Dining suggestions in Nashville
I'm surprising my boyfriend with a trip to see Alton Brown(we olove him) at the Gaylord Opry in August. I've been reading up on restaurants for weeks - I'm a serious foodie and planner.
We are only going to be in Nashville from Fri am to Sun late afternoon. We have a cheese and wine pairing reception on Friday night. I'm not sure how long it will be, so I'm looking for something close by with light fare. As for Saturday..there are too many options to choose from. Here are the places that have made my list(andrew chadwick's is too much like dining in Philly or NY):
tayst (does anyone have a good link?)
the acorn restaurant
We have breakfast with Alton on Saturday, so I'm thinking Loveless Cafe for Sunday. Or Monell's?
Also looking for music suggestions. I found Station Inn. Any other good places to see some unknowns?
If your choice is between Loveless and Monell's, the answer should be Monell's. Loveless is fun for the tourist-y-ness but the food at Monell's is far superior, and it is just fun to eat like that.
For Saturday, my vote would be Flyte - we've been a number of times lately and each visit seems to be better than the last. The chef is innovative AND technically proficient, so you end up with really well thought out food. If they have the tomato dessert, take a chance on it. ;-)
We're new to Nashville and working our way through the nice places - have so far been to Flyte, Radius 10, Tayste, Margot & Watermark, and while all were good and have their highlights, I don't think that any of them top Flyte for an all around package deal if you're even remotely comparing them to larger city offerings.
I agree with the Margo and Monell's entries. To me, it's not worth the drive to Loveless when Monell's is right in town. Not only is the food wonderful (be sure to try the peach preserves), but I love the atmosphere. I've always met lovely people sitting beside me when we go. (I'm sure you know this, but it's family style at a big table.) Margot's is so far my favorite restaurant in town. Wonderful local food. However, I haven't been to radius10, but have heard good things about it.
Also, I've never been disappointed with a show at the Station Inn. Granted, some are better than others, but it's always fun.
I think you'll have a tough time going wrong with any of those mentioned. the Nashville hounds are pointing you in the right direction. As far as music, Station Inn is a great call. You might also check who is playing at the Bluebird Cafe in Green Hills, more of a singer-songwriter type place. Downtown on Broadway there will be bands in most of the dives, but more of a tourist/raucus atmosphere. Station Inn is near Radius 10, and Watermark.
Both Station Inn and Bluebird are small venues that fill up fast -- you should probably plan on building your evening around your visit. Both have (somewhat lackluster but not awful) food, so you can eat there. You can make reservations at Station Inn. Go to the Tuesday night Doyle and Debbie show. Outrageously funny. Not for kids. $20. Bluebird is more complicated -- it's only a mile from my house and I never go unless someone else makes the arrangements. I think the Monday night open mike is probably the easiest to attend and has the best selection of unknowns. Oh,but you're leaving Sunday. Friday and Saturday are pretty tough -- go to the website for directions on how to get reservations.
Loveless is a really beautiful drive out of town, and is right on the Natchez Trace parkway, which is another beautiful. I find the food so-so, but if you've never had home made biscuits and country ham, do it!
I like Loveless a lot, but I think Monell's is probably the better breakfast overall. What Loveless has going for it is the biscuits - they are the best you will ever have. But other than that, it's pretty average. Plus, Monell's is an all-you-can-eat deal, so you'll get to try more things (including fried chicken!). And you won't have to drive a half hour outside the city.
But if you want less of a southern spread and more of a contemporary style brunch, Margot is hard to beat. Their brunch is fantastic.
As for dinner, really any of those places in your list will be great, with the exception of maybe Acorn, which I feel is a step below the others. You really can't go wrong. If I had to pick three, it would probably be Margot, Ombi and radius10. One other place you might consider, and I think it's already been mentioned, is Watermark. It's as good as any on the list.
Musically speaking, I think the quintessential Nashville experience is the honky tonks of Lower Broadway - Tootsie's, Robert's, etc. For better or for worse, that's Nashville's musical heart and soul. Station Inn is awesome too (and right across the street from Watermark!). I am assuming, of course, that you want to see country music. If you want to know where the indie rock is, let me know and I will direct you accordingly.
As a follow up on Ombi, I've heard several disappointing visits there lately and when compated to Radius 10, Flyte, City House, Watermark and Margot, I think you'd be disappointed as well, same with Acorn.
I like the idea of doing your brunch at Margot and would personally do dinner at Radius 10, Flyte or City House, depending on what you'r really looking for. Flyte and Radius 10 are actually close enough that you could do a glass of wine and appetizer at Flyte, and take advantage of their happy hour (4:30 -- 7:30 Tues-Sat) then have dinner at Radius 10 if you want to check out both. Flyte has a great wine list and a fun new bar/appetizer menu.
From your list, I'd go for dinner at Flyte. Locally-inspired, imaginative menu, and (as the name implies) trio samplings of both food and wines - great way to taste lots of deliciousness and eat light at the same time. Additionally you might consider Watermark, another favored city restaurant with local inspiration. Then, for Sunday breakfast/brunch I'd opt instead for Margot (so that you get two picks from your list). She does a luxe full-on brunch at the Cafe and also a much simpler but no less killer breakfast/brunch at her more casual second eaterie, Marche. Of course, if you're after the quintessential southern breakfast, Loveless and Monell's both fill the bill (I'd pick Monell's; you'll drive quite a way and wait longer for Loveless).
Margot's is a singular experience. Everything around Gaylord is franchisey. We've had a couple of decent meals at Caney Fork Fish Camp http://www.caneyforkfishcamp.com/. A pleasant variation on fern fare. Station Inn is a good choice for bluegrass. The Blue Bird Cafe is a great place for singer songwriters. Some great names come through. You need reservation on weekends. BTW, the Country Music Hall of Fame is much better than you'd think. Our visitors love it. And their Sobro Cafe is a very good lunch spot that features David Anderson, roving guitarist. Enjoy your visit.
I recently ate at both City House and Radius 10. Both were very good, but different from each other. Radius 10 had a modern, clean, urban feel - white, steel and glass. City House had more of a new place in an old building feel. Overall, I would give the nod to City House, both for the atmosphere and the food, but it depends on what you like and what mood you are in.
I had breakfast at Loveless on my way out of town, and wouldn't suggest going out of your way for it - fine breakfast fare in an historic setting, but nothing special.
I don't have any music suggestions, but my vote is Margot for your Saturday night dinner. All of the places you listed are very good, but Margot is a step above. The menu is extremely local but limited. If they offer the wild boar, get it! It's awesome.
I vote Monell's for breakfast.