Welcome to Memphis, the culinary capital of the South!
This city offers a remarkable array of dining establishments, showcasing the best of Southern cuisine.
From comforting home-style dishes to innovative nouvelle cuisine served alongside vibrant jazz music, Memphis boasts a diverse and lively food scene.
Embark on a culinary journey through the soulful city, exploring its top-notch eateries.
The city's gastronomic charm extends beyond its famous BBQ; an array of restaurants in the Bluff City are poised to tantalize every palate.
Presented here are the 20 best restaurants in Memphis, Tennessee:
Chef Cole's Kitchen
On any given weekend, you can find me at Chef Cole's Kitchen, one of downtown Memphis's best-kept secrets.
Tucked away from the usual bustle, this hidden gem is where I indulge my taste buds in a fusion of flavors prepared meticulously by Chef Cole himself.
Every bite is a testament to Chef Cole's passion and talent, remarkably thought out and skillfully executed.
When I first tried the Catfish Dinner, it was nothing short of a revelation.
It was by far the best catfish I've ever had.
A bite into the succulent fish, crusted to perfection, took me on a gastronomic adventure that I've embarked on every weekend since.
But what makes Chef Cole's Kitchen stand out is not just the food, it's the exceptional service.
They raise the bar when it comes to customer service, making every visit a delightful experience.
You're not just a customer at Chef Cole's Kitchen, you're a valued guest.
Cocozza American Italian
When you're in the city and craving a delicious, hearty dinner, nothing comes close to the amazing flavors at Cocozza American Italian.
Trust me, I've tried the best in the city, but there's something about this place that hits the spot every single time.
Just last week, I had the pleasure of dining there and was reminded why I keep returning.
The moment I walked in, I was greeted by their friendly staff who are always ready to offer their food and drink suggestions.
So, naturally, I started my meal with their meatballs.
The tenderness and uniform texture paired with a delightful marinara sauce had me hooked from the first bite.
Next, I tried the vodka rigatoni, and let me tell you, it was a whole other level of deliciousness.
It was light, buttery, and had a warm spice that tantalized my taste buds.
Now, let's talk about the chicken parmesan - tender, juicy, and not overly salty with a large portion of chicken.
It was the kind of dish that you want to savor each bite.
And then, the perfect sweet ending to my hearty meal, lemon cheesecake.
Light and fluffy, without an overpowering lemon flavor, it was just what my palate needed.
To wash it all down, I had their rich and bold cappuccino, served with a sugar cube to balance out the flavor profile.
Fabulous Flavors & Friends Diner Restaurant
There is something about the aroma of home-style cooking that always lures me into the warm embrace of the Fabulous Flavors & Friends Diner Restaurant.
The diner, run by a vivacious couple, is a hidden gem in our city, where the food and atmosphere are as delightful as the owners themselves.
One Saturday morning, my mother and I decided to try their famed pork chop breakfast sandwich, and oh boy, the seasoning was just impeccable.
The hashbrowns, fried to a perfect golden brown had a slight crisp on the outside while being soft inside — just the way we like it.
To wash it all down, we each had a mimosa, she had a strawberry lemonade, and I tried the white peach.
Both of them were so refreshing and delicious, it was like summer in a glass!
But, what's better than the food is the passion and love that they pour into their work.
We spoke with Precious, one of the owners, who shared her inspiring journey of setting up the diner.
Her dedication was evident, not from her words alone, but also from the delicious food she served.
The burger here is a must-try and don't even get me started on the peach cobbler.
If you're looking for a place to embark on a culinary adventure without leaving the city, I urge you to check out Andalusia.
This flavorful gem in our bustling city has been my must-visit dining spot for some time now, and it never disappoints.
My love affair with Andalusia started on a cozy evening when their warm and friendly service welcomed me.
The staff are knowledgeable and always ready to guide you through the menu and Moroccan culture, which adds an authentic touch to the dining experience.
Andalusia’s food is where the restaurant truly shines. The taste and quality are consistently high, earning them well-deserved high ratings.
The Kefta Tagine, a delightful concoction of meatballs and egg, is a dish that I am continuously impressed with.
The tagine flavors are robust, and the eggs are cooked to perfection. Another firm favorite of mine is the succulent lamb.
Each bite is a testament to the wonderful complexity and richness of Moroccan cuisine.
The ambiance at Andalusia should also get a mention. It's cozy and welcoming, enhancing the overall dining experience.
The presentation of their food is exquisite, making each dish not only a feast for your taste buds but also for your eyes.
