The Best Fine Dining Options in Nashville, Tennessee

Nashville's burgeoning restaurant scene offers plenty of fine dining options
Nashville's burgeoning restaurant scene offers plenty of fine dining options | © RWI FINE ART PHOTOGRAPHY / Alamy Stock Photo
Fresh seafood, inventive sushi, high-end small plates, gourmet steakhouses… whether you’re after inventiveness or something simple done very, very well, there’s a Nashville eatery out there that will make your tastebuds sing with joy. We asked our local insiders to share their favorite spots with us for a bit of inspiration. Next step: pick up the phone and make that booking.

Henrietta Red

Restaurant, American, Seafood, $$$

Nashville native chef Julia Sullivan and her business partner, sommelier Annie Poindexter, opened Henrietta Red to much anticipation back in 2017, and the city’s seafood lovers have been flocking here ever since. Menu-wise, you’ll find plenty of elegantly plated tapas-style dishes (sharing is absolutely encouraged – you won’t find any fine-dining stuffiness here) accompanied by crafty cocktails and a natural wine list to die for. A naturally relaxing space with fresh, airy decor plus a chic Germantown location make this the perfect spot for a special meal with friends, perhaps after spending the day exploring the local boutiques. Recommended by local insider Erica Commisso

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Kayne Prime

Restaurant, Steakhouse, American, Vegetarian, $$$
Steakhouses are a dime a dozen in Tennessee, but gourmet spot Kayne Prime’s high-end takes on classic Southern fare sets it streets ahead of most. First test of a good steakhouse: it does the classics to perfection, however you like them done – and if you really feel like treating yourself, it offers wagyu options as well. What really takes Kayne Prime to the next level, though, is the inventive sides and appetizers on offer. Think popcorn buttered lobster, house-made bacon, risotto tater tots and perhaps the fanciest mac and cheese this side of the Mason Dixon line. Recommended by local insider Chaney Curd
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Geist Bar and Restaurant

Bar, Restaurant, American

Even if you’re not the Insta type, you’ll find it hard to resist taking a snap or two as you walk through the doors of Geist – it wasn’t voted one of the most beautiful bars in America for nothing. Housed in an attractive red-brick Victorian blacksmith’s workshop and named for the family company whose sign still adorns the building front, Geist offers “sophisticated but unfussy” internationally influenced fare. Think roasted pork tagliatelle, grilled octopus and upmarket takes on US classics like shrimp and grits. Recommended by local insider Erica Commisso

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Bourbon Steak

Restaurant, Steakhouse, American, $$$

Bourbon Steak is acclaimed chef Michael Mina’s sleek, modernist love letter to the great American steakhouse. Expect classic, prime Angus beef cuts grilled to perfection and a tantalizing selection of innovative seafood dishes (our top tip: try the lobster pot pie). Housed on the 34th floor of the JW Marriott hotel, the restaurant offers panoramic views of Nashville’s skyline that makes a perfect backdrop for a romantic evening out with that special someone. Start with one of Bourbon’s signature cocktails, or perhaps explore the impressive selection of whiskeys on offer – you won’t find anything like it elsewhere. Recommended by local insider Chaney Curd

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Virago

Restaurant, Japanese, Sushi, $$$
Virago has been Nashville’s go-to for sushi and Asian cuisine for 19 years and still stands head-and-shoulders above the competition. Alongside delicate, traditional sashimi options and beautifully prepared entrées, you’ll find some of the most creative maki rolls in town, plus an almost intimidating selection of Japanese whiskeys and sake. With its low-key entrance and understated lounge bar vibes (there’s a dedicated late-night snack menu), Virago is a seductive choice for an evening out. While away the hours with your date in low-lit, cozy interiors while sipping on sophisticated Asian-inspired cocktails. It’s a winning formula. Recommended by local insider Chaney Curd
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Rolf and Daughters

Restaurant, American, $$$

Rolf & Daughters operates on the basis that some of the best things in life are the simplest. Fresh pasta, accompanied by good wine and followed by exceptional, Italian-inspired desserts is an unpretentious formula, and this place carries it out to perfection. Our tip: get the sourdough with seaweed butter to start your meal – incomparable with that first glass of wine as you sit down in the pared-back but exceedingly pleasant interior. On hot summer evenings, ask for a table in the atmospherically lit garden. Recommended by local insider Cristy Wicks

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Old School Farm To Table

Restaurant, American, $$$

Set in a picturesque old schoolhouse, Old School Farm To Table serves an elevated, environmentally conscious selection of both comfort food favorites and more adventurous options. There’s a hyper-local, seasonal focus to the menu, which sources as much as possible from neighboring farms that follow sustainable agricultural practices, as well as from the not-for-profit farm with which it shares its premises. It’s a way out of the city center, so make a day of it. Look out for goat yoga classes in the barn next door and add a follow-on brunch for a weekend morning with a difference. Recommended by local insider Cristy Wicks

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Ellington's

Restaurant, American

Tucked halfway up the Fairlane Hotel building, secretive and cozy Ellington’s serves nostalgic mid-20th-century favorites. Its menu covers classic bagels and sandwiches, burgers, salads and all your favorite sides. It expertly walks the line between traditional and trendy. The decor is tastefully retro and the bar well stocked, and the space works just as well as a late-night hangout as it does for a post-work meal or chilled weekend brunch. Recommended by local insider Chaney Curd

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Meal service:

All Day, Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch, Dinner, Dessert

Atmosphere:

Secret, Traditional, Arty, Casual
These recommendations were updated on June 10, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.