I’ve been searching around on the web for restaurants that have been reviewed in the Knoxville area and I keep running into reviews of restaurants where the place is no longer in business.....probably for good reason. I have been to some of the places listed and know of friends who have dined the others. There also seems to be some establishments that are rated in the “Best of Knoxville” category that need to be reviewed from a different perspective. Here’s my take on the Knox News Sentinel's East Tennessee's Best: Dining & Drinking.
BEST APPETIZERS: CHILI'S GRILL & BAR – You have got to be kidding me....enough said.
BEST BARBEQUE: BUDDY'S BAR-B-Q – Old school – I would try Dead End BBQ on Sutherland or Ott’s on Kingston Pike...even Dave’s is better than Buddy’s.
BEST BREAKFAST: CRACKER BARREL OLD COUNTRY STORE – Highway food slop – try Mimi’s or Sami’s even Pete's downtown – I don’t want to deal with the I40/I75 highway people or Cracker Barrel.
BEST CHEF: STEVE PULEO – I find this funny ....don't you Bruce?
BEST CHINESE RESTAURANT: P.F. CHANG'S - Still searching for a local......
BEST DELI: NIXON'S DELI – Steamed sandwiches do not a deli make. This is the worst excuse for a deli I’ve been to. Since Frussie's closed....still looking for a deli!
BEST DESSERTS: LITTON'S MARKET & RESTAURANT – Come on any restaurant can handle desserts..... For extraordinary what about Magpies??????
BEST ETHNIC RESTAURANT: WASABI JAPANESE STEAKHOUSE & SUSHI BAR – What does ethnic mean here? Try Soho, Little Bangkok, Sitar, Linderhof Restaurant, or Little Havana. Ethnic doesn't mean hibachi.
BEST HAMBURGER: LITTON'S MARKET & RESTAURANT – Try Sam and Andy’s or Five Guys - unless you have an extra $28 for 2 burgers fries and drink. This place is a classic but overpriced.
BEST HAPPY HOUR: CHILI'S – Try Sapphire’s, Calhoun’s in TK or Rafferty's.
BEST ITALIAN: OLIVE GARDEN ITALIAN RESTAURANT - I think I'm going to puke....actually I did once after dinner here 10 years ago.....This is the worst Italian food since the Italian Market closed – Olive Garden is for people who watch too much TV . Try a local place Savelli's on Sutherland.
BEST LATE-NIGHT RESTAURANT: KRYSTAL – Oh yeah.....it is also the best to keep you up all night as you s%^& your brains out.
BEST MARGARITA: CHILI'S – If it sounds Mexican, people in Knoxville think it is..... try Estalita’s, Azul Tequila, and Abuelo’s.
BEST MARTINI: SAPPHIRE – I agree...surprised? Chris is a great bartender!
BEST MEAL UNDER $10: KRYSTAL – You can get less than $10 meals almost anywhere - Krystal is a <$10 colon cleansing experience.
BEST MEXICAN RESTAURANT: EL CHARRO MEXICAN RESTAURANT - Try Estalita’s, Azul Tequila, or Abuelo’s.
BEST OVERALL RESTAURANT: REGAS RESTAURANT – If you are a 70 year old card carrying member of AARP...maybe. - Try anything new in Market Square, Turkey Creek or Gay Street.
BEST PIZZA PLACE: PIZZA HUT – Who votes in Knoxville ? This is nasty pizza! The best pizza, hands down, is HardKnox Pizza in Bearden! You can also try Dazzo's on Gay Street
BEST RESTAURANT WHEN SOMEONE ELSE IS PAYING: RUTH'S CHRIS STEAK HOUSE – Fleming's, La Parigo & Rouxbarb.
BEST RESTAURANT WINE SELECTION: FLEMING'S PRIME STEAKHOUSE & WINE BAR - I agree.... rated in Wine Spectator.
BEST RIBS: CALHOUN'S – This place is milked – try Dead End.
BEST ROMANTIC DINING: NAPLES ITALIAN RESTAURANT - It is romantic if your favorite movie is "Lady and the Tramp". This a poor excuse for Italian food, they don’t know their cannelloni from manicotti...literally...tried both... I know.
BEST SALAD: RUBY TUESDAY - Not sure what this means? salad bar = sneeze bar = possibly unwashed customer hands bar. Yuck! I vote for the Grecian Salad at Peerless.
BEST SEAFOOD: RED LOBSTER - Oh boy, don’t get me started! Try Bonefish, Chesapeake's, Peerless or Captain Ernie’s Fish House.
BEST STEAKS: YE OLDE STEAK HOUSE – Haven't been, but hear it’s good.
BEST SUNDAY BRUNCH: O'CHARLEY'S – NOT! The best brunch is the Northshore Brasserie. O'Charley's needs to be crossed off the list for brunch or lunch.
BEST SUSHI BAR: NAMA SUSHI BAR – Nama rules sushi.
BEST SWEET TEA: MCDONALD'S – This is where the people who vote heads are at – nothing at McDonald’s makes my list except the McGurgles
BEST VEGETARIAN: SUNSPOT - No comment - There may be some Indian places that could be interesting as well.
BEST WATERFRONT CALHOUN'S ON THE RIVER - View is great - the food is average.
BEST WINGS: HOOTERS – Try Wing’s Plus or Wild Wings