Our Favorite Places To Eat In Memphis

Looking for the best places to Eat in Memphis? Here's a rundown of the best restaurants in town.

If you're looking for a Memphis BBQ tour, a taste of Memphis honey gold hot wings, or a recommendation for a great place to eat in Memphis, you're in the right place. 

 

Payne's BBQ Pork chopped sandwich
Justin Fox Burks

We'll Start With the Memphis BBQ

Barbecue is the official cuisine of Memphis. Ask anyone "where is the best bbq in Memphis?" and you'll get a dozen (or maybe 100) different answers. Here are a few to get you started. Be sure to call ahead for hours and availability.

  • The visitor-friendly quintessential spot with a one-of-a-kind setting is The Rendezvous downtown. Get ribs, sausage and cheese plate, and brisket.
  • Locals love Central BBQ's locations, especially the original on Central Ave. and the downtown location near the Civil Rights Museum. Get ribs, a pulled pork sandwich, or BBQ nachos with house chips...or fries if you're feeling frisky. =
  • The Bar-B-Q Shop in midtown is a top-rated local favorite as well. Order ribs, sandwiches on Texas toast, and a side of BBQ spaghetti.
  • Another great option is One and Only BBQ. Everything is good, but the ribs, nachos, and brisket hit the mark especially.
  • For a beloved hole-in-the-wall, eat like a local and go to Payne's BBQ for pulled pork sandwich with slaw or ribs.
  • Cozy Corner is an award-winning Memphis favorite. Order ribs and Cornish game hens.

There are many, many, many more. 

Best Restaurants In Memphis By Neighborhood

Downtown:

  • Gus' Fried Chicken's spicy, crispy chicken is world-famous for a reason.
  • Majestic Grill is eclectic American cuisine in an upscale, art deco atmosphere—the restaurant is built out in a former silent movie theater. Reservations recommended.
  • Alcenia's offers soul food and the most hospitable atmosphere around; call-ahead your order for takeout or dine-in—or plan to spend a few hours there.
  • Earnestine & Hazel's offers up beer, soul burgers, and music in a dive bar atmospheres.
  • For coffee: Comeback Coffee and Memphis Chess Club (good for breakfast and getting work done, too), Qahwa, Vice & Virtue in the ARRIVE hotel lobby, Crazy Gander on Madison, craft coffee at Boycott Coffee, grab some espresso at Bluff City Coffee, or Dr. Bean's on Main.
  • For breakfast: By The Brewery, Arcade Restaurant, Bardog Tavern, Sunrise Memphis.
  • For nice dinners, try one of the popular Memphis restaurants from the Enjoy AM Group—Bishop is a French brasserie in the Central Station hotel (also serving breakfast), Catherine & Mary's offers handmade pastas, and Gray Canary features a raw bar, cuisine prepared in a wood-fired oven. All have craft cocktails and excellent wine lists.
  • For bar hopping: BarwareBardog Tavern, Flying Saucer, Blind Bear, Slider Inn, and Belle Tavern, plus all the places on Beale Street. 
  • Loflin Yard, Carolina Watershed, and Slider Inn Downtown offer cocktails, casual eats, and spacious outdoor hangout areas.
  • Maciel's Tortas and Tacos excels at fresh, authentic Mexican food in a no-frills cafe downtown
  • For dessert, stop by Cupcake Cutie, Primas Bakery & Boutique, or Butterific Bakery behind the National Civil Rights Museum. 
  • For brunch and soul-food-inspired food in an upscale casual lounge-like environment, head to Sage Memphis. Arrive early for best chance of getting a table.
  • For date night (drinks, meals, or snacks): Eight & Sand at Central Station, Tailor's Union (hours vary; check out their dress code first), Barware, Curfew at the Canopy Hotel, or Beck & Call on the rooftop of the Hyatt Centric.

Midtown + Broad Avenue:

  • The Beauty Shop serves fusion food in a swanky atmosphere for lunch, dinner, and brunch. Patio dining with greenhouses and igloos are available.
  • Second Line serves New Orleans-style food (especially po-boys) and craft cocktails inside and on the patio. Next door, Spanish-style tapas gin 'n' tonic bar Panta stays open late.
  • Lafayette's has live music every day and two levels of patio.
  • For breakfast: Cafe Eclectic or The Liquor Store, or go to Barksdale's for no-frills, down home country diner style breakfast and plate lunches.
  • Soul Fish Cafe serves soul food in a casual atmosphere.
  • Aldo's is a chill pizza joint next to Memphis Made Taproom.
  • Bounty is a farm-to-table upscale eatery on Broad Avenue with a lovely cocktail menu.
  • For coffee, Cafe Eclectic on McLean, Otherlands, or City & State on Broad Avenue. 
  • For boba and ice cream, head to Sugar Ghost.

East Memphis and Whitehaven:

  • Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen for fine dining, handmade pastas, and a heated patio—across the street is the trendy Hog & Hominy, but you'll need a reservation.
  • One & Only BBQ has three East Memphis locations with tasty barbecue ribs, pulled pork, and more
  • RP Tracks is a casual pub with underrated food; if you're a vegetarian who wants barbecue, the BBQ tofu nachos there are A+
  • For breakfast:  Brother Junipers (expect a wait on weekends) and Bryant's Breakfast (expect a line)
  • Elwood's Shack is in a tiny, actual shack in a Lowe's parking lot; folks love their bbq, fish tacos, and breakfast. A local favorite. 
  • Gibson's Donuts (but...go early for best selection) is a Memphis-must
  • Hen House is a hip, Instagrammable wine bar. 
  • Dory's intimate dining room offers farm-to-table fare and a chef's tasting menus with wine pairings. Dory is a 10 Best top new restaurant in the U.S. for 2021! 
  • Magnolia & May offers a cozy atmosphere and cute patio with Southern-inspired plates. 
  • There is a Gus's Fried Chicken location in East Memphis if you're in a pinch.
  • For coffee—Belltower Coffeehouse or City Silo, both of which have great food on the lighter side.
plate of zydeco hot chicken wings at Bayou
Alex Shansky

Now We Can Talk About Memphis Hot Wings

Memphis is the chicken wing capital of the South – you could make the argument Memphis is the hot wing capital of the world, maybe excluding Buffalo-style.

Locals will fight to the last drop of Memphis honey gold sauce over who has the best, so you’ll have to try these Memphis wings for yourself. Here’s a list to get you started. See the full Memphis Hot Wing Trail.

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