Photo courtesy of Butcher & Bee – Nashville

The Hit ListNashville

The Resy Hit List: Where In Nashville You’ll Want to Eat Right Now

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There’s no question we hear more often: Where should I go eat? And while we at Resy know it’s an honor to be the friend who everyone asks for restaurant advice, we also know it’s a complicated task. That’s where the Resy Hit List comes in. 

We’ve designed it to be your essential resource for dining in Nashville: a monthly-updated (and now expanded!) guide to the restaurants that you won’t want to miss — tonight or any night.

Four Things In Nashville Not to Miss This Month

  • Take a Limo Trip to Lima: East Nashvillians are loving Limo, a new Peruvian restaurant nestled between Historic Edgefield and Lockeland Springs. Showcasing a melange of Chinese, Japanese, and South American cuisine that is a hallmark of Peruvian food culture, Limo’s food can feel familiar and exotic at the same time. That lomo saltado sure does look like a stir-fry dish until you discover the flavors of Peru’s national spirit, pisco, along with plantains and South American peppers.
  • Beatles and Bubbles: City Winery is a darned civilized place to watch a show, with bands starting on time, reserved seating, and access to a full menu of food and drinks. On weekends, they’re not afraid to let loose during thematic brunches such as a Beatles Brunch on Sunday, July 21 featuring one of the premier cover bands in the region or the Honky Tonk Country Brunch & Bubbles on July 28 with a full brunch buffet option.
  • Neighborhood Favorite: Soon after four long-time hospitality veterans came together in May to open up The Coral Club, a lively new cocktail bar in East Nashville, it didn’t take long to establish their new establishment as a neighborhood fave. Add excellent happy hour deals, a rooftop patio with views of the downtown skyline from a different perspective across the Cumberland, and a breezy menu of inventive cocktails and small bites, and you’ve got a formula for early success. And for more recent openings, check New on Resy.
  • Omakas-yay!: With its minimalist interior and chill vibe, Present Tense lives up to its name as a place to focus on the moment at hand. A modern version of a traditional izakaya, the á la carte menu allows diners to mix and match plates. However, for a truly unique evening, put yourself in the hands of the kitchen on Thursday through Saturday at 6 p.m. for a languorous omakase tasting menu and sake pairings at the six-seat chef’s bar. There’s also a more casual eight-course nightly omakase.

New to the Hit List (July 2024)
International Market, Mangia Nashville, The Southern Steak & Oyster.

13. International Market

  • Belmont/Hillsboro Village

View in list

1. Folk McFerrin Park

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Image Courtesy of Folk.
Emily Dorio.

From the same team that drove Nashville’s culinary scene forward with Rolf & Daughters, Folk offers a slightly more casual vibe. Maintaining a similar focus on natural wines, crafty cocktails, and rustic European cuisine, Folk features a menu that is more vegetable-focused. Craveable pizzas are made using creatively fermented crusts that offer a little tang for the party and complement the inventive toppings. (Although once you try the littleneck clam pie with parsley, bonito, and lemon, you may never order anything different again.) Larger format dishes designed for sharing ensure that a meal at Folk is a communal experience.

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Image Courtesy of Folk.
Emily Dorio.

2. Husk Nashville Rutledge Hill

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For more than a decade, Husk has represented the epitome of farm-to-table fare in Nashville — with a laser focus on the mandate by opening chef Sean Brock: “If it doesn’t come from the South, it’s not coming through the kitchen door!” The stately Italianate mansion that is Husk’s home was once the home of a 19th-century Nashville mayor — and is reflected in the courtly hospitality — yet the cuisine continues to combine modernism with historical techniques of preservation, pickling, and some of the finest fried chicken in the land. And both kitchen and the bar staff take full advantage of the restaurant’s garden, where they grow heritage seeds into plants that show up as ingredients and garnishes.

