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Nashville’s Dining Experts Name the Biggest Surprises of 2018

From surprising closures to a list of hotel restaurants that impress

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The year is drawing to a close and, as is tradition, Eater Nashville has surveyed several Nashville food writers and dining experts on everything from their best meal in 2018 to their food headline predictions for 2019. Responses are cut, pasted, and (mostly) unedited, and are listed in no particular order.

Now, Nashville’s restaurant experts spill their biggest surprises this year in dining.

Let us know the new restaurants you loved this year in the comments below, on Facebook, or on Twitter.

Q: What was the biggest dining surprise of 2018?

Beth Sachan, founder and food writer at Eat. Drink. Smile: I’m not sure it should be considered a surprise, but I revisited Capitol Grille in the Hermitage Hotel for the first time in several years, and was blown away by the incredible meal. We enjoyed the visit so much that a couple of months later, we chose it to celebrate a special occasion with family, and were again wowed by the meal. With the dizzying array of new restaurants opening, I think it’s important that we remember those that were here long before Nashville became It City.

Kristen Luna, travel and food writer and founder of travel blog Camels & Chocolate: The number of new hotel restaurants that have joined the hotel and are, surprisingly, good. I found myself dining at the Bobby, Fairlane and Noelle on multiple occasions, both for work and pleasure, out of sheer convenience, but I never had a bad bite at any of them.

Courtney Hood, founder of Blonde Voyage Nashville: As a Nashville native, the biggest surprise is the country music restaurant revival and the number of artists who have opened up bars/restaurants on Broadway. Seriously, when is enough enough?

Nancy Vienneau, restaurant critic, The Tennessean; food journalist, Nashville Lifestyles Magazine: Discovering chef Dylan Morrison’s creative farm-to-table cuisine at 1892 in Leiper’s Fork.

Chris Chamberlain, food writer at Nashville Scene, Sounds Like Nashville: That Kuchnia & Keller closed so quickly. I knew it would be tough for such an esoteric concept to fill that huge of a dining room, but I was really hoping that talented team could give it a go for at least a little while longer. They’ll be missed.

Margaret Littman, author of Moon Nashville and Moon Nashville to New Orleans Road Trip guidebooks, freelance writer for Nashville Scene, the Telegraph, PUNCH, Nashville Lifestyles and other publications: We finally got a decent Black & White Cookie (Mile End). I didn’t think House of Cards would be as fun as it is.

Erin Byers Murray, Nashville Lifestyles magazine editor: The closure then reopening of Caviar & Bananas.

Delia Jo Ramsey, Eater Nashville: The lack of availability of some specific dishes here really does surprise me sometimes. Related: Can someone please make me some real-deal soup dumplings and keep them on the menu? I’ve been craving them all year and it’s a sad situation here. Jason Zygmont is doing some for NYE at Treehouse and I was lucky enough to try one. I nearly cried.

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