There’s nothing quite like summer in the city, and as the heat keeps turning up, you’re likely looking for some ways to cool down. If you’re searching for bright flavors and light bites to get you through the warm days ahead, look no further. We rounded up six of the most refreshing dishes, drinks and desserts worth sipping and snacking on this summer.
Tenn 75 at etc.
Regular patrons know to check the menu at etc. to find the latest creative take on a classic cocktail from Bret Lyons, its general manager. This time, he is giving us the Tenn 75, a perfect summer sipper with the same basic structure as the time-honored French 75 but without its kick. The drink's enchanting pink hue comes from the French rosé sparkling wine and the Bloom jasmine and rose gin, a modern version of pink gin. Blended with house-made rosewater syrup, the result is neither fruity nor sweet but is absolutely refreshing. One sip of this stylish, elegant cocktail and you’ll know you have a new summer favorite. HOLLY HOFFMAN
The Opportunist at The Optimist
If you’re fishing for a refreshing meal from the sea, consider stopping by The Optimist, restaurateur Ford Fry’s newest venture located in The Griff in Germantown, and ordering The Opportunist. The iced platter using sustainably sourced ingredients comes with six oysters; six shrimp; ceviche with chimichurri and serrano chiles; smoked fish dip with mustard seed and crème fraîche; and tuna poke with ponzu sauce and furikake. If you’re sharing, you can bump it up to 12 oysters and shrimp and a half lobster tail with The Refuge or 18 oysters and shrimp and a whole lobster tail with The Starving Man. You can also cool off with one of the shaved-ice cocktails or frozen drinks from Jacqueline, The Optimist’s beach-themed patio bar. JONATHAN SIMS
Breakfast Tea Shaved Ice at Locust
Shaved ice might conjure images of saccharine sweet, unnaturally colored, frosty treats in a paper cone, but Locust has taken the dessert and turned it into an art form. This picture-perfect confection brings together an interesting blend of flavors that are both unexpected and perfectly balanced. The mix of breakfast tea mousse, shortbread sauce, vanilla cream and orange blossom marmalade, all atop a bed of smooth shaved ice, is like a treasure hunt, with each bite bursting with unique and surprising flavors. One of the most extraordinary and imaginative treats in town, it satisfies even the most rabid sweet tooth, without being overly indulgent, and is reason enough to pay a visit to the 12South dumpling shop. DANIEL MEIGS
The Green Bowl at AVO
For an uber-healthy and filling meal packed with greens, grains and vegetables, head over to AVO and order their Green Bowl. It’s made with kale tossed with lemon tahini, chilled quinoa, charred broccoli and edamame, cucumber, avocado and carrot ginger sauce. Plus, it’s gluten-free, as are many items on the menu — yes, that includes some of their cocktails and beers. AVO features almost exclusively plant-based, kosher-certified, organic and locally sourced bites, so virtually anything you order — even the lentil-walnut burgers, two of which use the surprisingly delicious coconut American cheese — is a refreshing choice for the hot and humid Nashville summer days. JONATHAN SIMS
Wimbledon Spritz at HEARTS
Everyone has their own take on a Pimm’s Cup, but regardless of how you prefer it, the classic British concoction tastes like summer in a glass. East Nashville cafe HEARTS starts their version, called Wimbledon Spritz, with their own house-made Pimm’s and citrus. The chief difference between the British and Americanized versions of the cocktail comes from the mixer, with options ranging from lemonade to ginger ale to Sprite. HEARTS forgoes all of these options and relies on cava to add a refreshing zing to the drink before topping the glass with fresh strawberries and thick slices of cucumber. It’s the perfect drink for a hot summer’s day — light, crisp and oh so easy to sip. NANCY FLOYD
Spinach and Berries Salad With Chicken Salad Scoop at The Café at Thistle Farms
If the heat’s got you beat and you’re searching for a meal that is refreshing, healthy and beautiful, head immediately to The Café at Thistle Farms and order the spinach and berries salad with chicken salad scoop. The tantalizing mix of tender spinach, fresh summer berries, tangy feta cheese, cinnamon-toasted walnuts, and cool and creamy avocado is topped with a hearty scoop of the best chicken salad in town, which is hand-pulled by the ladies at the cafe and prepared from a secret recipe. The only thing left to do is drizzle on their lemon thyme vinaigrette and dive into the ultimate summer salad. HOLLY HOFFMAN