The 10 Best Restaurants in Memphis

Memphis is not only famous for its rich musical roots but also for a vibrant food scene that goes beyond its legendary barbecue. From classic BBQ joints to innovative fine dining, the city’s top 10 restaurants offer a taste of Southern comfort, local ingredients, and global flavors. Dive into the heart of Memphis’s culinary scene with these unmissable dining experiences that promise to delight every palate.

Central BBQ

Central BBQ is the heart and soul of Memphis barbecue, a place where smoky aromas beckon locals and tourists alike to experience the pinnacle of BBQ craftsmanship. This spot is about embracing a culture deeply rooted in the art of slow-smoking meats. The vibrant, welcoming atmosphere and the inviting deck become the perfect backdrop for indulging in their renowned BBQ nachos and hot wings.

As you find yourself at Central BBQ, you’re entering a community hub where every dish tells a story of passion and tradition. The casual setting encourages you to take your time, enjoy the company, and immerse yourself in the flavors that have made Memphis a barbecue haven. Central BBQ offers a culinary journey that’s both a celebration of shared moments and a tribute to the city’s rich barbecue heritage.

Restaurant Iris

Restaurant Iris is a Midtown gem where Chef Kelly English’s passion for French Creole and Southern flavors comes to life. Every dish, from the lobster knuckle sandwich to the oyster-stuffed New York strip, showcases the rich culinary heritage of Memphis. Dining here offers a comforting embrace of bold and heartwarming flavors, making every meal feel like a journey through the South’s gastronomic landscape.

Set in a cozy house, the ambiance of Restaurant Iris blends the warmth of Southern hospitality with the elegance of fine dining. Here, the experience goes beyond just eating—it’s about storytelling through cuisine. With every bite, guests are invited to savor the narrative of Memphis’s culinary traditions, making Restaurant Iris not just a meal, but a memorable part of their visit to the city.

The Beauty Shop

Dining at The Beauty Shop is where each dish brings a burst of creativity and flavor. This unique spot, once visited by Priscilla Presley, now delights diners with its eclectic menu, featuring playful yet refined choices like watermelon & wings. The atmosphere, filled with 1950s charm yet undeniably modern, sets the perfect backdrop for an unforgettable dining experience, especially during their much-lauded brunch.

Brunch here is an indulgence in culinary exploration and joy. The French toast, made from soft challah and accompanied by sparkling mimosas, offers a taste of luxury that’s both comforting and exhilarating. At The Beauty Shop, every meal is an opportunity to create memories in a setting where history meets contemporary flair, making it a must-visit destination for anyone seeking the essence of Memphis’s dynamic food scene.

Folk’s Folly Prime Steak House

Folk’s Folly Prime Steak House stands as a beacon of culinary excellence in Memphis, renowned for its prime, melt-in-your-mouth steaks that capture the essence of Southern luxury. This historic steakhouse, with its rich tradition and refined ambiance, offers more than just a meal—it promises an unforgettable dining experience. Each steak, expertly cooked to perfection, tells a story of skill, passion, and a deep-rooted love for the art of fine dining.

Step into the elegant setting of Folk’s Folly and find yourself enveloped in an atmosphere that blends sophistication with the warm, inviting spirit of Southern hospitality. The plush surroundings and attentive service encourage diners to savor every moment and every bite. It’s a place where the simple act of dining transforms into a celebration of history, flavor, and the joy of sharing a meal.

Mosa Asian Bistro

At Mosa Asian Bistro, the essence of Asia meets the heart of Memphis. Here, the rich tapestry of Thailand’s spices, China’s depth, Korea’s zest, and Japan’s finesse are woven together in a culinary harmony that dazzles the senses. Each dish, a masterpiece of flavor, is carefully crafted to evoke the vibrant streets and serene landscapes of the East, promising an authentic experience that resonates with every palate.

