In keeping with Eater tradition, our closeout of the year is a survey of friends, industry types and bloggers. To kick it off in Nashville, Eater asked the group eight questions, ranging from the restaurants they frequent most to the biggest surprises of the year. Responses are in no particular order, and readers are encouraged to leave answers in the comments.
Q. What were your top restaurant standbys of 2016?
Nancy Vienneau, food writer and critic for The Tennessean:
Bajo Sexto Taco Lounge, Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint, Anatolia’s (a longtime standby)
Collin Czarnecki, founder and writer for NOBLE Nashville:
My go-to brunch spot is Porter House Bistro in East Nashville. Even though I live across town in Sylvan Park, it's worth the drive. And the wait usually isn't too bad. Some of my other standby favorites include City House, Germantown Cafe, Lockeland Table, Big Al's Deli, Mitchell's Deli, Urban Grub, and Asahi (a small, family-run sushi place in West Meade).
The harmonic convergence of Pat Martin opening his pitmaster's playground at the new Martin's downtown combined with the opening of the Predators season has meant that I've probably eaten there more often than anywhere else this year. Plus I think we're like 5-2 when I pregame there. I still walk to International Market for some belly-hugging Thai comfort food a couple times a month with the fallacious expectation that I'll burn off the calories on the five-minute trip to and from my house.
Lizzy Alfs, retail reporter for The Tennessean:
I’m not going to lie, I keep a list of new restaurants I need to try (and it grows every month) but somehow I always end up at City House. It’s my go-to when I have family in town, for date night and for girls’ night out. Literally everything I’ve ever eaten there is amazing.
Lesley Lassiter, food writer for Nashville Scene’s Bites Blog and Lesley Eats:
My go-to restaurant is Amerigo. Reasonably priced, kid-friendly, and doesn't require reservations. We also love heading to Puckett's Grocery in Leiper's Fork on a warm day. And you can find us at the Farmer's Market any time Caracasville pops up with their Venezuelan arepas.
Matt Rogers, editor Eater Nashville:
With so many new restaurants and bars opening I’ve definitely found myself returning a little less to my go-tos, but Thai Esane, The 404 Kitchen, Josephine and Treehouse are ones that I try to make extra time for.
Vivek Surti, founder of VEA Supper Club and Sabrage Society:
The 404 Kitchen, Rolf and Daughters, Treehouse, Butcher & Bee, City House, Prima
Beth Wallace Sachan, founder and food writer at Eat. Drink. Smile.:
Butcher & Bee has been my number one go-to for dinners with friends. I love the small plates concept and just can't get enough of that whipped feta! For lunch, I find myself at Vui's Kitchen and Thai Esane over and over again. Martin's BBQ is our favorite family meal spot (for both sit down and takeout).
Even though he's long been a staple on the local dining scene, Pat Martin's new SoBro venture filled a need for a fast-casual hangout within walking distance to Ascend, Bridgestone and the other downtown music venues. The latest Martin's BBQ locale is my favorite of all, thanks to the expansive beer garden and games area and that same great brisket. I'm also obsessed with the ambiance and small plates at Salt & Vine, and Butcher & Bee's original Charleston outpost has long been among my favorite Southern eats so I was stoked when they added a second location in Nashville, as well.