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3. Audrey McFerrin Park

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After leaving the tables set and ready for guests for more than a year while waiting out the pandemic, chef Sean Brock finally opened his shrine to Appalachia in late 2021. Since then, Audrey has provided a meditation on the rural cooking of Brock’s youth. Open-fire cookery combines with molecular gastronomy to extract the essence of heritage ingredients like sour corn and greasy beans, creating 21st century dishes that tell the story of the hardscrapple residents of Appalachia. And Brock continues to push the cuisine forward with a perpetual reimagining of the flavors of his native region. Whether á la carte or as part of a fixed menu of the kitchen’s favorite dishes served family-style, a dinner at Audrey is always a treat.

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4. Tailor Nashville Germantown

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A reservation at Tailor is akin to being invited to an intimate dinner party in chef Vivek Surt’s home, where he regales guests between courses with stories of his culinary inspirations. Sharing his experiences as a first generation Indian American, Surti combines the ingredients that he first experienced in his mother’s kitchen with modernist techniques. His prix fixe menu changes quarterly to focus on seasonal ingredients or regional specialties, but his creativity always shines through. Under the twinkling light of a chandelier imported from Surti’s family home to complete the connection, the atmosphere is always lively — and, if you’re lucky, meals sometimes end with the flourish of a sabred bottle of bubbles.

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5. Butcher & Bee – Nashville East Nashville

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Photo courtesy of Butcher & Bee

Although the original Charleston location of this Middle Eastern restaurant has been converted to another concept, the Nashville outpost of the Bee is still setting the standard for seasonal Israeli-inspired cuisine after almost a decade of crowd-pleasing cuisine. The whipped feta and fermented honey dip is legendary and a can’t-miss appetizer, but don’t be afraid to dig deeper into the menu for inventive shareable dishes made with local ingredients and served family-style to the table. Pro tip: Opt for the “Eat Like a Chef” experience to sample the current favorite dishes of the kitchen staff, coursed out and presented by the cooks that prepared them.

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Photo courtesy of Butcher & Bee

6. Halls Chophouse – Nashville Midtown

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One of the newer jewels of Midtown, Halls brings a classic steakhouse experience to this burgeoning neighborhood. In addition to views of the hustle and bustle of the city through sweeping windows, the open kitchen provides another entertaining show with chefs expertly preparing USDA Prime beef and premium seafood. The Hall family has spent their lifetime in hospitality, and the emphasis on attentive service is literally a (Hall)mark of the restaurant. Different sections offer various atmospheres depending on the desires of diners, from a lively bar scene to quiet nooks for a sophisticated date.

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7. Culaccino Italian Restaurant & Bar Downtown Franklin

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Executive chef and owner Frank Pullara knows not to rush perfection at his popular ristorante in downtown Franklin. Three days of fermentation offer incredible depths of flavor to the pizza dough that takes a quick trip through an infernal wood-fired oven, while artisan pasta is kneaded and shaped by hand for some of the highlight dishes on the menu. Many offerings from the extensive list of Italian wines have spent almost a decade maturing to the ideal moment for uncorking, and attentive but casual service ensures that a meal at Culaccino can be a languorous delight for a special occasion or the perfect spot for a weeknight family dinner.

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8. Henley Midtown

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Henley takes its design inspiration from the legendary hospitality of a stately Southern manor. Enter through a sidewalk patio and belly up to the bar for a welcome drink as some of Nashville’s finest bartenders serve thoughtful cocktails and drams of the restaurant’s special selections of single-barrel whiskeys. The cozy dining room is where most diners sit down to a menu of fun Southern dishes accented with international flair. At the back of the restaurant, a clubby snooker room offers private dining and overflow space on busy nights, but an even greater surprise lies behind a secret door in a bookshelf. The Rabbit Hole is a tiny table in the kitchen where up to four patrons can enjoy a special multi-course tasting menu.

