Whenever we visit a new city, Matt and I try to avoid the downtown touristy areas and wander to the more food-centric parts of the city. Unfortunately, I was too busy trying to figure out what to do in Huntsville that I sort of neglected our weekend trip to Nashville. I thought we could just wander around and figure it out.

On our first night, we briefly did some online research before heading to The Patterson House, a speakeasy style cocktail bar that was a good mile and a half from our hotel. We weren’t starving so the plan was to just share a few bites at the bar. Long story short: the drinks were solid overall – Matt’s Presbyterian was excellent and my Corpse Reviver #2 was okay – but our bartender disappeared and didn’t bring out our food. We decided to move on…and wander some more.

We ended up splitting a pizza at a restaurant called Whiskey Kitchen. It was tasty (and at least they had the option to add jalapenos), but not memorable. Matt joked, “but all these places were recommended by Gwyneth Paltrow!

The next morning we picked a restaurant that we read had the “best brunch in Nashville” called Marche Artisan Foods. It was over two miles away in East Nashville and we decided to walk there. Walking is usually a great way to explore a new city!

About halfway through our walk, and shortly after passing the Juvenile Detention Center, we started to regret our decision. There was almost no one out and not even many cars on the road. We passed a bunch of empty lots and run-down buildings. With our Starbucks coffees in hand and directions pulled up on my iPhone, we definitely looked out of place in this part of town.

(Matt quietly conceded that this was also on Gwyneth Paltrow’s list.)

Luckily we made it to the restaurant in one piece. And they had wine, thank god.

Matt started with the cold Carrot Ginger Soup. I thought that the thin texture made it taste more like juice. Matt seemed to enjoy it more than I did.

I got the Tomato Fennel Soup, which was way more up my alley. The best part was the piece of fried fennel on top.

For his main dish, Matt ordered the Mediterranean Spinach Salad. It was filled with artichokes, cherry tomatoes, red onion, chickpeas, couscous, and feta. The cumin vinaigrette added an unexpected but delicious smoky flavor to every bite.

I ordered the Lamb Burger with cucumber, red onion, mint, feta, and yogurt. The poor little delicious lamb burger was a overwhelmed by all the toppings and the large bun.

We stuck around for dessert and ordered the Bread Pudding to share. The server warned us that the bread pudding would take up to 15 minutes to heat up, and we didn’t mind at all. It was just a little weird that it arrived to our table 15 minutes later…still at room temperature. Oh well. It tasted good, kind of like a cinnamon bun, and the creme anglaise drizzled on top was divine.

And then we called a cab to take us back downtown.

While we weren’t blown away by the food at Marche Artisan Foods, it’s possible that we had unfair expectations given what it took to get there. I would try it again…but drive.

How do you go about finding good restaurants when you travel?

Marche Artisan Foods
1000 Main St
Nashville, TN 37206
Marché Artisan Foods on Urbanspoon

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  • http://yummychunklet.wordpress.com/ Yummychunklet

    My friend almost took a job in Nashville. I’ll have to show her what she missed food-wise with this post! Everything looks delicious.

  • FunandFearlessinBeantown

    Bummer about the food experiences!  This reminds me of when Bret and I went to Lotus of Siam in Las Vegas.  It is known as one of the best Thai places in the country and is off-strip.  When we showed up, there were two prostitutes fighting outstide the restaurant and there was nobody around.  Thankfully the food made up for that experience!

    • http://www.culinarycolleen.com/ Colleen

      I guess we’re lucky we didn’t come across anything that bad!!

  • http://indulgeinspireimbibe.blogspot.com/ Daisy

    aww too bad the food wasnt worth the sketchy walk! 

  • http://love2dine.wordpress.com/ love2dine

    I am amazed by all the colorful, flavorful and healthful dishes you make!!

  • Emily @ A Cambridge Story

    The Mediterranean salad looks awesome and chock-full of great ingredients… sorry the entire meal wasn’t a winner though.

  • http://cupcakecampboston.com/ Elizabeth

    I chuckled about five times reading this :) Your travel tendencies are similar to mine. And my penchant for walking and exploring has definitely landed me in some seedier areas. I love the look of Matt’s salad and the bread pudding. 

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  • http://twitter.com/GrubbusAllOver Eli Castro

    Funny how expectations can color the experience – we were also traveling through, and came here for lunch on a whim. Getting there was easy, the day was gorgeous, and though the neighborhoods around Marche seemed kind of sketch, the little corner its on is full of trendy shops and restaurants. I thought it was pretty stunning, excepting so-so coffee, but my expectations were low and the way there was easy. Will put up my post in a few days.

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  • http://twitter.com/experiencenash Experience Nashville

    Next time you’re in town.. Let me know! I’d be happy to give you great recommendations (including driving to Marche, and the fact that it is MUCH better for brunch!). Have a wonderful weekend!



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