The 10 Best Restaurants in Gatlinburg TN to Visit

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Our latest visit to Gatlinburg, Tennessee elevated all our senses, seeing breathtaking scenic vistas, hearing local bluegrass bands, and tasting Southern cuisine from some of the best places to eat in Gatlinburg.

We feasted on traditional Appalachian food (fried chicken, BBQ, fresh local trout), had some amazing Tex Mex, and enjoyed standard American fare as well.

Most of the Downtown Gatlinburg restaurants are designed to take full advantage of the stellar Smoky Mountains views, with balcony and rooftop seating. 

We really love sampling restaurants and exploring local hangouts when we travel, and the top restaurants in Gatlinburg definitely did not disappoint our palates!

Read on for our guide to the best restaurants in Gatlinburg TN, including great breakfast restaurants, romantic restaurants, restaurants with a view, and more. 

READ MORE: The 10 Best Things to Do in Gatlinburg TN

Are you planning a trip to Gatlinburg TN?

If you need recommendations for things to do in Gatlinburg TN, check out our tips for some of the top hotels, guided tours, and more!

Top Places to Stay in Gatlinburg TN

  1. Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott (downtown quiet hotel w/breakfast short walk to Main St)
  2. Courtyard by Marriott (downtown hotel near convention center & restaurants)
  3. Hilton Garden Inn (excellent location with outdoor firepit)
  4. Gatlinburg Mountain Inn (Historic Inn feels like home away from home w/ breakfast & cookies)

Popular tours and activities near Gatlinburg TN:

  1. Top Rated Wine and Shine Walking Tour (moonshine tasting tour w/ samples)
  2. Mountaintop Zipline 2-Hours Activity (360-degree views of the Great Smoky Mountains)
  3. Gatlinburg: Impossibilities Magic and Mind-Reading Show (80 minutes of family fun!)
  4. Gatlinburg Ghosts of The Smokies Most Haunted Tour (historic hauntings in a small group)

Need a car rental for your Gatlinburg trip? Find the best rental car options here!

Best Restaurants in Gatlinburg TN Guide

  1. Best Italian
  2. Cliff Top Restaurant at Anakeesta
  3. Crockett’s Breakfast Camp
  4. Howard’s Restaurant
  5. Loco Burro
  6. Ole Red
  7. Park Grill
  8. Smith & Son Corner Kitchen
  9. Sun Diner
  10. Tom and Earl’s Back Alley Grill

READ MORE: The 10 Best Smoky Mountains Hotels to Visit in NC & TN

Best Italian Restaurant in Gatlinburg TN
Best Italian Restaurant

1. Best Italian

710 Parkway, Gatlinburg TN • (865) 436-4345 • Official Website

HOURS: Sun to Thu 11AM–9PM, Fri/ Sat 11AM-10PM

We learned about Best Italian restaurant from our Smoky Mountains tour guide, Philip.

Our interest was piqued when asked, “Do you want to know where locals eat in Gatlinburg?”

Conveniently positioned on Main Street, this unassuming little Italian joint was packed with hungry patrons, and we found their service to be fast and friendly.

Their menu has all the Italian classics, including golden garlic knots, pizza, yummy pasta, and homemade strawberry cheesecake. We chose to build our own pizza and share a fresh tossed salad.

If you’re looking for hearty food in Gatlinburg TN, this aptly-named restaurant offers some of the best Italian food we’ve ever tasted!

READ MORE: The 10 Best Things to Do in the Great Smoky Mountains in Winter

The View from Cliff Top Restaurant at Anakeesta

2. Cliff Top Restaurant at Anakeesta

576 Parkway, Gatlinburg TN • (865) 325-2400 • Official Website

HOURS: Daily 11AM-8PM

If you’re a first-timer wondering where to eat in Gatlinburg TN, a mountaintop adventure park probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind.

But in addition to thrilling theme park rides, shops, and stunning scenic overlooks, Anakeesta also features one of the best Gatlinburg restaurants we visited!

Cliff Top restaurant offers modern American cuisine, with plenty of local craft beers and a full bar. 

I devoured the Smoky Steak Burger and Fries, while my wife Heather held out for the Bourbon Pecan Pie for dessert.

The Cliff Top has indoor and outdoor seating available. But we highly recommend the outdoor deck overlooking downtown Gatlinburg, which offers sweeping views of Mount LeConte and the Great Smoky Mountains.