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9. Mangia Nashville 8th South/Melrose

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An evening at Mangia Nashville is more than just a meal. It’s a full-on party with traditional Italian music blaring at festive volumes during the multi-course meal, “The Godfather” playing on a loop on screens around the dining room, family-style platters of antipasti, meats, pasta, and desserts flowing constantly out of the raucous open kitchen, and chef-owner Nick Pellegrino leading the frivolity between courses by drumming on pots and pans and occasionally kicking off a conga line among the tables. The three-hour experience on Friday and Saturday nights is the sort of experience where strangers become friends and future tablemates, and patrons generously share bottles between tables. If you’re too full for dessert at the end of the evening, take some zeppole home to enjoy with your morning coffee.

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10. The Southern Steak & Oyster SoBro

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Photo courtesy The Southern Steak & Oyster

The motto of The Southern is “South of Somewhere,” which explains the eclectic menu that ranges from Gulf Coast seafood to downhome Southern specialties to Latin American and Moroccan flavors. Walking up to the restaurant, diners may see and smell sweet smoke pouring out of a vent on the side of the building as the kitchen smokes racks of ribs, unusual for a downtown restaurant on the ground floor of an office tower. An in-house butcher shop cuts steaks from huge dry-aged beef primals to create magnificent steaks and the meats for sandwiches at their quaint market and deli next door to the restaurant. Weekday lunch service and weekend brunches add even more opportunities to take a trip south.

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Photo courtesy The Southern Steak & Oyster

11. Silver Sands Cafe Germantown

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People sometimes debate the difference between Nashville’s famous “meat-and-three” Southern cafeterias and soul food, and the answer is often: Who is cooking the food and who it is being cooked for? At Silver Sands, the menu represents three generations of recipes from owner Sophia Vaughn, and she cooks it for anyone wise enough to visit her cozy restaurant for classic soul food dishes like oxtails, pigs feet, fried chicken, smothered pork chops, neck bones, and hot-water cornbread. The menu changes daily, always offering a vast array of vegetable side dishes, and many people set their weekly schedule around their favorite offerings. Silver Sands also serves a hearty breakfast that will get you through to suppertime.

No reservations. Find more info here.

12. Present Tense Wedgewood-Houston

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As soon as patrons enter this zen space with its background of chill house music, they’re grounded in the present moment. That’s amplified by the house specialty: sake sourced from Asia and the U.S.; general manager Rick Margaritov’s encyclopedic knowledge of the spirit ensures perfect pairings with chef Ryan Costanza’s menu of small bites and large plates. Our big pro tip? The new omakase experience is a two-plus hour long journey through the mind of the chef, with more than a dozen focused dishes prepared and explained by Costanza for no more than six people at a time. Let Margaritov provide the suggested sakes to complement the journey, and you’ll fully understand the restaurant’s gestalt.

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13. International Market Belmont/Hillsboro Village

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Arnold Myint is a James Beard-nominated chef, food television celebrity, and Nashville native who joined up with his sister to revive the Thai restaurant that his parents operated for decades across the street from the current location. Myint’s creative cuisine and dedication to tradition earned International Market an official Thai cuisine seal of approval from The Ministry of Commerce and Royal Thai Government, a first for Nashville. The kitchen takes regional Thai dishes and street food to elevated levels with gorgeous plating and fun fusion flavor additions. Order from dishes along a steam table like at the original International Market or take advantage of Myint’s own menu for dishes like his signature Hat Yai fried chicken, perfectly cooked and accented with fiery chiles, spices, and sauces.

Call 615-297-4453 for reservations.

14. TKO Inglewood

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TKO honestly describes itself as “Chinese-adjacent,” because its American-born chef-owner enjoys adding Southern twists to his East Asian menu. The strategy works well because both cultures generally aren’t afraid of a little spice, and dishes cooked in a wok are definitely similar to the best Southern fried food coming out of a cast-iron skillet. TKO’s kitchen isn’t afraid to pack a punch, with chile peppers seasoning several dishes on the menu. Put your meal in the hands of the chef by ordering the “secret fried rice,” a dish that changes at the whim of the kitchen. With plenty of vegetarian and gluten-free options, TKO is also attuned to diners with specific needs and preferences.

