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Knoxville's Best

m
mackeyda Feb 10, 2009 09:42 AM

Hi There,

I used Chowhound when I first moved to Knoxville in August to get some suggestions for places to try. I thought I'd give my feedback on the places I've enjoyed and some others that weren't mentioned for all of you living in/ new to/ passing through Knoxville.

-King Tut's-- This is probably my favorite place in Knoxville. There are other entries on the Chow Hound site that describe the wacky owner, the eccentric decor, the impromptu karaoke that breaks out. Their Greek salad, babaganoush, and hummus are wonderful.

-La Esperanza-- This small Mexican grocery store on Whittle Springs has a little restaurant in the back with amazing chorizo tacos for $1.50 each. You can't beat it. If they had margaritas, I'd never go to Senor Taco (the more popular Mexican place in this neck of the woods).

-FATS BBQ-- This is right across from La Esperanza and is equally small, unassuming, delicious, and reasonable.

-Benton's-- This isn't a restaurant and isn't in Knoxville, but it's worth the hour drive there. I've had their bacon, prosciutto, and ribs and they are all delicious- smoky and rich and meaty. He ships his stuff to restaurants all over the country.

-Hong Kong House-- I tried this after I read about it here and was glad I did. It's in a strip mall on Kingston Pike and looks like nothing special from the outside, but is the best Chinese I've ever had. The best dishes are the crispy shrimp and spicy young chicken. And get the scallion bubble pancakes for an appetizer. Their buffet (lunch and weekend brunch) is OK, but I recommend ordering from the menu.

-Sitar-- This certainly isn't the best indian food you'll ever eat, but their lunch and weekend buffet is decent for the price and is better than Taj, the newly opened Indian place in town.

-Crown and Goose-- This place is a little pricey and sometimes hit or miss. The "Best Deviled Eggs You've Ever Tasted" do not live up to the name, but the fish and chips are great (and half off on Mondays), as is the dessert sampler. Weekends it can get a little loud and obnoxious (the Beatles cover band that regularly plays there doesn't help, in my opinion, but lots of folks seem to enjoy them). They've got a lovely beer garden.

-Cafe 4-- This isn't the best restaurant in town but bears mentioning because it's new, because it is a beautiful venue, because the adjoining concert space hosts great musicians, and because I really like their fried calamari.

-Le Parigo-- Just moved downtown from out west. The meal I had wasn't worth the money, but they have half price desserts and appetizers after 10 pm on weekends, so would be a nice after-concert place to go for a swanky dessert or snack, I suppose.

-Nama-- Other posts mention that the sushi is the best in town. I agree and would add to go there on Monday for half price sushi.

-Northshore Brasserie-- Upscale American/French done well. Nothing crazy inventive or mind-blowing, but worth what you pay, I think.

-Chandler's-- Best meat and 3 in town.

  1. north2south Feb 10, 2009 10:32 AM

    Thanks for this report. I've only eaten at one Knoxville restaurant--Hong Kong House. I look forward to checking out some of your other recommendations when I next travel to Knoxville.

    1. s
      shallots Feb 10, 2009 01:54 PM

      Sometime we need to make a Knoxville to Chilhowie Virginia trip just to do a big tasting at Town House; it's that good.
      Along the lines of King Tut, have you tried Ali Baba on Kingston Pike just east of the turn to Sam's?
      Sunspot on the strip.
      SoccerTaco on Bearden Hill.
      (Does Fats still have an even better price on Tuesdays?)

      And, to be truly of this place, have you had totally fresh Krispy kreme donuts at the base of Bearden Hill? You may hate them for being too sweet, but you need to try just one, because.

      7 Replies
      1. re: shallots
        m
        mackeyda Feb 11, 2009 04:11 AM

        I've never heard of Town House... details?

        I've not tried Ali Baba, but see it often and hear it's good.

        I like Sunspot, but I've gotten a few things there that weren't the best. But their chips and tomatillo salsa are addictive.

        I've been to SoccerTaco only once, because Senor Taco and La Eseranza are so close to my house, and I think I wasn't that hungry so I ordered a shrimp salad or something, which I don't think is really indicative of what they serve. You recommend it?

        Fats has deals every day on something... not sure about Tuesdays, but if it's cheap, I'm there!

        And I don't hate Krispy Kremes at all... even if I wish I did...

        1. re: mackeyda
          l
          LGD Feb 11, 2009 05:47 AM

          Please give Wright's Cafeteria a try. It is on Middlebrook Pike and serves lunch 5 days a week. one of the few places where the food is still similar to the Southern food of my childhood. I recommend the fried chicken. The deviled eggs and the yeast rolls are delicious. Their pies and banana pudding are made on site. You see everybody from Congressmen to Mayors to ordinary folk like me eating lunch there.

          1. re: LGD
            m
            mackeyda Feb 11, 2009 07:34 AM

            Yes, I've been wanting to try it, but I work so far from there, it's tough to do it! Next time I have a day off...

