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Jan 13, 2009 04:16 PM

Heading to Nashville from seattle

Hi I am heading to Nashville from Seattle in about a week for a girls weekend. I am looking for a variety of restaurants, non chain preferably. All different varieties: dress up nice dinner out, hole in the wall, local flavor. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated! Thanks!

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  1. Misschef,

    Where will you be staying? Is driving an option? Will you have an auto, or need to rely of public transportation, cabs, limos? Is there any budget?

    Sorry for playing "Twenty Questions," but these could really matter in the way of recs.


    1 Reply
    1. re: Bill Hunt

      Hey Bill no worries on the 20 questions! We will be staying by Vanderbilt (embassy suites ~ I think) One of the girls just moved there so she will have a car so we can get around fairly easily. No real budget. I am a chef in Seattle so much more concerned w/ quality of food. I'd like at least one good reprensation of southern food, a couple fun spots for bar food w/ good cocktails where we can just hang out and enjoy good company, and then probably at least one nice dinner out. I focus on local seasonal food in Seattle so that would be of interest to me. Then great lunch/brunch spots are always good to know. I tend to dislike big corporate chains and tourist traps and much prefer the hidden jems, hole in the wall spots! Hope this helps narrow it down for you if you want more info let me know!! Thanks again!

    2. As a former LA hound, I can make a few recommendations. Staying near Vanderbilt is a great base of operations.

      For hole in the wall, head to Hog Heaven BBQ, which is close by at Centennial Park. The pork sandwich is good, but the chicken with the white BBQ sauce is the most interesting. I'd recommend getting one of each, its the kind of place where one sandwich is almost enough . . .

      For local places, I'd recommend PM over by Belmont University. Being next to the school, they do a little bit of everything, but what's unique and wonderful are the small plates of South East Asian tapas. Great for cocktails, tapas and the odd bite of Sushi. Doesn't take reservations though and can generate quite a wait.

      If you want to cash in on the Southern Meat and Three thing, one of the better places to do it is Monell's in Germantown. You'll sit at a communal table and pass somewhere between 3-4 mains and 7-12 vegetables dishes. The food is generally very good and the setup provides local flavor. You will leave stuffed - don't make any plans that involve quick movements or agility within 2-3 hours afterwards!

      Being both a chef and from a city with great restaurants, be choosy in where you do your nice dinner out. Nashville isn't quite on par with Seattle. I'd recommend the following depending on mood:

      tayst, besides being the greenest of the Nashville restaurants is one of the most creative, with clever post-modern takes on food. It's a place where the prix fixe becomes a happy meal. Good sense of humor and great food. Also, one of the quieter places to eat that I recommend.

      Flyte is probably my pick for the best foodie experience. Some dishes verge towards molecular gastronomy, while others are smart takes on classics. Also, if you have any vegetarians or vegans in tow, they will not be slighted. The best thing Flyte does is dessert. As a chef, you will likely be impressed by their pastry selections, which change quite frequently. We often will eat somewhere else and head to Flyte for dessert.

      City House is excellent "real" Italian. Without a red checked tablecloth in site, the chef-owner at City House dishes out the most genuine Tuscan inspired Italian in town. The tripe stew is to die for, the pizzas are truly the thin Italian variety and the pastas remarkable. I've never gotten my head around the mains, but getting by without them has always been a pleasure.

      My last pick for high end would be Miel, a relatively new place on Charlotte Pike. I've been once and was quite impressed. They do "mediterranean" cuisine, but not in the way that sends sane people running for the hills. Great fish dishes and excellent takes on French (foie and house made rillettes!) But what stands out to me about it is the precision with which everything on your plate, from main dish itself to the vegetables on the side are prepared. This carries over to the dessert menu which features simple desserts expertly done. Beer and wine, but no full bar.

      My picks are in no particular order. Scan menus and go for what appeals, you won't go wrong at any of these.

      There are other "fine dining" restaurants in Nashville that I haven't mentioned. Being from a city with some outstanding places, you'll find the others to be either good, but nothing you couldn't get at home or the types of places that confuse flash, glitz, a bar scene and high prices for competent cooking.

      Good luck and enjoy Nashville!

      1 Reply
      1. re: badlemur

        Thanks for the info I'm going to start looking them up. Tayst had already made my radar so I'm glad to hear a favorful review.

      2. You've gotten good recommendations already, so I just wanted to give you a few options for brunch, in case you'll be looking for that. You've probably already read about the typical breakfast stalwarts: Pancake Pantry (sweet potato pancakes with cinnamon cream syrup is my normal breakfast there) in Hillsboro Village and Loveless Cafe, west of Nashville.

        Miel, which was mentioned already for dinner by badlemur, has just started serving brunch on both Saturdays and Sundays, even though it's not yet listed on their web site. I hope that it goes well for them, because ours today was the best brunch we've had since moving back to Nashville. I'm thrilled to have a place on the west side of town with a Saturday brunch.

        Germantown Cafe has a good brunch, on Sunday mornings only, from 10:30 AM - 2PM. Before today, Germantown Cafe was my favourite brunch in Nashville, though it is Sundays only. (Their brunch menu is at


        Tin Angel, on West End, (see their brunch menu at ), has brunch on Sundays only, but not until 11 AM. Try their sweet potato biscuits, if you go there.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Ginger

          Badlemur and Ginger gave great recs and I agree but wanted to point out that Germantwon Cafe is now open for Saturday brunch as well from 11-2. It is definitely a good one. Another different brunch option would be Marche, which is located in East Nashville and definitely has a European Bistro feel and the food is wonderful and fresh.

          tayst and Flyte are two of my faves and the owners of both are Vanderbilt grads and super nice guys.

          Enjoy your visit and please report back!

          1. re: jcr05

            Thanks everyone for all the advice. The trip was great! We ended up not eating at as many places as we would have liked but southern food can be pretty filling! My favorite stop by far was Flyte. The food was creative, perfectly prepared, and beautifully presented. Our server was fantastic, very knowledgable and had a great personality she was delightful to have a round but in no way obtrusive. Flyte was as good as any dining experience I have had anywhere. Tayst was a dissapointment I am sad to report. It was a cute spot, our server was knowledgeable and efficient, and the menu sounded great. When the food came, and we only ordered 4 small plates to start I will say, it appeared lacking right from the start. All of the components of the dish seamed off in the execution, and not a way that seamed like just a bad night. It came across to all of us that there are great ideas at tayst but they are not being executed propprerly. A good example of that was we had a braised shortrib. When it came out it was grey and a little tough. It appeared to have been braised not quite long enough and then pulled straight out of the liquid and on to the plate. There was no reduction of the braising liquid on the plate or used to glaze the meat and give it that nice sheen you expect on braised meat. All of the dishes seamed off balance. We ended up not ordering more food. I like what they are trying to do I just don't think it's being executed yet. We also hit up the pancake pantry for breakfast which I thought was good. We were going to try to get to Marche and Loveless, but didn't quite squeeze them in! Thanks again for all the advice, you have some great restaurants in Nashville!

            1. re: misschef

              "It [Tayst] came across to all of us that there are great ideas at tayst but they are not being executed propprerly."

              Completely agree.

              1. re: misschef

                I agree about tayst. I've been several times, and I WANT to like it, but have been underwhelmed each time. I admire the effort they've expended in being a certified green restaurant, and it's a cute little place, but ... there are so many restaurants in Nashville that do something similar a lot better.