1120 McGavock St., The Gulch
Nashville's M Street has churned out some of the city's best restaurants, with the interesting strategy of clustering them all along the same street. Moto is their Italian spot, and it's the kind of place that draws you in from the sidewalk, with high ceilings, a long bar, and clean, Scandinavian-inspired furniture with a masculine blue, grey, and brown color scheme. The menu meets high expectations with excellent meatballs, wood-fired pizzas, and a solid list of pastas.
1120 Mcgavock St., The Gulch
This Mexican joint from M Street is the kind of place where it's easy to camp out at a table and spend the afternoon. You'll find a big, wide patio outside and a ton of seats, meaning they can accommodate big parties even on busy brunch mornings and weekend nights, then the bar starts to heat up. Menu-wise, they're known for excellent brunch-time cocktails, like their Bloody Marias (a ridiculously good Bloody Mary that subs tequila for vodka) and Mexican breakfast classics, like huevos rancheros and smothered breakfast burritos. Don't miss the chips and guac.
The Smiling Elephant
2213 8th Ave. S, 8th South
Smiling Elephant's pad thai definitely gives bigger-city Thai spots a run for their money. The cozy spot operates out of a tiny cottage on 8th Avenue South, with a little stone porch out front for al fresco dining in the summer; it's also owned by the sweetest family imaginable. Pad Thai is the obvious order, but their curries are excellent, as are the spring rolls and the warm, soothing ginger tea.
The Pharmacy Burger Parlor & Beer Garden
731 McFerrin Ave., Greenwood
This German beer garden in the East Nashville neighborhood quickly became famous for serving some of the best burgers in town, though their brats and sausages are also worth going out of your way for, as they're all ground and made on site. The picnic tables in the back make for a fun communal dinner experience, and the beer list (unsurprisingly) is miles long. Ample greenery and twinkle lights make it an equally enjoyable experience in the evenings.
Two Ten Jack
1900 Eastland Ave., Lockeland Springs
As Nashville's first izakaya restaurant, Two Ten Jack (it's named after a Japanese card game) kind of blew everybody's minds when it first opened. The East Nashville spot was opened by Patrick Burke, a restaurant owner who has some experience in this space, as he's also behind The Green Pheasant, which opened in November. The thing to order is definitely chef Jessica Benefield’s homemade ramen, which is so fresh and delicious that they actually won't let you take it home as leftovers.
The Patterson House
1711 Division St., Midtown
Here’s a real old-fashioned speakeasy, where getting into the bar requires some work and house rules dictate you must stay seated once in. It’s well worth it. The prim and proper mixologists, in their old-fashioned uniforms, make miracles happen with the ingredients.
4014 Hillsboro Cir., Green Hills
The crew from Country Strong kept raving about Noshville, a New York style deli. While GP never made it there, it's supposed to be the place for brunch, with a particularly standout veggie burger.
Margot Café & Bar
1017 Woodland St., Lockeland Springs
A daily-changing menu of French and Italian dishes comes out of this restaurant in East Nashville where the emphasis is always on local and seasonal ingredients. It’s one of the pioneers of the neighborhood and helped to put East Nashville on the culinary map. The cocktails change with the seasons, as well, and are worth a stop in themselves.
118 12th Ave. S, The Gulch
This rowdy restaurant serves typical American fare. Get lots of plates to share; the sweet potato fries are delicious, the fried chicken sliders do the trick, and the biscuits might be the best in the entire city of Nashville. Plus, the oysters on the half shell come with a shot of Bloody Mary. What more could you ask for? Just be sure to bring an Alka-Seltzer.
1222 4th Ave. N, Germantown
City House’s rustic Italian-meets-Southern food stands out from that of the rest of the Nashville restaurant scene in that it's a true foodie’s restaurant. Dishes change with the seasons, but local favorites like the Belly Ham Pizza and cornmeal-crusted catfish frequent the menu. Stop by the bar on your way in or out, as the bartenders here know their stuff.
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