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New to Nashville...ethnic? off the beaten path?

This is my first post so please bear with me. I have used Chowhound for years but never actually joined until now.

I just moved to Nashville. Before I moved I scoured the site looking for recs but this can be a very daunting task. I think I have all of the major players down, but I love ethnic food and can't easily find recs for ethnic food. I also love to find those "off the beaten path, hole-in-the-wall" kinds of places.

I would love to get people's opinions together for as many recs as I can get since I plan to be here for a while. I like all types of ethnic food so I'll take recs on anything, bring it on...Mexican, Vietnamese, Thai, Indian, anything from the Middle East to Africa to Peru and back. I am just looking to test out the city.

Likewise, I would love to find some places that are good to grab food that might not be a rec for someone just here for the weekend or a vaca, you know the local dive that tourists would never see. I thank everyone in advance for suggestions, sorry so long winded.

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  1. While I was in Nashville on vacation, I found this really great Korean place. It's called Korea House. They're on 6410 Charlotte Pike in Nashville.

    1. I'm limited on time right now, so I won't go into details, but here are a few of my favorites:

      Mexican/Central American:
      Las Americas on Nolensville Rd
      El Manjar on Nolensville Rd
      La Hacienda on Nolensville Rd

      Woodlands on West End Ave
      Cuisine of India on 21st Ave S

      Jasmine in Cool Springs

      Koreana on Gallatin Rd (Korean + Japanese)
      Korea House on Charlotte Ave
      there is another good one near the intersection of Nolensville and Edmondson Pike that I can't remember the name of...

      Kien Giang on Charlotte Ave

      NONE :((((

      I have never really "gotten" African food. I guess the most appealing one that's I've been to in this area is either Lalibela on Thompson Ln near Nolensville, or Horn of Africa on Murfreesboro Rd

      Middle East:
      Parisa on Nolensville Rd
      Kalamata's on Hillsboro Rd

      El Inca on Murfreesboro Rd

      Back to Cuba Cafe at Trousdale Dr and Harding Place

      ALSO, as soon as possible, you need to eat at the following three places:
      Prince's Hot Chicken
      Arnold's Country Kitchen
      Margot Cafe

      3 Replies
      1. re: jamiecarroll

        I'll throw out a few that aren't necessarily ethnic, but just good places that aren't "destinations" but more every day places.

        I'll add Baja Burriton on Thompson Lane to the "Baja/TexMex" category.

        PM Cafe on Belmont for sushi/Asian + a great burger, drinks and patio.

        Rumba on West End -- IMO one of the most underrated restaurants around; got a great review in the Scene recently. Their category is "Caribbean/Satay Bar" I guess, but they do so much more and I enjoy it every time. Great salads, steaks, special entrees, appetizers, flatbread pizzas. Great drinks and patio as well.

        Kalamata's is delish as JamieCarroll mentioned, as is Back to Cuba.

        You must try a popsicle at Las Paletas on 12th South and Kirkwood.

        As others come to mind I'll add them.

        Welcome to Nashville!

        1. re: jamiecarroll

          Great list, but El Inca recently closed.

          1. re: jamiecarroll

            I would argue that Sitar is far superior to Taste of India, and that the pho at Miss Saigon is better than at Kien Gang. And I would add Hot Kebab on White Bridge Road to the Middle Eastern list -- despite the name, it's a wonderful Persian restaurant. A pretty good Greek restaurant is Greek Islands/The Breeze on Demonbreun. And I think the Korean place on Nolensville that Jamie means is Seoul Garden.

            For Chinese food, the weekend lunch at Golden Coast on West End is good; DO NOT go there during the week as it's a different chef and is lousy even by Nashville's low standards for Chinese food. Also, Ou Yang out on Nolensville has started serving what they call dim sum at lunch (I'm not sure whether this is just on the weekend) cooked by the chef who used to be at Shanghai Cafe. And there is apparently a new, secret menu in Chinese that they will give you if you ask for it. I know this by report only; when I ate at Ou Yang, it was stale and greasy steam table stuff, but if the Shanghai Cafe chef has moved over there I am prepared to be very pleased.

            Finally, a good resource for off-the-beaten-track stuff is the Nashville Restaurants blog at http://nashvillerestaurants.blogspot....

          2. Siam Cuisine on White Bridge is quite good. The jerk chicken and salads at Calypso are good and a great value. You should check out back reviews at www.nashscene.com.

            1. I must second the votes for Kien Giang and Korea House. I love the shrimp and pork pancake at KG.

              1. We get the kitfo, w'et and injera from Lalibela on Thompson Lane about twice a year. It's good, quality varies, but is a nice change and is cheap. The Rice Bowl at the corner of Thompson Lane and Berry Hill Rd has either changed hands again, or seen the light, and the cooking is back to the superb level of several years ago. Thai/Lao food. The larb gai was superb, nam sod was great, pad thai was so much better than you usually get.

