Best Restaurants in Memphis Combine Southern Comfort, Local Ingredients, Global Influence

Ten years ago, no one would have guessed that Memphis would be the foodie destination it is today.

As the hometown of the annual World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest - aka the 'Superbowl of Swine' - one might think that Memphis is all about barbecue - and certainly, we do adore our pulled pork sandwiches and pork ribs. But dining in Memphis has gone way beyond barbecue, thanks to a group of young chefs dedicated to the local farm movement and the more experienced chefs who mentor them.

In choosing our list of the ten best dining experiences in Memphis, we've chosen a group of restaurants that bridge cuisines and neighborhoods, and go from all-out glamorous settings to comfortable, casual surroundings. Our ten choices include some of the city's best-loved establishments, some new, reservations-required superstars, and of course - our favorite barbecue joint.

Nothing beats the Peabody Hotel's Chez Philippe for the ultimate fine dining experience; its traditional French cuisine and refined atmosphere combine for an unforgettable evening. Erling Jensen and Paulette's are longtime favorites of Memphians, as is Folk's Folly - the slightly dated but nevertheless excellent steakhouse that caters to the political and social elite of the city. Hog & Hominy is the casual and fascinating eatery from the city's two hottest chefs - and definitely worth the wait (you can play boccee to pass the time). And about that barbecue joint: everyone has an opinion about the best barbecue in town; Central Avenue is our go-to, both for the food and the laid-back atmosphere, as well as its big deck.

No matter where your palate takes you in Memphis, our choices all promise a stellar experience and a taste of the city that you just can't miss.

Porcellino's Craft Butcher

Chefs Andrew Ticer and Michael Hudman have another hit on their hands; Porcellino's is the duo's third restaurant on Brookhaven Circle, joining their upscale original, Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen and their superbly casual pizza & comfort...  Read More

This trendy, festive restaurant is just as the name implies. Set in a 1940s beauty shop, some guests dine in refurbished hairdryer chairs, and you can almost see the ghosts of the wash-and-set,set that used to come in for a curl....  Read More

A fresh -and we mean fresh -take on Asian dining, Mosa is a bistro that combines the best of Chinese, Thai and Japanese dishes - noodle and rice bowls, curries and a host of small plates - in a casual atmosphere that rocks with the business...  Read More

Recognized year after year as the best steakhouse in Memphis, Folk's Folly guarantees a flawless American feast from start to finish. With its very own butcher shop next door, the restaurant asserts that steak is clearly the specialty. However,...  Read More

This icon of the Memphis dining scene moved from its longtime house-like location in Overton Square into a smaller space withing the River Inn in Harbortown in 2011, and many were worried that Paulette's would never be the same. That...  Read More

Tucked away on an East Memphis side street, Erling Jensen is a bit difficult to find but worth the trouble. Grounded in French tradition but much broader in scope, this fine restaurant has been a favorite for years, its personable chef,...  Read More

Sweet Grass
Photo courtesy of Lisa Buser

With a seasonal menu and a focus on locally grown produce, the menu is never quite the same each evening at Sweet Grass, but one can always count on an artful combination of Low Country cooking combined with an overall Southern flair. Our...  Read More

The more casual brainchild of young chefs Andy Ticer and Michael Hudman, Hog & Hominy is a tribute to the pair's roots - both Southern and Italian. The result is a mix of vegetable dishes, pork-focused main dishes and wood-fired pizzas –...  Read More

The most opulent dining experience in all of Memphis is found at Chez Philippe, located in the lobby of the historic Peabody Hotel. Fortunately for diners, the cuisine matches the lush and elegant surroundings. Traditional French fare is the...  Read More

Restaurant Iris
Photo courtesy of Restaurant Iris

Chef Kelly English is always in the house - as in, the darling house in Midtown that serves as the backdrop for Iris. The homey feel of the individual dining rooms is supplemented by great artwork and a low-key ambiance; you'll be comfortable...  Read More


Meet Sally Walker Davies

Sally Walker Davies is enchanted by Memphis' music, history, and characters. From the artsy South Main Historic District to the grittiness of her favorite live music clubs to the sophisticated...  More About Sally

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