Nearly Native Eats: Moto Cucina + Enoteca

Pasta and meatballs. Parmesan and marinara. The Olive Garden. Is this what the typical view of Italian American style food has come to? Come now, it can’t all be “bottomless salad and breadsticks”. And it’s not just your quick Tuesday spaghetti night at home either. Of course you can microwave that prepackaged Lean Cuisine frozen lasagna. Sounds appetizing, doesn’t it? In a Middle Tennessee land dominated by biscuits and hot chicken, how could this kind of “Italian” food make the cut? Forget about southern cooking, step away from the microwave, do NOT drive to the chain restaurant. The answer to your Italian food fantasies has landed in Nashville, and it’s name is Moto Cucina + Enoteca.IMG_8825

As part of the impressive legion of MStreet restaurants, Moto stands as the chic and trendy Italian heavyweight, situated conveniently on McGavock Street in The Gulch. It’s a restaurant that could be dropped on any corner in Manhattan or Chicago, with an atmosphere that exudes cool sophistication and patrons dressed for everything from a date night to a business meeting. The decor is clean and modern and the layout is strategically configured to allow just enough intimacy and elbow room between tables. And go ahead and test the wait staff, they know what they’re talking about!

So it’s clear that Moto is not a dingy hole-in-the-wall OR a Fazoli’s (Italian fast food need not apply here). The restaurant and wine bar mixes sophistication with classic Italian tradition. The menu showcases dishes you’d expect: calamari, prosciutto, gnocchi, and fettuccine. However the meatballs ain’t frozen and the lasagna is preceded by the word “blueberry”. With spices and flavors reminiscent of your grandmother’s cooking combined with contemporary ingredients, the dishes that Moto creates are unexpected. Not just a beef meatball, but a wagyu beef meatball with buffalo mozzarella. Not just ravioli with ricotta, but ravioli with butternut squash. The wine selection is vast and the cocktails are strong.

Why not add another MStreet staple to your roster of restaurants to impress your date, friends, or coworker? You may think that you can whip up your own spaghetti and marinara at home or perhaps that Lean Cuisine will make the cut. But why get that canned sauce on your t-shirt or suffer through your over boiled pasta when you can get a masterfully prepared experience at Moto? Believe us when we say you won’t be disappointed. Unless bottomless salad and breadsticks are your thing… (no judgement here!)

Black Spaghetti (Left), Cobia (Right)

P.S. Make reservations if you want a table. They’re not super keen on walk-ins

Check out their website on the Eat Like a Native page!


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