17 Best Restaurants In Memphis

mashup of memphis restaurants
mashup of memphis restaurants - Static Media / Shutterstock / Instagram

Memphis is one of, if not the most underrated food city in the U.S. Most minds don't jump to the Mid-South Bluff City as an innovator in the culinary world — both in the hoity-toity world of fine-dining and the gritty grind of hole-in-the-wall mom-and-pops -- but it's time they did. Memphis has seen a shape-shifting of its demographic landscape over the last 30+ years, but only in the past few years has there been a gustatory revolution of sorts. There's as much diversity in the city's food scene as there is finesse.

If you've been sleeping on Memphis, sleep no more. As a food writer who has spent the last several years covering Memphis' vibrant food scene, I've had the pleasure of writing about Memphis' best BBQ restaurants and beyond. In this guide, I take you through a deep-dive into the restaurants of the South's best kept secret, ranging from tiny sandwich joints to big white-tablecloth brasseries.

Read more: Restaurant Foods That Always Taste Better Than What You Make At Home

1. Acre

egg yolk and fish dish
egg yolk and fish dish - acrememphis / Instagram

Acre is a fine dining restaurant in the heart of East Memphis, located in a renovated house right beside the Memphis Botanical Garden. For over a decade, Acre's focus has been on modern American cuisine, with an emphasis on pan-Asian influences. The ambiance combines a feeling of casual yet elegant dining, akin to eating at a friend's home (a fancy home, that is).

The chefs, Wally Joe and Andrew Adams, use classic French techniques to turn some of the best ingredients from near and far into a variety of dainty and extravagant appetizers, entrees, and small plates. With items such as Maine diver scallops, soft shell crabs from the Gulf, and local morel mushrooms, Acre has been an innovative forerunner in the Memphis fine dining scene since the start. The restaurant is open for dinner from Tuesday to Saturday and reservations are necessary.


(901) 818-2273

690 S. Perkins Road, Memphis, TN 38117

2. Alchemy

donburi bowl with egg
donburi bowl with egg - alchemymemphis / Instagram

Alchemy is a swanky, upscale restaurant and bar located in the Cooper-Young neighborhood of Memphis, known for its killer food and cocktails. The restaurant offers a menu that features American cuisine with a focus on small plates. The owner, Nick Scott, previously owned Salt | Soy on Broad Street, but has since closed it and fully integrated that menu into Alchemy.

The food is described as "Japan meets the South," and it's every bit as delicious as it sounds. Some notable menu items at Alchemy include house frites with comeback aioli, beef sliders with chipotle pimento cheese, shrimp and grits with smoked gouda, as well as assorted sushi rolls. The bar features great cocktails, bourbon, and beer. Alchemy offers dine-in service with reservations recommended, especially on weekends when it can get quite busy. It also provides takeout for those who prefer to enjoy their meal at home.


(901) 726-4444

940 S. Cooper Street, Memphis, TN 38104

3. Amelia Gene's

dry aged prime new york strip
dry aged prime new york strip - ameliagenesmemphis / Instagram

Known for its contemporary, globally inspired menu, Amelia Gene's offers a unique dining experience with a menu that emphasizes seasonality and high-quality ingredients, with chef Nate Henssler at the helm of the kitchen.

The ambiance combines modern elegance with the historic charm of its location in the former William C. Ellis & Sons Ironworks and Machine Shop. The restaurant has been designed to retain the industrial charm, featuring elements that highlight its past in a reclaimed and reimagined space — like the giant industrial Edison bulb chandelier that hangs overhead in the dining room.

Some of the best dishes at Amelia Gene's are such because of their simplicity: ricotta-stuffed agnolotti served with preserved lemon and English peas; charred octopus and mustard greens; a dry aged Prime New York strip that's easily one of the best steaks of any restaurant in Memphis. The food is truly classic while still being well-executed and soigné.


(901) 686-5051

255 S. Front Street, Memphis, TN 38103

4. Cocozza American Italian

sauteed mushrooms on toasted bread
sauteed mushrooms on toasted bread - cocozzamemphis / Instagram

Cocozza American Italian is a charming restaurant located in Mud Island's Harbor Town, a neighborhood facing the Mississippi River. This "red sauce joint" was founded by Patrick and Deni Reilly, who also own The Majestic Grille. Initially launched as a pop-up ghost restaurant during the pandemic, Cocozza quickly gained popularity and now operates as a brick-and-mortar establishment in Harbor Town Square.

