Our top restaurant finds in Knoxville include:
Café 4 at 4 Market Square: This is a popular restaurant with an attractive coffee bar and bakery.
Stock & Barrel at 35 Market Sq.: This is the casual spot for burgers and bourbon and Tennessee Whiskey. I enjoyed the turkey burger and heard that the salmon burger is also great.
Don’t miss the Cruze Farm Truck in the Market Square Farmers Market, on Wednesdays and Saturdays, with great Cruze Farm Girl ice cream. They are also known for their milk and particularly their buttermilk which according to the experts is the best for making biscuits!
Knox Mason: At 131 S. Gay, this is one of the better restaurants in the city according to many sources. I enjoyed a fun dinner with friends. The cornmeal crusted trout was the way to go.
Shuck Raw Bar & Ale: I enjoyed the downtown location at 135 S. Gay St., which has a good menu of seafood items. They are known for their lobster roll as well as their seafood and tuna tower salads.
Coolato Gelato at 524 Gay St.: Authentic gelato plus soups, salads and paninis.
French Market Creperie, 526 S. Gay St.: This is an attractive spot for coffee. They also have a full menu of sandwiches and salads plus many savory and sweet crepes to choose from.
Coffee & Chocolate: Coffee bar and artisanal chocolates. 327 Union St.
Tupelo Honey Cafe: This is a local’s favorite which is located in the The Oliver Hotel. The wait can be long as they only take reservations for larger parties.
Crown and Goose Gastro Pub: At 123 S. Central, this is the perfect spot for a casual dinner or Sunday brunch. They have an outdoor patio in the rear as well.
Down the street is Old City Java where you can stop in for a cup of coffee and snack. 109 S Central.
Bistro by the Tracks, 215 Brookview Center Way: This is an upscale restaurant with a warm comfortable décor and really good food and service. I enjoyed a great dinner with friends. The salmon and swordfish entrees were excellent as was the beet salad. After dinner, head next door to their upscale wine bar/cocktail lounge Drink. The atmosphere is dark and warm with several groupings of comfortable seating. This was my first experience of several pour-your-own wine stations where you can put in a card they provide and you can then sample any of the wines in three sizes of pours. What a great idea!
Buttermilk Sky Pie Shop: A local pie shop with two locations. Don’t miss the Southern Buttermilk pie or the strawberry pie which are both excellent. The smaller 4 inch pies are perfect for a snack! The owners, Scott and Meredith Layton, are delightful! I like the newest location at 5400 Kingston Pike.
I just read about the new J.C. Holdway restaurant opened by Chef Joseph Lenn, who won the 2013 James Beard Award for Best Chef Southeast. It is at 501 Union Ave. and features his wood-fired techniques. I can’t wait to try it on my next trip to Knoxville in May, 2017.