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Must eats in Nashville?

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I will be traveling from Chicago with my husband to Nashville in March for the weekend. I think we are styaing at either Lowes or Hermitage. What are must eats around there? We love all food, but prefer no chains, smaller restaurants, i.e. fewer tables, that are cozy, local favorites with great food...nothing fancy but will pay up for great food. Any ideas are appreciated!

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  1. In a quick review of other posts and some websites, I am considering: Margot Cafe (quaint, outdoor patio, exposed brick, candles on tables, good menu, but like many at home), Watermark (outdoor seating, great view of Nashville, which would be fun for a night), Zola (unsure of menu), Radius 10 (too modern). Leaning towards Margo Cafe (better for brunch or dinner) and Watermark (sit outside). Are these the best choices for great food, Nashville atmosphere in upscale, but informal way?

    1. I like Margot Cafe; I think you'd have a nice dinner there (I haven't had brunch there). However, if I were the one eating, I would pass up Watermark for Germantown Cafe, if you're looking for a view of Nashville. I I know there have been a number of reports of people having good meals at Watermark, but the first time I ate there after moving to Nashville, I was completely underwhelmed (so much so that I haven't been back in the nine months I've lived in Nashville). A few other places that aren't often mentioned here but at which I've had several very good meals are tayst, Mambu, and Cafe Nonna, though they all have quite different atmospheres.

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      1. re: Ginger

        what are the different atmospheres like at the places you mentioned and food? what about mambu? there is no website...thanks so much!

      2. For a combination of great food and cozy, you can't beat Mambu. Margot has great food, too, but is very loud unless you manage to get seated upstairs. I think Restaurant Zola has the best food in town and it isn't noisy, but I don't get the intimate feel there that I do at Mambu. If you're staying at the Hermitage Hotel and like steakhouses, the Capitol Grille there is reputed to be the best in town. I've never eaten there, but I know they dry age their own beef.

        1. also, is it worthwhile to do that general river boat dinner/show? Need some great bars for country/honky tonk and great beers..little hole in the walls with some charm, too!

          1. Avoid the General Jackson at all costs! The food takes a back seat to the "Hey I'm on a riverboat!" novelty of the experience, and neither of them are even worth mentioning or paying for. As far as hole-in-the-walls are concerned, Sylvan Park Restaurant just off West End is a great meat-and-three choice. It has absolutely no charm, but the food is amazing. Not a big bar guy, but head downtown and follow the mob of cowboy hats and you should be fine.