Dining at Mosa is an exploration of the world’s richness through the lens of Memphis’s soulful vibe. From the zestful tang of a Thai curry to the comforting embrace of a Japanese noodle bowl, Mosa ensures a personal journey for each diner. It’s where the meticulous preparation of meals becomes an art form, inviting you to savor the moment, one exquisite bite at a time.

Porcellino’s Craft Butcher

Porcellino’s Craft Butcher merges the quaintness of a European café with the warmth of Southern hospitality. It’s a place where the coffee is as thoughtfully prepared as the meat is carefully selected, offering a cozy atmosphere for anyone looking to enjoy good food and good company. This unique spot is perfect for those who appreciate the finer details in their dining experience.

Every visit to Porcellino’s is an intimate gathering where each dish has a story to tell. The quality of meat from the on-site butcher shop ensures that every bite is a testament to the craft of butchery and the depth of flavors. As you enjoy the relaxed setting and share plates among friends, Porcellino’s is a memorable spot in Memphis for those who love to explore the art of food.

Paulette’s

Tucked away in the River Inn at Harbor Town, Paulette’s is a jewel of Memphis dining, offering a mix of Continental dishes with a Southern twist. From the moment you taste their famous popovers and strawberry butter, you’re on a delightful culinary journey. The atmosphere, rich with elegance and charm, sets the perfect backdrop for enjoying some of the best French toast and eggs Benedict in town.

Paulette’s is more than just a place to eat; it’s a destination that captures the essence of Memphis’s dining scene. It’s where every meal is an unforgettable experience, blending great food with a warm, inviting setting. A visit to Paulette’s is a must for anyone wanting to dive into the soul of Memphis’s rich culinary culture.

Sweet Grass

Sweet Grass, located in the lively Cooper-Young area, offers a refreshing take on Southern hospitality and Low Country cuisine. Its ever-evolving menu highlights the best of local produce, turning simple ingredients into dishes full of flavor and tradition. Whether it’s the comforting shrimp and grits or the innovative fried green tomato sandwich, each meal is a testament to the restaurant’s commitment to elevating Southern cooking with a modern flair.

Stepping into Sweet Grass feels like coming home, with an atmosphere that’s as warm and welcoming as the food. It’s a culinary journey through the heart of the South, redefined with each visit. Here, every dish not only tastes good but also tells a story of Memphis’s rich culture and vibrant community, making every dining experience truly memorable.

Erling Jensen – The Restaurant

Erling Jensen – The Restaurant is a hidden gem in East Memphis, offering a blend of French sophistication and global flair. This spot is perfect for those who appreciate the finer details in their dining experience, from the carefully crafted wild game and seafood dishes to the cozy, elegant setting. Each visit feels like a special occasion, thanks to the attentive service and intimate atmosphere.

Dining at Erling Jensen is a journey through a world of flavors, where every dish tells a story. The restaurant’s warm, candlelit ambiance creates the perfect backdrop for an evening of culinary exploration. Here, exceptional food and heartfelt hospitality come together to create memorable moments that linger long after the evening ends.

Catherine & Mary’s

Catherine & Mary’s stands as a testament to the rich culinary traditions passed down by the grandmothers of chefs Andrew Ticer and Michael Hudman, blending the rustic flavors of Italy with the soulful essence of Memphis. Located in the historic Chisca building, this restaurant offers a journey through a menu that combines Tuscan and Sicilian influences with local flair. Each dish reflects a deep respect for heritage and innovation.

Beyond the exquisite food, Catherine & Mary’s captures the spirit of Memphis through its commitment to local ingredients and handcrafted cocktails, making every meal a celebration of the city’s vibrant culinary scene. The welcoming atmosphere and thoughtful service complete the experience, ensuring that a visit here is more than just dining—it’s an immersive journey that honors the past while embracing the bold flavors of the present.

Each of these restaurants weaves its thread into the vibrant culinary tapestry of Memphis. From smoky BBQ joints to elegant dining rooms, the city invites food lovers to explore, taste, and fall in love with its rich flavors and unforgettable dining experiences. So, come hungry and leave inspired, for the heart of Memphis beats strongest at the table.