The largest city in Mississippi, Jackson is known as the ‘City with Soul’, having gifted a plethora of blues, gospel and jazz musicians to the world. The culinary scene is also exciting. We take a look at 10 of the best restaurants here.
Opened in 1985, Hal & Mal’s is a quirky venue that captures the essence of an old-school party scene with modern influences. The venue is composed of different parts; the Big Room hosts large parties and concerts, while the Red Room is perfect for intimate gigs with a stage, bar and kitchen. The Courtyard exudes New Orleans French Quarter charm. Meanwhile, the Dining Room serves food day and night in rustic surroundings. The restaurant serves a delicious selection of cuisine from the region, with infusions of Mexican and New Orleans flavors. Hal & Mal’s is a great place to enjoy honky tonk Mississippi-style, embracing local music, art and culture.
Chimneyville Smokehouse, Jackson | Image courtesy of Bravo!
For more than 25 years, the Chimneyville Barbecue Smokehouse has provided mouthwatering barbecue cuisine to Jackson locals and visitors. A family-run business, the restaurant has wonderfully evolved from small outdoor venue to a refurbished former train station. This old depot is located close to the Mississippi State Fairgrounds. It has gained a positive reputation for its fine cuisine, including night-smoked salivating meats, carefully cooked in traditional wood smokers. The restaurant also uses the freshest of vegetables for dishes that change with the menu as seasons glide in and out during the year. Chimneyville has won several awards and competitions for fine barbecued food. It is proud of its specialty dish, which is Mississippi pond-nurtured fresh fried catfish.
BRAVO! Italian Restaurant & Bar Jackson | Image courtesy of Bravo!
One of Mississippi’s finest Italian restaurants, BRAVO! has been providing high-quality cuisine for nearly 20 years. The emphasis on innovative cuisine created from traditional Italian techniques keeps the menu fresh and exciting. It also retains a certain familiarity than has come to be expected from eating out at an Italian restaurant. Executive chef Dan Blumenthal and his team have developed ravishing recipes for the menu, with each selection bursting with flavor. The multi-tonal pecan-crusted fried brie cheese, Southwestern fried oysters, and the double-cut pork chop Zatarainaise are among the signature options. Each fresh dish is served with zesty sources and seasonings. While dining, don’t forget to investigate the varied wine list for which BRAVO! has won numerous awards since 1997.
This restaurant is housed within a charming 1908 colonial revival mansion in the Belhave district. As one of the few period homes still standing from that era, the Fairview Inn hotel offers visitors a glimpse into some luxury from Jackson’s rich past. The building has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is ideally located for visitors to the city, in the vicinity of the city’s theater and museum district. The Inn’s restaurant, 1908 Provisions, offers Californian-inspired cuisine, deeply seated in Southern-style cooking. This is courtesy of executive chef Gary Hawkins and his team. Tongue-tingling dishes include the coconut-tinted amberjack, vibrantly colored roasted heirloom beets and nutty yazoo catfish. There’s also the quinoa and lemon-based heirloom cherry tomato ragout, with spring vegetables. Follow with drinks in the luscious Library Lounge bar.
Executive chef David Ferris has created a delicious selection of dishes at Babalu that burst with flavor in a colorful, bold display. Babalu focuses on tacos and tapas served with both Spanish and Southern influences. Alongside the stunning spicy cuisine, the bar offers a tempting selection of drinks including luscious long drinks and tingly tequilas, among other moreish cocktails. The restaurant itself has won numerous awards and accolades. It was voted as having the Best Appetizer 2013 by Mississippi Magazine. Babalu is housed within the hip, historic Fondren district of Jackson, which makes the walk to the venue an eye-opening, cultural experience.
This healthy-living cafe provides some of the finest vegetarian food in Jackson. High Noon Café produces delicious vegetarian, vegan and organic food. It is crafted by chef Troy Woodson, who has a penchant for soup perfection. Troy prepares all foods without meats or harmful trans-fats, hydrogenated oils, MSG or genetically modified produce. The menu offers an exciting variety of veggie treats, with heart-warming soups, fresh salads and flavorsome wraps and burritos being the order of the day. Diners can also get a hands-on eating experience at High Noon Café by choosing a selection of tasty, fresh items to build up their own sandwich or quesadilla. The cafe is part of the Rainbow Co-Op group, which provides natural and organic products, as well as health awareness services to the local community.
The finest Caribbean cuisine in the city is the winning formula of husband-and-wife duo Richard and Chandra Higgins. Chandra is from Jackson, and Richard is from Jamaica, so the cuisine is an eclectic mishmash of flavors. Visitors can expect Taste of the Island to offer food that’s richly infused with flavorsome Caribbean tones. Jamaican favorites such as jerk chicken, callaloo, fried plantain and oxtails are on the menu. Notable fresh recipes are also brought to the fore, including juicy jerk ribs and inspired curried goat.
This multicultural venue offers diners an exciting culinary journey across the Mediterranean, with inspired cuisine borrowed from across the southern European strip, and beyond. The local ingredients are carefully combined and slowly cooked over The Manship’s traditional wood fire to bring out true Mediterranean flavors. Spanish, Italian, Greek, and Lebanese cuisine populate the menu. Rich wood-grilled hanger steak, bacon-wrapped gulf shrimp and duck leg confit among some of the finest dishes to be prepared using historical cooking techniques. Visitors can also enjoy spit-fire roasted chicken variations, smoked Speck prosciutto, aged smoked gouda and Jerusalem artichokes, among other striking dishes.
This delightful restaurant offers creative dishes, great drinks and a fantastic atmosphere. Owners Mary and Patrick Kelly have developed Julep into one of the best hang-out places in the city. The popular restaurant has its finger on the pulse for the latest culinary trends and features a variety of contemporary meals on its menu, with exciting dishes such as pecan-encrusted chicken, creamy butterbean hummus and tasty tuna salad. It’s worth trying out both meat and vegetarian options as the food on offer here is equally delicious, whatever the style. The restaurant has been praised by media outlets including America Today and Food & Wine Magazine.
This is a restaurant with a fascinating backstory. Founded as a pharmacy in 1946 by Dr Alvin Brent, the discovery of sweet syrups and water developed into the humble milkshake. A tasty drink revolution was born. The pharmacy gradually evolved into a sensational burger bar that succeeded as a winning formula into the present. Today’s menu contains exciting contemporary and vintage choices, including the wildly scrumptious egg and olive sandwich. Brent’s Drugs diners can follow this culinary delight with a trip into the former pharmaceutical storeroom. Here, a refreshing selection of cocktails can be sampled. This special speakeasy is known as The Apothecary and it’s a hidden treat not to be missed.