Restaurant Recommendations – Nashville, TN

Since I started my new job in Nashville, I’ve had the opportunity to go out to several restaurants with friends, family and co-workers.  I’m talking about big chain places, although I’ve been to my fair share of those as well, but I mean places that are unique, restaurants that are either one of a kind, or at the very least, rare enough to feel unique.  If you’re in the area, you should really consider visiting one of these places.  It’ll be a real treat!

  • Ru-Sans – I tried this Japanese sushi place with my friend B- the day we visited the Parthenon.  It’s located in the Gulch, which is a growing trendy neighborhood  in Nashville.  This place is delicious, but also very different.  B- and I went for lunch, which turned out to be a giant sushi buffet.  The food itself was wonderful, but none of it was labelled so as someone who doesn’t eat a lot of sushi, I’m not entirely sure what I ate, although I did recognize the spider and California rolls.  There wasn’t too much of a crowd at 1pm on a Saturday, so we were able to sit and talk for a while in one of the booths, watching Real Madrid playing soccer on the tv, listening to the faint sounds of techno music playing through the speakers.  B- told me the atmosphere at Ru-Sans is even stranger at night – there’s no buffet (just menu), the lights are turned down, the techno music blares and there’s dancing, but there’s still soccer games playing.  No matter what the environment, though, the sushi is delicious and affordable, which is music to my ears.  Plus, if you’re already in the Gulch, you can easily walk around and explore some of the cool new shops opening up around the condos.
  • Mafiaoza’s – I went to this pizza place on my 4th date with W-.  We may be just friends now, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love this restaurant any less.  The menu is mafia-themed, which I find pretty cool.  We had the brushetta, which was yummy, but massive for an appetizer for just two people.  Afterwards, we ordered “The Teamster”, which is a meat lovers dream, although we debated on ordering “The Long Vacation” (ham and pineapple) or “The Informant” (roasted veggies).  Even the sizes are mob-themed: you order your pies as “the Capone” or “the Don”.  The night W- and I went, the restaurant was pretty crowded due to buy one, get one free beer night, so we ended up opting for outdoor seating.  You’d think it be warm and muggy on a Tennessee July afternoon, but Mafiaoza’s has covered outdoor seating, along with some large fans to keep the air moving.  Overall, it was good food, and an even better date.  So if you’re craving pizza, why not try something fun and different for a change!
  • Taco Mamacita – This is one of my Aunt’s favorite new places, so I’ve been there several times with her, my mom, and girls from work.  I think technically it’s in the Gulch, but you have to drive a little bit away from Ru-Sans to get there.  I’m not going to lie, it’s a little more expensive than I’d normally like to spend on Mexican food, but the tacos are so eclectic and unique that it’s a lovely change of pace.  It’s fusion food at its best, with tacos like Memphis BBQ, Smoked Brisket, Shrimp Po’Boy and Loaded Gyro.  Their sweet potato fries are the best I’ve ever had, and if you feel like shelling out a little extra money, they have some specialty margaritas that are worth trying.  The only time I didn’t like one of the tacos I’d ordered (the Caribbean Jerk taco), I never said a word, but the waitress noticed I hadn’t eaten the taco, called the manager over, and he gave a gift card with no expiration date for a future trip.  Very unexpected and sweet.  Finally, in addition to the food, the decor is fantastic.  Whoever designed the interior is one of the most creative people I’ve ever met – there are old painted wooden doors hanging from the ceiling and the lights hanging above the tables are made of different ‘found’ materials.
  • Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream – Unique, amazing flavors and as many free samples as you want! Every time I’ve been to Jeni’s with the girls from work, there’s been a massive line, but it’s SO worth it!  My personal favorite flavors include Brambleberry Crisp, Salty Caramel and Wildberry Lavender.  They also have ice cream sandwiches where the ‘sandwich’ is made of oatmeal cookies.  It’s so rich with the cookies and salted caramel ice cream, it’s almost painful, but you just can’t stop eating it.  The best way to end a meal, for sure.

That’s it for now, but as I continue travelling to new places and eating at new restaurants, I’m sure I’ll need to update the list at some point.  Til next time…

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