READ MORE: 10 Fun Things to Do During Winter in Gatlinburg TN

Crockett’s Breakfast Camp

3. Crockett’s Breakfast Camp

1103 Parkway, Gatlinburg • (865) 325-1403 • Official Website

HOURS: Mon to Sun 7AM-1PM

Crockett’s Breakfast Camp is one of the most popular places for breakfast in Gatlinburg TN, with a rustic interior decor fit for a proper frontiersman.

Their Appalachian-inspired menu has something for everyone, from griddle cakes (a.k.a. pancakes) and sweet cinnamon buns to savory scramblers and “Hungry Hunters Huntcamp Skillets.”

Heather’s sweet tooth was satisfied by their sinfully delicious Fried Cinnamon Roll, which is served with caramel sauce and whipped cream.

I savored their scrumptious Black Bear Skillet, which is loaded with sugar-cured ham, pecan-smoked bacon, sausage, and farm-fresh eggs. 

Whichever dish you choose, you definitely won’t leave Crockett’s hungry!

READ MORE: The 10 Best Campgrounds in Tennessee to Visit

Howards Restaurant in Gatlinburg TN
Howard’s Restaurant

4. Howard’s Restaurant

976 Parkway, Gatlinburg TN • (865) 436-3600 • Official Website 

HOURS: Sun to Thu 11AM-10PM, Fri to Sat 11AM-11PM

The oldest restaurant in Gatlinburg (opened in 1946), Howard’s has long been considered one of the premiere places to eat in Gatlinburg.

Howard’s Restaurant is a steakhouse that specializes in traditional Blue Ridge Mountains fare, serving hand-cut steaks, delicious mountain trout, and upscale;e Southern cuisine.

The atmosphere inside complements the natural beauty outside, which includes a mountain stream right by the restaurant. That inspired me to go with the flavorful Smoky Mountain Trout, while Heather opted for the Alaskan Salmon.

After a long day of hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, we found Howard’s to be the perfect place to relax and enjoy a meal while planning our next day’s adventures.

READ MORE:  The 15 Best Things to Do in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Loco Burro, Gatlinburg TN

5. Loco Burro Fresh Mex Cantina

 735 Parkway #1, Gatlinburg TN • (865) 430-5624 • Official Website 

HOURS: Sun to Thu 11AM-10PM, Fri to Sat 11AM–11PM

If you’re interested in Mexican restaurants in Gatlinburg, don’t miss Loco Burro Fresh Mex Cantina.

The restaurant’s colorful exterior shouts fun, while the inside delivers delicious Tex-Mex cuisine and whimsical décor.

We sat in their rooftop bar, which has fantastic views of Downtown Gatlinburg below and the Gatlinburg SkyPark above.

Our lunch highlights included Baja Fish Tacos and the succulent Beef Brisket Quesadilla. accompanied a refreshing house specialty, the Spicy Mamacita ‘Rita. Their full bar also features exceptional top-shelf tequilas.

Other fun things to do at Loco Burro include dancing, karaoke, and riding a mechanical donkey!

READ MORE: The 10 Best Things to Do in Chattanooga TN

Live Music at Ole Red

6. Ole Red

511 Parkway, Gatlinburg TN • Official Website 

HOURS: Sun to Wed 11AM–8PM, Thu 11AM–10PM, Fri to Sat 11AM–12AM

Our love for live music was a big reason we chose Gatlinburg TN for our recent vacation, and we were thrilled with all the options this little Blue Ridge mountain town offered.

Ole Red Restaurant is a first class concert venue that features performances by both well-known and up ‘n’ coming country music stars.

Designed to reflect the rustic spirit of music legend Blake Shelton, the restaurant borrows its name from one of his hit songs, “Ol’ Red.”

With live country music playing in the background, we ate cheeseburgers and fried catfish along with two signature cocktails, Cherry Limeade and a Drunk’n Mule, which were served in souvenir glasses.

READ MORE: The 10 Best Tennessee Mountain Towns to Visit

Park Grill

7. Park Grill

1110 Parkway, Gatlinburg TN • (865) 436-2300 • Official Website 

HOURS: Lunch Daily 11:30AM-4PM; Dinner Mon to Sun 5-9PM

Our favorite Gatlinburg TN restaurants reflect the Appalachian culture of the Blue Ridge/Smoky Mountains region.

