It’s 6 o’clock. I’m hungry, I’m antsy and I’m trying to figure out if my new bright blue Cole Haan shoes are too loud for my outfit. I need to choose from the many Nashville restaurants a place to eat dinner, finding somwhere that will satisfy both my appetite and my requirement for good lighting. With a glass of wine in hand and Uber on their way, I make a decision and give Bugsy a kiss goodnight.
How did I come about my decision you may be wondering. I believe that pairing great food with inspirational design can make magic, which is more difficult than you might expect. Often times I find that some of the best food in Nashville is served in unfortunate atmospheres, furnished with community tables in loud, echoing dining rooms. Cold environments that don’t provide the comfort of home, or spaces so overly designed that the experience becomes more about the architecture itself and not a balance between ambiance and food. It’s difficult to find this balance, but I am confident that I have found a few places that will elevate both your palate and your mood. New shoes a go, I’m ready to share a few of my favorite places to eat and enjoy.
Margot (East Nashville)
I absolutely adore the romantic and cozy setting at this 5 Points staple. Whether you’re seated in a booth or a tiny two-top on their upstairs balcony, you feel as if the restaurant is yours. Margot’s menu is unpretentious, classic and delicious. Best described as Southern-French fusion; the ‘South’ referring to “down here y’all” and not from Cannes.
Rumours East (East Nashville)
Just down the street from Margot, Rumours East presents itself as one of East Nashville’s many historic bungalows on a prime corner of the neighborhood. Passing through the large front porch that flanks the house’s exterior, you are taken into a small foyer that opens up to intimate dining spaces. The real treat though is the sprawling back patio. In the warm seasons, take the time to drink or dine here. Brick patios, wooden tables and candlelight fill the space, not to mention the globe lights strung above creating the perfect mood lighting. This is the kind of overhead lighting I can handle. I’d argue there is a no better patio in the Nashville area.
Bars at Kayne Prime & Moto (The Gulch)
I can’t think of a better place to grab a cocktail, or a full service dinner at either one of these establishments tucked in the heart of The Gulch on McGavock Street. Designed by architect Barry Brechak, Kayne Prime offers craft cocktails, nationally recognized steaks and the best service in Music City. When the bar’s glass garage doors are opened you have Nashville’s breeze warming your appetite while sounds of the Historic Kayne switchyard echoing from just across 11th Avenue.
Moto offers a similar atmosphere but with modern Italian fare. Reservations are tough for both establishments, but if you’re able to get one make sure to request a bar booth. Kayne Prime’s booths over look their bar and offers views of Union Station Hotel. You’ll feel like Al Capone tucked deep into plush leather with enough privacy to do pretty much whatever you’d like. But let’s keep it classy, please. (Classy like my new shoes.) Moto’s bar booths also overlook its beautiful bar and are backed by sliding glass walls that stay opened in the warmer seasons. Regardless, you will have the best view of the hottest block for dining in Nashville. Just don’t let the Lamborghinis and Bentleys at Valet distract you from your fabulous experience.
Now that you’ve got the inside scoop on what Nashville restaurants have the best overall experience, throw on a pair of your best shoes and go eat!