1400 Adams St., Germantown
The Optimist has great seafood: Go for sprawling plates of oysters, shrimp, ceviche, fish dip, and lobster. On Fridays and Saturdays, the patio opens up for frozen cocktails and snack-sized raw bar dishes.
1000 Broadway, North Gulch
Chef Sean Brock’s the Continental is inspired by the history of glitzy hotel restaurants. Which informs the menu, which centers on classic luxury dishes: foie gras, lobster bisque, strip steak—you get it.
3998 Hillsboro Pike, Green Hills
Santo is great for date night—expect excellent service and perfect plates of beets, brothy mussels, and beef tartare.
1035 W. Eastland Ave., Greenwood
Peninsula’s menu changes every month or so. The bar focuses on gin and tonic. And it feels properly fancy—nice for intimate date nights and special occasions.
81 Van Buren St., Germantown
This is the best place to get sushi in Nashville. It’s not overtly fancy, which we appreciate, and the signature rolls are something special.
2305 12th Ave. S., 12South
Everything chef Trevor Moran does at Locust is beautiful. His Asian-inspired menu is short and changes frequently, but we can tell you this: Get one of everything. Note that reservations are necessary and require a deposit, and the restaurant can only accommodate groups of four or fewer.
Chauhan Ale & Masala House
123 12th Ave. N., North Gulch
The focus here is definitely Indian food, but you can clearly see where chef Maneet Chauhan has taken inspiration from the South. The more classic menu items include: hot chicken pakoras, saag mac and cheese, and tandoori shrimp and grits.
809 Meridian St., McFerrin Park
Audrey is chef Sean Brock’s ode to Appalachia: cornbread, grits, cobbler, the works. The menu changes weekly and centers what’s in season.
The Loveless Cafe
8400 Hwy. 100, West Nashville
Another institution, the Loveless has been around since the 1950s when it began as a motel. Refurbished and expanded in 2004, it is now a restaurant. GP had dinner here, and the food was delicious. The supper platters (grilled catfish, fried chicken, homemade meatloaf) are served with hot biscuits and sides like turnip greens and creamy coleslaw.
434 Houston St., Wedgewood-Houston
Bastion is the place to head when you can’t decide between a really fun bar, or a really great restaurant. That’s because it offers both, separated by a sliding door that creates two distinct spaces. Start in the bar with one of their specialty cocktails (we’d go for the Rosemallow Daisy, made with tequila, lime, and hibiscus), and follow it with the five-course tasting menu in the 24-seat restaurant. Helmed by chef Josh Habiger, it’s hard to predict what you’ll get, but part of the joy of a meal here is seeing your dinner prepared in the open kitchen, just beyond where you’re sitting.