Tutti da Gio: Gnocchi al Pesto

Tutti da Gio: Gnocchi al Pesto

We’ve already sung the praises of authentic Sicilian bistro Tutti da Gio a couple of times since it opened in Hermitage about 11 months back. From the brick-oven-baked pizzas to the stellar lineup of house-made pastas and the arancini (fried rice and ragu balls), Tutti shines. But possibly the best bite on the menu is the gnocchi al pesto — fluffy little Italian potato dumplings, steaming-hot and coated in basil pesto and a creamy cheese sauce, topped with pistachio shavings. Incredible stuff. Bravissimo! D. PATRICK RODGERS 


Maemax Market: Longsilog

Maemax Market: Longsilog

My favorite days visiting my lola and lolo all started with longsilog, a Filipino breakfast of sweet longaniza pork sausage, rice and a fried egg. It was an extra special dish because, even though my hometown of Raleigh, N.C., had a few Filipino restaurants and potlucks, none of these places served breakfast. Not a problem here in Middle Tennessee: La Vergne’s Maemax Market makes delightfully sweet and stubby longaniza sausage you can enjoy all day long. COLE VILLENA


Edessa Kurdish and Turkish Food: Kabob Festival

Edessa Kurdish and Turkish Food: Kabob Festival

From the presentation — an array of meat, vegetables and rice that resembles a personal buffet — to the execution, Edessa nails the Kabob Festival, a leveled-up sampler meant to be enjoyed with a full table. Stop weighing options and get every essential dip (hummus, baba ghanoush, ezme, haydari), chicken and lamb and, of course, baklava sticky with honey. It is a festival. As the guest of honor, take a moment to ask: All this for me? ELI MOTYCKA


615 Chutney: Frankies 615

615 Chutney: Frankies 615

I assume by this point you have all made the trek to 615 Chutney to dine with the beloved (by me) Bellevue Restaurant Robot, the smiling little automaton that delivers your order to your table. But have you explored the whole menu? Specifically the starters? Let me give you a tip. Order Frankies 615. These hand-rolled Indian tacos are warm, spicy (but mildly so!), creamy and, to quote my husband, “tangy!” Give the robot my regards! KIM BALDWIN


Butcher & Bee: Avocado Crispy Rice

Butcher & Bee: Avocado Crispy Rice

The whipped feta and fermented honey appetizer at Butcher & Bee gets most of the attention, and deservedly so. But chef Bryan Lee Weaver’s avocado crispy rice is a brilliant combination of the chef’s love of Southwestern cuisine and the Bee’s DNA, which stretches from the original Charleston, S.C., location to the Middle East. Heirloom Carolina gold crispy rice and peanuts provide the crunch that complements the creamy avocado and greens and the bite of serrano chiles. Add a protein like shawarma chicken or sliced Bear Creek Denver steak and make a meal of it! CHRIS CHAMBERLAIN


Gojo Ethiopian Cafe and Restaurant: Miser Wet

Gojo Ethiopian Cafe and Restaurant: Miser Wet

Good food always appears on your table at Gojo, the cozy blue Ethiopian spot on Thompson Lane. Oftentimes it’s a color-wheel of dolloped vegetables or stewed meat, bright and fragrant, on injira, the stretchy Ethiopian sourdough staple. If you’re going with company, know how to identify Miser Wet (red lentils cooked with butter and spices), and get your fill before it disappears. ELI MOTYCKA


East Park Donuts & Coffee: Salted Brown Butter

East Park Donuts & Coffee: Salted Brown Butter

You can’t go wrong with any of East Park Donuts’ offerings, but the Salted Brown Butter deserves a spot or two in any dozen-sized box. The sweet, creamy frosting is punctuated by crisp salt flakes that elevate the East Side staple’s already exceptional brioche dough. ALEJANDRO RAMIREZ


The Flat Tire Diner: Crunchy French Toast

The Flat Tire Diner: Crunchy French Toast

It may seem like Nashville is oversaturated with new and interesting places to eat, but Old Hickory still struggles in that regard. Thankfully, Flat Tire Diner can hold its own against any of Nashville’s best diners. My family’s current favorite (we go there a lot) is the cornflake-crusted Crunchy French Toast, which comes with fresh fruit and warm maple syrup on the side. LAURA HUTSON HUNTER

Tempo: Texas Scramble

While longtime favorites shutter, new contenders open. After you eat Tempo regularly enough to establish a craving, it’s time to move to the Texas Scramble. Order up the full plate of fixings and assemble your own tacos with all the leisure and care of a weekend morning. The toughest part is rationing Tempo’s perfectly fried potatoes. ELI MOTYCKA

