I recently went to Nashville for a little trip – just because! I wanted to provide this guide to not only eating around the city, but also just being a vegan in Nashville.
To start, I would recommend Nashville to anyone who loves any the following: live music, country music, drinking, or some cool history. I wouldn’t say it’s the best spot to go to with your family if you have young kids, but definitely a fun spot for parties, trips with friends, or special occasions.
People in Nashville were very kind and had that classic southern charm. I do want to point out that being vegan in a place like Nashville can feel very different than being vegan in Boston, NYC, or California, for an example. Leather clothing and boots, BBQ signs with pigs as the slogan, and billboards promoting rodeos were seen around the city. I knew this would likely be the case, but at times, this made me feel a bit uncomfortable (specifically & mostly the rodeo billboard), but not in a way that disrupted my trip or made me not want to be there! It was still great to experience a whole new part of the country, as not every place is the same.
If you’re someone who doesn’t want to be around that “culture” and vibe, I would recommend not rushing to visit the south. Overall, I’m glad I went to Nashville and I had such a fun time! Be sure to check out The Grand Ole Opry, Country Music Hall of Fame, the Belmont Mansion, some fun museums and trolly tours, and of course, tune in to some live music.
To pivot to food (let’s be real, the most important part of this blog post) – there are still very vegan-friendly people and places, despite the animal products and promotions I saw! Below are my recommendations when it comes to eating vegan in Nashville (in order of my favorites).
The Southern V
This place is a MUST and I wish I went back a second time during my 4 day trip. They weren’t lying when they told me that the hot chick’n (fried seitan) was HOT! I got the strips with a side of mac & cheese and coleslaw, with a side of ranch for the chick’n. The entire thing was so delicious. The chick’n, along with being hot, was perfectly crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. The mac was creamy and the coleslaw was perfect to balance it all out since my meal was on the spicier side. For dessert, we got a chocolate chip cookie which was also so good! It almost had a maple flavor to it which was so unique.
Five Daughters Bakery
This bakery is an adorable little place and I love how they decorated it; so colorful and lively. This is not an all-vegan bakery but they had three awesome vegan doughnut options to choose from! I went with the classic glaze and the chocolate strawberry doughnut. Boy, they were delicious! A perfect mix of doughy, fluffy, and thick. Both paired pefectly with a hot cup of coffee with almond milk. A great way to start your day exploring 12 South (tons of shops), which is the Five Daughters location I went to!
True Food Kitchen
I’ve been to True Food before in Virginia and so glad I got to experience Nashville’s! The restaurant itself is huge, and the interior is beautiful. This is the second time I got one of their vegan pizzas with almond ricotta, and it was beyond delicious and unique! The pizza also came with sage, caramelized onions, butternut squash, and dried cranberries. So satisfying – I need True Food to come to Boston!
The Post East
I loved the Post East – a cute coffee shop that has some great vegan offerings. I got their homemade vegan pancakes with strawberries, blueberries, and pecans with an almond milk latte. The pancakes were thick, fluffy, and flavorful. This was the perfect stop for a filling breakfast before a day of tours and activities!
The Wild Cow
This was my first stop in Nashville after landing, and it was just what I needed after an early flight and being hungry for lunch! My friend and I shared the Buffalo Tofu Grinder sandwich and Sweet Potato & Black Bean Tacos. They were both delicious – but the best of all was the spinach & artichoke dip that came on the side with the tacos. I really liked this place because it wasn’t too heavy on the fried food – we felt full but felt good at the end of the meal. The restaurant is casual and a great spot if you are looking for a quick meal, cup of coffee, dessert, or need something to go!
I Love Juice Bar
I Love Juice Bar isn’t unique to Nashville, but it was a great stop for a snack mid-day. This was one of the best avocado toasts I’ve had in a while – I got a second order because the first was so good! Along with a ton of avocado, they sprinkle on crushed red pepper flakes and squeeze lemon juice on top. The lemon really made it so delicious and unique.
Falcon Coffee Bar
This was such a beautiful and cozy plant-based cafe! I believe it opened not too long ago. I was lucky enough to get one of the last “sausage” & cheese biscuits made by the very talented Beca Lewis (rosegoldveganbakery on Instagram). She has partnered with this cafe and drops off some of her breakfast foods and amazing, gorgeous pastries! We also had some lattes with homemade cashew milk and shared a “chorizo” empanada which was also so satisfying. A very filling breakfast and great way to kick off the day!
We went to Graze for dinner and the food was okay. Not as great as I was hoping it’d be! The presentation was fantastic, but our dinners were not mind-blowing. I got the mac & cheese with seitan chorizo. It was tasty and I ate it all, but the cheese wasn’t as creamy as I thought it would be. My friend got the spaghetti and “wheatballs” which was okay. The wheatballs didn’t have a “meaty” consistency, so if you don’t like a crumbly/falafel type of texture, I wouldn’t recommend the dish! However, the garlic bread that came with it was amazing. The service was fast, the restaurant was nice, and the presentation was great. Overall, I would say check out their brunch over their dinner. I didn’t get the chance to have them for breakfast but based on their photos, they have some great options!
Two Boots Nashville
This was an awesome pizza place that had vegan slices! Topped with veggies and pesto sauce and also made with Daiya cheese; great combos! The slices were pretty big and I was so happy to see that it was a popular option and going quickly. A good spot for a quick and casual lunch, especially if you’re traveling with non-vegans, as there are desired options for everyone!
Sunda is another place that isn’t all vegan but they had a separate vegan menu which I always love. Makes ordering so much easier and you have confidence that they know what they’re putting together despite not being a vegan restaurant. One of the things I ordered was the sweet potato caterpillar roll: roasted sweet potato, asian pear, avocado, black garlic teriyaki, roasted red pepper purée. Very tasty!