Of course, no meal here would be complete without their hot Moroccan tea with mint. The warm, soothing drink is a perfect end to a delightful meal, leaving you refreshed and satisfied.
Best Kept Secret Restaurant
Imagine stumbling upon a place that not only serves scrumptious meals but also makes you feel right at home.
That's exactly what I found with Best Kept Secret Restaurant.
My friends, if you're looking for a place that serves home-cooked meals, this is it.
Yes, there's usually a line outside and a bit of a wait, but let's face it, all good things are worth waiting for.
The moment I took my first bite, I knew that this place was something special.
I was teleported right back to my mother's kitchen, the flavors were just that reminiscent of home.
But it's not just the food that brings me back each time.
The people running the place are just wonderful.
It feels like a family, and they treat their customers as one of their own.
The customer service is always on point, and they never fail to provide a warm, welcoming atmosphere.
It's this blend of ambiance and mouth-watering meals that make Best Kept Secret Restaurant my go-to spot.
If there's a culinary gem to be discovered in Memphis, it's definitely tucked away within the heart of the city at Dory.
This isn't just your typical dining experience, let me tell you that right off the bat.
Instead, be prepared to be swept up in a journey of exceptional cuisine, meticulously crafted and sourced from local vendors.
What sets Dory apart is its intimate setting, where the kitchen, open and visible to the diners, buzzes with the relentless energy of a passionate team.
Sitting there, with chefs weaving their magic right before my eyes, I felt like a privileged spectator to an exclusive culinary show.
There's something profoundly personal about watching your meal being prepared, the artistry of it all, the finesse with which each dish comes to life.
Now, let's talk about the food.
Trust me when I say this - it was beyond amazing.
I had the six-course meal paired with a selection of wines, and it was, by far, the best culinary experience I've ever had.
Each course came with a detailed description from the incredible and knowledgeable servers, building anticipation and enhancing the overall experience.
Oh, and did I mention the surprise birthday treat from the head chef?
It was a small plate cake served on a dainty, special plate from his mother's kitchen!
A heartwarming gesture that added a sweet touch to the celebrations!
Flight Restaurant and Wine Bar
"From the heartland of Memphis comes a dining experience that takes both your palate and your senses on a journey."
Anyone who has had the pleasure of dining at Flight Restaurant and Wine Bar would agree with this statement.
It's not just a meal; it's a culinary adventure.
I remember my first visit to Flight like it was yesterday.
It was our wedding anniversary and I wanted to surprise my partner with something special.
The ambiance of the place immediately got my attention.
It was upscale yet warm, elegant yet comfortable.
I remember the lighting being a bit dim, creating an intimate and romantic atmosphere, which was perfect for our special night.
The staff was incredibly welcoming, treating us like long-time patrons even though it was our first visit.
But what really sets Flight apart is its unique concept of serving 'flights' of food and wine.
Our server explained it to us - we could order small plates of various dishes accompanied by taster-sized pours of wine.
This allowed us to explore and enjoy a variety of flavors in one meal.
From the lobster bisque to the steak and elk, every dish was a delightful surprise.
Each plate was not only delicious but beautifully presented, adding to the overall dining experience.
One detail that I particularly appreciated was how our server had our car brought around while I was paying the check, saving us from waiting for the valet.
It's this attention to detail and excellent service that makes Flight a standout.
However, I do wish they had a more extensive drink menu for the younger diners.
It's no secret that Memphis is home to some of the best Southern food in the country, and McEwen's is certainly a shining gem in our culinary crown.
Nestled in a sophisticated room replete with charming exposed brick walls, this place truly encapsulates Southern hospitality.
My love affair with McEwen's began with their hearty and upscale Southern dishes.
The vegetarian plate, a medley of fresh, local produce cooked to perfection, is a surprise delight that has a way of astonishing taste buds with a burst of flavors.
But don't get me started on the Seabass - cooked immaculately, it melts in your mouth with every bite.
Dining at McEwen's is not just about the food.
It's an experience.
Whether you're looking to soak in the lively bar atmosphere or prefer a serene, restaurant-like setting, McEwen's has a spot for you.
The ambience is only heightened by the top-notch service.
The friendly and caring staff are always ready to answer any questions and make sure the dining experience is nothing short of perfect.
And what's a feast without a grand finish?
The desserts at McEwen's are the epitome of decadence.
Indulge in their double chocolate butter cake, a heavenly delight that provides a perfect end to a memorable meal.
Erling Jensen The Restaurant
An evening at Erling Jensen The Restaurant feels like dining in a tastefully decorated home, with its contemporary dining room and a touch of familiarity that hits the sweet spot between comfort and elegance.
