Not Your Usual Italian At Bari Ristorante In Midtown

Not Your Usual Italian At Bari Ristorante In Midtown

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.

Photo: By Craig Thompson. Bari has a mural of midtown on the side of the historic building.

Bari Ristorante In Overton Square

At Bari, a cozy spot right off Overton Square, 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 Side. 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.


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Dinner At Bari

I started with two cheeses from Bari's impressive list of more than 4o 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.


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

Bari's dessert menu is short - there are maybe five options - but it's pretty awesome. I had the apple semolina cake, which is perfect if you want something that's sweet, but not entirely too saccharine.

The restaurant is cozy - it's the perfect spot for a date or special occasion dinner. For those of you who don't eat meat, there are plenty of vegetarian and vegan options on the menu.You can eat at the bar or in the small dining room. Because the dining room is small (it seats maybe 20 people), I highly recommend making reservations, especially on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.


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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 veteran mixologist Hunter Coleman, is constantly innovating and adapting the menu to meet all tastes. Whatever trend you're intol, he's got you covered and probably has something new to try as well.


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Go There:

Bari Ristorante e Enoteca

22 S Cooper
Memphis, TN 38104
(901) 722-2244

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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

Stay Classy, M…
[...] Bari (22 South Cooper, 722-2244) Orzo Pomodoro from Bari, Memphis, [...]
December 16, 2010 2:36pm

In 2011, I Wil…
[...] restaurants. But if you want to get a feel for the real Memphis, head East. Eat at Sweet Grass or Bari, see an IMAX movie at the Pink Palace, take your kids to My Big Backyard and walk or ride the [...]
December 30, 2010 3:13pm