Prima: A New Nashville Favorite (and a giveaway!)



The first time I walked into Prima, I was immediately struck by the stunning light installations. Truly breathtaking.

I knew instantly they were the work of Bruce Munro. Did any of you see his exhibit at Cheekwood a couple of years ago? Beautiful.

Located on the ground floor of the Terrazzo on 12th Avenue South in the Gulch, the sleek dining space has extremely high ceilings, giving it the potential to feel cavernous, but the gorgeous LED sculptures warm the space and certainly made me fall in love. Okay, so maybe that’s not all that I’ve fallen in love with. After three visits, in which I’ve sampled much of the menu, the cuisine is really what sealed the deal and secured Prima a spot on my favorites list.



Prima Octopus
corona beans, olives, orange zest

Oh, but wait. I should also mention the service. This is definitely a fancy place, so one would probably expect the service to be great — and it is. What tickles me is that the servers are attentive without being over-the-top. I have to admit that I’m not always a big fan of fancy-schmancy places, and it’s usually because the servers are dry and even a bit snooty on occasion. Not like that here…at least from what I’ve experienced. The staff I’ve encountered have had great personalities and are knowledgeable without being pretentious.

They also score high points for offering a choice of white or black napkin. It’s the small things!



Prima Lobster semolina gnocchetti with cashew lemon cream sauce


Now back to the most important topic– the food! Described as a Contemporary American restaurant, the menu really has something for everyone. I’ve dined at Prima with vegetarians, pescetarians, meat-loving carnivores, picky eaters and adventurous eaters, and every single one of them has left there happy. Every one.

The kitchen is led by executive chef Salvador Avila, who, in the past, has spent time at 360 Bistro, Burger Up and City House. I have to admit, I didn’t know of the chef before he started at Prima, but man, oh man, I’m impressed. He is definitely one to watch in this town.

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Prima’s endive salad, house made chorizo and salmon

Most menu offerings at Prima are meant to be shared, which (as you may know) is my favorite way to eat. The flavors in many of Chef Avila’s dishes are inspired by his Latin American heritage, adding a little spice and heat when you least expect it. Again, just one more reason that I’m enamored with this place.

Of everything I’ve eaten at Prima so far, the lobster gnocchetti with cashew lemon cream sauce is probably the one I’m most obsessed with. It is so incredibly delicious, and the textures so unique, that there is just no way that I could go there and not order it.



Prima Arugula Salad – turnips, grana, herb vinaigrette

Other standouts include the duck breast; the foie gras home fries with garlic mayo; oyster mushrooms in a beef fat vinaigrette; the octopus; the endive salad; and the charred cabbage with field peas, garlic bread crumbs and pork fat/mustard dressing.

I know, that’s a lot of items I just listed off, but honest to goodness, there is just SO much on the menu that I’ve been impressed by!



Prima’s BBQ Duck Breast

Somehow I’ve managed to leave room for dessert on a couple of visits too, and would recommend you do the same. If you like coffee and chocolate, order the affogato and you’ll enjoy the unexpected surprise you get when you cut into it. Trust me.
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Desserts at Prima

Last but certainly not least, the bar offerings. They’ve got an extensive wine list (and a 3,000 bottle wine cave), so if you’re into wine, they’ve definitely got you covered. For those of you that prefer a good cocktail (me!), you’re in luck too, because the cocktails at Prima are excellent!

While Prima is certainly at the top of my list of places to go when celebrating a special occasion, I also suggest that you not overlook it for a simpler meal, or just a place to relax and grab a drink.

Drop by for an after-work drink and spend a little time at the bar. Heck, just grab a bite to eat right there. Sometimes we don’t feel like a multi-course meal that takes two hours to get through. Believe me, I get it. Sitting at the bar, you’re still a part of the beautiful space, you’re getting great service, but you can order something as simple as a burger. Well, I probably shouldn’t describe their burger as simple. Weighing in at a half pound, and topped with mushrooms and Swiss cheese on a house made onion bun and finished with foie gras butter, it sounds a bit decadent. But seriously, swoon. I need it.



The bar at Prima
image courtesy of Prima’s Facebook page


700 12th Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203
(615) 873-4232

Sun – Thurs: 5p – 10p
bar open until 11p

Fri – Sat: 5p – 11p
bar open until 12a


Contest Closed

The Winner is….

#92 Cash

Do my words and photos have you itching to go check out Prima now? I hope so. I’m even going to help one of you experience it without putting a very big dent in your pocketbook!

The fine folks at Prima have given me a $100 gift card to give away to one lucky reader!

To enter, all you have to do is this:



1. Leave a comment telling me what dish at Prima you’re most excited to try. You can take a peek at their menu if you want a few more ideas than what I’ve provided already. Or if you’ve already been, share your favorites!

For up to 2 additional entries, you can do either or both of the following. Note: You must leave a separate comment for each optional entry.

2. Follow me on Twitter (@betheats) and tweet “I really want to eat @PrimaNashville and @betheats has a $100 gift certificate to give away!”, then leave a comment telling me you’ve done so.

3. Like Prima on Facebook and come back and tell me you did so (or just tell me you already have if that’s the case!)


Contest ends on Sunday, February 8th at noon Central. Once the winner is chosen, I’ll make contact via email and post the name here on the blog. If they don’t respond within 48 hours, I’ll be forced to choose another, so be sure to check your email!