Last year was filled with so many delicious meals. I wanted to make a list of my favorite meals and highlight them. Here you go!
Chez Nous – Charleston, SC. Everything about this place was perfect. Our waiter was so friendly. The menu is handwritten every day with only two appetizers, two entrees and two desserts. We ordered a bottle of rosé champagne plus both apps and entrees. The food was mindblowingly delicious. We ate duck confit, smoked trout toast with a sous vide egg, pork chops and pasta. I could not get over how good the food was. We didn’t have room for dessert from all that food. Our table was outside in a little courtyard and the weather was great. Overall, such an incredible experience in the heart of a residential Charleston neighborhood.
The Rabbit Hole – Nashville, TN. I mysteriously came across the Rabbit Hole when looking on Tock to see which restaurants are in Nashville. Surprisingly, I had never heard of this concept by Henley that is their secret chef table. It is a tasting menu with optional drink pairings. Brian and I decided to make reservations for my birthday and we loved it. The table seats four so we were with another couple. There was round after round of new flavors and pairings. We watched as Chef Daniel Gorman meticulously added each ingredient to the dishes. The combinations were inventive and surprising. From oysters to absinthe salad and duck to chocolate dessert, I loved every moment of our experience. I would definitely recommend The Rabbit Hole to anyone who is into incredible food and open to adventurous flavors.
TORO – Boston, MA. This is a tapas place that I went to with my cousin Neil and his friend Zach. We decided to go all out and order everything that looked good. At first we ordered cocktails, but then switched to wine after being introduced to the concept of a parron. We then did not drink from glasses for the rest of the night but instead drank wine straight from the party vessel that is the parron. I do not remember everything we ordered because we just all shouted out items to our waitress and she also gave us suggestions. All the food was incredibly delicious.
Barcelona – Nashville, TN. This is our favorite date night restaurant. It is a sister restaurant of bartaco that is the wine and tapas concept for barteca. They have an incredible rosé sangria as well as an extensive bottle list. There are classic tapas and seasonal tapas. There is also a good selection of meat and cheese if you want to begin your meal with charcuterie. Our favorite items are the hangar steak, brussels, mushrooms, croquetas, chicken pimientos, and the shrimp. Brunch is also super tasty with specialty brunch tapas like hot chicken and churros plus a mimosa bar.
Rolf & Daughter’s – Nashville, TN. This restaurant is right next door to where I work so I pass it all the time. Brian and I finally made reservations to go and it did not disappoint. All the ingredients tasted super fresh and there was a lot of thought but into the flavor profile of each dish. I loved the beef tartare! We also had a few other dishes like heirloom tomato salad, watermelon, beef short rib and pasta.Butcher & Bee – Nashville, TN. I have only been here for brunch and need to go back for dinner. Eggs benedict is one of my favorite brunch items and this one killed it. The meat in it was lamb and the presentation was as good as the taste. We started with the whipped feta as an app and it was so light and fluffy! The breakfast burrito was very good as well. Can’t wait to go back and try the dinner options.
The Admiral – Asheville, NC – The beef tartare here was scrumptious. It is served deconstructed so you take a piece of every flavor to get the perfect bite each time. I honestly don’t even remember what else we ordered because I was so obsessed with the tartare. Although I do not remember the exact dishes, I do remember loving everything that we got. There was such a fun vibe in the restaurant and we were with really awesome friends. Definitely worth checking out if you find yourself in Asheville.
5th & Taylor – Nashville, TN. I am slightly biased on this one because I do work here but I am only counting it for the times that I actually came and sat down with other people as a normal customer. It would be on the list even if I did not work here. The duck liver mousse is the most underrated and delicious appetizer. There is also a super yummy beef tartare appetizer and you can’t go wrong with some southern sausage cheddar biscuits. For entrees, I love the duck’am and mixed grill. The mixed grill is fun because there are three different types of meat instead of just having to pick one. Another good choice is the filet if you are feeling like steak. Brunch is a good time as well with $5 mimosas and hot duck and waffles.
The Chef & I – Nashville, TN. I did not know this place existed until my friend started working there and kept telling me to come in and check it out. First of all, every drink that we ordered was a shade of pink and had a flower in it which I loved! They have a great beef tartare. Obviously I am a huge fan of beef tartare and all they different styles of it. A lot of the dishes we ordered had whipped goat cheese which I was into. One of those was the caramelized cauliflower that is in the picture below. We sat at one of the community table and just ordered apps because we were in a hurry. I would love to go back and sit at the chef’s counter and order the tasting menu this year.
The Ordinary – Charleston, SC. We went to Charleston for a wedding and the bride, Alex, is the sous chef at The Ordinary. We sat at the bar and told the bartender we were friends with her and to order for us. It was some of the best seafood we have ever had. The oysters were so fresh and tasty. We had shrimp and oyster dishes and tuna and a couple other things. It was all so impressive. This is where I tried orange/skin contact wine for the first time and really enjoyed it. The food scene in Charleston is so vibrant but this is a place we will go back to every time that we visit.
Oak – Nashville, TN. When we started this meal, I told Brian to take a picture with me before we sat down and then I would put my phone up and be present. I only broke that for this dessert picture to commemorate but I am slightly sad I didn’t get any pictures of the food. It was gorgeously plated and very good. We had wagyu tartare that made me tear up a little bit because of how fantastic it was. After starting with cocktails, we switched to wine which they have a great selection of. Highlights of the meal included octopus, crab cakes, the tomahawk steak.
Urban Grub – Nashville – TN. This is Brian’s and my favorite brunch place. We go and get a carafe of mimosa, oysters, and pork fries to start. Sometimes we will get brunch entrees like one of the bennies and sometime we will get steak for brunch. It is one of my favorite steak places in Nashville. They also have a fun charcuterie selection. We have never done the buffet for brunch but it looks delectable. I will always have a special place in my heart because Brian and I came here so much when we first started dating and have spent numerous special occasions here.
Mafioza’s – Nashville, TN. This one isn’t necessarily for food but for ambiance and character. Maf’s is our go to after work hang and we are friends with all the bartenders. When it gets chilly there is a fire pit. This is where I had my first gin martini and started to become obsessed. When we are hungry we either get the cheese bread with goat cheese goats or the Tony appetizer with pesto and pepperoni. Their ranch dressing is my favorite of all places. On Sundays and Tuesdays, they have 2-for-1’s on pizza slices and draft beers. Love this place so much! Couldn’t make a list of favorite places without it.
There you go! My favorites of 2018. I am looking forward to trying new places this year and exploring more flavors near and far. Let me know if you have suggestions on places for me to try!