just as bold as the restaurant’s mission, adorned with Japanese-inspired elements such as hanging red lanterns and tables inspired by carts at Tokyo fish markets.

Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined 2 days ago
Service was outstanding. I’m sad I can’t remember our servers name. She was the best. Food was fantastic! Will definitely be back soon!
A photo of 1892 restaurant
$31 to $50
Contemporary American
About the restaurant
Nashville might be a modern metropolis, but a short drive in any direction leads you to rolling hills and picturesque farms. The village of Leiper’s Fork (most famously home to Justin Timberlake), about a 40-minute drive from the Music City, serves as the backdrop to 1892, a quaint and unique restaurant that brims with historical charm. In a home built in—you guessed it—1892, the spot sources ingredients from neighboring farms. Chef Dylan Morrison relies on old-school culinary techniques to build his nightly changing menu, which has featured standouts such as brown butter halibut with horseradish potato puree, smoked short rib, and house-churned cookies and ice cream. Accents such as antique breadboards and pewter dinnerware on the walls fuel a rustic vibe, resulting in a meal that exudes the kind of Southern charm that’s becoming increasingly rare to find.
Top review
Dined on Mar 26, 2023
Extremely amazing European caliber cuisine with the coolest possible Tennessee ambiance. An absolute favorite.
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