          2. re: mackeyda
            s
            shallots Feb 11, 2009 07:59 AM

            Here's the Town House website. Right now they are having specials every Tuesday night. We would have gone this week, but my head cold has messed with my tastebuds, and their food is complex enough that I don't want to miss part of the experience.
            www.townhouseva.com
            SoccerTaco: Lunch Special #1 fresh beef taco, guacamole salad on real fresh shredded lettuce, good refried beans, and then a chili relleno, not deep fried, but baked with superb filling and a light chili-tomato sauce on it. For $4.95.
            Mr Shallots wanders among their lunch burritos: he is most addicted to the Philly Cheesesteak Burrito (with sides) (same price); a burrito made with Carnitas and very, very generous with the pork and the chicken burrito.
            Their in house mole makes me realize how important a flavor trip a mole can be.
            I will be trying your grocery recommendation; we're northeast of Knoxville and it's the right side of town.

            Have you been up to Ritter Farm on the far side of Grainger County for fresh produce and things like Sorghum, etc.? In season they were doing lunches as well, real simple but good and cheap.

            And do you have a place to put in some tomato plants?

            1. re: shallots
              m
              mackeyda Feb 11, 2009 08:09 AM

              Thanks for the Soccer Taco rec.

              I've not been to Ritter Farms, but went to the fruit and berry patch (http://www.thefruitandberrypatch.com/) last summer.

              As for tomato plants, we're trying to start a garden this year (I just moved here this summer so it was too late...)

              1. re: mackeyda
                k
                Khotso98 Sep 1, 2010 01:07 PM

                There is now another Soccer Taco on Market Square as well.

            2. re: mackeyda
              l
              Littleman May 12, 2010 09:46 AM

              Town House @ 132 East Main St., Chilhowie, VA 276 - 646 - 8787.

              http://www.townhouseva.com/

          3. s
            Sandeesboy Nov 28, 2009 10:33 AM

            How can any mention of best Knox places be made with no mention of Sam and Andy's? Great burgers and sandwidches, but I never get past their daily speacial. What a deal!

            1. s
              shailadewan Jan 15, 2010 09:40 AM

              Just a note -- I just was there and tried S&W Grand, the newly restored downtown cafeteria (not a cafeteria any more, though). I was warned that it was not that good and overpriced, and indeed, it was REALLY not that good, although not so overpriced for someone who lives in Atlanta. Ugh. Ugh. UGH. Agree that Nama, down the street, is great. Wasabi -- just happened to try it for lunch, terrible.

              1. LItransplant Jan 30, 2010 08:30 AM

                Moved here from NY a little over a year ago. I have discovered a few gems:

                RouXbarb

                Dancing Bear Lodge

                Nama or Wasabi for sushi

                Gourmet's Market for lunch

                Pups or Melrose Station for best BBQ

                Sitar - pretty good Indian

                Have not found any good Italian. Tomato Head is okay for pizza.

                Looking forward to trying Echo and Foothills.

                1 Reply
                1. re: LItransplant
                  l
                  Littleman Jul 15, 2010 07:26 PM

                  Dancing Bear Lodge is outstanding. Now you need to go to Blackbery Farm the big sister.

                2. k
                  KyMikey May 24, 2010 09:59 AM

                  so.....now that Peter Chang has departed the Hong Kong House for greener pastures, where's the NEXT best place for Asian cuisine in the Knoxville area?

                  -----
                  Hong Kong House
                  8079 Kingston Pike Ste X, Knoxville, TN 37919

                  1. LItransplant Jul 10, 2010 08:29 AM

                    Best Pizza Hands Down: Hard Knox

                    1. memphisman Jul 30, 2010 11:00 AM

                      Have rented a cabin over near Townsend/Maryville for a week in August to fish and hike (and eat) What are the best places, from local diners to BBQ to upscale within say 1/2 hour?

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: memphisman
                        k
                        Khotso98 Sep 1, 2010 01:15 PM

                        Well too late now, but if you ever go back...

                        Little River Bar-B-Que
                        8303 Highway 73
                        Townsend TN
                        865-448-2500

                        Tomato Head
                        211 West Broadway Avenue
                        Maryville, TN 37801
                        (865) 981-1080

                        Thunderhead Perk
                        7249 East Lamar Alexander Parkway
                        Townsend, TN
                        (865) 448-2332

                        Mountain Brew Cafe
                        7967 East Lamar Alexander Parkway
                        Townsend, TN
                        (865) 448-3529

                      2. k
                        Khotso98 Sep 1, 2010 01:21 PM

                        I agree King Tut's is great and it happens to be in my neighborhood too. I would also give a shout out to the Tomato Head on Market Square and on Broadway in Maryville. The food is really good and the owner is very kind and generous. Here is an article that the Knoxville News Sentinel did about the Tomato Head and it's owner back in July: http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2010/jul...

                        1. s
                          sfafard Nov 30, 2010 11:51 AM

                          Thank you thank you! This is an awesome list! I am very excited to try some of these places!

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: sfafard
                            e
                            Evrett Jan 3, 2011 02:08 PM

                            I would try Tomo for sushi..Nama is a fusion restruant and their sushi is just ok. Littons made a good burger. Stri Fry Cafe had nice variety though i didnt think ther pad thai was anything to write home about.

                            -----
                            Tomo Restaurant
                            848 E High St, Lexington, KY 40502

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