                I love Athens Family Restaurant on 8th Avenue. Fresh, cheap Greek food, well cooked.

                1. o.k., i might get in trouble for this...but if you want a special dining experience, check out sams sushi on 3rd and church. it is truly a "hole in the wall" type place but i can honestly say there is no-one in the world quite like sam. the sushi is basic and reasonably good but mostly it is absurdly inexpensive.i trust sam on quality, that is not how he cuts corners...he does this by doing EVERYTHING himself. this makes him endearingly cranky and eccentric. go by yourself or with one other person, he gets edgy if you show up with too many people. you fill out your order yourself and try to have exact change (once he made me ring myself up so he wouldn't get his hands dirty) and he doesn't allow you to tip him so don't even try. go, really, it's awesome. you wont spend over 10 bucks and you will leave with leftovers.

                  1. Just moved here a couple months ago myself, so I am interested in the responses, but I'll tell you what we've learned:

                    Miss Saigon (in Cool Springs, in the same center as Target, but I think it is the same as the one on Charlotte Pike) is good Vietnamese. They don't seem to dumb down the menu and things tasted *right* - particularly the rice noodle pork bowl.

                    K&S World Market, on Charlotte Pike -- the best collection of foodstuffs from everywhere if you want to make it yourself

                    The International Market & Restuarant near Belmont - I can't vouch for the steam table stuff but we got a plate of pad kee mao and it was spot on with the noodles and the flavor - add a little hot pepper and we were happy.

                    Mexican - we moved from LA and to be honest, although we've found bits and pieces of OK in various places, nothing has yet been real to us.

                    Good luck, and report back --- I'm still learning too!

                    1. Try Alley Cat--not much for decor, but food is great! Get the "fat ball" appetizer: avocado stuffed with salsa, covered in cornmeal and deep fried....heaven.

                      1. Please check out my meetup group: http://diningout.meetup.com/794/

                        Our only purpose is to search out authentic ethnic cusine, at no cost to members, other than the cost of your meal & conversation.

                        1. Siam Cafe off Nolensville road is good
                          there's a Korean place called Tofu House in Antioch a must try for the steaming bowls of soup and rice in stone containers
                          Sitar- order off the menu at night and you'll get great north indian dishes
                          Woodlands- the coconut rice is great, good south Indian veg only restaurant named after a famous outlet in Bangalore
                          Sonobana in Lions Head is great Sushi plus other Japanese dishes I like the fried squid legs
                          try La Hacienda on Nolensville Road for "truer" mexican, plus they have a tortilla factory out back so they are fresh
                          there's a taco cart on Charlotte near the Vietnamese places that is good authentic cuisine
                          Las Maracas in Belle Meade Plaza- its actually pretty tasty and all from scratch they claim, except for the tortillas. I asked for salsa verde and I swear they made it to order.
                          Anatolia in lions head for Turkish, Istanbul on Nolensville road for Turkish
                          House of Kabob on Thompson lane for Kurdish middle eastern
                          theres a middle eastern market on Bell Road and Murfreesboro Road has great Israeli style Falafel
                          ah yes, and Sam's sushi if you want to get yelled at
                          Pacifica downtown for Asian fusion quick meals, you can get Filipino and Singaporean fare there
                          I just tried Bombay garden on Nolensville rd. it's Pakistani, heavy mutton curries
                          there's Best of India on Charlotte- nice little lunch buffet north Indian style for a quick stop-in, used to be the chef at Shalimar, they are Bangladeshi but the food's not
                          Bon Apetit!

                          1. Just wanted to drop a note of thanks to everyone who replied to this. We have only just begun to start working thru this list. I was gone to Greece for 3 weeks in August, so I came back to a great list of new places to try. I appreciate everyone's help.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: chmhmd

                              Oh, I'm glad you revived this thread, because I forgot to report back on the new Ou Yang menu. It is indeed the chef from Shanghai Cafe there now, and if you go in and ask for the Shanghai menu they take you to a nice room where you don't have to look at the steam tables and offer you Real Chinese Food. I tried a small selection of dim sum which was just OK by dim sum standards but really remarkable by Nashville standards. And the small cold plates were very good. I had cold sliced duck (tasty and still crisp, although chilled) and a cold sliced beef that had been marinated in (I think) salt and anise and kept provoking conversation about what else was in it. Really tasty. The hot dishes on the menu included a variety of adventurous pork recipes some typical but very-well-executed beef, shellfish, and vegetarian dishes and some fish that we didn't try but I assume was delicious based on my memories of Shanghai Cafe, but, oddly, no poultry except for the duck. Right now, I'd have to say it's the best Chinese restaurant in Nashville, at least during the week.