Gatlinburg has long been heralded as one of the Appalachian South's most romantic getaway destinations, tucked into the scenic skyline of the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains at the entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Couples exploring the area can embark on waterfall hikes or drives to stunning overlooks within the park's boundaries or enjoy the lively tourist attractions and amusement rides lining Gatlinburg's famed downtown Strip boulevard. Delicious restaurants showcase the best of the South's home cooking, including famed dining destinations like Alamo Steakhouse, themed after the Texas Spanish mission of the same name. Many restaurants offer reservations for private romantic seating overlooking the beautiful creeks and tree-lined vistas of the nearby national park.


1.Buckhorn Inn

Buckhorn Inn
© Kzenon/stock.adobe.com

Buckhorn Inn is a delectable Southern-style dining experience in the heart of beautiful Gatlinburg, Tennessee, known for its hearty morning breakfast offerings and classic chef-inspired dinner selections. The restaurant is the signature dining experience of the Buckhorn Inn bed and breakfast facility, which celebrated its 80th anniversary of operation in 2018. Couples can enjoy breakfast, lunch, and dinner experiences throughout the week, including three-course meals served up each evening as part of an ever-changing dinner menu. Dinner is seated each evening at 7:00pm, showcasing homemade soups, salads, and home-baked bread served up alongside a gourmet entree selection like braised beef short ribs or grilled swordfish in chimichurri sauce. Breakfast reservations are highly recommended, showcasing comforting Southern fare served at 8:00am daily.

2140 Tudor Mountain Rd, Gatlinburg, TN 37738, Phone: 865-436-4668

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2.Cherokee Grill and Steakhouse

Cherokee Grill and Steakhouse
© Cherokee Grill and Steakhouse


Cherokee Grill and Steakhouse pays homage to the lovely heritage of the Great Smoky Mountains region, which was the traditional home of the Cherokee indigenous tribe prior to European colonization. The restaurant, which overlooks the lively Gatlinburg Strip, serves up regionally-inspired steakhouse fare throughout the week, including hearty, flavorful rotisserie-style entrees. Couples can select from a variety of classic steakhouse entrees at lunch and dinner, including Smoky Mountain fried chicken with garden vegetable gravy, Southern-fried catfish, barbecue baby back ribs, and Boursin filets stuffed with gourmet cheese. Shareable appetizer selections include fried calamari with mustard sauce, Asian-style egg rolls, and signature classic crab bisque.

1002 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738

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3.Crystelle Creek Restaurant and Grill

Crystelle Creek Restaurant and Grill
© Crystelle Creek Restaurant and Grill

Crystelle Creek Restaurant and Grill is one of the Smoky Mountains' most unique and romantic dining destinations, offering casual steakhouse and bar fare on beautifully-landscaped grounds on Gatlinburg's East Parkway. The restaurant's dining room overlooks a beautiful creek waterfront on the edge of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, with waters cascading right past the restaurant's roofs and windows. Signature trout dishes have been voted among Gatlinburg's best, including fresh Tennessee trout prepared grilled, skillet fried, or blackened. Diners can also choose from land and sea favorites like Cajun-style chargrilled chicken breasts, tender slow-smoked baby back ribs with homemade barbecue sauce, and 16-ounce Porterhouse steaks seasoned to perfection. Shareable appetizers served up on the restaurant's sports porch including catfish bites, fried mushrooms, and chargrilled cocktail skewers.

1654 East Pkwy, Gatlinburg, TN 37738, Phone: 865-430-1551

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4.Red Oak Bistro

Red Oak Bistro
© Red Oak Bistro


Red Oak Bistro is one of Gatlinburg's most popular new dining destinations, opened in April of 2018. The restaurant focuses on wine and tapas pairing selections, offering romantic ambiance throughout its indoor dining room, luxurious bar, and open-air patio and deck area. Cathedral ceilings highlight carefully-curated artwork, complementing the restaurant's comfortable table and couch seating. A wide variety of red, white, and sparkling wines are available by the glass or by the bottle, complemented by a selection of craft brews from local and regional breweries. Menus change weekly, but often highlight selections like savory crepe tortes, smoked salmon bruschetta, caviar, and cheese and charcuterie boards. Due to the restaurant's popularity, reservations during the evening hours are highly recommended.

