Best Restaurants in Gatlinburg

Nestled in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains, Gatlinburg, Tennessee, is a picturesque town that captures the essence of Southern charm and natural beauty. Known for its scenic landscapes, vibrant arts and crafts community, and proximity to America’s most visited national park, Gatlinburg is a magnet for tourists year-round. This town is not just about outdoor adventures; it’s also a hub for gastronomic delights. Gatlinburg’s culinary scene is as diverse as its landscape, offering everything from upscale dining experiences to traditional Southern comfort foods, ensuring that every palate leaves satisfied. In this article, we’ve made a list of the 24 best restaurants in Gatlinburg.

Best Local Cuisine and Southern Eateries

Gatlinburg is a haven for those seeking the authentic flavors of the South. The town’s local cuisine and Southern eateries offer a delightful culinary journey through traditional recipes and hearty dishes.

1. Southern Comfort Restaurant:

Southern Comfort Restaurant

This eatery is a treasure trove of Southern cooking, known for its home-style meals that taste like they’re straight out of grandma’s kitchen. Signature dishes include the classic fried chicken, creamy grits, and homemade biscuits. Their fried green tomatoes and blackberry cobbler have become local legends, attracting both residents and tourists alike.

2. The Smoky Mountain Diner: 

Steeped in history, this diner has been a staple in Gatlinburg for decades. Famous for its country ham and red-eye gravy, the diner offers a nostalgic trip to the past with its vintage decor and historical photographs lining the walls. The warm, welcoming atmosphere makes it a popular spot among locals, and its long-standing presence in the community speaks volumes about its popularity and commitment to traditional Southern cuisine.

3. Hickory Cabin Seasonal Grill: 

A hidden gem in Gatlinburg, known for its barbecue and smoked meats. The grill uses locally sourced wood to smoke its meats, imparting a unique flavor that has won the hearts of many locals. Their pulled pork and brisket, paired with homemade sauces, are particularly renowned. The casual, friendly atmosphere and the commitment to local ingredients make it a favorite among those who know the area well.

Related Read: Best Romantic Restaurants in Tokyo

International Flavors in Gatlinburg

Beyond its Southern roots, Gatlinburg is a melting pot of global flavors, offering an array of international dining experiences that cater to a variety of tastes.

4. La Bella Roma:

This Italian gem brings a slice of Italy to the Smoky Mountains. La Bella Roma prides itself on authentic Italian cuisine, crafted by chefs who are passionate about their homeland’s culinary traditions. Their handmade pasta, wood-fired pizzas, and classic Tiramisu are local favorites. The restaurant’s use of fresh, high-quality ingredients and traditional cooking methods ensures an authentic Italian dining experience.

5. Cantina de Gatlinburg:

For a taste of Mexico in the heart of Tennessee, this vibrant cantina is the place to go. The chefs, hailing from various regions of Mexico, bring a diverse range of flavors and dishes to the table. Signature dishes like the mole poblano and street-style tacos are not to be missed. The lively atmosphere, complete with colorful decor and occasional live music, makes for an exciting dining experience.

6. The Eastern Dragon:

Specializing in Asian cuisine, this restaurant offers a journey through the flavors of the East. From Chinese classics to Thai and Japanese dishes, the menu is a testament to the chefs’ expertise in Asian cooking. The sushi bar, offering fresh and inventive rolls, is a highlight here. The authenticity of the dishes, combined with the serene, Eastern-inspired ambiance, makes this a go-to for Asian food enthusiasts.

Family-Friendly Dining Options

Gatlinburg is exceptionally welcoming to families, and several restaurants cater specifically to those with children, making dining out a fun and stress-free experience.

7. The Treehouse Café: 

The Treehouse Café

Perfect for families, this café is as entertaining as it is delicious. With a menu featuring kid-friendly items like mini burgers, chicken tenders, and a create-your-own pizza option, there’s something for every young palate. The restaurant also features a small play area and treehouse-themed decor that keeps the little ones engaged.

