Gatlinburg, TN is a popular small mountain town outside of the Smoky Mountains that draws millions of visitors each year. There are numerous quaint shops, candy stores, attractions, and wonderful restaurants in Gatlinburg to choose from. In this guide to the best restaurants in Gatlinburg, learn where the locals love to go and where you will want to go every time you visit the Smoky Mountains.
We also took the time to read several reviews across numerous review sites to compile for you what we consider to be the absolute best restaurants in Gatlinburg, TN. Instead of scouring the reviews yourself, you can save your valuable vacation time and simply enjoy your time in the Great Smoky Mountains.
Best Breakfast In Gatlinburg
There’s no question that breakfast is a big deal in Gatlinburg. The challenge is deciding on the best breakfast in Gatlinburg when there are so many amazing pancake houses and downtown Gatlinburg restaurants. However, we chose our top picks and as you can see from the reviews, we are not alone in our assessment.
Crockett’s Breakfast Camp is consistently rated as one of the best restaurants in Gatlinburg. There were well over 4,000 reviews on TripAdvisor raving about not the great food and the even greater service!
Best known for their large portions, amazing Cat head biscuits, and larger than life cinnamon rolls, you are sure to leave full and beyond satisfied.
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There is no more iconic pancake house in Gatlinburg than the Pancake Pantry. Anyone who is familiar with Gatlinburg’s downtown restaurants will mention this one right away. My brothers both lived in the area for a time and it was one of the first places mentioned when I asked for their recommendations. (One worked in the “haunted industry” and another at Dollywood, yet, somehow, I received no perks for these connections, but that’s a story for another day. )
Pancake Pantry can’t be missed as it sits on the corner adjacent to the entrance to the Village in the heart of downtown Gatlinburg.
They boast over 20 varieties of pancakes in addition to a regular full American breakfast. While most reviews are overwhelmingly positive, a few reviewers felt it was “just ok” and a bit expensive.
If you are in the mood for breakfast on-the-go while you explore Gatlinburg, be sure to stop in at the Donut Friar in The Villages Shopping center. I have to add that the Villages are my absolute favorite part of downtown Gatlinburg. Enjoying a donut and a cup of coffee while taking in the old world charm of the shops is a quintessential Gatlinburg experience.
Best Italian In Gatlinburg
Perhaps Italian isn’t your first thought when thinking of great restaurants in the mountains, but really does it matter where you are when you get a craving for a great Italian restaurant? Here are our picks for the best Italian restaurants in Gatlinburg, TN including the best pizza in Gatlinburg.
The Best Italian restaurant in Gatlinburg is aptly named, “Best Italian” Cafe & Pizzeria. I was first introduced to this little Italian restaurant tucked away in the corner off of the Parkway by my brother. There is nothing fancy about this restaurant, but the portions are huge, the service is good, and the garlic knots are worth the visit!
We have always enjoyed Big Daddy’s Pizzeria. Again, very friendly service and great with our food allergies, they are a go to Pizza place for our family. Incidentally, the same parent company own’s Bennett’s BBQ, Alamo, and Mamas Farm House in Pigeon Forge and are also great choices.
Best BBQ In Gatlinburg
Well, you can’t be this close to North Carolina and not find some good BBQ. Gatlinburg BBQ is no exception! Here are a few of the best BBQ restaurants in Gatlinburg according to us and hundreds of others!
Delauder’s is a local Gatlinburg restaurant and the food and service speaks for itself. Reviewers rave about the great BBQ and the down-home kind service delivered by the owners. If you are looking to get away from the “chain” feel and get a great down home BBQ dinner served with a southern smile, check out Delauder’s Smoky Mountain BBQ.
**Note: Delauder’s is Cash Only**
If you are looking to stay closer to downtown Gatlinburg, then you won’t go wrong choosing Bennett’s Pit Bar-Que. Bennet’s is owned by the same owners as Big Daddy’s Pizza and the Gatlinburg location is on the backside of the same building.
Best Steakhouse in Gatlinburg
Now, we are talking! Where do I get some great steak in Gatlinburg? We have two favorite steakhouses in Gatlinburg and both of them have their charms and their perks, so you might have to come back again if you can’t fit them both in!
The Alamo is a great steak house! We have been visiting Gatlinburg for more than 20 years and Alamo is definitely one of our favorite places to eat in Gatlinburg.
It is casual and perfect for the whole family. If the weather is nice, the outdoor seating is great. This restaurant burned to the ground in the 2016 Gatlinburg wild fires, but has been rebuilt and is even better than ever. In addition to steaks, they have great salads, seafood, and desserts.
The Peddler Steakhouse is another family favorite downtown Gatlinburg steakhouse. It also happens to be a great Gatlinburg restaurant with a view if you can get a table outside.
I have to tell a pretty funny story about a dinner at The Peddler Steakhouse a few years ago.
My family and I had spent a great day in Gatlinburg during Oktoberfest at Ober Gatlinburg. We enjoyed riding the Aerial Tramway up the mountain to Ober to enjoy the festivities of the day, but by the day’s end we were tired and hungry.
Apparently, we weren’t the only tired and hungry people in Gatlinburg that day so we had quite a wait for a table at The Peddler Gatlinburg. It is worth the wait, but my children were growing weary.
Needless to say, by the time we got a table my poor two year old had hit a wall. Now, don’t judge me, but we couldn’t stop ourselves from snapping this hilarious video!
Romantic Restaurants In Gatlinburg
It’s true Gatlinburg is a family friendly vacation destination, but that doesn’t mean that these beautiful mountains don’t offer plenty of romance!
Do a search for weddings in Gatlinburg and you will see that the Smoky Mountains are a top destination for romance!
Here are just a few of the romantic restaurants in Gatlinburg to consider.
You have to get off the beaten path for this romantic dinner. However, if you are looking for a romantic restaurants with a view in Gatlinburg, then The Buckhorn Inn is a great choice. A favorite of locals and tourists since 1938, The Buckhorn Inn offers regional fresh food served in four courses. We found the service and romantic setting perfect.
**Pro Tip: Book Reservations for an early dinner to get this view**
We have enjoyed dinner at the Crystelle Creek Restaurant a few times including one wedding reception. The food and atmosphere are not as upscale as the Buckhorn, but the creekside atmosphere, live music, and friendly service make for an enjoyable family or romantic dinner.
**Tip: Get the Catfish!!**
Where To Stay In Gatlinburg
Best Hotel in Gatlinburg: The Park Vista – a DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel – Gatlinburg Our family has stayed here almost every fall for over 10 years. We love the indoor pool and the views.
If your visit to Gatlinburg is extended and you are looking to spend some time in Pigeon Forge, TN, check out our review of the Home 2 Suites located near The Island and Dollywood.
If you are planning to hike be sure to read of Best Hiking Boots Review.
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