The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Taste the crème de la crème: A Nashville guide to fine dining

Here’s a guide to navigating Nashville’s fine dining scene, from homestyle meals to Presidential-grade cooking.
Sofia El-Shammaa
Graphic depicting a couple at a fine dining restaurant with a waiter taking their order (Hustler Multimedia/Sofia El-Shammaa)

As a cultural hub of the South, Nashville is home to cuisine from every corner of the globe within the confines of its city limits. From Sitar to The Bourbon Steak, Nashville holds something for almost every taste imaginable as a Southern mecca for foodies rivaled only by Atlanta. With this guide, you too can experience a taste of the best food the city has to offer!


Price: $

For those who want incredible Southern cuisine without paying Nashville prices, Monell’s will not disappoint! With their famous fried chicken alongside some of the most authentic Southern sides around, Monell’s knows how to replicate mother’s coveted home cooking. Monell’s also takes pride in its pork, with barbeque ribs and pulled pork being staples on the Friday and Saturday menus. They also offer a Saturday-morning country breakfast at midnight, providing an egg-cellent choice for students looking for a late-night meal experience rivaled by no other place. Despite not being the most luxurious on the list, Monell’s earned its spot for its hard-to-beat value and its irreplaceable aspect of homemade cooking throughout the menu. 

Midtown Cafe

Price: $$-$$$

Midtown Cafe stands stronger than ever despite almost permanently closing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The restaurant boasts a versatile dinner menu, from signature salads to “3 Ways Veal” and is a subtle gem in the Nashville fine-dining scene. Being close to campus, Midtown Cafe is a prime location for Vanderbilt students looking to get high-quality dining within walking distance.


Price: $$-$$$

Like their fine wines, Miel offers fine presentation and taste throughout their French-inspired menu. From escargot to delicate cheeses, Miel will transport you to the heart of Paris within a few bites. With a menu that shifts dishes in and out daily, diners will have new dishes to try every time they visit, bringing a sense of wonder and excitement. Miel primarily takes pride in the variety of meats on the menu ranging from braised lamb to charred octopus, sourcing the finest meats available in Nashville for their diners to enjoy.

Chauhan Ale and Masala House

Price: $$-$$$

Fusing her love of Indian and Nashville cuisine, Maneet Chauhan masterfully developed the gold standard of Indian food within Tennessee. Offering a vast menu spanning from braised lambs to pakoras, Chauhan’s brings some of the most authentic Indian cuisines one could find in the South. The experience is further enhanced by the magical interior. From engraved table tops to stained pendant lights, Chauhan’s is Nashville’s closest portal to an authentic Indian experience.


Price: $$$

A classic within the Nashville fine dining scene, Bastion is a powerhouse fusing trendy cuisine with the finest liquors from around the world. From Kutoba sake to Pinot Noirs, Bastion’s heart lies in their specially crafted pairings of unorthodox cuisine with alcohol, making for an incredible experience for diners open to such. A section of the menu named “eric’s cocktails” also brings a spark of excitement for diners willing to experience some of the most unusual beverages in Nashville with ingredients ranging from coffee to sesame. Bastion has an expansive menu ranging from duck breast to caviar, and it provides an incredible experience for adventurous diners. 

Giovanni Ristorante

Price: $$$$

Describing themselves as “Nashville’s Premier Italian Restaurant,” Giovanni’s holds themselves to some of the highest standards present in Nashville, and for good reason. Despite their high prices, their Northern Italian cuisine brings a level of sophistication alongside excitement that one rarely can find among the other European restaurants in Nashville. Fan favorites feature squid, whether it be their grilled octopus or squid-ink linguine, an interesting twist from the stereotypical assortment of pasta and meatballs. Being within walking distance of Vanderbilt, Giovanni Ristorante is a staple choice for Vanderbilt students seeking an elevated dining experience.

Audrey & June

Price: $$$$

If Audrey was the gifted kid at the top of her class, June was the artistic one going to a premier magnet school. Audrey and June, sister restaurants, both offer unique experiences. Audrey provides a typical dining experience while still offering high-end cuisine worth its cost, with a wide variety on their menu from cornbread to dumplings. June, on the other hand, provides a much more experimental ambiance to their diners. With only 37 seats and an often-rotating menu based on the freshest ingredients available, the menu varies but continues to promise a unique story.

etch and etc.

Price: $$$$

etch, led by Deb Paquette, offers an “eclectic menu” that promises to leave an “etch on every diner.” The eclectic menu offers a variety of dishes, from empanadas to Moroccan bastilla, deriving its inspiration from far around the globe. etc., the sister restaurant of etch, brings the etch experience into Green Hills through an “intimate” setting of 70 seats. Not wanting to be outshone by her older sister, etc. offers an expansive menu as well ranging from cornmeal catfish to filo tarts filled with mushrooms.

Bourbon Steak

Price: $$$$

Bourbon Steak often tops the list of the people’s premier restaurants in Nashville. Managing chef, Michael Mina, has cooked for three United States presidents and became Bon Appétit’s chef of the year in 2005. With signature dishes ranging from truffle mac-and-cheese to Maine lobster pot-pie, Bourbon Steak offers a relatively traditional menu with crème de la crème quality you’d be lucky to find elsewhere in Nashville. 

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About the Contributors
George Albu
George Albu, Staff Writer and Photographer
George Albu (‘27) is majoring in medicine, health and society in the College of Arts and Science. When not working for The Hustler, he enjoys taking long walks around campus, reading or watching video essays about anything and everything online. He can be reached at [email protected].
Sofia El-Shammaa
Sofia El-Shammaa, Staff Writer and Photographer, Data and Graphics Staffer
Sofia El-Shammaa (‘27) is majoring in political science and communication studies in the College of Arts and Science. When they’re not writing or making graphics, you can find them with their cat, Mochi, watching bad movies or reading good books. You can reach them at [email protected].
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