You’ve probably heard about our barbecue. After all, it’s divine—rib meat that falls right off the bone, pulled pork sandwiches with slaw on top, and barbecue sauce so good you’ll be buying bottles of it to take home.
But, barbecue aside, Memphis is an emerging foodie town full of savory delights.
From fried chicken and food truck fusions to fine dining and ethnic food, you’ll find mouth-watering flavors all over Memphis.
Here are a few of our favorites.
As the home of the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, we know a thing or two about barbecue (that’s why there’s a style of ribs named after Memphis).
You’ll find more than 100 restaurants that specialize in Memphis-style ribs, which are slow-cooked in a pit and placed on your plate “wet” with barbecue sauce or “dry” with only our famous dry rub.
There are simply too many outstanding rib joints in Memphis to mention them all, but here’s a short list to get you started:
- Interstate Bar-B-Q
- Central BBQ
- The Rendezvous
- Payne’s BAR-B-Q
- Germantown Commissary
What would a trip to Memphis be without some Southern-style soul food? The sides are savory—collard greens, mac and cheese, BBQ baked beans—but the fried chicken is sure to be the star of your plate.
We’ve got world-famous fried chicken, fancy fried chicken, and fried chicken recipes passed down from generation to generation.
Here are some of our best fried chicken joints:
- Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken
- Uncle Lou’s Fried Chicken
- Miss Polly’s Soul City Cafe
- Jack Pirtle’s Chicken
- Southern Hands Family Dining
Birthday? Proposal? Anniversary? Or just the type who appreciates the finer things in life? Look no further, because Memphis is full of upscale dining options that feature award-winning chefs and impressive wine lists.
For occasions that require a formal atmosphere, exceptional service, and delicious food, check out these local favorites:
- Flight Restaurant and Wine Bar
- Restaurant Iris
- Folk’s Folly Prime Steak
- Erling Jensen
- Itta Bena
Where do you want to eat tonight? No, not which restaurant—which country?
The Memphis food scene is in the midst of a renaissance, thanks in large part to the myriad of ethnic restaurants opening in every corner of the city that feature food from all regions of the world.
Italian, Mexican, Thai, Japanese, Korean, Ethiopian – you name it, we’ve got it.
Here’s a look at some of the best:
- Blue Nile (Ethiopian)
- The Crazy Noodle (Korean)
- Mayuri (Indian)
- Maciel’s Tortas Tacos (Mexican)
- Erling Jensen, The Restaurant (French)
Like every great American city, Memphis has its share of pizza places that take pride in serving up sensational pies.
We’ve got New York-style, Neapolitan-style, thin-crust and, of course, places that put barbecue sauce on just about every pie.
A few of our favorites include:
- Trolley Stop Market (New York-style)
- Strano! Sicilian Kitchen & Bar (Traditional & Brunch Pies)
- Hog & Hominy (Neapolitan-style)
- Memphis Pizza Cafe (Thin crust)
- Aldo’s (New York-style)
Eat Like a Local
All of these recommendations are worthy of your time, but if you really want to experience the Memphis food scene, you have to eat like a local.
You know, the little gems that don’t often make the internet “best-of” lists but nonetheless find their booths full of locals all day, every day? We’ve got those, too.
These are some of our favorite restaurants—the ones we don’t typically tell visitors about:
- The Pancake Shop (the perfect place for all-day breakfast)
- Huey’s (where we go to get the best burgers)
- Three Little Pigs (all about the barbecue sandwich)
- Silky O’Sullivan’s (the local’s Beale Street haunt)
- Muddy’s Bake Shop (to top it off with something sweet)
Just because you want to make healthy eating a priority doesn’t mean you have to miss out on Memphis’ thriving food scene. Here are a few of our favorite spots for delicious eats that happen to be carefully balanced to fuel your body.
- Fuel: This vegan-friendly spot highlights comfort food alongside haute cuisine.
- Bedrock Eats & Sweets: “There are enough bad things in the world – what you eat shouldn’t be one of them.”
- Cheffie’s Cafe: Salads here are done right.
The up-to-the-minute hot spots
Whether you want to discover Memphis’ most cutting-edge food scene or experience the hottest spot in town, check out this list of current favorites.
Downtown Memphis restaurants
No matter how ready you are to experience all that Memphis’ food scene has to offer, there’s no better way to start the day with a jolt of the good stuff.
Local Memphis chains
Across America, breweries are supplying beer devotees with local brews, and Memphis is no exception. If you want to check out the local craft beer scene, you won’t go wrong visiting any of these spots. Or why not make it a beer tour and visit all of them?
Mixologists have taken a couple of pours and a stir and created an entirely new genre of artistry. See the Memphis spin applied to carefully crafted cocktails by paying a visit to one of these spots.
Downtown Memphis restaurants perfect for cocktails
Find the food
Want to sample multiple restaurants while you’re here? Check out our tasting tours.