When I moved to Nashville, I had a list of restaurants about a mile long that I was dying to try. However, within weeks my debit card was begging for reprieve from the constant swiping it had been enduring. Although I had enjoyed my time eating like a Queen, I was paying the price, literally. The food in Nashville is incredible, but it can also be expensive, which is not ideal for college students.
It took a few weeks, but eventually I learned that you don't have to avoid eating at nice places because they are expensive. Many restaurants offer daily deals that can save you a lot of money.
Sushi is often considered way out of the realm of a college student's budget, but Monday night deals at Virago say otherwise. "Maki Saki Monday" boasts half price sushi as well as 2-for-1 cocktails and sake. The Monday menu features some Virago classics, such as the Tekka Double Crunch topped with Ahi tuna, and the MSM Special with futomaki bbq eel. These rolls are the perfect cure for even the worst case of the Mondays.
When you're in the mood for a slice (or two), head on down to MAFIAoZA'S for "Customer Appreciation" 2-for-1 Tuesdays. Build your own pie, or choose from one of the restaurant specials such as The Santa Margherita with homemade mozzarella and fresh basil, or The Last Request with black olives, salami, portobello mushrooms, and much more. After you're sufficiently stuffed, walk around 12 South for a taste of urban Nashville.
Calling all the ladies! Wednesday is Girls Nite Out at Cabana with $4 Martinis and Wine, and $6 Appetizers. This hip spot in Hillsboro Village is within walking distance of Vanderbilt, but once you settle into one of the classic "cabanas" you feel miles away from all of your schoolwork and stress. The appetizer menu is perfect for sharing with all your ladies and includes scrumptious items such as the Tennessee "Sliders," Mini Brie Grilled Cheeses, and Spicy Grilled Fish Tacos.
Thursday: Nama Sushi Bar
Nama is a staple for all Vanderbilt students. Not only is it on the Commodore Card, but it also hosts half-price sushi deals on Mondays and Thursdays. My personal favorite is the Tempura roll, which is stuffed with snow crab, smoked salmon, cream cheese and avocado, topped with fantasy sauce and eel sauce. Once you've finished, just swipe your Commodore Card and be on your way.
Friday: Le Sel
Friday is finally here, and it's time for some oysters. Le Sel is a French brasserie located in Midtown that offers happy hour on Fridays from 3-6pm. Slurp down some oysters for only a dollar fifty, or order up "Le Burger" for a heartier meal. Either way, this whimsical restaurant is the perfect place to decompress after a long week. Enjoy the duck wings while admiring the sea creature art that provides Le Sel with its lighthearted ambience.
Saturday: Eastland Cafe
Saturdays are perfect for exploring the hip and historic neighborhood of East Nashville. After a long day of walking and shopping, step into Eastland Cafe for their generous and affordable happy hour deals. Order a few of the dishes to share, such as the Coddled Egg and the Fried Pickle Chips. For a special treat, order the Pizza of the Day, and enjoy one of the Cafe's signature stone baked pizzas—you will not be disappointed.
Sunday: City Fire
Brunch is a sacred Sunday meal, and no brunch is complete without a killer mimosa. Head over to City Fire for a brunch menu featuring savory items such as Bacon Apple Cinnamon Rolls and Crab Cake Oscar. Although you may be splurging a little bit on food, make it worth your while and utilize the Bottomless Mimosas. After this meal, you will feel so full you'll forget that school starts again tomorrow.
Just because you're in college, doesn't mean you have to give up good food. Finding food deals is just like shopping the sales, it takes time and patience, but you will be rewarded. In this case, your reward is a meal that doesn't look like it just came off the dining hall buffet, which is good enough for me.