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Top-Rated Knoxville Restaurants to Visit for an Unforgettable Meal

All of my favorite places to eat in The Marble City.

Knoxville, Tennessee is a college town with a surprisingly rich community dedicated to music, outdoor recreation, art, and cuisine. Located only 3 and a half hours north of Nashville, Knoxville is a lush and up-and-coming city whose population is on the rise.

Over the last decade, Knoxville has come to life with culture, culinary diversity, and unique dining options. So now the question is begging to be asked: “where should I eat?”

group of friends dining at a restaurant in Knoxville

Finding the best restaurants Knoxville has to offer isn’t easy, there are too many incredible options to choose from. Luckily, we have narrowed it down to the top 17 best Knoxville restaurants. Whether it is your first vacation to Tennessee or you have lived here all of your life, deciding where to eat in Knoxville is now easier than ever with our list. Save this article and refer back to it next time you don’t know where to eat. Enjoy!

Best Restaurants in Knoxville

  1. Stock & Barrel
  2. Brazeiros
  3. Lonesome Dove
  4. Connors Steakhouse & Seafood
  5. Turkish Market & Deli
  6. Chesapeake’s Seafood Restaurant & Raw Bar
  7. Emilia
  8. Parkside Grill
  9. Nama Sushi Bar
  10. Calhoun’s On The River
  11. Tupelo Honey
  12. Not Watson’s Kitchen + Bar
  13. Kaizen
  14. Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar
  15. Nick & J’s Cafe
  16. Ruth’s Chris Steak House
  17. The Tomato Head

Stock & Barrel

35 Market Square, Knoxville, TN 37902
Phone: (865) 766-2075
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Located at  35 Market Square, this upscale bourbon and burger joint is the epitome of meat. With a rustic feel, this brick building is packed full of flavor and Tennessee whiskey. On busy nights there is a line out the building of people waiting to get a taste. All of Stock & Barrels beef is locally sourced from Mitchell Family Farms in Blaine, Tennessee. 

The Bernie Burger is one of their main hits. It comes with bleu cheese, blueberry preserves, fried jalapenos, bacon, and one of the flour-dusted buns made at the local Flour Head Bakery. Another top seller is the Elvis Burger, with mashed bananas, peanut butter, and bacon.


Brazeiros Knoxville – Brazillian Steakhouse

6901 Kingston Pike, Knoxville, TN 37919
Phone: (865) 247-0295
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Brazeiros is located at 6901 Kingston Pike and is one of a kind. Here you pay for a full experience. With a full dinner experience, a varietal dinner experience, a chicken & salad option, or a vegetarian salad bar option, you get to pick your style and they do the rest. 

Each option comes with a plethora of starters, including caramelized banana, cheese bread, crispy polenta, and grilled pineapple. With the full experience (which we recommend) you get to enjoy 15 different cuts of delicious meat. WIth the Varietal, you get 9 cuts of meat, and with the chicken option, you get 3 different chicken recipes.


Lonesome Dove Knoxville

100 N Central St, Knoxville, TN 37902
Phone: (865) 999-5251
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On Central Street in the heart of Old City, Knoxville is the incredible Lonesome Dove Western Bistro. Each dish is inspired by the traditional flavors of the west with an added modern flair. They combine classic dishes with new tastes, surprising you with their bold creativity. 

The menu features popular delicacies like duck, pistachios, quince, rabbit-rattlesnake sausage, huckleberries, elk, lamb, quail, pork spinalis, and more. Each dish is so unique and creative, that picking what to get is incredibly difficult. We recommend the Antelope Short rib or the irresistible Iberico Pork Secreto as your main dish.


Connors Steakhouse & Seafood

10915 Turkey Dr, Knoxville, TN 37934
Phone: (865) 966-0933
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If you are looking for something a little more familiar, then head to Connors Steakhouse and Seafood for some classic cuisine. Located at 10915 Turkey Drive in Knoxville, Connors provides lunch, dinner, wine, kids’ meals, and gluten-free menu options. As the name suggests, their steaks and seafood are what draw their customers in. 

From their dinner menu, we recommend starting with an appetizer of the crispy calamari, which comes with a zesty homemade cocktail sauce which is to die for. Their Espresso Rub Ribeye is deliciously glazed in a homemade espresso rub and a red-eye demi-glaze. Finish your meal with some German Chocolate Upside Down Cake and a scoop of Homemade Ice Cream. You will leave happy and full, we promise!