The restaurant's ambiance is designed to evoke classic Italian-American restaurants — not common in Memphis — with red checkered tablecloths and drippy wax candles. Cocozza offers generous portions of favorite American-Italian dishes, accompanied by rustic marinara sauces and plenty of garlicky, buttery bread: vodka sauce rigatoni, chicken parm, toasted ravioli, and a bunch of cheap antipasti bites. Cocozza is as delicious as it is cute and inviting, and the perfect place for meeting up with a friend, a first or 1000th date, or even for a casual dinner alone.


(901) 609-1111

106 Harbor Town Square, Memphis, TN 38103

5. Dory

pork with green sauce dish
pork with green sauce dish - dorymemphis / Instagram

Dory is a fine dining restaurant in East Memphis that focuses on locally sourced ingredients and offers a menu that changes with the seasons. Founded by chef Dave Krog and his wife Amanda in 2021, the restaurant gained acclaim for its tasting menu, which later switched to a la carte.Chef Dave Krog has a rich culinary background, having moved to Memphis in 1992 and working his way up to executive chef at Interim Restaurant & Bar before opening Dory. His culinary philosophy is deeply rooted in the use of fresh, local ingredients and close collaborations with farmers, an outlook that gave birth to creative dishes like a brisket tamale with Delta Grind Mississippi masa, and a local kohlrabi and potato roulade.

Unfortunately, Dory is scheduled to close its doors on June 29, 2024 after several years of success.


(901) 310-4290

716 W. Brookhaven Circle, Memphis, TN 38117

6. Garibaldi Taqueria

plate of tacos with garnishes
plate of tacos with garnishes - Taqueria Garibaldi / Facebook

Mexican food — at one time only available in limited, Americanized renditions — is now highly specialized among the Latin restaurants in Memphis. One of the best examples is Garibaldi Taqueria, a sleepy diner-like cafe in South Memphis and the perfect spot for Mexican classics like tacos al pastor and deep cuts like pambazos — spicy and unique breakfast sandwiches stuffed with chorizo and fried potatoes.

The sandwiches at Garibaldi Taqueria are some of the best in town, as noted in local publications. Besides the pambazo, the torta ahogada features your choice of meat with refried beans and cheese, all stuffed inside Mexican telera bread and drenched in a spicy orange salsa with a drizzle of crema. It's spicy, messy, and fork-and-knife necessary, but so delicious. There's no doubt that Garibaldi is worth the drive to taste the best Mexican food in town.


(901) 370-5820

5967 Knight Arnold Rd, Memphis, TN 38115

7. Good Fortune Co.

tonkatsu ramen in bowl
tonkatsu ramen in bowl - goodfortune_co / Instagram

In the heart of Downtown Memphis you'll find one of the best noodle spots in town. Founded by chefs Sarah Cai and Arturo Leighton, Good Fortune Co. focuses on scratch-made noodles and dumplings, bringing a unique dining experience to Memphis that draws from various Asian culinary traditions, including Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. Though its pan-Asian influence is wide, Good Fortune is definitely one of the best places to get ramen in Memphis.

The collaboration between Cai and Leighton has resulted in a beautiful menu that features items such as Honky Tonkatsu ramen, Ikura Baby Don (rice bowl with salmon roe), and GFC Wings, known for the unique house buffalo sauce​. The ramen dashi is deeply flavored and rich in umami, the noodles are chewy and fresh, and the wings are to die for. Plus, Good Fortune Co. has half-off select beers on Thursdays and discounted sake on Sundays​.


(901) 590-3510

361 South Main Street, Memphis, TN 38103

8. Hog & Hominy

napoletana style pizza closeup
napoletana style pizza closeup - hogandhominy / Instagram

Hog & Hominy is a deservedly popular restaurant in Memphis that blends Italian cooking with Southern roots. Located near Dory in Brookhaven Circle, it is renowned for its wood-fired pizzas and creative fusion items. The restaurant was opened by chefs and restaurateurs Andy Ticer and Michael Hudman, who have received numerous accolades for their innovative approach to cuisine.

Hog & Hominy has become a staple in Memphis since its opening in 2011 and has gotten significant ink by several top food publications as one of the best new restaurants in Memphis when it opened. The menu features a variety of options, including some of the best pizzas in town — like the Thunderbird (with spicy and sweet flavors), the Red Eye (with pork belly and egg) — as well as the John T Burger, poutine, pig ear lettuce wraps, and roasted oysters.


(901) 779-6096

707 W. Brookhaven Circle, Memphis, TN 38117

9. Restaurant Iris

gulf grouper court bouillon
gulf grouper court bouillon - restaurantirismemphis / Instagram

Restaurant Iris is chef Kelly English's flagship Memphis location and offers a blend of French, Creole, and Southern cuisine. Originally opened in Midtown Memphis in 2008, the restaurant moved to the Laurelwood Shopping Center in East Memphis a couple of years ago. The new space allows for an expanded menu and more seating, continuing the tradition of high-quality dining and exceptional service.

