Beyond the sea of restaurants serving deals and steals to hungry diners on a dime, a handful of Nashville restaurants specialize in one-of-a-kind dining experiences. But these experiences do come at a cost. When it comes to tasting menus, gourmet ingredients a la carte, and dishes hand-picked by chefs, the price is high but oh-so-worth-it.
This list looks at six splurge-worthy spots in Nashville that are exceptional and, also, expensive. Make a reservation ahead of time, and indulge in the extravagant.
Take a gander at this guide to luxurious meals and determine that next high-end dinner destination.
Divided into bar and restaurant, Bastion is known for nachos and a five-course tasting menu, respectively. Past the cool-vibes bar, a sliding door opens to reveal the restaurant’s intimate space with 24 seats. A bingo card-style menu divided into five sections allows diners to easily navigate the offerings, from small to larger to dessert. Like all good tasting menus, this one changes based on the freshest ingredients available and chef Josh Habiger’s lastest source of inspiration. Flavors meld together in dishes such as chicken wing + watermelon made with a watermelon glaze and chanterelle mushrooms and littleneck clams.
Design your own five-course dinner, try everything for $195, or let the chef guide you. The latter is recommended. The Feast, a family-style dinner lasting about three hours, is designed for diners looking for an outstandingly delicious and fun experience. You’ll leave full and, more importantly, satisfied — there are always nachos in the bar if you are somehow still hungry.
Real Cost: About $100 per person for five courses after drinks, tax, and tip, or $100 person for The Feast before drinks, tax, and tip
Rivaling other steakhouses in town for the most expensive chops, Bourbon Steak does traditional steakhouse dishes with a decadent twist. The kitchen sends forth butter-poached, wood-grilled steaks, as well as seafood options for the non-traditionalist. Angus and Wagyu beef are accompanied by options like seared foie gras, black truffle butter, or bone marrow crust (to name a few top accompaniments). Tuna tartare, a sought-after seafood appetizer, is prepared table-side, and the creamy, decadent lobster pot pie is a total treat. When it comes to sides, don’t overlook the broccolini and Brussels sprouts. The restaurant sits high in the sky, on the 34th Floor of the JW Marriott, offering an unbeatable backdrop for an impressive meal.
Real Cost: At least $100 per person if you are indulging correctly.
More than a meal, The Catbird Seat delivers an unparalleled dining experience. The stunning tasting menu, which invariably changes with each visit, is served Wednesday through Saturday and prepared in the restaurant’s open kitchen framed by the only 22 seats in the house. Head chef Will Aghajanian and pastry chef Liz Johnson assumed their places in the kitchen late last year, and their changes intentionally reflect a new generation of the lauded establishment. Recent standouts include softshell crab with fermented pepper, sea urchin with gold bar squash and crustacean butter, sobrasada with peach and açaí honey, and caviar for dessert.
Real Cost: Dinner, an hours-long experience, is $135/person (a worthy price for dinner and a show). Beverage pairings and other meal add-ons are available at an additional cost.
Josephine is one of Nashville’s favorite places for brunch and dinner. Thanks to Chef Andy Little’s inventiveness in the kitchen, folks continue buzzing about the 12 South restaurant even as new shiny restaurants gain attention. You can’t go wrong with the whole chicken for two during dinner or the omelette at brunch, but the best time to go is Friday and Saturday nights. On those nights, Josephine welcomes ten diners for ten courses during a two-and-a-half-hour tasting table experience hosted by the chef himself. Each dish, whether it be Amish cantaloupe, scallop, or Cope’s corn flakes, will be explained in detail when it arrives at the table.
Real Cost: $90 for food and additional $55 for drink pairings at X|X:Josephine.
The Rabbit Hole at Henley
Consistently unique, the dishes at this Midtown restaurant are punctuated by Chef Daniel Gorman’s use of local ingredients and nostalgic flavors. There’s buttermilk hushpuppies; spring rolls with Bear Creek Farms tasso and Southern greens; hot crab and pimento cheese crackers, and coke and peanut baby back ribs. Dinner delights, but the Charleston-born chef’s repertoire of creativity and cooking is best experienced by falling down the rabbit hole. The Rabbit Hole is an adventure that spans 14 courses and three hours with Gorman as your guide. The dining experience is offered three nights a week; starting in October, Rabbit Hole Supper Club will launch as a multi-course family-style dinner.
Real Cost: $165 for the Rabbit Hole, plus $85 for drinks pairings; $155 for the Rabbit Hole Supper Club, plus $45 for drink pairings.
This decade-old restaurant continues to impress sushi seekers with exceptional flavor combinations and fresh fish in a suave setting. Nashville’s high-end sushi scene is growing steadily, but Virago established itself early as a destination for exceptional rolls. The menu leads with appetizers from the garden, plus sizable portions from the land and sea, but the makimono is where most direct their attention, understandably. The rolls ring in as high as $29 (a fair price for seared filet and tempura lobster), but more affordable options are available and, arguably, as delicious. The most notable: the Katana, a lobster tempura roll topped with tuna, shrimp, salmon, and scallop tartar for $26. If you are the trusting kind, opt for the Omakase, an assortment of nigiri and makimono chosen by the chef — a worthwhile culinary experience with a $95 price tag.
Beyond seafood, the restaurant is known for their selection of Japanese whiskeys. Ask your server for pairing suggestions.
Real Cost: Typical dinner can run $50 or more per person, depending on sushi and drink selections. Cost is $95 per person for omakase, before taxes and drinks.