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15. Pelican & Pig East Nashville

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What do you get when a talented pastry chef marries a cook obsessed with cooking over open fire? Well, you get a great meal at Pelican & Pig, thanks to chef-owners Audra and Nick Guidry. The open kitchen creates a fully immersive dining-slash-theater experience, as just about every ingredient on the menu benefits from Nick Guidry’s elevated caveman cooking, deftly adding a kiss of flame or a waft of smoke to meat dishes and a surprising array of seafood options. The menu changes frequently and seasonally, so there’s likely something new and wonderful to discover at each visit. One of Audra Guidry’s sweet treats is a mandatory end to the meal, even if you have to take it home because you overordered at dinner.

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16. lou Riverside Village in East Nashville

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This restaurant may spell its name with a lowercase “l,” but there’s nothing timid about this unique East Nashville bistro, where chef-owner Mailea Weger leans on her experiences cooking in France and California to create new takes on classic brunch and dinner favorites. lou also demands ethical and sustainable practices from its purveyors — a policy that extends to the extraordinary wine list, which features organically farmed, minimal-intervention wines. The wine program has introduced Nashville wine lovers to uncommon terroirs — from volcanic vineyards in Mexico to fizzy natural wines from France. The bright and airy environs of the converted cottage that lou calls home is an ideal classroom to learn about new wines over a breezy brunch.

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17. Margot Café & Bar East Nashville

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Ever since chef Margot McCormack made the bold decision more than two decades ago to open a French-inspired and Southern-informed brasserie in a former service station in East Nashville’s Five Points neighborhood, she has continued to tune up the cuisine on that side of the Cumberland River. The menu changes nightly depending on the whim of the kitchen and the freshest seasonal ingredients that come through the back door that day. Local farmers and purveyors are the guiding inspirations for the cooking team, and loyal patrons reward them with standing weekly reservations to sup in the cozy bar or at a favorite table in the warm and inviting dining spaces.

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18. Kisser East Nashville

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Waits of up to an hour are common at Kisser as hungry diners line up before the restaurant opens for lunch-only service at this tiny Cleveland Park Japanese neighborhood newcomer. Husband-and-wife chef team Brian Lea and Leina Horii work their stations in the diminutive kitchen with zen-like precision, preparing their own brand of Japanese haute comfort food. Rice dishes, salads, noodles, and a chicken katsu sandwich served on delectable toasted milk bread are menu standouts, but Kisser’s version of a traditional Japanese breakfast with miso-marinated fish, three vegetables, a rolled omelet, soup, and furikake rice represents the chefs’ full culinary sensibilities in one spectacular menu item.

No reservations.

19. Locust 12 South

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In the year since Food & Wine magazine named Locust “Best Restaurant of 2022,” it has become one of the toughest tables in town. In an attempt to democratize the experience, they’ve switched up their service model to offer an ever changing menu of razor clams, dumplings, caviar, tartare, and the Japanese shaved ice dish of kakigori for dessert from 10:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Friday through Sunday. After a brief restaurant reset, the kitchen will reopen for no-reservation walk-in service with a tight menu of beer, wine, and cocktails plus dumplings from 6 p.m. until closing. Just because the menu is limited doesn’t mean it won’t be spectacular. Now diners can take their chances to just walk in and hope to find a seat.

20. Henrietta Red Germantown

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Henrietta Red's takes on seafood have quickly made it a modern Nashville classic.
Photo courtesy of Henrietta Red

For a landlocked city, Nashville boasts some outstanding seafood restaurants, and Henrietta Red belongs at the top of any roster of them. Whether you’re enjoying a cocktail or a glass from their nicely curated list of interesting international wines along with a half-dozen oysters from the raw bar, or you opt for a full meal of seafood-centric sharing plates and individual entrees, it consistently delights thanks to a scrupulous dedication to sourcing the freshest products from the sea. The vibrant atmosphere of the attractive dining room doesn’t distract the chefs working in the open kitchen as they offer fastidiously-plated dishes.

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Henrietta Red's takes on seafood have quickly made it a modern Nashville classic.
Photo courtesy of Henrietta Red