Every visit to Erling Jensen is a gastronomic adventure, with classic seafood and beef dishes served with a refined twist that can impress even the most seasoned palate.
One of my favorites is their Elk Chop, which boasts of a taste that's far from the typical "gamey" flavor that wild meat is known for.
It's perfect for a fun night out or an impressive business dinner.
I also highly recommend their fois gras, a melt-in-your-mouth delicacy that leaves you craving for more.
The halibut with shrimp, cooked to perfection and paired with a delicate sauce, lets the fish's flavor shine through.
Another interesting dish is the bison stuffed quail.
Personally, I would have liked it to be a bit more flavorful, perhaps by adding a bit of cumin or cinnamon to the bison.
Their lamb, however, is a clear winner with its excellent brown sauce.
For dessert, make sure to try their marvelous concoction of interlaced layers of philo pastry, raspberries, and chocolate.
It's the perfect end to a hearty meal.
They also offer a delightful scoop of lemon sorbet in the middle of the dining experience, which never fails to refresh the palate.
The restaurant, a converted home, offers different areas with varying noise levels.
Some parts are quieter and more intimate, while others are more open and bustling with the joyous chatters of other diners.
Esco Memphis Restaurant & Tapas
Every city has its hidden gems, and in Memphis, it's Esco, where the extraordinary becomes the norm.
I have been a regular at Esco Memphis Restaurant & Tapas since they opened their doors to the public, and every visit is a culinary journey worth taking.
My first encounter with Esco was during their soft opening.
I was enticed by the promise of a unique dining experience, and Esco did not disappoint.
The restaurant, the brainchild of the renowned 2chainz, has a personality of its own.
The staff is like your friendly neighbor, with a warm welcoming aura that makes you feel right at home.
Every dish at Esco is a celebration.
My personal favorite is the Salmon Croquettes - a true Southern delight!
The croquettes, paired with the handmade Chipotle Remoulade sauce, are sheer goodness on a plate.
Esco makes sure that you are not just eating, but experiencing each dish.
My partner's staple, the catfish and grits, and my beloved peach cobbler French toast, have become a part of our culinary nostalgia.
And the best part? The portions are so generous that you can savor them at home as well.
The ambiance of Esco is a reflection of the life and vibrancy of Memphis.
You are instantly captivated by the vibe the moment you step inside.
It feels like a warm embrace, inviting you to let loose and indulge.
I eagerly look forward to my next visit to Esco Memphis Restaurant & Tapas in February for my birthday, and I invite you to join me in this extraordinary culinary journey.
There's nothing quite like the sizzle and slurp of a hot bowl of ramen, and Flame Ramen in Memphis serves up some of the best in the city.
Located in the heart of the city, this eatery is the place I usually end up when I need to satiate my ramen cravings.
The Chicken Panfried Gyoza is a personal favorite – crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside.
Pairing it with Vegetable Yakisobi topped with two sunny-side-up eggs is my idea of the perfect meal.
What I love about Flame Ramen is not just the delicious food but also the warm and welcoming atmosphere.
It was one of those typical mornings in Memphis, when the thought of going anywhere other than Brother Juniper's for breakfast was out of the question.
That cozy, welcoming diner, you know, the one known for its fresh bread, creative omelets, and other breakfast specialties.
It's tucked away in a charming old city setting that just speaks home to me.
As soon as I walked in, the familiar aroma of the fresh baked bread wafted through the air.
The staff greeted me with their usual friendly smiles and promptly seated me.
My order? It had to be the Cinnamon Roll Pancakes.
They come up with these two huge pancakes, swirled with icing so moist that you forget the whole concept of syrup.
And let's not forget the dusting of cinnamon sugar on top and around the plate, a touch that makes the cakes all the more exciting.
The next time I'm there, I've promised myself to try their Chocolate Chip pancakes.
It's a toss-up really, between two breakfast titans.
I guess more mornings at Brother Juniper's are in order.
And to be honest, I don't even mind.
Aside from pancakes, I also once tried their San Diegan open face omelet, cheesy grits, and biscuits.
The grits were a bit more on the salty side than I would've preferred, but the rest of the meal was delectable.
My fellow locals swear by their potato dishes and home fries, so those are also on my to-try list.
Abyssinia Ethiopian Restaurant
Who would have thought that tucked away on Poplar Avenue, near midtown Memphis, you'd find a culinary gem serving mouthwatering Ethiopian food?
Abyssinia Ethiopian Restaurant is where I found my newfound love for Ethiopian cuisine.