8. Mountain View Grill: 

Overlooking the beautiful Smoky Mountains, this grill offers a laid-back atmosphere ideal for families. Their menu boasts a range of options from grilled cheese sandwiches to hearty mountain trout for the more adventurous young eaters. Additionally, they offer coloring books and puzzles to keep children entertained while waiting for their meals.

9. The Whimsical Waffle House: 

This eatery is a paradise for kids and adults alike. The menu features a variety of waffles, from classic to creative, ensuring even the pickiest young eaters will find something to enjoy. The restaurant also offers a special ‘Kids Plate’ which includes smaller portions and a fun activity sheet to keep the little ones engaged.

Read Also: Best Luxury Hotels & Resorts in Miami

Casual and Budget-Friendly Eats

Gatlinburg also offers a wide range of casual and budget-friendly dining options for those looking for a quick bite without splurging.

10. Downtown Deli & Coffee Shop: 

Downtown Deli & Coffee Shop

This deli is a go-to spot for affordable, yet delicious sandwiches, wraps, and salads. Known for its friendly service and relaxed atmosphere, it’s perfect for a quick lunch or a coffee break. They also offer a variety of daily specials and homemade soups that won’t break the bank.

11. Happy Hour Heaven: 

As the name suggests, this place is famous for its happy hour deals. Offering a selection of appetizers, local beers, and cocktails at discounted prices, it’s a great spot to relax after a day of sightseeing.

12. Quick Bites Food Truck: 

Located near the main tourist attractions, this food truck offers a convenient option for those on the go. Specializing in fast, tasty meals like tacos, burgers, and fries, it’s perfect for a quick meal between activities.

Unique and Thematic Restaurants

Gatlinburg offers a playful and diverse dining scene, with several restaurants providing unique themes and unusual dining experiences that go beyond just food.

13. The Enchanted Forest Eatery: 

Stepping into this restaurant is like entering a fairy tale. The interior is designed to mimic a mystical forest, complete with tree-like structures and soft, ambient lighting. The menu offers whimsical takes on classic dishes, such as ‘Fairy Fungi Risotto’ and ‘Elven Bread’. The restaurant also occasionally hosts themed nights, where diners are encouraged to dress according to the evening’s theme.

14. The Train Car Bistro: 

Housed in a refurbished train car, this bistro provides a nostalgic dining experience. The decor features vintage train memorabilia, and the windows offer a panoramic view of the passing scenery. The menu includes classic American fare, with a special focus on gourmet burgers and milkshakes.

15. Pirate’s Cove Tavern: 

Perfect for adventure seekers, this pirate-themed restaurant offers a lively ambiance with servers dressed as pirates, treasure map placemats, and a ship-like interior. The menu features seafood specialties and a range of rum-based cocktails. The highlight is the occasional live performances that transport diners to the high seas.

Also Read: Best All-Inclusive Resorts in Texas

Outdoor and Scenic Dining

For those who love to pair their meal with a view, Gatlinburg’s outdoor and scenic dining options are not to be missed.

16. The Mountain Top Grill: 

Located at a higher elevation, this grill offers stunning views of the Smoky Mountains. The best time to visit is during sunset for a breathtaking dining experience. Their specialties include smoked ribs and grilled trout, which perfectly complement the rustic mountain atmosphere.

17. Riverside Café: 

This charming café is situated along a picturesque river, providing a serene backdrop for a meal. The outdoor seating area is particularly popular in spring and summer. Their menu highlights include fresh salads, sandwiches, and a variety of local beers.

18. Sky-High Rooftop Restaurant: 

Sky-High Rooftop Restaurant

For a dining experience with an urban feel, this rooftop restaurant offers panoramic views of downtown Gatlinburg and the surrounding mountains. They serve a fusion of Southern and contemporary cuisine, with dishes like bourbon-glazed chicken and smoked brisket tacos.

