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.
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