In addition to serving some of the best seafood in town, Henrietta Red exudes a playful sense of fun that puts smiles on the faces of their diners. From jello shot specials to an excellent Franco-centric wine list to all sorts of regional oyster choices to get the juices flowing, it’s the perfect kickstart to an evening of canoodling. Women run the kitchen at Henrietta Red, so there’s none of that aggro attitude that can spoil a dinner because you had to listen to a chef on a Gordon Ramsey-esque rant.
Nashville’s oldest Italian restaurant is also its coziest, with small tables where you can sit knee-to-knee with your sweetie and maybe even sneak a roll out of your neighboring table’s breadbasket. The menu leans toward old-school red sauce pasta which pairs delightfully with a nice bottle of chianti.
Don’t worry if you’re not a regular patron at this East Nashville French bistro-inspired neighborhood favorite. Although many fans make regular weekly reservations, the staff treats everyone like family, and the constantly changing menu of fresh local ingredients cooked using classical techniques is the epitome of upscale comfort food.
The penny tile floors and tin ceiling panels will instantly transport visitors to a quaint Parisian cafe, and that’s exactly the vibe they’re going for at Once Upon a Time in France. The menu extends the illusion with classic Gallic options ranging from escargot to bœuf bourguignon to steak frites. Be sure to save room for something from the talented pastry kitchen.
This West Nashville fixture has been a date night destination since 2008. Miel’s dedication to hospitality includes one of the most thoughtful wine lists in town as well as impeccable service. The pandemic addition of more outdoor dining has actually been one of the best things to come out of all this mess, and an al fresco meal of Meil’s internationally inspired cuisine made with fresh and sustainable ingredients is a rare treat.
While people throw around the oxymoronic term “casual fine dining” way too often, at Midtown Cafe, that descriptive term really fits. They’re used to catering to tourists, politicians, actors, and music stars on a daily basis, and the experienced staff treats all their patrons like the most important customer in the room. National food magazines have begged for the secret recipe to their lemon artichoke soup for years, but they ain’t getting it. You, however, should definitely get it as a starter to kick off a meal of approachable elevated cuisine.