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Oct 21, 2007 09:54 AM

Nashville Restaurant Recommendations

Need some recommendations for restaurants in Nashville for 1st time travelers to area. Looking for interesting places - cool vibe, creative foods, good wine lists. Price not criteria. Also, anything within 1 hour drive of Nashville is option. Recommendations for lunch and dinner.

Also, need a specific restaurant for dinner near Grand Ole Opry House.


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  1. For a cool vibe, you can't beat the Gulch area downtown. You've got several great choices there -- Watermark, Radius 10, RuSan and Sambuca, plus two music venues, Station Inn (bluegrass) and City Hall (check their schedule online). Actually, there's a third -- 12th and Porter -- about 4 blocks away across Broadway.
    A block closer to town is a great beer bar called Flying Saucer, which is attached to the gorgeous Union Station hotel, the Frist art museum (which has a good cafe for lunch) and also Cummins Station, which has a bar called Kasu or Kazu, which was good the last time I went (about 3 years ago).
    About 3 blocks closer to town is my current fave, Flyte, which is a wine-themed place with stupendously good meat, most of it provenential (like from a boutique producer or farm). But there's no "scene" around it in walking distance, and there are homeless occasionally lurking. But the good news is that it's about half a block from Arnold's, arguably the city's best meat-n-three, only open at lunch.
    And I offer my favorite late afternoon/early evening south-of-Broadway agenda to visitors: a trip to the Country Music Hall of Fame, then across the plaza for a drink at The Palm in the Hilton. A stroll up Second Avenue and over a block to Sole Mio for a fine Italian dinner. A stroll back down Second to the new, spectacular symphony center for a show. A nightime stroll onto the Shelby Street pedestrian bridge.

    Someone will undoubtedly pipe in with a recommendation for Cafe Margot, in East Nashville. It's very good, and there's a vibe there, too, with good stuff in walking distance.

    Finally, there's Germantown Cafe and Mad Platter, both in the revived Germantown neighborhood about half a mile north of downtown. Great walking neighborhood, awesome view of town, and Bicentennial Mall park is just a block or two away. Good walking there.

    5 Replies
    1. re: fluffernutter

      Thanks for the recommendations. I had heard of Watermark and it sounds good. But, so does Flyte - will also check out the music venues you mentioned.

      1. re: pamela18

        I second the recommendation for Radius10 and Flyte. Radius10 has an eclectic menu and very hip vibe. The service at Flyte is exceptional and they have probably one of the best wine lists in Nashville.
        Another really cool area that no one has mentioned is 12th Ave. South. Check out Mirror restaurant for creative cocktails and a fun tapas menu. Then after dinner head across the street to Rumours Wine Bar, housed in a quaint little cottage.

        1. re: sparkplug

          I'll give Radius 10 and Flyte a "third" -- they are my two favorite places in town. Just went to R10 last night and Jason (the chef/owner) has updated the bar menu extensively to include lots of great new items.....sliders, gumbo (great!), lobster rolls, etc. If you don't want to do a full dinner there, it's great fun to have a few snacks at the bar and make a meal of those.

          Agree with the 12th South suggestion as well. Enjoy!

          1. re: sparkplug

            Regrettably cannot recommend Mirror anymore. We used to like it for small plates and tapas, but went there recently and food was sketchy. Some of it was OK to good, some was terrible and not even edible. The scene has changed, too. Only about 1/3 full on a Saturday night. Agree that Radius 10 is good, and had a great meal at Tayst last weekend.

          2. re: pamela18

            I can not recommend Flyte enough. We thoroughly enjoyed our dinner there last week.

        2. I forgot the Opry House recommendation. I work near there, and it's pretty remote from downtown and fine dining. You only have two or three choices. 1) The steakhouse in the Opryland hotel (I haven't been in 10 years, but there was a discussion on these boards about a month ago). 2) There's a Thai place across the street from the hotel that's pretty good (if you're not from California or Thailand) as of a month ago. 3) Ellendale's is a really good family-owned place about 3 exits away near the airport. 4) thre's a Tony Roma's rib place in the Opry Mills mall, which is next to the Opry house. I haven't eaten there in 15 years, not since it moved from midtown. So I can't report, but there it is.

          1 Reply
          1. re: fluffernutter

            Skip Ellendales. Last time we went I sent back my food it was so bad. I did this in front of my in laws who were treating us, so it was really awful. Sand in the salad, undercooked meat, cold food, the whole what could be wrong list.

          2. Not sure where you are coming from, but please keep in mind TN has a significant tax on wine. I am not sure of the exact amount, ask your server, or you will have SERIOUS sticker shock when the bill comes.