This list is just a sampling of the best restaurants in Chattanooga—and these are mostly off the beaten path.
If you just moved to Chattanooga, Tennessee (hopefully using Bellhops), you’re likely looking for good food spots. Count your lucky stars, then. Over the past decade, Chattanooga’s food scene has boomed. There has been an eruption of locally owned restaurants spanning tastes from Tex-Mex to old fashioned American, and Italian and Indian.
These amazing restaurants (some new, some old) have helped drive a sense revitalization to Chattanooga’s downtown area. Twenty years ago, few locals chose to spend much leisure time downtown and the suburbs housed most of the city’s shopping and eating options. If we did a “best restaurants in Chattanooga” list back then, few would be in the core of town. But when more great local restaurants started opening up between Main Street and the North Shore, they helped bring many hungry stomachs back to town.
We’ve compiled this list below, not as the and-all-be-all list of our favorite restaurants, or even a definitive list of the “top restaurants.” Rather, it’s an introductory sampling of the great places to eat in Chattanooga. There are plenty more we would recommend, but the five below are a great start.
This Tex-Mex restaurant combines a fun, hip environment with killer food to make for an amazing dining experience. From burritos to tacos, and quesadillas to nachos, you can’t go wrong here. If you ever find yourself in Red Bank, St. Elmo, or East Brainerd, we strongly suggest paying Mojo Burrito a visit. It’s not just on our list of best restaurants in Chattanooga, but many local’s as well. To top it off, Mojo is affordable with dishes ranging from $5 to $13. They just switched locations to a bigger spot in St.Elmo, and still do an awesome dollar taco deal on Sundays.
Let’s be honest, Chattanooga and Greek cuisine don’t make for the most natural pairing. However, off Frazier Avenue in North Chattanooga, in a subtle small white house, you’ll find the most quaint and delicious Greek restaurant. Opa has only a few tables and chairs, maybe seating 16 people. It is also run completely by one person, who is the cook, the server, the cashier, manager, everything. While you’re there, try a spanakopitas to start off with, anything with lamb as an entrée, and then the baklava as dessert.
Sitar is a staple for downtown professionals and tourists. They have an incredible lunch buffet where you try seemingly countless types of curry along with naan. It’s located right next to the Tennessee Aquarium, so you’ll see a lot of tourists there mixing in with the locals. Sitar caters very well to the vegetarian, providing an entirely vegetarian menu. This is, in our opinion, the best lunch buffet in downtown Chattanooga.
One of the best restaurants in Chattanooga for the past few decades is a cozy little diner right downtown called Innside Restaurant. There is an old school 70s vibe throughout the diner and a large offset Power T in the center of the restaurant, which represents the University of Tennessee’s symbol. If you’re looking for a vintage southern breakfast, with eggs, sausage, and biscuits and gravy, this is the perfect spot. They also do a classic diner lunch featuring burgers and sandwiches. Heads up, though. They’re only open Monday through Friday for breakfast and lunch.
Totto is one of the best Japanese restaurants on the North Shore, and has an amazing sushi buffet. For $12 you can enjoy all you can eat sushi from a killer selection of rolls. They also do Japanese hibachi steak and teriyaki chicken as well for the customers that aren’t in the mood for sushi. Too, Totto has an amazing patio that looks over Coolidge Park and the Tennessee River, which is perfect for warm weather nights.
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