AOL Travel
Print

Best Chattanooga Restaurants

AOL PICK from our Editors
Chattanooga may be a gateway to the South and all its Southern cuisine, but it isn't beholden to that style at all. Spending just a few days in the city will most certainly open any traveler’s eyes to the variety of food offerings the city presents. Those varieties include swigging microbrews and munching on made-from-scratch pizzas, dining on Cuban delicacies while listening to local music, and sinking your teeth into a juicy filet mignon aboard an old railcar. Chattanooga doesn't have a name for being a fine-dining draw, and this could stem from the predominantly working-class past the city proudly owns. The food quality you find in Chattanooga may surprise you, though. Eating a $10 entree that rivals a $25 entree anywhere else will come as no surprise after a few days dining out in Chattanooga.

Dinner in the Diner

Neighborhood: Downtown (Southside) Price: Expensive
Located in a shiny silver railcar in the yard behind the famed Chattanooga Choo Choo Historic Hotel, this one-of-a-kind dining experience is not to be missed. The railcar is adorned with Victorian decor and is a time warp back to the days when rail travel was the way to go. The on-board chef prepares high-end menu items, such as grilled filet of beef Oscar, caramelized salmon and grilled filet mignon. The wine list is well stocked and a perfect match for the romantic ambience of the car. Dinner in the Diner is only open on Friday and Saturday nights and reservations are highly suggested, as this is a popular fine-dining experience.

More Details on

Dinner in the Diner  

Northshore Grille

Neighborhood: North Shore Price: Moderate
The Northshore Grille makes a mean steak-and-biscuit entree. Never had steak and biscuits? Even if you have, you haven't had them the way Northshore Grille puts them together. A healthy portion of steak, smothered with a tangy white BBQ-ranch sauce on a thick warm biscuit, is worth the stop. Another unique item on the menu includes the strawberry-spiced salmon which combines zing and sweetness for a great hunk of fish. Located just off Coolidge Park on the north shore of the Tennessee River, the deck is the way to go when taking in the weather. Several large flat-screen TVs hang from the walls inside and can satisfy any sports craving. Live music and martinis are served at night and are an excellent choice for a fun-filled night on the north side.

More Details on

Northshore Grille  

The Terminal Brewhouse

Neighborhood: Downtown (Southside) Price: Moderate
Microbrews crafted in-house are the specialty every day at The Terminal Brewhouse. Next door to the Chattanooga Choo Choo Historic Hotel and a short block to the CARTA bus station, the Terminal is a great way to get to the outskirts of the Downtown area for a fun dinner—and leave the walking shoes in your hotel. The building was built to accommodate incoming traffic from the depot when it was booming. Over the years, it became a speakeasy, casino and possibly even a house of ill repute. There is nothing ill about its current reputation, though, and locals and tourists alike seem to love the food and micro brewed beer selection. The Brewhouse Nachos are a unique menu item. Imagine pot roast as the meat on your nacho plate. Odd nacho topping, yes. Pleasantly surprising, definitely.

More Details on

The Terminal Brewhouse  

Blue Plate

Neighborhood: Downtown (Southside) Price: Moderate
Don't let the swanky modern decor fool you. Blue Plate may look like the place where a celebrity would want to drink a fruit martini, but prices are within reach of the average Joe. The sleek stainless steel accents give the feel of a Los Angeles nightclub, but the menu is more "down home.” Much of the food is grown locally, and breakfast can be ordered any time of day. Blue Plate is known for their Sunday brunch service, and rightly so. You can't go wrong with anything you order, but the breakfast burrito is to-die-for. Arrive early on Sundays to get a table in a reasonable time frame.

More Details on

Blue Plate  

Rio Picante

Neighborhood: Downtown (Southside) Price: Moderate
Rio Picante is a classic Tex-Mex experience. If you find yourself craving Mexican dishes like spinach enchiladas and portabella quesadillas while visiting Chattanooga, this is your spot. Sandwiched between Chestnut and Broad on Second Street, Rio Picante won't be hard to find. From the rooftop seating area, you can practically throw a stone and hit the Aquarium, though that's not advised. Looking out over the city and to the river is a great way to spend a night with a beer and a spicy enchilada. Try the chunky guacamole for a cool appetizer with a little zest.

More Details on

Rio Picante  

Mudpie

Neighborhood: North Shore Price: Moderate
Fun and funky are the ways to describe this North Shore staple. A favorite of locals for years, it is usually buzzing with activity. Mudpie is known for its hip atmosphere, but the light menu features things like rotisserie chicken, black beans and rice, Jamaican cornbread and veggie wraps. Live music several nights of the week and a poetry night also make this a fantastic spot to snuggle up with a brew or a cup of coffee and unwind.

More Details on

Mudpie  

Nino's Soups & More

Neighborhood: Downtown (Southside) Price: Budget
Nino's is a great lunch grab within a long walking distance (six lengthy blocks) from Downtown—or a short hop from the Seventh Street CARTA stop on Market Street. This cozy little corner eatery has fast-food prices with fine-dining quality. The word "more" is in the name, but soups are where this little shop shines. Nino's gets creative with its daily soup special and has been known to whip up delicious mash-ups like potato/squash, pea/onion and tomato/eggplant.

Sweet CeCe's

Neighborhood: North Shore Price: Budget
Sweet CeCe's is another franchise restaurant just starting to spread its entrepreneurial wings. The idea behind Sweet CeCe's is most simply conveyed in one word: choice. Frozen yogurt dispensers line the wall at CeCe's along with candy dispensers and a fruit bar. Simply grab a cup; mix and match any of their non-fat or low-fat yogurt flavors with a plethora of candy, nuts, sauces and fruits; and enjoy. Some of the topping options include mango, coconut and even Fruity Pebbles. Be aware that you will be charged by the ounce. The price can rise quickly, especially if you are adding heavy toppings like peanut M&Ms or chocolate sauce. But who cares, right? This is vacation.

More Details on

Sweet CeCe's  

The Ice Cream Show

Neighborhood: Bluff View Price: Budget
The Ice Cream Show is situated near the top of the hill in the Bluff View district. If crossing the river on the Walnut Street walking bridge, it will be the first thing you see when you step onto land. With excellent coffee, this clean and cute restaurant could be dubbed The Coffee Show. Coffees can be livened up with a variety of optional flavorings, including the can't-go-wrong chocolate flavor. Claiming to have 17,000 flavors of ice cream, the name becomes clearer when trying to navigate the endless combinations of nuts, extracts, candy and ice cream flavors. They even have cheesecake, which can be added to any soft serve concoction.

More Details on

The Ice Cream Show  

Lupi's Pizza Pies

Neighborhood: Downtown (Southside) Price: Budget
Lupi's is local icon. If you ask a Chattanoogan where to get pizza, odds are they will mention Lupi's. The Downtown location is perfectly placed on Broad Street and is an oasis from such chain restaurants as T.G.I. Fridays and Buffalo Wild Wings. The staple at Lupi's is their pizza, of course. Build your own pie or have a slice with a huge selection of fresh and organic ingredients. The slightly hippy vibe of the staff and decor along with the minimalist art decor make for a great place to sit and watch the world go by, as you eat an amazing slice of pizza.

More Details on

Lupi's Pizza Pies »
See All Chattanooga Restaurants »
ADVERTISEMENT