Nashville is known for its incredible music and food scene. Just one eatery that fits into the latter is that of Coco’s Italian Market, which has been serving up some of the best and most authentic Italian food in Nashville as a family owned and operated restaurant for more than 50 years.
I was lucky enough to have studied abroad in Verona, Italy for a month, and I can honestly say that Coco’s serves the most authentic Italian cuisine I’ve had since returning from the Mediterranean. Needless to say, I have ventured to Coco’s on numerous occasions for precisely this reason, with each dish just as delicious as the others. A personal favorite is the Tortellini Elliston, a perfect blend of cheese tortellini in a blush tomato cream sauce. While the Salmon Alfredo with Roasted Vegetables is also a great choice, the paninis are just as delicious. The caprese is the ideal Italian sandwich comprised of tomatoes, mozzarella and a tasty basil pesto.
I hear through the grape vine that their pizzas are also phenomenal, which are made with imported Italian crust and include varieties like the Bella (artichokes, red peppers, eggplant), the Cheesesteak (Italian beef, mushrooms, peppers and onions), the classic Margherita and many more. And we’re just talking about the main courses. Their desserts are just as delectable, with the tiramisu being a standout, along with the Italian Lemon Berry Cream Cake that is equally as mouthwatering. And let’s not forget about the homemade gelato and specialty espresso drinks, with flavors ranging from San Marino (strawberry and chocolate) to Naples (butter pecan and hazelnut), along with several others.
In addition to all of the amazing food, Coco’s offers so much more than just a traditional dining experience. When you first enter the eatery, you’re met with a quaint shop that boasts a variety of Italian goods. Homemade pastas, jars of Coco’s all-natural marinara sauce, created from the same recipe made by the owner’s grandmother that is both gluten and dairy free and contains no sweeteners or salt, a variety of meats and cheeses and so much more are available for purchase, allowing guests to take a piece of Italy home with them.
Wanting to thrust visitors into the full Italian experience, the restaurant also offers wine tasting events that cover four areas of the country that incorporates seven courses and several wines paired perfectly with the native dishes in the regions of Sicily, Piedmont, Puglia and Umbria. And what other restaurant gives you the opportunity to visit the country that the food derives from? That’s right, Coco’s Italian Market even offers tours to Italy every year (the 2016 trip takes you to Sicily), led by Attavola, an Italian gourmet food company that has connections to some of the best food distributors in the country ranging from chocolate factories to honey producers.
And the fact that you’re in an Italian restaurant is not just evidenced by the incredible food. Along the windowsills sit several books about Italy and Italian culture that are present all around the restaurant, along with multiple TVs showcasing a continuous loop of gorgeous photos of Italian landscapes in places like Florence, Rome, Milan, Verona and more, making one feel as though they’re sitting amidst the Italian countryside.
From the fresh ingredients to the traditional dishes, Coco’s will make you feel as though you’re dining in one of the world’s most beautiful countries. Coco’s allows me to relive the incredible Italian sights that I was lucky enough to experience in person and makes me feel as though my Italian home is not that far away.