Not Your Usual Italian At Bari Ristorante In Midtown

Not Your Usual Italian At Bari Ristorante In Midtown

Midtown's favorite Southeastern Italian restaurant is reopening—Bari is now at 524 S. Cooper.

Bari's New Location

After nearly 20 years, Bari Ristorante has moved from their Overton Square spot to a bigger, brighter location just down the street at 524 S. Cooper Street. The new space is lovely and light-filled and…there’s outdoor seating!

front of restaurant with sign that says Bari
Holly Whitfield
side patio with wood lattice work and tables
Holly Whitfield

The new location officially opens on August 10th—so grab your dining room reservations by calling or going on Resy. The bar is first-come, first-served. Bari is open for dinner only, Tuesday through Saturday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. The menu is still full of your favorites, with a few new specials and additions. 

Another thing!

Bari is hiring for all positions, front and back of house. They offer competitive pay and insurance, their staff tends to stay for years at a time. It’s a family-run place and I recommend applying if you have serving or cooking experience. 

bright red cocktail held up in front of upscale bar
Holly Whitfield
dining room with white tablecloth and wine rack on wall
Holly Whitfield

Though Bari is a thoroughly Italian restaurant, it's not the sort of place to go expecting pizza and spaghetti. The menu's hyper-regional focus on food from Puglia means that their dishes are lighter and more diverse in flavor than your typical Italian or Italian-American food.

Think fresh, comforting pasta, seafood with delicate and unexpected flavors, exotic cheeses, experimental cocktails (plus all the classics), and an excellent Italian wine list. 

Bari Ristorante In midtown

At Bari you can build your own meal. Want a light two-course dinner or just some cheese and snacks to go with your cocktail (more about the cocktails in a moment)? Or are you looking for a full dinner, complete with Antipasti, a cheese course, and entrees? You can construct your meal easily from Bari's menu, which is listed by Antipasti e Primi, Insalta e Zuppa, Pasta, Fish, Meat, and Vegetable Sides.

Then, of course, there is an entire menu for cheese. The plates are fairly small, so you can can eat just a little bit—or you can do what I did and eat a little bit of everything. 

light pink raw fish crudo drizzled in oil with thin slices of jalapeño
Holly Whitfield
bari dining room with teal octopus tentacle
Holly Whitfield
bowl of pasta carbonara sitting on white countertop
Holly Whitfield

Dinner At Bari

Here's a sort of example dinner at Bari, from a meal I'd had in the past: 

If you wish, you can start with cheese from Bari's impressive list of more than 40 Italian cheeses and some salami. I wish I had written down what I ordered, but I do know that one was hard, tangy, and Asiago-esque, and the other was semi-soft, tart and a little stinky.

The salami slices were sculpted into an impressive rose. I also had a Lattuga salad, which was a bed of buttery greens topped with nuts, creamy goat cheese and grapefruit slices. The dressing was sweet and a little smoky. I may or may not be daydreaming about it right now.

For dinner, I got the Orzo Pomodoro. The sauce was tomato-based, but not overwhelmingly so. It had a peppery bite to it, but it contrasted beautifully with the chunks of sweet lump crab meat.

The restaurant is upscale but not fussy or formal, making it the perfect spot for a date or special occasion dinner. For those of you who don't eat meat, there are plenty of vegetarian options on the menu. You can eat at the bar, the dining room, or the side or front patios. I highly recommend making reservations, especially on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.

Best Cocktails In Memphis At Bari

If someone asks me for a cocktail recommendation, and I know they're looking more for a craft cocktail than a margarita or walk-me-down, I send them to Bari. I know that their experience with the bartenders will be grand and the cocktails unmatched.

The bar staff, including Hunter Coleman and Samantha Ledbetter, are constantly innovating and adapting the menu to meet all tastes. Whatever trend you're into, they've got you covered and probably have something new to try as well.

bright yellow cocktail with orange garnish with bar background
Holly Whitfield
Go There:

Bari Ristorante e Enoteca
524 S. Cooper Street
Memphis, Tennessee 38104
(901) 722-2244

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Lindsey
I love this place. So glad the word is getting out about it.
December 7, 2010 4:48pm

Dan Patrick
Looks pretty good. I've been tempted to try this place out for a while.
December 7, 2010 9:27pm