Eating in Nashville
My boyfriend and I will be in Nashville from the evening of April 23 until the afternoon of April 28. We're running the Country Music Marathon on April 25. Once we cross the finish line, I'm looking forward to eating many delicious things before we head home. I welcome all recommendations. We're coming from NYC, so I'm looking to find things we may not be able to find easily in NYC (and NYC has almost everything, so that may be tough), or delicious things that are much cheaper than in NYC (this should be pretty easy). We'll be doing typical tourist things I'm sure, and will spend lots of time near live music venues, so hopefully there is food nearby. We'll have a rental car so will drive to somewhere worth the trek. Our tastes are pretty open (my favorites are French, Thai, Cajun, and Ethiopian so I'm all over the place), so we're up for pretty much anything. Of course we need to include some southern fare!
And if anyone has any non-food related suggestions to throw in, I'd welcome those too. My boyfriend LOVES music, especially country, so I assume we'll be doing lots of music related things, though not sure what/where yet (he's too nervous for the marathon to plan beyond that!).
OK, I'll tackle the hokey stuff. Go to the Country Music Hall of Fame. It is a first rate museum and you'll be shocked at what an important part of your life Country Music is. While your there have lunch at the SoBro grill. The bacon, lettuce and fried green tomatoes rock, as do the yam fries. And as long as you're here, go to the Opry. Every visitor we've taken has loved it. If you get to an early show you can have a late dinner at F Scotts in Green Hills Many folks consider it one of the city's best. In addition they have great jazz groups every night of the week. Now here's the best part. Food is half price after 9 pm. Finally, If you're in town on Monday night don't miss the Time Jumpers at the Station Inn. You can check them out on You Tube. Be prepared to fall in love with a great city! (Someone else can tell you about Las Pallettas)
Agreed with all of Cameraman's recommendations.
As for the food, I don't think you'll find French, Thai, or Ethiopian food in Nashville that can compare to what you have in NYC. There is one exceptional Cajun restaurant, but it's an hour outside of the city, so that's not very practical. If you want to expereince what Nashville does best, I would stick to things that are Southern or Southern-inspired.
You should eat at a meat-and-three while you're here, and the best one is Arnold's near downtown. It's only open on weekdays for lunch, though, so plan accordingly.
Also really good for a down-home Southern feast is Monell's, which is also not far from downtown in the Germantown neighborhood.
If you're looking for something a little more upscale, try Watermark in the Gulch (also very close to downtown). It is exceptional.
For a great Sunday brunch, try either The Germantown Cafe or Tin Angel, which is on West End.
Jack's downtown is passable for barbecue.
If you get a wild hair and want to try something different (and you have a car), head out to Prince's Hot Chicken, which is just off of Dickerson Pike about 20 minutes north of downtown. It's somewhat of a local delicacy.
Good luck in the marathon. I am doing the Half Marathon for the first time, so I will be there with you!
In addition to the other suggestions, the Mexican food in Nashville is generally better than what's available in NYC. Try La Hacienda Tacqueria on Nolensville Pike.
we have some great ethnic choices here in Nashville, I agree that La Hacienda is a goo mexican choice, they have a tortilla factory in the back that supplies the region.
we have Kurdish food, House of Kabob, Persian: Hot Kabobs, Korea House, get the dolsot bibimbap, Golden Coast on weekends only has a more authentic Taiwanese Chinese buffet, Siam Cuisine for Thai, try Woodlands for South Indian veg, South Street for low country cuisine, Neeleys BBQ for Memphis style ribs, Margot cafe for French/Italian, and Zola for mediterranean fusion, finally Jerusalem restaurant has some great Israeli style buffet.
If you're used to the Asian foods (east, west, south, or southeast) in NYC, you're not going to be all that impressed with the offerings in Nashville. Go with the areas where NYC offerings are weak, like BBQ, meat and three/southern (in addition to the suggestions of Arnold's and Monell's, both excellent, I'd mention Southern Bred), or Mexican, and you'll be happy. Or try some hot chicken. Or Zola -- that's a fantastic place. Just don't waste your time with ethnic foods here that you can also find in NYC. Unless you want Italian pastries, in which case you should know that the guy who runs Savarino's used to work at Veniero's in Manhattan, and it shows.
My favorite mexican place hands down is Monterrey. It is about a 10-15 minute drive from downtown at the corner of Murfreesboro and Bell Rd. It is a small place in a strip mall, but the food is to die for. Don't miss the handmade tamales. Everything is from scratch and the same family has owned and run it for at least the past 20 years. Because it is not inside the city, we wind up at La Hacienda more often. That is a perfectly acceptable second choice.
I have heard the latest Ethiopian restaurant to open in the cinder block building on Thompson Lane just west of Nolensville Road is the best so far. Haven't tried it myself, though.
Kien Giang (kee-in yang) has the best Vietmanese and is about 5 minutes from downtown, also in a shopping center.
Check out the Broadway Brewhouse/Mojo Grill downtown on Broadway (btw 3rd & 4th) or the mid-town location at 19th and Broadway. The midtown location is a great place to rub elbows with local musicians and music-biz types. Neil Young gave it a shout out on the last album he recorded in Nashville. He ate there every day he was in town. Great wings, jerk chicken, cajun and southwestern grub...most any beer you can think of available on tap or in a bottle. Awesome inexpensive food, locally owned and great laid-back vibe.
Agreat place for breakfast is the Pancake Pantry downtown. It's a local favorite and has been on the food network. Try the pumpkin spice pancakes--no need for syrup!! Cabanas also in the same area is a good place for dinner--reserve a cabana just for fun. The cabanas are large and the curtains can be drawn for privacy Each cabana has a flatscreen tv in it> Been rumored some celebs hide behind those curtains>