Turkish Market & Deli

8078 Kingston Pike Suite 121, Knoxville, TN 37919
Phone: (865) 603-9940

If you are in the mood for the flavors of classic Mediterranean and Turkish cuisines, then Turkish Market & Deli is where you need to go, located at 8076 Kingston Pike Suite 121. The food here is less expensive than the other restaurants on our list and features takeout or dine-in. Locals love the atmosphere and the staff at the deli, making it one of their favorite spots. 

Some of the most popular items at the Turkish Market & Deli are the doner, turkey and veggie salads, hummus, shawarma, chicken, bean salads, and more. No Turkish meal is complete without a dessert of baklava and yogurt!


Chesapeake’s Seafood Restaurant & Raw Bar

9630 Parkside Dr, Knoxville, TN 37922
Phone: (865) 851-9088
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On 9630 Parkside Drive, you will find the newly established Chesapeake’s Seafood Restaurant & Raw Bar. The ambiance of the dining experience matches the decadence of the food. Once a warehouse, the restaurant has been modernly transformed to feature calming blue lighting and soft hues, creating a beautiful dining experience. 

The fresh Maryland Crab Cakes are a plate of pure baked goodness and are one of their most popular dishes. They are also known for their fresh fried oysters and their Prime Grade New York Strip. Stop by around lunchtime to experience their incredible seafood bar and a glass of wine from their extensive wine list.


Emilia

16 Market Square, Knoxville, TN 37902
Phone: (865) 313-2472
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In 2016, the culinary genius Matt Gallager opened Emilia Italian, at 16 Market Square in Knoxville. It has since become a local favorite, serving up handmade Italian dishes that make you feel like you have traveled across the world to Italy itself. If you want a taste of Knoxville premiere fine Italian dining, this is your spot. 

The menu features dishes like bruschetta, artichoke fritters, shrimp, lobster, oysters, and of course all of the homemade pasta you can imagine. The pork blade steak with a topping of rhubarb mostarda is one of the best dishes I have ever had in my life. Paired with a glass of fine wine, you really can’t go wrong with any of Gallager’s options.


Parkside Grill

338 N Peters Rd, Knoxville, TN 37922
Phone: (865) 862-5358
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Located at 338 North Peters Road in West Knoxville is the epic Parkside Grill. This contemporary neighborhood restaurant promises great food, great quality, and a friendly dining experience. They take classic American dishes and a dash of their own flavor. 

We recommend the southern fried chicken tenders (a must when you’re in Tennessee), The Meatloaf stack, and the cajun seasoned Black and Bleu Burger. Come hungry for some dinner and drinks, because they have something for everybody!


Nama Sushi Bar- Downtown Knoxville

506 S Gay St, Knoxville, TN 37902
Phone: (865) 633-8539
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We know you have been waiting for us to put a sushi place on the list, and this seriously is the best of the best. The award-winning Nama Sushi Bar is a Knoxville gem. It is located at 506 s. Gay Street and has expanded to more locations throughout Knoxville and into Nashville. 

They offer rolls for everyone, including vegetarians. The classic California roll can be paired up with something a little more unique, like the SoyJoy, which features spicy tuna, seared albacore, cucumber, tempura veggies, and topped with eel sauce and wasabi aioli.


Calhoun’s On The River

400 Neyland Dr, Knoxville, TN 37902
Phone: (865) 673-3355
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Calhoun’s on The River screams Tennessee classic! This famous restaurant opened in 1988 and has been serving classic Tennessee dishes ever since. Pull up in your car or your boat and get ready for a beautiful and enjoyable experience. 

Wings, burgers, BBQ, and more! Calhoun’s is famous for its prime rib, its hickory-smoked Bar-B-Que pork, and its Smokey Mountain Baked Beans. If you want to immerse yourself in the Tennessee culture, this is a must!


Tupelo Honey

1 Market Square, Knoxville, TN 37902
Phone: (865) 522-0004
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Comfort food, here we come! Tupelo Honey, located at 1 Market Square provides some of the best southern food in all of the south. Tupelo Honey has won awards from the best soup to the best neighborhood gem. 

Each season brings a new change in the menu. Currently, they have a mixture of brussels, biscuits, fried chicken and waffles, and decadent salad bowls. The chef’s specials feature blackened Mahi-mahi and tupelo’s shrimp and grits.


