#FoodieFriday: Yolan, Exquisite Italian Food in the Heart of Nashville

by Kim Hudson on June 18, 2021 in Food, Travel,
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If you’re looking for an upscale Italian restaurant in the heart of Nashville, look no further than Yolan, located in the open-concept lobby of The Joseph Nashville, a Marriott Luxury Collection Hotel. 

Yolan serves a wide range of Italian homemade dishes, including pasta, meat and seafood, bringing authentic, fine Italian dining to Nashville. They source produce and ingredients locally from Tennessee or from Italy. On a recent trip, we got to experience this Nashville gem, sure to delight any Texan visitor.

Yolan is overseen by Tony Mantuano, a James Beard Award recipient and Michelin-starred chef, and his wife Cathy Mantuano, a wine and hospitality expert.
Photo courtesy Haas and Haas Photography

A Warm Welcome

Yolan is an open-concept restaurant located next to the hotel’s lobby, adjacent to The Joseph bar and Yolan’s Coffee Bar. The restaurant provides a luxurious ambiance while being warm and inviting. Unique and eye-catching art is featured throughout the restaurant. Guests pass a glass-encased, temperature-controlled wine cellar stocked with over 600 unique and hand-selected wines from Italy and around the world. The kitchen is a striking backdrop through glass shelves displaying huge rounds of Parmigiano-Reggiano. 

A featured dish at Yolan – Bucatini all’Amatriciana with tomato, Pecorino Romano, guanciale, and basil. This delight can be enjoyed as a full dish or a small plate from the tasting menu. Photo courtesy Haas and Haas Photography

Mantuano Magic

The elegant restaurant is overseen by Chef Tony Mantuano, a James Beard Award recipient and Michelin-starred chef, and his wife Cathy Mantuano, a wine and hospitality expert. Mantuano has earned 12 James Beard Foundation awards, including Best Chef Midwest in 2005. 

In 1984, the renowned chef and his wife opened Spiaggia in Chicago, where they introduced Americans to the art of good Italian dining. They brought a lifetime of passion, curiosity, and devotion to their art when they arrived in Nashville. The Mantuanos summarize their perspective on life with a single concept: balance. Tony and Cathy frequently stop by to visit with their guests as they dine. 

Cotoletta alla Milanese, a signature dish of Milan, is a breaded veal chop with lemon served with a side of local Nashville greens.
Photo courtesy The Joseph Nashville

A Delectable Menu

At Yolan, you’ll enjoy the tastes of Italy in every dish and glass, with the menu evolving throughout the year to reflect seasonality and ingredient availability. The tasting menu includes a little bit of everything and is priced per person at $110 for five courses and $140 for eight plates. The tastings are also available with wine pairings. You will not be disappointed.

Carota — a rainbow blend of carrots — sits atop a bed of ricotta. Photo courtesy The Joseph Nashville

A Taste of the Tasting

With the menu changing throughout the year, there’s no guarantee you’ll get to enjoy the same deliciousness as we did on our visit. What is guaranteed is that you’ll delight in an equally enticing dining experience. To whet your appetite, let us tell you about some of our tasting dishes, including one which featured scallops, horseradish, chives, pear, and smoked trout roe. Another was prepared with clams, mussels, and ‘nduja, a spicy, spreadable pork sausage from southern Italy. 

Tortellini in Brodo (Italian for bone broth), a plate of market fish served with potatoes, lardo, and lemon was another delectable sampler. 

Cioccolato Bianco, a white chocolate band encircling scoops of huckleberry, chai streusel, Ceylon zabaglione, and other little bites, is one of the delightful desserts at Yolan. Photo Credit The Joseph Nashville

Divine — Desserts and Wine

Desserts top off an incredible meal. Guests might have Caprifoglio, a delicious treat of honeysuckle, sugared pistachio, spring melon, and fregolotta (crumb cookie). Dessert wines are the perfect complement to this final tour de force. 

Specialties & Events

Yolan hosts multiple events that should not be missed, including their weekly cheese-cutting ceremony. Diners are invited to watch and enjoy an aperitivo (appetizer) as the Mantuanos cut an aged, 80-pound wheel of Parmigiano-Reggiano. They may also learn about Yolan’s cheese cave, a specific location designated for the optimal storage of exceptional cheeses. 

Every day, the hotel hosts “The Art of Tea,” in which guests may enjoy a custom-curated tea selection from the tea cart, such as Sparkling Tea or Tipsy Tea, while learning about the origins of tea and the hotel’s surrounding artwork.

Guests can join Chef Tony Mantuano for an incredible hands-on lesson in Strozzapreti pasta from scratch and wine-pairing with Cathy Mantuano.
Photo courtesy Haas and Haas Photography

Other Dining Options at The Joseph Nashville

Yolan is the star of the show when it comes to fine-dining at Yolan, but Denim, the rooftop bar, and Four Walls, an intimate cocktail lounge, are not to be forgotten. Adjacent to Yolan, is The Joseph Bar and Yolan’s Coffee Bar. A specialty served at the Coffee Bar is Shakerato, but it’s not your typical Italian iced coffee drink. Instead, Mantuano mixes it up by adding a specialty ingredient – lemon. It’s an unexpected but delicious flavor that can be enjoyed as a morning cup of coffee or an afternoon pick me up. 

Authentic Experience

Yolan is an authentic Italian dining experience done right, a love letter to Italy which is befitting the restaurant’s namesake. Yolan was named after Yolanda, the grandmother of The Joseph Nashville’s developer, Joel Pizzuti. Guests and residents in Nashville are fortunate to have such a highly regarded restaurant at The Joseph Nashville that will undoubtedly provide an unforgettable dining experience.

Yolan: 403 4th Avenue South, Nashville, TN 37201

Photo courtesy The Joseph Nashville

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Cover photo courtesy The Joseph Nashville

Kim Hudson is the graphic designer for Texas Lifestyle Magazine. She is a world traveler and is always up for a new adventure. During her free time, you can almost always find Hudson outside running, paddleboarding or skiing. Instagram @kimmmmyhudson; Facebook Kim Hudson