City House- Nashville is the best kept secret in terms of foodie towns. Out of all the places I have lived, this city is another one of my favorite culinary playgrounds and top of my list? Is City House.
City House is located in Germantown which is a historical district neighborhood where there seem to be more town homes than actual houses. One drive by on the quaint street that City House is located on, one might miss it. However, sometimes I think that would be hard to do since it is in a more modern looking building than the rest of the neighborhood.
My first visit to City House was for my birthday a year ago. I had heard many wonderful things about it and decided that I must try it out. Especially after hearing that when Thomas Keller was in town this was one of only two restaurants that he visited and the fact that one of the chef's was nominated for a James Beard award in 2010 was fresh on my mind.
City House serves northern Italian cuisine. You must not miss any of their cured meats as the majority of them are cured in house.
There are many imaginative cocktails to choose from. Many which one could only dream about. I decided to start our evening with their Dark and Stormy. A cocktail that consists of Rum, Ginger Beer and Lime.
Sunday evening also caters to the restaurant worker's crowd. Every Sunday there is a specific menu just for them. Which usually ranges from some of their house cured Salami to the Lonza (which was absolutely amazing) to their wood fired pizza that you can see prepared from the wood fire oven in the open kitchen.
However, if you are looking for a quiet venue, City House may not be your option. It tends to be a little noisy. Mostly because of how busy it is as well as the building itself. Reservations are recommended as it may be difficult to obtain a table with out one.
Margot's- This has to be one of my most absolute favorite restaurants in all of Nashville. It is located in East Nashville's Five Points neighborhood (Shout out to my old neighborhood! I Miss you!) Rob and I used to come here almost every Sunday to enjoy their brunch. Every single Sunday (and sometimes every day for that matter) the menu would change. This is thanks to the chef Margot McCormack.
Chef Margot is known for taking advantage of not only local ingredients (known to serve Bongo Java coffee. Which is a local coffee roastery and shop) but seasonal ingredients. Every bite of every dish literally seemed to be made with love and carefully thought out to make the seasonal ingredient stand out.
Every brunch we attended, I would usually start my meal with a mimosa from the mimosa menu. And yes, that changed from time to time too. Everything from St. Germain Mimosa's to Elderberry Mimosa's. That alongside french pressed coffee and I was good to go with picking what I would eat.
Picking what to eat may have been the most difficult part of our time at Margot's. That and making sure you could get a table. Although brunch is served at 11, if you show up at 11 without a reservation, you might not be able to dine. This place get's extremely busy. Even with their sister restaurant Marche down the street.
As I had mentioned, Marche is the sister restaurant of Margot's. It opened it's doors as a marketplace for local and imported food products, as well as a cafe that serves breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner.
There were many times where we did favor Margot's over Marche for brunch. One of the main reasons was that Marche does not take reservations for brunch. It is extremely popular, so there have been times where we would walk in and the wait was well over 45 minutes. Word to the wise, go early. Brunch on Sunday starts at 9 am while at Margot's it starts at 11.
We usually went to Marche for lunch and just like Margot's, the menu changes on a regular basis. However, when we did go there is also a mimosa menu as well. However, when we went for brunch, there didn't seem to be pressed coffee available. However, it was local coffee that they did serve. Marche serves Drew's Brew coffee, which is a local coffee roastery. They also have a great variety of desserts and pastries that are in full view in the back of the restaraunt that are made in house.
Marche is the perfect european style cafe that encompasses amazing food, products and service. Although we did favor Margot's for brunch, Marche was our go to for lunch with mouth watering salads all the way to scrumptious sandwiches and one of a kind dishes.
Since Nashville is a southern city, this entry would not be complete with out a few southern style restaurants. Loveless Cafe is one of them.
Located in Bellevue (which is a drive) down a remote highway is the old Loveless Motel. Years ago (as the story is told) the family running the motel began to fry chicken and serve it to patrons who found themselves down this remote stretch of road. The chicken become so popular that the motel seemed to be more patroned by visitors just stopping by for the chicken.
Around 2004, the motel was purchased and where it has now come to be known as Loveless Cafe. Serving the best biscuits, homemade jams, ham and southern fare.
Loveless Cafe has always been the place where I would bring out of town guests when they wanted to eat old fashioned southern cuisine. They were in the south after all. Why not relish it and eat the the most artery clogging foods we can find? In all seriousness however, Loveless Cafe's fare is more than worth it.
Prince's Hot Chicken Shack-Nashville loves their hot chicken. So much in fact that there is even a hot chicken festival in East Nashville every summer. So, what exactly is hot chicken? Extremely spicy hot fried chicken. Although it is very spicy, Prince's mild hot chicken (trust me, get mild as it is still very spicy) is probably some of the best fried chicken I have ever had and I am not the only one who most likely thinks so. That second restaraunt Thomas Keller visited while in town? It was Prince's and he didn't seem to mind walking into this small, outdated restaurant either.
123 Ewing Drive Nashville, TN 37207
Allium- Right in our old neck of the woods was this amazing little restaurant. It was in the bottom floor of a building that housed condos. We never ate inside, as there is a nice, cozy patio and the weather always seemed to be perfect. Allium specializes in french inspired cuisine. Although our favorite dish leaned a little more towards Italy. Do not miss the gnocchi with pear and bacon sauce. Sounds crazy, but it was absolutely delicious. It is served as an appetizer, however I wouldn't be disuaded from ordering it as an entree. They also serve a great brunch on Sunday's as well.
Fido- Located in Hillsboro Village near the Vanderbilt University campus, is Fido. Fido is part of the Bongo Java empire and serves amazing breakfast (notice a trend? We love breakfast!) The name came about because it is located in an old building that once was a pet store. When you walk into Fido, grab a menu and get in line because you order at the cash register and are given a table marker. Usually the hubby would grab a table while I ordered as it gets quite busy.