The 10 Best Local Restaurants In Memphis, Tennessee
One of the cultural hubs of the South, Memphis is also one of the centers of Tennessee gastronomy. You’ll find everything from traditional spots offering up Southern favorites to quirky restaurants offering a unique night out. Here are 10 of the best restaurants in Memphis, updated from our previous guide to the restaurant scene.
Courtesy Majestic Grille
Restaurant, French, $$$
Iris, Memphis | Courtesy of Restaurant Iris
Located close to the historic Overton Square in midtown Memphis, Restaurant Iris is amongst the most highly regarded restaurants in the Southern states. Signature dishes to look out for include slow-roasted pork belly, lobster ‘knuckle sandwich’ and veal schnitzel.
The Majestic Grille was once the Majestic No. 1 silent picture house, the leading movie theatre in Memphis in the early days of Hollywood and the motion picture industry. The restaurant has retained the Beaux Arts décor of the early days to provide an atmosphere of real glamour and old-style chic. The Grille is also renowned among locals for the excellent brunch on offer.
Sweet Grass is a bistro offering top quality Southern cuisine sourced from local artisanal producers. At Sweet Grass it is really all about the quality of the ingredients and the warmth of the hospitality. The cuisine focuses on Low Country style dishes from along the Gulf coast; so look out for plenty of shrimp dishes, Gulf oysters, crab cakes, Frogmore stew, and steak frites inspired by the French population of Louisiana and the southern states.
Muddy’s Bake Shop is a delight for the sweet-toothed. All manner of wondrous cakes and cookies are rustled up by the team of bakers using the best, freshest ingredients and organic free-range eggs. Now a firm favourite of locals in Memphis, Muddy’s Bake Shop offers up an extensive range of pies and puddings, cookies and toffee bars, cupcakes, and muffins and brownies. Try the Capote cupcakes named after the great writer from the South, Truman Capote.
The name may seem a little bombastic, along with their claim that they produce the best fried chicken on the planet. But Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken has received international recognition and has earned the affection of local Memphis residents. The menu lets you choose up to 20 pieces of fried chicken, a half chicken, or three wings and pieces, all served with beans and coleslaw.
Alchemy aims to be the smartest, most sophisticated cocktail and food joint in all of Memphis. All of the food is sourced locally using ingredients of the highest quality and combined in the Alchemy kitchen to form both classic Southern dishes as well as some more contemporary and exotic dishes.
The Terrace at the River Inn is located in the smart Harbor Town area of Memphis and affords diners magnificent views over Downtown Memphis and out over the Mississippi river. The restaurant represents a joint venture between the owners of various Memphis restaurants including Paulette’s, the River Inn and Tugs. The cuisine is top-notch Southern, and keeps things simple to let the great flavors stand out.
The Elegant Farmer celebrates the excellent produce of Tennessee and the Deep South and has strong links with the Memphis Farmer’s Market and is part of the Project Green Fork sustainability movement. Located close to the University of Memphis, the farm-to-table menu keeps things fairly simple and avoids over-complication to make sure natural flavors shine through.
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The Beauty Shop is perhaps the zaniest of Memphis’ restaurants. Located in the Cooper-Young district of Memphis the restaurant is based in what was once the cut-and-dry shop used by Priscilla Presley in the 1950s. Diners can sit back and enjoy their food in chairs that also have Belvedere hair dryers above them; the décor is part classic Americana and part The Jetsons. There are lunch and dinner menus featuring classic Southern dishes along with an excellent brunch menu.
Paulette’s has been known as one of the best restaurants in Memphis for over 40 years, and is a firm favorite among locals for special occasions when something a little more refined than usual is required. Based in Harbor Town on the magnificent oak-lined North Parkway, the cuisine is focused on classic Southern dishes.