2706 12th Ave S, 12South
Brisket tacos, perfectly smoked ribs, and the burnt-ends platter with cornbread and a side of grits casserole are what keep regulars coming back to this 12South spot. The cocktails are stellar, too—the Bitter Goat is a refreshing lime and ginger beer concoction—and the atmosphere is always buzzing and friendly. There are enough veggie sides to ensure the non-meat-eaters don’t go hungry, and Edley’s is famous for its desserts, like the chocolate fudge pie and banana pudding. For those who can't make it to 12South, there are two other locations in Sylvan Park and East Nashville.
2526 12th Ave. S, 12South
Bartaco also has a few locations in Connecticut, and you can definitely feel the East Coast vibe when you walk inside: The patio is white-washed with blue cushions and accents, and the hanging pendants inside are made from woven baskets. The garage doors separating the patio from the restaurant open wide on warm evenings, where it's nice to bond with their well-tended cocktail list (favorites are the margarita, the mojito, and a bold blend of chorizo spice, reposado, and mezcal called the CLT). If you’re staying to eat, trays of guacamole, salsa, and an assortment of tacos take the stress out of ordering for a crowd. Their outpost in Atlanta is also a favorite. Photos: Chun Yip So
2902 12th Ave. S, 12South
Fresh-tasting Lebanese cuisine is still unfamiliar to a lot of people, and casual Epice (which takes its name from the French word for spice) offers a welcoming way in. Dishes are light and vegetable-heavy—favorites include the lamb shank or the Sayadeya, a lean, spicy filet of fish served with caramelized onions and vermicelli rice.
2316 12th Ave. S, 12South
Josephine is located in 12South along a major shopping thoroughfare, so it's a nice spot to keep in mind before or after an afternoon spent in the neighborhood's boutiques. During the day, light streams in through wide garage windows, and the space is airy and bright—in the evenings, the lights are dim, and the leather banquettes make it a nice, romantic date-night spot. The menu has a little bit of everything, from an excellent whole chicken for two to small plates (don't leave without trying the pretzel bread).