Housed in a massive log cabin, the Park Grill serves up the mouthwatering flavors of Southern Appalachia, including Hickory-grilled Steaks, Moonshine Chicken, and Pulled Pork.

Heather ate Fresh Rainbow Trout and a salad from the massive salad bar (which features a multitude of fresh offerings), while I loved their award-winning, slow-roasted Baby Back Ribs.

Located near the entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Park Grill feels like an authentic mountain lodge, with a gorgeous spruce log and stone exterior.

READ MORE: The 10 Best Romantic Getaways in Tennessee

Smith & Son Corner Kitchen

8. Smith & Son Corner Kitchen

812 Parkway, Gatlinburg TN • (865) 430-1978 • Official Website 

Main Street Gatlinburg is an eclectic and vibrant place, with an endless array of quality restaurants.

Smith & Son Corner Kitchen seamlessly merges Southern hospitality with Smoky Mountain flavor, which combine to create a rewarding culinary experience. The restaurant’s All-American menu is designed to please locals and visitors alike.

Try the Gatlinburger, with fresh beef and bologna, or the Nachyo Nachos, which feature fried potato chips smothered in smoked pulled pork, beef brisket, jalapeños, melted cheddar cheese, and more.

Their Signature Cocktails include local moonshine from the Ole Smoky Distillery, with colorful names like “Hillbilly Hurricane,” “Moonshine Mule,” and “White Trash.”

READ MORE: Winter at Ober Gatlinburg, the Best Snow Skiing in Tennessee

The Sun Diner

9. Sun Diner

646 Parkway, Gatlinburg TN • Official Website 

HOURS: Mon to Sun 7AM–7PM

Serious music lovers revere Sun Records, which bred legends like Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, and Elvis Presley.

The Sun Diner pays tribute to this iconic Nashville institution, but it’s their tasty food that makes them one of the best breakfast restaurants in Gatlinburg.

We loved the nostalgic diner-style counter seating and the music history displayed on the walls and menu.

Of course, we also adored their sweet and savory Southern dishes. My Chicken N’ Waffles were amazing, and Heather enjoyed their Buttermilk Pancakes with pecan maple syrup.

In our opinion, this restaurant is a shining star of the Gatlinburg food scene!

READ MORE: The Birthplace of Country Music Museum in Bristol TN/VA

Tom & Earl’s Back Alley Grill,

10. Tom & Earl’s Back Alley Grill

651 Parkway #110, Gatlinburg TN • (865) 325-6022 • Official Website

HOURS: Mon to Sun 11AM–10PM

If you want to know where to eat in Gatlinburg TN, we recommend exploring beyond Downtown Gatlinburg’s Main Street.

We stumbled upon Tom & Earl’s Back Alley Grill by accident, but loved how the down-to-earth establishment focused on friendly service.

Their bar area is spacious, and we were able to catch some football games on the multiple flat-screen TVs while we dined.

Enjoying the sports bar vibe, we decided to go with several appetizers paired with some local craft beers.

The Rocky Top Nachos were perfectly spicy, while the Fried Green Tomatoes were one of the best dishes we had during our Gatlinburg vacation. –text and photos by Jon Weaver & Heather Taylor; lead photo of Cliff Top Restaurant at Anakeesta courtesy Visit Gatlinburg

Leave No Trace logo

We encourage anyone who loves the Blue Ridge region to learn about the Leave No Trace principles of responsible environmental stewardship. 

Stay on marked trails, take only pictures, pack out your trash, and be considerate of others who share the trails and parks you explore. 

Remember that waterfalls and rocky summits can be dangerous. Never try to climb waterfalls or get close to a ledge to get a selfie.

When you're exploring the wilderness, it's better to be safe than to be a statistic!

The universities brought Jon and Heather to Harrisonburg Virginia in the 1980s and the beauty of the Shenandoah Valley has kept them there to this day. Heather has a Master's Degree in Early Childhood Education and 10 years of experience as an editor and technical writer for online training sites. After college, Jon worked several years at a weekly newspaper before joining his family business which he ran until retirement. Jon and Heather enjoy traveling and sharing their stories with others. Locally, they love exploring the towns and mountains of the Blue Ridge near their hometown of Harrisonburg VA.