Chapel Hill hound needs Nashville Advice
Can anyone help me plan a trip to Nashville? I'm looking for fine eats in downtown Nashville, ideally within walking distance of the Sheraton Nashville Downtown Hotel (623 Union Street). We'd happily drive, of course, for something special. I have no particularly cuisine preference. Whatever's best or most memorable.
I'm also looking for a place to bring several colleagues for dinner. I'm looking for a place in the $20-$40 per person range that won't object to the presence of babies (we'll have two in tow I believe). Again, any cuisine will do.
Thanks in advance for your help.
As for downtown, I would recommend the Palm, I have eaten there and the food is excellent and the service is excellent. The Palm is mainly known for it's steaks, but they do have other choices besides steak. The Palm is a great place for a memorable meal and their desserts are memorable as well. The Palm is across from the Gaylord Center. It is sort of hidden but they do have a small sign out front. As for the other meal I would recommend Rotier's for excellent cheeseburgers and The Elliston Place Soda Shop for excellent milkshakes. I'm not shure about Rotier's, but The Soda Shop would welcome the babies. I have eaten at both places and they are both excellent. I would not recommend the Hard Rock, too loud and overpriced. If you would like to see pictures and reviews for both Rotier's and The Elliston Place Soda Shop, GOOGLE choppedonion.com No pictures of the Palm, but they do have a website.
There are many wonderful restaurants in Nashville within a walk or short drive of where you will be staying, however I do not think that Rotiers or Elliston Place Soda Shop is what you are looking for. Although thy are both great for what they serve (Rotiers--burgers, Eliiston Place- shakes and meat and three) they are not where I'd take colleagues. And Palm is a chain. If you are looking for something different, try some of these listed below.
I am way past the baby stage, so I would recommend checking with the restaurant you decide to go to in advance. When mine were little, I just took them along, but they were fairly quite as infants.
Great places to eat downtown:
Parco Cafe (our favorite!)
This is downtown in Printers Alley where there are lots of honky tonks and Karaoke Bars but it is unbelieveably fabulous. It is owned by an Asian couple and the husband/chef was classically French trained. The meals are great, expecially the (seafood soup en croute as a starter) and the desert counter is to die for. They are very friendly and I am sure thwy would have not problem with babies.
Also good downtown:
There is a website of Nashville Original Restaurants (locally owned, not chains) and most of them are fabulous:
I'd recommend almost any of these and would be happy to comment on questions.
Parco Cafe is the only place I can think of downtown too. However, I've never been thrilled with their new location. We used to eat lunch at their Farmer's Market location every Sunday. They no longer serve lunch at the new location, and I think the servers aren't very good. The quality of food has remained the same (excellent), but I enjoy them for lunch much more than dinner.
I would drive a few minutes to East Nashville to Margot Cafe. My husband and I think Margot is the best food in town. Plus the atmosphere and servers are wonderful. The menu changes every day features a few starters, 6 first courses, and 6 main courses plus desserts. There are a few tables on the outside porch which is tented and heated in the winter. I think sitting at one of those tables with 2 babies won't be a problem. When I've dined outside, I've seen other young kids. We recently went to brunch there on a Sunday, and there were lots of babies and toddlers. We had an 18 month old with us, and no one batted an eye.
Parco serves excellent food, but I agree about the location. The inside of the restaurant is underwhelming -- it's a former bar / dance hall below street level. A little dingy. The couple that own the place are very gracious, and probably would not mind kids.
Margot (French / Mediterranean) is definitely the best show in town, and not far at all from downtown. She just opened a new place, Marche, a more casual cafe serving breakfast and lunch only. It's always packed.
Closer to the Sheraton is Radius 10, which will give Margot a run for her money. Refined American cuisine, elegant presentation, modern glass-and-steel dining room. It's in the "gulch," across from the Union St. Hotel and the train tracks. You will still need to get in your car.
Watermark (haute Southern) is the other haute cuisine place near downtown, in the 12 South neighborhood. Very ambitious, but can be inconsistent.
I wouldn't take kids to Margot, Radius 10, or Watermark, unless you are certain they will behave. You, and the people around you, will be spending too much money for disruption.
If you're going to cross the river, you may want to try Eastland Cafe, a new and popular spot that is a branch of another restaurant on the west side called Park Cafe. Park Cafe is solid, though the Earth doesn't move. I mention Eastland because, as a neighborhood spot, it may be more child-friendly.
Hot Diggity Dogs is a long walk from the Sheraton, 4 or 5 blocks past the Country Music Hall of Fame, but fun for dogs and atmosphere. Lunch only.
We had a two great meals a couple of years ago at Zola:
The French Laundry salad was outstanding, and my friend stated that his steak was the best he had ever had (and he's had quite a few ;-) Interesting decor, too.
Here is a Chowhound search for "zola":