Eat: Favorite Nashville Restaurants
A welcome aspect of “New Nashville” is its ever-expanding restaurant scene. In 2013, when I started telling people in New York City we were moving to Nashville, the general reaction was open-mouthed gape. Since then, the New York Times has proclaimed Nashville an It city, and the city has become an increasingly popular tourist destination as well as earning the dubious distinction of bachelorette capital of the USA. Now, when I return to New York and tell people I live in Nashville, the response is either “I just visited there!” or “I’ve been meaning to visit.” As more people relocate here, it’s also facing the myriad of problems that accompany gentrification and soaring real estate prices, but that’s a post for another day.
Those who’ve lived here for a long time tell me a mere ten years ago, Nashville was a far cry from the foodie destination it has become. While the ethnic food scene has room for improvement, there remains an abundance of good eats. Here are some of my favorites, in no particular order.
- Rolf and Daughters – It’s hard to go wrong with this rustic, delicious peasant fare in a loft building—high ceilings, exposed brick. Pretty much everything on the menu is delish.
- Etch – Yes, the ambiance feels a bit soulless and corporate, but the bold, inventive flavors make up for it.
- Chauhan Ale and Masala House – As a high end Indian restaurant that is also hip, Chauhan’s is a rarity. All of the standard Indian dishes are solid, and many of the Southern Indian fusion are excellent (kale pakora chaat, black eyed peas tikki). They also have signature craft beers, like a Saffron IPA. Can get pretty loud.
- Café Nonna – Cute date-night neighborhood Italian. Stick with the pastas.
- City House – A Southern spin on Italian dishes in this Germantown favorite. Lovely pizzas and seasonal dishes. The acoustics of the place don’t allow for quiet conversation; be prepared to yell across the table at your neighbor.
- Dosa Hut – This quirky joint behind Patel Brothers serves up the best dosa in town.
- Hattie B’s – Of the Nashville’s hot chicken joints, this is my favorite. Go the Charlotte Pike location, more parking and less crowded. Some of our guests have liked this place so much they insisted on going two day’s in a row.
- Thai Esane – I haven’t found a Thai place in Nashville that I absolutely love, but Thai Esane is quality enough to satisfy my Thai cravings.
- Dozen Bakery – Best breads and croissants in town, the lunch menu features tasty baguette sandwiches and homemade salads. Only thing lacking is a full coffee bar. They have specific hours for serving food, check before you go.
- Awash – Nashville has a number of Ethiopian restaurants, but this is the best. There’s no menu at this tiny, unassuming restaurant. Instead, you have a seat and wait for the proprietress to bring you an array of flavorful home cooked dishes. Yum.