Nashville’s sensational food scene now stretches far beyond local specialties such as hot chicken and barbecue. These days, Music City’s restaurants are defined by innovative, one-of-a-kind experiences—frunch, anyone?—and open kitchens galore. Sample decadent Neapolitan fare in Chestnut Hill and Barcelona-style tapas downtown, then cap your night out at a modern-day supper club and entertainment mash-up in The Gulch. These are the six Nashville restaurants to book right now.
Blue Aster (West End)
This Southern-accented spot recently opened in the Conrad Nashville. Named after a Tennessean wildflower, Blue Aster is dressed in blue and copper tones and decked with charming, egg-like lights. The latter may be a reference to its farm-to-table menu, stocked with local ranch steaks and fresh seafood, which surfaces in creations such as hot stone ahi tuna and king crab chitarra pasta, in addition to locally inspired plates like mac and cheese waffles. If you’ve got time to kill before your reservation, grab cocktails at the neighboring Lounge at Blue Aster.
Boqueria, a tapas behemoth with outposts in New York City and Chicago, landed in downtown Nashville in February. Located next to the legendary Ryman Auditorium, the bustling space offers an immersive experience, thanks to an energetic open kitchen that dishes out traditional Spanish staples such as patatas bravas (spicy potatoes), gambas al ajillo (garlic shrimp), and hand-carved Ibérico ham. Boqueria’s menu also includes rotating seasonal dishes and craft cocktails. The restaurant is open daily for lunch and dinner, serving brunch with bottomless mimosas and sangrias from Friday through Sunday. Kick off a thirsty Thursday with a complimentary cava with any tapas order from 5 to 6 pm.
Il Forno (Chestnut Hill)
Chef Egidio (Egi) Franciosa and his wife Jannah opened Il Forno, which began as a pizzeria on wheels, in the Wedgewood-Houston neighborhood in May. The renovated industrial space is enriched by an open kitchen with a wood-fired pizza oven. Il forno means “the oven” in Italian—a reference to chef Egi’s Neapolitan roots—and the restaurant’s version was built brick-by-brick by Stefano Ferrara, an expert craftsman, who eschewed any prefabricated parts. Each pizza is fired at 900 degrees for 90 seconds and all the dough, sauces, and dressings are made in-house.
The Electric Jane (The Gulch)
Opened in early 2022, The Electric Jane is a stylish, modern-day supper club and live entertainment hybrid. Co-owned by hospitality vets Jason Scoppa and Sam Bakhshandehpour, the place brims with retro influences: Teal tufted banquettes surround a Carrara marble hexagon bar, octagon mirrors line the walls, and there are plenty of mismatched velvet couches and chairs. The menu, complete with brunch, supper, and late-night bites, offers contemporary, globally influenced fare such as tuna crispy rice, edamame falafel, and steak tartare. Pair your plates with any of the drinks on the expansive beer, wine, and cocktail selection and you’ve got a potent combination for an unforgettable evening.
5 Points Diner & Bar (East Nashville)
East Nashville’s 5 Points neighborhood, a hipster haven, has a lively new gathering place that opened in May. Helmed by native Nashvillians Rick Ryan and Steven Murff, who noodled over the idea for a decade, 5 Points Diner & Bar puts a spirited spin on the classic American sports bar. It’s the kind of easygoing haunt made for kicking off an early weekend; the diner offers “frunch”—a mashup of “Friday” and “brunch”—with comforting Southern plates such as shrimp and grits and meatloaf alongside a dependable array of salads, burgers, chicken, steak, and pasta. But rest assured, the good vibes continue all day long: There are themed DJ nights that stretch until 2 am, fueled by a treasure trove of cocktails and late-night bites.
Pushing Daisies (Downtown)
Lower Broadway gets a new speakeasy-style margarita bar this fall. The cool, underground lair, cocooned by velvet curtains, is yet another venture by restaurateur Sam Fox, whose massive hospitality empire includes The Twelve Thirty Club, a music and dining venue with artist Justin Timberlake. Pushing Daisies will be directly under Fox’s popular Blanco Cocina + Cantina, and accessible through a staircase and mysterious, unmarked front door. Margaritas—fittingly, Spanish for “daisies”— will be the bonafide stars at this celebratory, casa-inspired space, where dainty floral patterns adorn the walls, seats, and floors.
Tried them all? Check out other options here.