For an old-school vibe where you’re likely to see men in jackets and bow ties, head to the Capitol Grille at the Hermitage Hotel. Opened in 1910, the refined basement dining room was once a men’s club and is the oldest-running restaurant in the state. Charming touches from that era include a little secret door off the Oak Bar—used to pass women cocktails so they could imbibe out on the terrace—and the lime-green and black-leaded glass tiles in the men’s room that led it to once be named America’s best bathroom.
Modern times have brought sustainable sensibilities; now they have their own cattle farm, veggie heirloom garden, and crisp private-label chardonnay. The sweet-onion bisque topped with a brie grilled cheese sandwich is a signature dish along with the Double H chopped salad. But you can’t leave without an order of the deviled eggs and fried green tomatoes. The tomatoes are soaked in a pickle brine concoction and left to rest for 24 hours before they’re lightly breaded and topped with homemade pimento cheese and zingy pepper jelly. The dish manages to encompass the essential elements of the Southern staple without being too heavy.