La Terraza Mexican Restaurant: Fajitas for Two

You have lots of great options for Mexican and Tex-Mex in Nashville. But not all of them have a separate little kitchen — in the front window no less — where they make their own fresh, rich, tender tortillas. Consider ordering some additional tortillas to take home with the inevitable leftovers. Ordering for two gets you enough perfectly cooked and seasoned fajita mix for three to four servings. STEPHEN TRAGESER


Momento Specialty Coffee: The French Connection

Momento Specialty Coffee: The French Connection

Old Hickory’s Momento Specialty Coffee is an unassuming roadside coffee shop with the elegance of a European bistro and a selection of sandwiches that reminds me of the early days of East Side fixture Mitchell Deli. Everything I’ve tried has been great, but I keep going back for the French Connection — a prosciutto and brie sandwich on a fresh baguette with a tart pickle-and-mustard finish. It’s truly my favorite sandwich in Nashville. LAURA HUTSON HUNTER 


Joyland: Fried Chicken Sandwich

Joyland: Fried Chicken Sandwich

I never understood when people described food as “so good they could cry” — at least until a recent trip to Joyland. I’ve been living with dietary restrictions since I was 16, so I hadn’t had a chicken sandwich in years. But chef Sean Brock’s reimagining of the Southern classic comes with a gluten-free option — what a dream! — and with a pickle slaw so delicious I stopped mid-meal to jot down the ingredients for future inspiration. In short, it’s allergy-friendly magic. HANNAH CRON


Pinky Ring Pizza: Pepperoni Pizza

Pinky Ring Pizza: Pepperoni Pizza

I haven’t had the chance to try everything on offer at Madison’s brand-new Pinky Ring Pizza — the whole lineup looks enticing, from the pistachio-and-lamb Esmerelda to the vodka-sauce Rosa. But truly, you can’t go wrong with Pinky Ring’s standard Pepperoni. Big, savory, foldable slices that can give just about any other pizza joint in town a run for its money. Grab some garlic bread, antipasto, spring greens or garlic focaccia on the side, and wash it down with one of PRP’s many beer or nonalcoholic options. D. PATRICK RODGERS


Wendell Smith’s Restaurant: Meatloaf

Wendell Smith’s Restaurant: Meatloaf

I’m not gonna lie to y’all — ever since Arnold’s Country Kitchen closed, there’s been a hole in my heart approximately the size and shape of a slab of the meatloaf Arnold’s served on Tuesdays and Fridays. Seriously, there was a standing Tuesday appointment on my Google calendar. Fortunately, meat-and-three stalwart Wendell Smith’s Restaurant has been there to provide the salve for my soul on Tuesdays with its savory loaf topped with a crimson glaze that’s not quite ketchup and not quite red sauce. What it is is quite comforting. CHRIS CHAMBERLAIN


Woodlands Indian Vegetarian Cuisine: Special Rava Masala

Woodlands Indian Vegetarian Cuisine: Special Rava Masala

For this list, I was planning to write about the Woodlands Special Thali, a dine-in-only menu that features a variety of Indian dishes. It’s the perfect place to start if you’re new to the restaurant or unsure what to order. But when I ordered the Woodlands Special Rava Masala, a chef’s special, I knew I had to pivot. A semolina-and-rice batter creates a kind of crepe that is crispy on the bottom, like the crispy rice left in the bottom of a pot, and soft on top. It’s savory, well-seasoned and sprinkled with grated paneer, chiles and onions. Served with a delicious portion of potato masala, the dish provides a range of flavors and textures. This quickly became a new favorite, and I intend to order it every time I revisit Woodlands. KELSEY BEYELER


Spicy Boy’s:Shrimp Po’Boy

Spicy Boy’s: Shrimp Po’Boy

New East Nashville Cajun outpost Spicy Boy’s has built dual reputations for a great hang and loyal Louisiana cooking. The renovated house forms a powerful trifecta with neighbors The Pharmacy and Mas Tacos por Favor (both beloved longtime staples). But with Bro’s gone and Papa Boudreaux’s too far away, it fills the city’s much-needed quick-casual bayou niche. Start with the fully dressed shrimp po’boy and make your way around the whole menu. Leave Cajun food to locals, and enjoy it as much as you can. ELI MOTYCKA

Interviewing Nashville’s top chefs, surveying the local beer scene and sharing some of our favorite bites

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