2146 Monroe Ave., Idlewild
Chef Kelly English is one of Memphis’s culinary celebrities, in part because he has such a strong handle on traditional French-Creole cuisine (he grew up cooking in Louisiana, and held his first restaurant jobs while studying at the University of Mississippi). Housed in a cozy home that feels simultaneously intimate and dressed-up, it’s perfect for a special occasion—call ahead and they’ll decorate your table in honor of an anniversary or birthday.
Porcellino’s Craft Butcher
711 W. Brookhaven Cir., White Station
Like several of the best contemporary eateries in Memphis, Porcellino’s is the creation of Hog & Hominy chefs Andy Ticer and Michael Hudman. The team sources meats from local purveyors and focuses on whole-animal cooking, both at their butcher counter and on their menu. Delicious quiches, toasts, and sandwiches are served for lunch, and at night, you’ll find satisfying small plates and great wines to enjoy them with. Their coffee shop—which serves some of the best espresso drinks in the city—is open from 7am.
Hog & Hominy
707 W. Brookhaven Cir., White Station
Andy Ticer and Michael Hudman’s first restaurant, Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen, was the first place that put them (and, in some ways, Memphis’s food scene) on the map. But if you’ve only got one night in town, we recommend sister restaurant Hog & Hominy, which boldly blends flavors from their Italian upbringings with Memphis classics, like collards with pepper vinegar and hominy, grits al forno, and biscuit gnocchi. They don’t take reservations, so arrive early, especially if you’re coming with a large party.
862 S. Cooper St., Idlewild
Catfish is a staple for many cities along the Mississippi, and for the best in Memphis, go to Soul Fish and order their fried catfish tacos (served with pico de gallo and fresh guacamole). The quintessentially Southern sides alone are worth the trip—think: hush puppies, pickled green tomatoes, collards, and fried okra.