Yes, Nashville’s a Southern city, but we do get our fair share of cold (and rainy!) weather. Thankfully, numerous winter-menu offerings can be found throughout the city, ready to warm you up when a cold or soggy snap hits.
Whether it’s drizzling outside or a cold fog is hovering again, nothing cuts through a bad-weather haze quite like a warm meal. So here are some of our detailed and deliciously researched thoughts on where to eat in Nashville if you’re in need of serious wintertime comfort food. Put the kettle on, peruse our favorite cozy, wintertime dishes, and plot out your plans to escape the winter blues.
Where to eat in Nashville (and what to eat) to get cozy
Hot Chicken Sandwich at Kitchen Notes
250 Fifth Ave S., Downtown Nashville
One of the best — and easiest to navigate — Downtown Nashville restaurants to hit on a night out, Kitchen Notes offers complimentary valet parking and close access to the highway that’ll let you pop right in and out of the city. Many locals congregate for the deservedly beloved Sunday brunch menu, but Kitchen Notes’ lunch and dinner menus shouldn’t be overlooked. Sure, you can eat hot chicken at a number of spots around Nashville, but Kitchen Notes has been consistently dishing out a hot chicken sandwich (pictured up top) that more than earns a spot on your list of favorites. The noticeable hot-chicken kick comes courtesy of a special dry rub, created in-house and batch-made by Nashville Jam Co., so you’ll definitely walk out a few degrees warmer than when you walked in.
The Seoul Bowl at Tavern
1904 Broadway, Midtown Nashville
Tucked a couple miles away from the bustle of Lower Broadway, Midtown Nashville’s Tavern has become a perennial favorite for locals and visitors alike. Brunch-goers in particular tend to feel a pull toward the restaurant’s patio, but if you’re in need of warm/inviting vibes, Tavern’s interior delivers, with high ceilings and exposed Edison bulbs that give the space a warm glow and balance out the dark wood. On a cool or soggy day, look toward the bottom of Tavern’s lunch and dinner menu for a true comfort food classic: the Seoul Bowl. Tender short ribs sit atop rice and veggies, nestled next to a soft poached egg and covered with just enough spicy beef broth to keep everything warm. In case you can’t bear to leave the house and brave the elements: Friendly reminder that Tavern delivers, via Uber Eats and Doordash.
Mashed Potatoes at 5th & Taylor
1411 Fifth Ave. N., Germantown
Nestled in the heart of Nashville neighborhood dining destination Germantown, 5th & Taylor serves up an incredible array of carefully prepared Southern fare. Despite the restaurant’s size, it feels warmly intimate, too, making 5th & Taylor a perfect choice for a special evening out to escape the cold. From the concept to the design, repeat James Beard “Best Chef” nominee Daniel Lindley evokes his reverence for the American meal, and the American life, inside his Nashville space — a rugged statue of general Francis Nash (Nashville’s namesake, and a Revolutionary War general who was fatally wounded in the Battle of Germantown) perches over the main dining room, while a rotating menu of heart and body-warming entrees comes out of the kitchen, including hearty staples like fried chicken, pot roast and beer-can chicken. Yet, the mashed potatoes often manage to steal the show. The entire menu centers around the American starch staple, and through his thoughtful twists on that and other kitchen-table standards, Lindley aims to reshape the narrative of American cuisine.
French Onion Soup at Liberty Common
207 First Ave. S., Downtown Nashville
Liberty Common opened its doors to much fanfare in December 2018, with a menu featuring an array of stellar dishes. On the warm-up front, though, nothing quite says comfort food like a piping-hot bowl of soup, and few can beat Liberty Common’s Soupe a L’Oignon, a French onion soup with a cheesy, crunchy crouton crust atop a silky, spicy interior. Pro tip: Ask your server for additional crostini, to dunk in your soup and help you scoop up the last bits of onion and cheese.
Lemon and Artichoke Soup at Midtown Cafe
102 19th Ave. S., Midtown Nashville
The lemon and artichoke soup at Midtown Cafe — a menu mainstay since the restaurant opened in 1987 — has been famous among Nashville’s locals for three decades, and for good reason. A luxurious blend of fresh lemon juice and artichokes in creamy chicken broth, this dish offers a perfect demonstration of Leonardo da Vinci’s enduring maxim, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Not trying to be anything more than what it is, the Lemon and Artichoke soup is, in essence, the harmonious flavors that remain once the surrounding, unnecessary noise has been quieted. The soup’s symphony gets punctuated by accompanying mini-biscuits, too, for one more perfect comfort-food note.
Campfire Cocoa at Legendairy Milkshake Bar
171 Third Ave. N., Downtown Nashville
The bright, cheery Legendairy Milkshake Bar opened last summer, and started dishing out milkshakes that are every bit as decadent as they are photogenic. Recently, to help Nashvillians combat the colder temperatures, Legendairy launched hot chocolate and cappuccino menus too, filled with specialty dessert treats that demand to be savored and shared. Why opt for another PSL when you can have a pumpkin spice cappuccino with whipped cream, mini marshmallows, a cinnamon dusting and a caramel-drizzled waffle? When your next winter comfort-food craving hits, we’d encourage you to try the Campfire Cocoa, topped with a giant marshmallow that’s brûléed to perfection and covered in graham cracker crumbles. It’s all your favorite childhood campfire memories, stuffed in a warm mug.
Looking for a way to explore the best food in Nashville? Walk Eat Nashville walking food tours make it easy — covering East Nashville, Midtown and SoBro/Downtown, each tour includes tastings at multiple restaurants/shops and behind-the-scenes interactions with chefs and owners. Learn more about Walk Eat Nashville food tours.