The menu at this tony Belle Meade eatery changes daily — depending on what’s fresh and available locally and across the country — so it might be impossible to step into the same river twice, so to speak. But the repertoire of European and Mexican-inspired dishes is consistently creative and fresh. Expect the unexpected, from a grilled tentacle of octopus to seared Wagyu carpaccio. An exhaustive wine list and a soufflé of the day bookend the meal at this casually elegant culinary destination, which is equally suited to burgers on the patio and wine dinners in the private dining room.
Breakfast 6:30 a.m.-10:30 a.m. daily
Lunch 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. daily
Dinner 5:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. Sun.-Thurs.; 5:30 p.m.-10 p.m. Fri. & Sat.
Bar 10:30 a.m.-midnight Sun.-Thurs.; 10:30 a.m.-1 a.m. Fri. & Sat.
New Orleans-style fare and custom choppers wouldnt seem to pair well, but somehow Wild Bill brings it all together at his downtown location, where exposed brick walls and shiny chrome set a motley stage for coffee, hot dogs, and beignets made from Café du Monde's famous recipe. Part motorcycle museum, part coffee shop, Wild Bills hints at the off-beat offspring of a Hard Rock Café and a Starbucks.
An ill wind blew John Chapman from his home on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, where for more than 20 years, he and his wife operated one of the regions most popular restaurants, Chappy's, which was destroyed by Katrina. The couple and their family came to Nashville after the storm to stay with friends and regroup. They liked it here and decided to stay. They found a corner building on Church Street that suited their needs, and after an extensive renovation and build-out, opened Chappy's on Church in June 2006. The two-level, large (220 seats) dining room is decorated with New Orleans flair, with Parisian street lamps, a hand-carved bar, stained glass, heavy linens and lots of color. There are several curtained alcoves for private dining or romantic rendezvous and an attractive and comfortable lounge area. Chef Chappy specializes in New Orleans Creole cuisine, with an emphasis on fish and shellfish. An elaborate weekend brunch features the bottomless glass of champagne.
Randy Rayburn, veteran restaurateur and owner of Sunset Grill and Midtown Café, partners up with two longtime employees—Sunset GM Craig Clifft and executive chef Brian Uhl—to create Cabana, an ambitious project that will put the trio’s legendary talents to the test. Bar, restaurant, lounge and a 2,900-square-foot year-round outdoor patio is the multiple-personality concept envisioned by the team, offering something for everyone—the drinker, the diner and scene-makers looking for a late-night hang. Ten private cabanas—each outfitted with a flat-screen TV—offer the ultimate in private parties. Uhl envisions his menu as playful and spontaneous, with items like chicken-wing lollipops, mini lobster corn dogs, oyster shooters and Tennessee Sliders.
Restaurants searching for farm-fresh ingredients often grow some produce of their own — a patch of herbs, or maybe some tomatoes. The folks at the Hermitage Hotel have taken a bigger step. First they cultivated land on the historic Glen Leven estate, where chef Tyler Brown of the hotel’s restaurant, the Capitol Grille, enjoys digging in the dirt to grow heirloom veggies. Then late last year the hotel made a grander move: It bought a 225-acre cattle farm just across the county line in White Bluff, Tenn. Double H Farms, as it’s called, is now up and running — meaning the Capitol Grille’s popular burger, called the Double H Tennessee Stack, is as local as the cow next door.
Friendly, warm, cozy and wall-to-wall lively, serving good, hearty fare at prices so thoughtful you’ll return again and again — if you can snag one of the 40 seats from the regulars who jealously guard this neighborhood treasure. When chef Daniel Maggipinto opened Caffe Nonna in 1999, it was a blessing to the residents of Sylvan Park — and one of the first of many neighborhood restaurants that have contributed to the revitalization of Nashville’s older, historic areas. But it’s food that has kept customers coming back to Nonna. Mix-and-match pastas, thin-crust pizza, Caesar salad, fried calamari and Tuscan bean soup are all customer favorites, and have all been on the menu since day one. Many of the Italian comfort dishes that form the backbone of the menu were recipes passed to Maggipinto by his own nonna (Italian for grandmother). But the veal scallopini with red Swiss chard, garlic, shallots, artichokes, pine nuts, tomatoes, white wine and veal demi-glace, served with pommes frites, is all his—and it’s all that.
