Chattanooga may be a relatively small place, but its restaurant scene is as lively and soulful as that of a much larger city. From delicacies to dives, the range of eateries in Chattanooga is as fascinating and colorful as the city itself, and each restaurant offers its own special flare. If the thought of vacation instantly brings to mind visions of great food at unique restaurants, this is the place for you. Here are a few of our selections, grouped into categories, for a foodie visiting the Scenic City.
Located inside The Edwin, Chattanooga’s new luxury hotel, Whitebird aims to bring thoughtful updates to Appalachian classics. Regional favorites like root vegetables and greens are married with elegant mains like rabbit, scallops, and lamb to create uniquely southern dishes. Many of Whitebird’s ingredients are sourced from local farms such as Crabtree and Benton, ensuring that everything you taste is fresh and regionally produced.
A date night favorite among Chattanoogans, Alleia uses local, seasonal ingredients to create traditional Italian dishes. With seven types of housemade pasta, flavorful brick-oven pizzas and an array of signature cocktails, Alleia is delightful and inviting from the first sip to the final forkful. Its atmosphere blends modern design with the rustic feel of an old world trattoria for a chic and cozy dining experience.
Looking for a high-end steakhouse experience? Located in The Read House, a hotel that was founded in 1872, Bridgeman’s Chophouse is known for its wet- and dry-aged prime beef, seafood, and raw bar. You’ll find an extensive wine list plus lots of cocktails to choose from as well. With superlative service, Bridgeman’s is white-tablecloth dining at its best, and if you’re looking for a place to celebrate a big event, this is an excellent option.
Located along Chattanooga’s charmingly trendy Station Street, STIR features a weekend brunch menu filled with dishes that are hearty yet tasteful in an open and lively setting. After starting your day with a savory breakfast sandwich, the shrimp and crab benedict, or a frittata and one (or a few) of their $1 mimosas, you’ll be ready for your day of adventure in Chattanooga.
Sit down to southern breakfast favorites like Chicken and Waffles or Smoked Beef Brisket Hash at Food Works on Chattanooga’s Northshore. Situated inside the restored 1916 Signal Mill, Food Works’ weekend brunch is a crowd-pleasing place to experience spruced up Tennessee classics in a captivating historical building.
Back across town inside the Chattanooga Choo Choo, Frothy Monkey is a beautiful cafe-style eatery at one of the city’s most popular destinations. Its delicious coffee, scrumptious pastries, and robust breakfast bowls and sandwiches make it a wonderful brunch spot any day of the week.
Around the World
Totto Sushi & Grill
Chattanooga’s go-to sushi restaurant is conveniently located on Northshore and offers fresh specialty sushi rolls and a wide range of Asian dishes like udon noodles, katsu, and sashimi. When you go to Totto, make sure to ask about daily specials like half-priced sushi on Tuesdays and half priced-saki on the weekends.
For some of Chattanooga’s most uncommon cuisine, visit Embargo 62 and enjoy luscious Cuban and Latin American classics like empanadas, fried plantains, and classic Cuban sandwiches. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, visit on a Wednesday or Friday night for zesty music and salsa dancing.
Widely regarded as some of the very best Italian food in Chattanooga, Il Primo’s dishes are rich, inviting and elegant. Guests can choose from eight signature pastas, artfully prepared fish, or traditional Italian chicken dishes. For a truly European experience, don’t skip the aperitif and charcuterie selection to begin your meal.
The 405 Bistro
This bistro is the brainchild of restaurateur/chef Rashad Mougrabi, who has created this beautiful restaurant that showcases Middle Eastern cuisine. You’ll find Mediterranean staples like baba ghanooj, falafel, and chicken shawerma, all made with fresh ingredients and served with house-made bread. The large menu is filled with tasty choices, especially if you’re a vegetarian.
Southern Style Favorites
Shuford’s is your authentic hole-in-the-wall barbecue joint…which everyone knows is the best kind. This family-run favorite has been serving up juicy smoked meats and signature sauces for decades, and it is always busy with long-time customers and newcomers alike. Its location at the foot of Signal Mountain makes it an ideal spot to stop for a post-hike sandwich or rack of ribs.
Nikki’s Drive Inn
This iconic Chattanooga diner has been drawing in crowds since the 1950s, and it hasn’t changed a bit since then. Known for its hand-battered onion rings and deep fried jumbo shrimp, Nikki’s is as classic as it gets when it comes to old-school American drive-ins. Don’t expect any frills at this legendary restaurant, but if you enjoy nostalgia and fried foods, Nikki’s is a must.
Milk & Honey
Craving from-scratch gelato? Or a fresh fruit popsicle? Don’t pass up the opportunity to stop in at one of Chattanooga’s all-time favorite sweet shops. While Milk & Honey offers a full menu of delicious dishes all day long, it really shines for its housemade gelato, pastries, paletas, and an ever-changing assortment of treats. Trust us, your sweet tooth will thank you.
Clumpies Ice Cream Co.
There’s really just no getting around the fact that Clumpies offers the best ice cream in Chattanooga. For 20 years, Clumpies has been hand-crafting dozens of ice cream flavors right here in town, and you’ll want to try them all. If you happen to walk past any of its four locations, chances are you’ll be lured inside by the irresistible smell of freshly made waffle cones.
If you find yourself in need of a gourmet cupcake during your visit to Chattanooga (which is highly likely), this little bakery in the heart of downtown is the place for you. Family-owned and operated, Cupcake Kitchen offers nearly 50 flavors of scratch-made cupcakes ranging from classic vanilla to banana cream pie. All the cupcakes are baked in-house each day, and you’ll even find gluten-, sugar- and dairy-free options.