The moment I walked in, I was greeted with warm hospitality that instantly made me feel at home.
It was not just the warm welcome but also the earthy, modest ambiance that piqued my curiosity.
The aroma of Ethiopian coffee brewing in the background added a unique charm to the atmosphere.
The menu offers a fantastic array of dishes, each offering a taste of traditional African fare.
The injera bread, deliciously sour and fluffy, is served complimentary with every entrée.
This spongy bread is perfect for scooping up the colorful and flavorful dishes.
The portions are generous, to say the least, ensuring you leave with a full belly and a satisfied palate.
The Vegetarian Combination with injera was a vibrant mix of peas, lentils, and cabbage, each stewed in rich, spicy sauces.
The Beef Tibs, seasoned with rosemary and traditional Ethiopian spices was an absolute delight.
Each bite was a mouthful of flavors that lingered even after the meal was over.
And let’s not forget about the drinks.
The Ethiopian Jebena coffee and spiced tea were a perfect accompaniment to the flavorsome meal.
Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen
There's something about Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen that always draws me back.
Maybe it's the cozy and welcoming atmosphere nestled in a homey setting, or perhaps it's their commitment to showcasing local ingredients in their delectable Italian cuisine.
Either way, you can bet that I'm a frequent visitor.
From the moment you step into the restaurant, you'll be greeted by friendly and knowledgeable staff.
When it comes to beverages, I'd highly recommend starting off with a Moscow Mule – their version is pure perfection.
Of course, the heart of any Italian restaurant is its pasta dishes.
I definitely recommend the Maw Maw ravioli for pasta lovers, and if you're into seafood, the grouper is a must-try.
However, do pay attention to the pricing on the menu, there might be some discrepancies. But believe me, every dish you try is worth every penny.
The chocolate sticky toffee dessert is a crowd-pleaser, but if you want to vary your sweet experience, the lemon pot de creme and tiramisu are sure bets.
If you can't decide which one to choose, take my local advice and order them all!
Porch and Parlor
You know that feeling when you walk into a place, and within seconds, you just know that this experience will be etched in your memory for all times to come?
Well, that's exactly what happened when I entered Porch and Parlor.
As I nestled into my seat, I could feel the buzz around - a mix of excited chatter and the tantalizing aroma of dishes being prepared.
It was at that moment that I knew I was about to embark on a gastronomic adventure!
The menu here is nothing short of a Picasso painting - vibrant, whimsical, and an absolute delight.
From fried green tomatoes to loaded parlor potatoes and from pork chops to decadent desserts, each dish was a unique symphony of flavors that left me stunned.
The brilliance of the chefs goes beyond just the taste.
It's in the creativity they bring to each dish, the unique twists they add, making it a truly one-of-a-kind culinary masterpiece.
During my first visit, I had the pleasure to enjoy their seasonal berry crumble with ice cream - an explosion of tangy and sweet sensations, made even more exceptional by the complimentary dessert given as it was my partner's birthday.
Even a day old, that cake was a slice of heaven.
And then came the steak – perfectly cooked, melt-in-mouth, an absolute delight.
As for the calamari, it was clearly fresh, the taste and texture were spot on.
My partner, a seafood lover, raved about the shrimp entrée, and I must agree, it was delicious.
Have you ever had a meal that felt like a journey?
A meal where every bite transports you to a different part of the world?
That's exactly what you'll experience when you visit Tsunami - a sleek eatery tucked away in the heart of Memphis.
Now, let me tell you about the time I decided to try their sautéed shrimp with mixed vegetables on their small plates menu.
Each bite was an explosion of flavors, thanks to the vivid coconut-turmeric sauce they were cooked in.
You see, Tsunami is not just about exceptional food; it's about the whole experience.
The staff are attentive, making sure every guest feels like a VIP.
On another visit, I indulged in their Thai mussels appetizer, a sea bass entrée, and wrapped it up with their lychee cobbler dessert.
Each dish was a delight to the senses - a testament to their innovative Pacific Rim cuisine that changes with the seasons.
One evening, my family and I decided to feast on their meatball appetizer and potstickers. The latter was a spicy delight encased in light, buttery dough – a dish that left us craving for more.
The black bean soup was another standout with its creamy texture, and the sea bass, well, it was cooked to perfection.
The fish tacos got rave reviews from my family, and the pasta was just divine. We ended the meal on a high note with the creme brulee and a delightful carrot cake.
One of the perks of living in Memphis is the opportunity to dine at some of the finest establishments in town, like Char Restaurant.
Let me tell you about my latest visit to this culinary gem.
Walking into Char is like stepping into a different world.