Not Watson’s Kitchen + Bar

15 Market Square, Knoxville, TN 37902
Phone: (865) 766-4848
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Another restaurant from Market Square is Not Watson’s Kitchen & Bar. They use organic, local, farm-to-table ingredients whenever possible, and they purchase much of their products right there in Market Square. They are committed to serving excellent food at excellent prices, and will tell you every detail of where they got their ingredients from if you ask!

Not Watson’s has an interesting and diverse menu, combining southern classics like southern fried pickles with seafood, Asian-inspired food, pasta, and even vegetarian black bean burgers. No matter what you get, be sure to add a side of the white cheddar mac and cheese, you will not regret it! As far as entrees go, we recommend the Not Yo Mama’s Chicken & Waffles, a delicious take on a southern staple.


Kaizen

127 S Central St, Knoxville, TN 37902
Phone: (865) 409-4444
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Kaizen is an Izakaya-style restaurant located in The Old City at 127 S Central Street. Izakaya is a Japanese pub that serves small plates. They are a cultural and communal place that is supposed to be laid back and fun, which you can feel at Kaizen. Kaizen combines traditional Japanese cuisine with other Asian dishes influenced by Thai and Szechuan. 

Their most popular items include pork belly fried rice, dry fry eggplant, orange chicken lo mein, and, my personal favorite, the hot and sour duck noodles. The menu features a list of different fried rice, a plethora of steamed buns, and plenty of sake to wash it all down!


Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar

11287 Parkside Dr #14, Knoxville, TN 37934
Phone: (865) 675-9463
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Flemings is a fine dining experience that you do not want to miss. You can choose between the plant-based Earth menu or the land and sea Fire menu. This dueling culinary experience features separate 4-course meals that are equally exquisite. 

The Earth menu features tomato burrata, coconut-crusted eggplant, roasted portobello, and cauliflower steak, and an orange olive oil cake. The Fire Menu features a lobster burrata, coconut-crusted pork belly, filet mignon & bone marrow, and orange olive oil cake.


Nick & J’s Cafe

1526 Lovell Rd, Knoxville, TN 37932
Phone: (865) 766-5453
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Another of the top restaurants in Knoxville is Nick & J’s Cafe. With each meal created out of locally-raised chickens and eggs, freshly ground beef, and fresh produce straight from the market, you get the best quality food around. 

Nick & J’s offers a country cafe breakfast that is as fresh as it is delicious. For later in the day they have Gyros, burgers, salads, and a delicious club sandwich. You can leave this family-owned restaurant feeling satisfied and healthy too!


Ruth’s Chris Steak House

950 Volunteer Landing Ln, Knoxville, TN 37915
Phone: (865) 546-4696
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Regarded as the First Lady of Steak, Ruth Fertel created Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse in 1965 in New Orleans. Decades later, her business spans across the globe, bringing unbeatable steaks to everyone. Come stop by at 950 Volunteer Landing Lane. 

Each of the steaks on the menu has an incredible and unmatched flavor. The New York Stirp, Cowboy Ribeye, and Petite Filet are the three best cuts. If you are not into steak, there are lobster, shrimp, crab cakes, and lamb chops to choose from.


The Tomato Head

12 Market Square, Knoxville, TN 37902
Phone: (865) 637-4067
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The Tomato Head has two locations in Knoxville, one at 12 Market Square and one at 7240 Kingston pike #172. The Tomato Head focuses on serving fresh bread, dressings, and desserts. They also have live music performances, poetry readings, art exhibits, and more. 

They feature their typical salads, sandwiches, and pizzas, with a rotating specials list. Currently, the specialty pizza is the Griffin Pizza with roasted portobello, sundried tomato puree, roasted onion, garlic, blue cheese, and honey. Their specials are always recommended.


Final Thoughts

There you have it, the best restaurants Knoxville, Tennessee has to offer. With Knoxville becoming a Tennessee hub, you really can’t beat the diversity and uniqueness of their dining scene. Breathtaking scenery, vibrant culture, and unmatched cuisine make it a true gem.

Next time you are in the area, try out a few of these restaurants; you can thank us later!

Is there anything we’re missing? Let us know in a comment and we’ll get back to you ASAP!

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Written by Rocco Smith

Rocco is from Sanibel Island, Florida, and a recent graduate of Florida State University with a Bachelor’s in Editing, Writing, and Media. With seven years’ experience in the restaurant industry as a cook, server, bartender, and more, he is deeply passionate about intertwining his fondness for food with his love of language.