The Nashville Scene named 30 of its favorite local, independent restaurants for meals under 10 bucks:
"LA HACIENDA TAQUERIA 2617 Nolensville Road. 256-5066
LA HACIENDA MARISQUERIA Y TAQUERIA 3744 Nolensville Road. 781-2902
For families with kids and anyone who enjoys cilantro, lime or margaritas, the crowded, nacho-cheese-Dorito-colored Hacienda with its adjoining market is the mothership of cheap eating, especially on the weekends, when, more often than not, Hispanic-language cable channel Univision is broadcasting a soccer game or a ridiculous Gong Show-style game show while a diverse crowd noshes on house-made chips and salsa and sucks up fish-bowl margaritas large enough for a whole table. We’ve become addicted to the tostada ceviche, raw fish marinated in lime juice and served on a light, crispy tostada, and the posole, traditional Mexican pork soup made with hominy. (La Hacienda serves red, not green, posole.) A new location, La Hacienda Marisqueria y Taqueria, specializes in seafood. Careful, the chips come in bottomless baskets and are addictive."
"LAS AMERICAS 4715 Nolensville Pike. 315-8888
LA PLACITA 314 McCall St. 832-6811
Nashville is teeming with inexpensive, and good, Mexican restaurants, but far fewer places serve food from Central American countries El Salvador and Honduras. Of these two highlights, Las Americas is the standby, a place where you can fill up just by ordering two pupusas: flat cornmeal-dough patties stuffed with pork, beans and/or cheese. They come with curtido, a tangy cabbage-carrot slaw that your server will happily replenish when it runs out. Total cost, before tip: 4 bucks. A little closer to town, La Placita sits just off Nolensville Road, next to one of the city’s longtime ethnic standbys, Siam Café. The menu offers a broader range of platos Centroamericos, which incorporate grilled meats, earthy vegetables like yuca, and milder flavors than Mexican food. The enchiladas are markedly different from what you’re probably used to: tortillas wrapped around lightly seasoned ground beef, then topped with stewed cabbage and tomatoes and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese. Word of advice: don’t order the pork rinds unless you really love the melt-in-your-mouth sensation that comes from eating pure fat."
"BACK TO CUBA
When Castro took control of Cuba decades ago, Florida became the home away from home for émigrés who fled his regime. Alex Martinez traveled a little farther north to Nashville, where he and his Central American-born wife Rebecca have owned and operated Mama Mia’s Italian restaurant for more than 10 years. With the opening of Back to Cuba, Martinez pays homage to his native island. Cuban food isn’t spicy, but it is highly seasoned, as diners will discover in specialties like lechón (marinated and roasted pork), ropa vieja (beef stew cooked until the meat is in shreds) and pargo frito (fried red snapper, served whole with the head), all of them served with black beans and rice, and two different types of fried plantain, one sweet, one savory. The Cuban sandwich is nearly as good as any found in Little Havana—the classic construction of ham, pork, cheese, pickles and mustard is layered on a length of French bread, swiped with butter, and cooked on a sandwich press until the cheese and meats ooze together in gooey goodness."