669 Glades Rd, Gatlinburg, TN 37738, Phone: 865-325-1717

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5.Taste Of Italy

Taste Of Italy
© Taste Of Italy


Taste Of Italy is a charming authentic Italian dining experience helmed by married duo Geri and Harold Mabee, serving up some of the Smoky Mountain region's best Italian menu selections. The warmly-decorated restaurant is known for its vegetarian-friendly menu offerings, also featuring a full menu of gluten-free selections for diners with dietary restrictions. Classic menu selections include favorites like chicken marsala, Maine lobster ravioli, baked manicotti, and margherita pizzas topped with fresh tomatoes and basil. Casual fare is also available at lunch, ranging from mushroom and Swiss burgers to fried catfish platters. Domestic beer selections are offered on draft or in bottles, complemented by bring-your-own-beverage wine service without corking fees.

1235 East Pkwy, Gatlinburg, TN 37738, Phone: 865-325-1750

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6.The Park Grill

The Park Grill
© The Park Grill


The Park Grill is one of Gatlinburg's most enduring dining institutions, opened in 1995 by restaurateur Geoffrey Wolpert. The restaurant highlights the delicious culinary flavors of Southern Appalachia at lunch and dinner throughout the week, housed within a gorgeous one-of-a-kind building crafted from reclaimed stone, spruce trees, and artisanal metal handiwork. Rustic decor lines the restaurant's luxurious dining room, which features exposed log elements and cathedral ceilings. Couples can choose from a wide variety of high-quality menu selections served up throughout the week, including hickory-grilled pineapple moonshine chicken, eight-ounce buckshot sirloin steaks in savory peppercorn sauce, and crunchy sweet breaded Southern pecan chicken. Clever shareables round out the menu, including fried pickle spears, mac and cheese bites, and pepper jack queso dip.

1110 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738, Phone: 865-436-2300

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7.The Peddler Steakhouse

The Peddler Steakhouse
© The Peddler Steakhouse

The Peddler Steakhouse is an historic dining destination housed within the former home of fourth-generation Gatlinburg merchant Charles "Earl" Ogle, Sr., constructed in 1958. The cabin, which has been operated as a restaurant since 1976, is overseen by Geoffrey Wolpert today, known for his work at dining destination The Park Grill. Fine steakhouse selections are offered in a dining room overlooking the banks of the gorgeous Little Pigeon River, focusing on elegant steak and seafood options. Main dishes include combination steak platters featuring New York strip and ribeye steaks, marinated or blackened chicken prepared on hickory charcoal, and fresh English Mountain rainbow trout plates. Lucky couples may be able to glimpse black bears and other Great Smoky Mountains National Park wildlife from the restaurant's window during dinner hours.

820 River Rd, Gatlinburg, TN 37738, Phone: 865-436-5794

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8.The Wild Plum Tea Room

The Wild Plum Tea Room
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The Wild Plum Tea Room is a unique dining destination within Gatlinburg's historic Arts and Crafts Community, serving up homemade comfort fare in an environment inspired by Austrian-style tea houses. The restaurant and tea room serves up unique offerings at lunch throughout the week, including daily chef's specials crafted from fresh, locally-sourced ingredients. It is housed within a cozy cottage located just a few miles from Gatlinburg's Strip, open on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays during the afternoon hours. Diners can enjoy daily-rotating menus highlighting favorites like Maine lobster puff pastry pie, salmon burgers, and daily strata casserole selections. Famed Wild Plum chicken salad is available in sandwiches or as part of platters paired with daily soups.

555 Buckhorn Rd, Gatlinburg, TN 37738, Phone: 865-436-3808

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9.Alamo Steakhouse

Alamo Steakhouse
© Alamo Steakhouse

Alamo Steakhouse is one of Gatlinburg's most unique dining experiences, owned and operated by the Johnson Family of Restaurants, which also oversees Pigeon Forge's Bennett's Pit BBQ chain. The legendary steakhouse, which was fully renovated and reopened in 2017 after Gatlinburg's devastating recent fire, is themed after the famed battle at the Spanish mission of the same name during Texas' battle for independence. Delicious oak-fired aged steaks are cooked to emphasize natural flavors, prepared with delicious housemade sauces. Couples can select from main dishes like chili-rubbed pork chops, salmon Oscar, and San Antonio-style chicken dinners, complemented by seafood selections like Padre Island fried shrimp platters. All soups, sauces, gravies, and burgers are crafted in house daily. Romantic "love nest" private dining tables are available with advance reservations at least two days ahead of desired dining date.

705 East Pkwy, Gatlinburg, TN 37738, Phone: 865-436-9998

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9 Best Restaurants in Gatlinburg