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.
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.
1218 6th Ave. N, Germantown
This 1865 Federal-style brick townhouse (formerly the home of H.H. Wallman, who was a shoemaker to the city’s nineteenth-century elite) was reborn as a ten-suite boutique hotel. It’s a welcome option if your tastes run toward the intimate, historical, and quirky, rather than the modern high-rises that dominate the city’s hotel scene. While the redbrick exterior gives off a sense of quaint formality, inside, it’s a whimsical mix of hot-pink fabrics, abstract-floral drapes, and contemporary art. Although there’s no on-site restaurant, the Germantown location is a big plus: Some of the city’s best restaurants (Henrietta Red, City House) are within walking distance.
Mop/Broom Mess Hall (Closed)
1300 3rd Ave. N, Germantown
“This Germantown restaurant is run by the same team as another favorite, City House. It’s family-friendly and a must-visit,” says Lily Aldridge. The healthyish, Southern-inflected food here includes chili cheese chickpea fries (made with cashew cheese sauce and vegan chili), charred collards with garlic and hot sauce, and roasted cauliflower with chorizo, pickled red onion, and pepitas.
1200 4th Ave. N, Germantown
We come to Henrietta Red as much for the surroundings as the food. It’s an immensely pretty dining room, spacious, flooded with natural light, and accented with tons of natural wood and beautifully designed contemporary furniture. But it’s also casual—a neighborhood spot in the middle of historic Germantown, with a homey, welcoming feel. Chef Julia Sullivan (she’s worked at Blue Hill at Stone Barns and Per Se) serves up food that’s both comforting and surprising (wood-fired bread slathered in anchovy butter; squash gratin with feta, lemon, and basil; mussels with saffron cream, mustard seed, fennel, and herbs), and the raw bar is possibly the best you’ll find in Nashville.
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.
Rolf & Daughters
700 Taylor St., Germantown
This small-ish, rustic eatery is situated in the hip Germantown area and has all the elements one might expect from a trusty neighborhood spot: Massive communal tables, a well-stocked bar, and exposed brick walls. While chef and owner Philip Krajeck’s menu is loaded with hearty, Mediterranean-inflected comfort food (octopus, pastured chicken with garlic confit, and several kinds of crostini), the specialty here is pasta. From dough to sauce, it’s made entirely from scratch, and runs the gamut from ditalini with maitake mushrooms, black garlic, and white celery, to rigatoni with lamb, peppers, anchovy, and pine nuts. The menu changes frequently but trust us—whatever is on offer will be excellent.