Its upscale charm is immediately evident in the elegant atmosphere that envelops you.
It's the ideal setting for a sophisticated dinner, an intimate date, or a special celebration.
The ambiance is elevated by the attentive staff, who make you feel like a VIP from the moment you arrive.
The menu is a gastronomic delight, boasting prime filets, chops, seafood, and pasta.
I ordered the Elk on my last visit and it was cooked to perfection.
The right mix of tenderness and juiciness, it paired perfectly with a side of firm yet tender asparagus.
To top off the savory experience, I indulged in a slice of their blueberry bread pudding, which was truly the cherry on top.
Aside from the incredible food, Char provides a secure environment with their own armed security in the parking lot.
It's a detail not seen at many places but goes a long way in ensuring patrons feel safe and comfortable.
Folk's Folly Prime Steak House
Imagine taking a bite into a thick, succulent, medium-rare steak, perfectly cooked and seasoned just right.
That's exactly what you'd get at Folk's Folly Prime Steak House - a place where the quality of their prime cuts is matched only by their exceptional service.
Nestled in the city's heart, this place has become my go-to for sumptuous steak dinners and special occasions.
The moment you walk in, you're enveloped by a warm and cozy ambiance, complete with refined white-linen settings and a sophisticated piano bar providing the perfect backdrop.
It's as if you've been transported to a different era.
The charm doesn't stop there.
From the moment you're greeted until your last bite, the staff ensures your experience is nothing short of remarkable.
At Folk's Folly, every bite is a celebration of flavors.
The steak, thick yet tender, is flawlessly cooked, and while it may be seasoned a tad bit on the strong side for some, the flavor is undeniably outstanding.
If steak isn't your preference, their seafood specialties are just as worthy contenders for your palate's attention.
I remember when I first made the 35-minute drive to this place, guided by rave reviews.
My experience was nothing short of fantastic.
From the warm sourdough bread served at the beginning of the meal, to the petite filet and ribeye that followed, every dish was cooked to perfection.
The portions are generous; perfect for sharing, which makes for a convivial dining experience.
As it was my birthday, I was treated to a complimentary vanilla caramel dessert, a delightful ending to a remarkable dining experience.
Imagine walking into a restaurant that instantly transports you to the swanky streets of New York City, right here in our hometown.
That's the immediate vibe you get when you step foot into Edge Alley.
On my most recent visit, I decided to indulge in their steak and eggs, paired with a crisp mimosa.
The food is moderately priced, and despite waiting for almost 50 minutes, the steak was worth the wait - perfectly seared, succulent, and flavorful.
However, if you're someone who dislikes waiting, consider trying their 'Breakfast' dish.
Judging by the perfectly fried eggs with no burnt edges, fully cooked whites, and a runny yolk, it's clear the chef knows his way around a breakfast meal.
The dish is a hearty feast with five strips of bacon, a biscuit, and some fruit, enough to satiate even the hungriest of patrons.
One unique aspect of Edge Alley is their service.
On my last visit, we were courteously waited on by three servers.
Although my friends and I found their Chicken Salad and chips to be just okay, with the salad a bit on the dry side and the chips tasting slightly burnt, the overall dining experience was enjoyable.
Earnestine & Hazel's
There's no place quite like Earnestine & Hazel’s.
You see, this isn’t just your typical low-key bar and grill.
This is where history, spirits (both the drinkable and ghostly kind), and good times intertwine. And trust me, the rumors you've heard? They're all true.
The jukebox croons out tunes from Etta James, Prince, and all the greats in between.
It's as if they knew you were coming and prepared your favorite playlist in advance.
This place is said to be haunted, and it isn't just talk.
The air here is thick with stories of yesteryears, and if you're lucky (or perhaps unlucky), you might get to experience it first-hand.
Saturday nights, see the place alive and kicking. Live music fills the air, and the burgers sizzling on the grill fill your nostrils.
People from all walks of life gather here, adding to the diverse and exciting atmosphere.
Then there's the upstairs area, a must-visit for anyone brave enough. It's here where the haunting vibe of Earnestine & Hazel’s really comes alive.
It’s a different world up there. The room seems to whisper tales of the past; some say it's haunted, and I won't lie, it sure feels that way.
You can see why Memphis is such a culinary treasure.
Whether you're a lifelong resident or a first-time visitor, this city's dining scene will surprise and delight you.
Each restaurant offers a unique experience and a taste of the local culture, making them an integral part of the vibrant Memphis community.
Looking back, I'm grateful for all the amazing meals I've had and the memories I've made in each of these places.