Vegetarian and Special Diet Options

Gatlinburg is accommodating to those with special dietary needs, including vegetarians, vegans, and those requiring gluten-free options. These restaurants offer a variety of dishes that cater to these specific requirements without compromising on taste.

19. The Green Leaf Grill:

This restaurant specializes in vegetarian and vegan cuisine, offering a diverse menu that ranges from veggie burgers to vegan pasta. Their use of fresh, organic ingredients ensures high-quality meals. The Green Leaf Grill is also known for its gluten-free options, making it a perfect spot for diners with different dietary needs.

20. Nature’s Kitchen:

A haven for health-conscious eaters, Nature’s Kitchen offers a variety of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free dishes. The menu includes creative salads, grain bowls, and smoothies, all made with natural ingredients. Their vegan desserts are a must-try, receiving rave reviews for their flavor and texture.

21. Harvest Moon Pizzeria:

Catering to pizza lovers, this pizzeria offers vegetarian and gluten-free pizza options. Their gluten-free crusts are well-reviewed, and the variety of vegetable toppings ensures a delicious pizza experience for those avoiding meat or gluten.

Read More:  All-inclusive Resorts United States

Desserts and Sweet Treats

Gatlinburg’s dessert scene is as rich and varied as its main courses, with numerous spots dedicated to satisfying your sweet tooth.

22. Sugar Dreams Confectionery:

A paradise for those with a sweet tooth, this confectionery offers a dazzling array of homemade sweets, including fudge, candies, and pastries. Their signature item is the ‘Smoky Mountain Fudge’, a must-try for chocolate lovers.

23. The Pie Haven:

Specializing in homemade pies, this cozy bakery offers a variety of classic and innovative flavors, such as apple cinnamon, mixed berry, and their famous pecan pie. The warm, inviting atmosphere makes it a perfect spot to relax and indulge.

24. Frosty Delights Ice Cream Parlor:

No visit to Gatlinburg is complete without trying some local ice cream. This parlor serves up a variety of flavors, from traditional vanilla and chocolate to more adventurous ones like ‘Mountain Berry Swirl’. They also offer a selection of dairy-free and vegan options.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Restaurant in Gatlinburg

  • Cuisine Variety: Gatlinburg boasts an array of dining options, ranging from authentic Smoky Mountain recipes to international cuisines. Whether you’re craving down-home Southern cooking, Italian fare, or experimental fusion dishes, Gatlinburg has it all.
  • Ambiance and Scenic Views: Many restaurants in Gatlinburg offer not just great food but also breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and streams. Whether you prefer a cozy, cabin-style atmosphere or a sophisticated dining room overlooking the Smokies, the town’s eateries provide an array of ambiance to enhance your dining experience.
  • Price Range and Budget Options: Gatlinburg caters to all budgets. From luxurious fine dining establishments to affordable family-style diners, you can enjoy a fantastic meal without breaking the bank.
  • Family-Friendliness: For those traveling with children, Gatlinburg offers numerous family-friendly restaurants that feature kid-approved menus and relaxed settings, making dining out with the little ones a breeze.
  • Proximity to Popular Tourist Attractions: Many of Gatlinburg’s restaurants are conveniently located near major attractions like the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, and the Gatlinburg Space Needle, making them perfect spots to refuel after a day of exploring.

Read More: Indoor Activities in San Diego


The diversity and richness of Gatlinburg’s restaurant scene are truly remarkable. From fine dining with mountain views to cozy cafes and vibrant thematic restaurants, there is something for everyone in this charming town. The local cuisine, family-friendly options, and the plethora of dessert choices highlight the city’s commitment to a diverse culinary experience. Visitors are encouraged to explore the different types of dining experiences available in Gatlinburg, each offering a unique taste of the mountains and the warm hospitality of Tennessee. Whether you’re looking for an adventurous meal, a casual bite, or a sweet treat, Gatlinburg’s culinary landscape is sure to leave you with lasting memories and flavors.