Shalimar is Nashville’s first Indian restaurant and, in the view of many, remains the premier purveyor of samosas, tandoori chicken, lamb saag and aloo gobi. The menu is concise, which probably explains why each dish does not taste like the other—sometimes the case in Indian restaurants. The food is superbly executed and beautifully presented. Prices are slightly higher than at other Indian restaurants, but if you value quality over quantity, Shalimar is the place. Lunch buffet is available on Saturday.
This upscale supper club with Texas ties (the brother-sister owners opened the first Sambuca in Dallas) gussies up the gritty Gulch with live music seven nights a week and fine dining created by globe-trotting chef Stephen Shires. His extensive travel and experience in international kitchens of renown packs his menu with worldly influence and discovery. The nightly entertainment is built into the dining costs, which puts entrées in the $20-$30 range.
A haven for Williamson Countians weary of the chain restaurants so prevalent in their midst, the cozy and welcoming Wild Iris offers a harmonious union of Southern and Mediterranean influences. It is rather more conservative than its Nashville counterpart, Yellow Porch, but like that restaurant, Wild Iris is owned by Katie and Gep Nelson. Customers can depend on a passionate and admirable commitment to a culinary trinity of fresh, regional, seasonal. Reservations recommended.
Creative cuisine and sleek setting conspire to create a memorable dining experience, filled with Asian-inspired dishes and tapas and signature sushi rolls such as the Monster (black rice wrapped around tuna, salmon and avocado, topped with flying fish roe and laced with a lavender-scented dijon sour cream) and Green Envy (lobster salad and avocado wrapped in white rice, topped with kiwi and roe and served with berry sauce and wasabi mayo). An array of unusual saucescitrus-wasabi, tobiko mayo, guava purée, yuzu miso, mango-chili, lemon-curry vinaigrette, eel, wildberry and other homemade blends--adorns the colorful still lives that emerge from the gleaming open kitchen and sushi bar. — Carrington Fox
We had all but forgotten about the Belle Meade eatery formerly known as Whitfield’s, until Dewayne Johnson repainted and reopened it as a French bistro that balances contemporary and comfortable. Beef tataki with mushroom stock, ginger and shallots and pork belly with chipotle cream corn and bourbon reduction add modern accents to a menu rich with European traditions of lamb, duck and beef. It’s a French renaissance that deserves a revisit. — Carrington Fox
A pioneer in the Gulch, Watermark gracefully marries the chrome and glass of the shining New South with the painstaking and traditional commitment to seasonal, regional cuisine. The menu blends local ingredients with classical preparations for a repertoire that is both modern and timeless. Homemade corn bread, pork chops, grits and chocolate cobbler never looked so sleek as in Watermark's lofty dining room overlooking the growing skyline, or in the sultry first-floor wine room, which is fast becoming a secret retreat for the city's dining elite.
Opened in 2008 amid lyrical rhetoric about "the food you'd find in Southern France, Southern Spain and Western Italy," Miro now defines itself as French and has toned down the original pomp and circumstance to create the welcoming, easygoing ambianceand price pointof a neighborhood bistro. A seasonal repertoire of rustic European cuisine includes a flatbread, a fish sandwich, fritto misto, a raw bar and several exquisite dishes based on feather-light homemade pasta. The dessert roster is classic francais, with a berry tart, crème brûlée, profiteroles and a cheese plate. Choose a seat in the round front room, where the tiny tiles echo the festive flair of a Parisienne bar. — Carrington Fox