There is simply so much to see and do in Nashville that it can be quite overwhelming if you don’t have an itinerary in hand, or at least in mind. In addition to all of the musical attractions there is also the simple beauty that abounds in this particular region of the country. Add to that the fact that you will need to eat and Nashville is chock full of some of the best dining hotspots around and suddenly you’re on sensory overload and not sure where to go or what to do. Rather than searching out an old standby, like McDonalds, use this little guide to pre-book your reservations at some of the best restaurants that Nashville has to offer.
Jacks Bar-B-Que You can’t go wrong with Jacks Bar-B-Que. Winner of three gold medals at the 2008 National BBQ Expo, Jacks is a longstanding favorite of the meat eating crowd in Nashville. Two convenient locations, both in historic areas, make it the perfect pit stop on after a day of tourism and entertainment and a highlight before an evening of more melodies. Speaking of pits, Jacks claims that your meal will come directly from “Pit to Plate”. Look for daily specials to include Tennessee pork shoulder, Texas beef brisket, smoked turkey, Texas sausage, St. Louis ribs, smoked chicken and all the other fixin’s that round out a good bar-b-que meal.
Ichiban Japanese Cuisine Leave the tourist trappings behind and come to Ichiban Japanese Cuisine looking simply for the freshest fish around. This low key sushi bar, situated in the heart of the tourist area, doesn’t look to impress its guests with fancy rolls or frilly knife work, they want their guests to walk out knowing that they had some of the best sushi around and that nothing could be fresher. This is an excellent break from a hectic day for travelers as you’re still right in the middle of all that Nashville has to offer but this could be a low key sushi restaurant anywhere, the perfect way to relax and unwind.
Sole Mio Sole Mio is one of the most raved about restaurants in this heavily populated city, and not without good cause. The reason Sole Mio is so popular is it hasn’t tried to Americanize its fantastic Italian cuisine. In 1995 the Agnolettis moved their successful restaurant from Northern Italy to Nashville and proved that success comes with good food, no matter where you live. If you love Italian food then the authentic, fresh daily pastas are an absolute must. Wait staff will be happy to help you select the perfect sauce to pair with your pasta and they’ll even throw in a wine suggestion or two. If you’re headed to Sole Mio during the daytime expect the experience to be a bit more casual while the evening dining can be a little more formal and definitely more romantic. Most of the seating is exceptional but if you’re looking to create a mood you may want to ask for fireside accommodations.
Flyte Fine Dining & Wine New to the restaurant scene in Nashville, Flyte Fine Dining & Wine is making tourists and locals stand up and take notice. Flyte has gone the green route and prides itself on using fresh, organic and humanely raised ingredients, but its not necessarily the ingredients that make Flyte fantastic, but they way they put them together. Luckily, the way Flyte is organized you get to try a large variety of their masterpieces, and don’t forget the wine. If you’re unfamiliar with ordering by the flyte, basically you’re getting a variety of food or drinks in that category so you can sample all the flavors; it’s a great way to sample the menu. Flyte changes their menu regularly and is very aware of diners with special dietary needs (especially vegetarians) and does its best to accommodate them.
12th & Porter Okay, so what is a trip to Nashville without trying to catch at least a glimpse of a favorite star or an up and comer in their natural habitat. If you’re scene is rock music, then 12th & Porter is an absolute must. The primary focus of this establishment is its rock and roll musicians who breeze in and out for gigs on a regular basis. It sometimes seems as though local talent flies right off the stage and into the big league, but check the calendar to see who’s going to be playing on the night you plan on visiting. In addition to being a total hotspot for wanna-be rockers, 12th & Porter actually serves some of the best food around for the price. If you’re looking to stop by but not in the mood for a show the service will be a bit faster and the atmosphere less loud, but definitely not as exciting.
Mad Platter Restaurant Maybe the best thing to come out of the Jackson Victory Tour was the pairing of Craig and Marcia Jarvis, where the couple met while catering the tour and by 1989 they expanded their catering business into the Mad Platter Restaurant. Located just on the outskirts of historic Germantown, this locally loved dining establishment puts its food above everything else. Expect the atmosphere and the dining experience to be a little eclectic, from casual to formal and high end cuisine to home cooked comfort food, the Mad Platter covers it all at times, but their focus is clearly on quality and taste. Menus change a little bit daily to suit the chef’s and the ingredients so repeat guests can explore different takes on old favorites at each and every visit.
F. Scott’s Restaurant and Jazz Bar It’s Nashville, so it should be all about music, right? F. Scott’s Restaurant and Jazz Bar does it up just right with the perfect combination of American cuisine in a quaint bistro with the sweet sounds of live jazz in the bar. This restaurant fits the bill for both locals and tourists as it’s comfortably relaxing and fueled by the excitement of jazz alone. The food is perfectly paired with the award winning wine selections and will get your head bobbing to the beat in no time at all. By the way, keep your eyes peeled as many a celebrity or notable VIP has been spotted at F. Scott’s.