The menu at Restaurant Iris features a variety of Cajun and Creole-inspired New Orleans and Louisianan food, like Smoked Duck Gumbo, Escargot & Crawfish Au Gratin, and BBQ Shrimp. For mains, popular options are the Prime Beef Filet, Seared Scallops, and Market Fish Amandine. It also offers a wide selection of soups, salads, sides, and desserts​. The bar offers a separate menu with items like flatbreads, po'boys, and BBQ shrimp, alongside a comprehensive booze menu.


(901) 590-2828

4550 Poplar Avenue, Suite 133, Memphis, TN 38117

10. Kinfolk

crispy chicken sandwich
crispy chicken sandwich - Kinfolk Restaurant / Facebook

Kinfolk is a recent addition to the Memphis scene, located near Cocozza in Harbor Town Square. Helmed by chef and owner Cole Jeanes, Kinfolk blends traditional Southern comfort food with modern twists, inspired by Jeanes' personal culinary journey and family memories. Jeanes originally opened Kinfolk as a pop-up at Comeback Coffee, amassing a loyalist cult following and a mountain of anticipation between its pop-up closure and brick-and-mortar opening.

The restaurant aims to be a refined version of a classic American diner — the interior is lined with wood panels like an old-school Waffle House — offering a unique dining experience that pays homage to Jeanes' childhood experiences with food. The menu features a variety of breakfast and lunch items, including biscuit sandwiches, steak and eggs, and creative desserts like sticky toffee buns. But the heaviest hitter is definitely the Crispy Chick — arguably the best chicken sandwich in town.


(901) 457-5463

111 Harbor Town Square, Memphis, TN 38103

11. Mochi & Mi

banh xeo with herbs
banh xeo with herbs - mochimieats / Instagram

Mochi & Mi is known for its affordable and flavorful bánh mì sandwiches, mochi donuts — perhaps some of the best donuts in Memphis? — and a variety of other Vietnamese dishes. Initially launched as a pop-up, Mochi & Mi has since established a permanent location inside the Summer Ave Rio Grande Market. The restaurant also recently expanded to a second location in Southaven, Mississippi.

The menu features traditional Vietnamese cuisine with a modern twist, including items like bánh xèo (stuffed rice pancakes), Korean-style beef barbecue, egg rolls, and Vietnamese coffees. The bánh mì sandwiches are particularly popular, generously stuffed and made with freshly baked bread for under $10.

Owners Karina Pham and Thuy Luong, along with Karina's daughter and restaurant manager, Margaret Tong, aim to create a welcoming and laid-back dining environment. They have crafted a savory menu that reflects the most authentic Vietnamese eating experience possible.


(901) 896-4989

5110 Summer Avenue #104, Memphis, TN 38122

12. Petals Of A Peony

crawfish with herbs sauce chilis
crawfish with herbs sauce chilis - petalsofapeony / Instagram

At the time of publication, Petals of a Peony is the only Sichuan restaurant in the Greater Memphis area. Founded by the same restaurant group as Flame Ramen, a local collective of Japanese ramen restaurants, Petals of a Peony brought in trained cooks from Chengdu to execute the menu. The restaurant aims to bring the authentic flavors and culinary traditions of Sichuan to Memphis. The menu features a variety of traditional Sichuan classics such as Boiling Fish, Cumin Lamb, and Mapo Tofu.

One of the best things about Petals of a Peony is its attention to detail and the use of traditional ingredients. In response to its success, the restaurant is expanding to a second location in Overton Square at 2110 Madison Avenue. This new location will offer a similar menu, focusing on Sichuan cuisine along with some American Chinese favorites.


(901) 707-8886

1250 N Germantown Parkway #105, Cordova, TN 38016

13. Porch & Parlor

seared ahi tuna with sauce
seared ahi tuna with sauce - snacksby_soph / Instagram

Porch & Parlor is a prime steakhouse located in the heart of Overton Square, offering a refined Southern steakhouse experience that features the finest prime steaks and chops. It has garnered a reputation for excellent service and high-quality dining, making it a popular destination for both locals and visitors.

The menu includes a variety of prime steaks, seafood, and classic Southern sides. There is a bit of something for everyone here, but some of the best items on the menu besides the steaks include the Fried Oysters Rockefeller — creamy, rich, and briny all at once — and the Butcher's Bacon Rack. Porch & Parlor is known for its elegant atmosphere and attention to detail, leaning into the classic white-tablecloth steakhouse vibe. The restaurant also offers complimentary valet parking located on Trimble Place between Porch & Parlor and The Memphian Hotel.


