Memphis, the home of blues, barbecue, and Elvis Presley, punches above its weight when it comes to dining. Whether it’s small plates, steak or seafood, these five restaurants — from longstanding institutions to buzzy newcomers — offer an elevated take on Southern flavours
Set within the grandiose walls of Memphis’ Peabody Hotel, acclaimed restaurant Chez Philippe is the Mid-South’s only Forbes Four-Star and AAA Four-Diamond-rated restaurant. Offering four or seven-course prix-fixe menus of modern American cuisine with French influences, the restaurant also has a distinguished wine program that has been recognised by Wine Spectator magazine. Chef de cuisine Keith Clinton recently became the first Memphian chef to take the helm of the kitchen, with standouts on his tasting menus including dishes like tuna crudo with avocado, cherry blossom, and grapefruit, or beef tenderloin with blue cheese espuma, almond tuille, and buttermilk crumb. A Chez Philippe signature is the royal wagyu truffle burger, which elevates the American staple with butter-poached lobster, huckleberry aioli, and parmesan black truffle fries. It’s served with half a bottle of Californian cabernet sauvignon.
A relative newcomer to Memphis’ dining scene, The Lobbyist serves global flavours using locally sourced, seasonal produce. Vintage décor is complemented with a cocktail list that focuses on reinterpretations of classic recipes made with high-quality ingredients. Try sharing plates such as the mussels in miso broth with nduja, or lamb tamale with heirloom corn, avocado, and poblano.
At the Central Station Hotel, which is built on the site of a converted 1914 rail hub, this trendy restaurant serves elevated plates of American cuisine with global twists. French-inspired escargot is served with persillade, country ham, and lemon butter; while shishito peppers come with potatoes, lemon, chives, and crispy onions. There’s also a dedicated section of the menu for tinned seafood, with sardines, razor clams, and octopus among the offerings. Weekend brunch is a variable affair, with everything from a three-egg omelette served with a hash brown to biscuits and gravy to classic beignets dusted in icing sugar.
Porch & Parlor
Those seeking an upscale American steakhouse experience can try this popular Overton Square establishment serving the finest prime steaks alongside a menu of Southern favourites. In an ambiently lit interior with white tablecloths and leather seating, diners can sit down to steakhouse classics like steak tartare made with hand-cut prime beef, king prawn cocktail, or surf & turf with barrel-cut filet and tuxedo lobster tail. Filet, ribeye, and New York strip steaks are on the menu of prime cuts, with premium wagyu options also available.
Fancy’s Fish House
Seafood lovers staying near Memphis’ famed Beale Street may wish to stop by this eatery serving up daily fresh-caught fish and seafood dishes with sunset views over the Mississippi River. A raw bar, grilled specialties, and an extensive brunch menu are served in a nautical-themed interior dining room, with terrace seating available for warmer days.