A coffee shop for all ages, Fido blends gritty atmosphereexposed brick walls, local art, study hall tableswith sneakily refined dining. Along with a menu of bagels, organic muffins and breakfast dishes, a rotating roster of local and seasonally influenced entrées elevates the cozy coffee shop to an unexpectedly food-focused restaurant. Caffeinated college kids can cram next to families enjoying seared shrimp with white bean cake and mâche, fennel-orange and avocado salad, and peanut butter and jelly. A Hillsboro Village landmark, this former pet shop is a diners best friend any time of day. — Carrington Fox
Serving “global cuisine,” Bound’ry takes diners on a culinary trip around the world with a variety of influences in its tapas-style and dinner-portioned dishes. The regularly evolving menu offers daily extensions, handmade artisan bread and signature desserts. The two-tiered, multiroomed restaurant vibrates with color, texture and original art; outdoor seating and open-air bar in warm weather.
Situated in a refurbished Victorian home, Monell’s is not your typical meat-and-three, but more like Sunday dinner at Grandma’s house. It’s served the same way, around communal tables with big bowls of fried chicken, pot roast, mashed potatoes, squash casserole, green beans, yeast rolls and corn bread, all passed family-style. Wash it down with pitchers of sweet tea and finish up with a slice of fudge pie.
Chef Jimmy and Seema Phillips answered a thousand foodie prayers when they converted the former Johnson's Meat Market into a sleek, understated bistro serving escargots, rabbit confit, cheese plates, duck breast, chocolate mousse and other French classics, — Carrington Fox
Located in the same building as The Childrens Clinic of Nashville, this colorfully decorated FroYo shop is perfect for a treat after a shot or checkup. With its cheery décor of bright colors, stainless steel and floor-to-ceiling glass, Sweet Ceces has cornered the market on comforting booboos with priced-per-ounce frozen yogurt and toppings ranging from Fruit Loops to fresh blackberries.
The first inkling that unpredictable treats are in store comes via a mundane source: the salad dressing, a light concoction of citrus, pineapple, carrots, a touch of mayonnaise, soy sauce and ginger. That inventiveness extends to other starters, especially the salmon/tuna tartare and the mussels dynamite specials, both of which should not be missed. Though all of owner Yun Choo’s sushi is fresh and well-prepared, it is the “World Special” rolls that are, well, otherworldly. His signature Choo Choo roll consists of broiled freshwater eel, crab and salmon rolled in rice and topped with avocado, sliced strawberries and crunchy pine nuts. The Crazy, Volcano, Dragon and Hawaiian Rolls are all equally innovative, the flavors so pleasurable that they may best be enjoyed with no condiment. Though the floor is efficiently and warmly attended by the lovely Seong Jung. The small prep area and complexity of Choo’s rolls can mean a longer wait time than at other sushi restaurants.
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.
The little sister of the original Rumours on 12South unveils a dining environment that feeds the eyes as well as the appetite. Chef Hernán Borda delivers artistic variations on a theme: a meat gently cooked, drizzled with a delicate sauce and plated with a medley of vegetables, an inventive starch and an abundant tussle of lightly dressed greens. For example: sautéed corvina drizzled with honey-saffron beurre blanc, served with a gratin of sweet and regular potatoes and topped with a fluffy mound of shredded cabbage and arugula. With all its brooding colors and original fireplaces, Rumours East offers a cozy refuge on a cold evening, but in spring, it is just as easy to describe the restaurant as the place to while away the lengthening days while sipping from any of the 100 wines on the very accessible list.
Chris Lowry and Jay Luther’s neighborhood bistro is elegant and sophisticated, with a minimalist, contemporary-styled room framing a spectacular view of downtown. Germantown Cafe adheres to the promise of straightforward dining in the style of classic bistros, with unpretentious, well-prepared food, sturdy white china, thick cotton linens, solid stemware and cutlery with a weighty heft. Perusing the selection of entrées is pleasantly effortless, with just 10 to consider, including a green plate for vegetarians. Meat and potatoes is the starting premise of several dishes, with the supremely succulent mustard-herb-crusted rack of lamb leading the way. The preparation of the day’s catch changes every night, but the coconut curry salmon filet perched atop a sphere of creamy risotto is a dependably delicious staple. The menu is tweaked as the seasons change (it is within walking distance of the Farmers Market). A recent expansion moved the bar to a separate room with a small lounge, and added more dining room seating on an elevated platform, the better to see the Nashville skyline.