(901) 725-4000

2125 Madison Avenue, Memphis, TN 38104

14. Sam's Deli

indian pizza with mint sauce
indian pizza with mint sauce - Joshua Carlucci / Tasting Table

Sam's Deli is located just off the Highland Strip near the University of Memphis. Owned and operated by husband and wife duo Brad and Shamira Wilbanks, Sam's is known for its eclectic mashing and melding of American, Italian, Indian, and Korean foods.

The menu includes huge and delicious sandwiches like muffalettas, hoagies, gyros, cubans, and even bibimbap burritos. The pizza selection is equally diverse and a delicious and hearty array of traditional Indian classics, like samosa chaat and curry, are also on offer. The portions are beyond generous — they're massive — so a solo-diner could easily make a couple meals out of one or a few people could share a dish.

The deli is a favorite among neighborhood regulars, including the local University of Memphis students and faculty. Sam's offers a 10% discount to all who dine-in with a University of Memphis ID card.


(901) 454-5582

643 S. Highland St, Memphis, TN 38111

15. Taco Antrax

huitlacoche quesadilla with sauces
huitlacoche quesadilla with sauces - Joshua Carlucci / Tasting Table

Taco Antrax is a Summer Avenue Mexican joint — and though there many of the kind on this street, it stands out from the crowd in more ways than one. The restaurant's unique name is a joke in reference to a hit squad of the Sinaloa Cartel called Antrax. The logo plays on that, featuring a woman-taco in a balaclava firing taco-shaped bullets.

Marketing aside, the food at Taco Antrax speaks for itself. Of the many Mexican classics and deep cuts on the list here, one of the top items is the Quesadilla de Huitlacoche, made with a unique type of fungus. The salsa and tortillas are always freshly made, as are some of the other bangers on the menu like Al Pastor, Consomé de Borrego, Birria de Barbacoa, and Caldo de Pollo. It's easily some of the best Mexican food in Memphis.

Taco Antrax

(901) 643-9258

4556 Summer Ave, Memphis, TN 38122

16. The Lobbyist

acorn squash dish from above
acorn squash dish from above - lobbyistmem / Instagram

The Lobbyist is the brainchild of chef Jimmy Gentry, also the owner of Paradox Catering, who is well-known in the local scene for his innovative approach to New American cuisine with global influences. The Lobbyist's menu emphasizes seasonal produce and locally sourced meats and changes frequently to reflect the best ingredients available from the regional farmers.

Located in the lobby of the Chisca Hotel, The Lobbyist's ambiance is designed to evoke the grandeur of early 20th-century hotels, complete with vintage accents and comfortable furniture.The menu at The Lobbyist is divided into shareable plates, pastas, produce, and proteins. Popular items include the corn mash, charred okra with buttermilk crème fraîche and pickled fresno chilies, and the coppa, a cut of pork shoulder prepared with fish sauce and soy sauce for a serious punch of umami.


(901) 249-2170

272 S. Main St., Suite 101, Memphis, TN 38103

17. Tuyen's Asian Bistro

crispy shrimp wraps with herbs
crispy shrimp wraps with herbs - Hunter Demster / Facebook

Tuyen's Asian Bistro in Midtown is one of the best spots for Vietnamese around town. Tucked in a quaint strip near Crosstown Concourse, the bistro offers a wide range of menu items, including favorites like lemongrass tofu curry, grilled shrimp vermicelli, and imperial rolls. The restaurant is praised for fresh and herbaceous eats like the popular bird nest egg rolls and the beef vermicelli.

Tuyen's Asian Bistro offers takeout and delivery, but dining in is always a pleasure under the watch of Tuyen Le, whose history in the food scene in Memphis is long and storied. Her mother opened Saigon Le in 1992, which once stood right down Cleveland Street from Tuyen's. If you're new, try the claypot catfish with turmeric and ginger; the fish is cooked so delicately and flavorfully, the fact that it's catfish is almost unbelievable.

Tuyen's Asian Bistro

(901) 567-5008

288 N. Cleveland St, Memphis, TN 38104


memphis downtown trolley car
memphis downtown trolley car - Thomas Faull/Getty Images

Making a best-of list is tough: The word "best" is hopelessly arbitrary. In our eyes, a restaurant achieves a designation as being one of the best through high-quality cooking, service, and originality.

To pick the best restaurants in Memphis, we used a detailed approach focused on four main factors: the quality and consistency of the food, the skill and expertise in cooking, how unique the restaurant is compared to others, and the overall atmosphere. We looked at how well each restaurant consistently served high-quality food, showcasing culinary skills and creativity. We also considered what makes each place special, highlighting those with unique dining experiences that stand out in Memphis' lively food scene.

Additionally, we evaluated the restaurant's general vibe, including ambiance and service, to ensure a memorable visit. The final list is presented in alphabetical order.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.