The 12 Best Restaurants in Memphis, TN Must-Try

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When it comes to exploring the vibrant culinary scene in Memphis, TN, finding the best restaurants is a delightful journey. In this guide, we will unveil the 12 best restaurants in Memphis, each offering a unique and savory experience. From soulful barbecue joints to upscale dining establishments, Memphis boasts a diverse array of culinary treasures. Whether you’re a local seeking new culinary adventures or a visitor eager to savor the city’s flavors, our list of the best restaurants in Memphis is your key to an unforgettable dining experience. Join us as we navigate through the delectable world of Memphis cuisine, showcasing the must-visit eateries that define the city’s gastronomic excellence.

Memphis, a vibrant city in Tennessee, is renowned for its rich musical heritage, captivating history, and an abundance of culinary delights. Food lovers from near and far flock to Memphis to savor its iconic barbecue, soul food, and a diverse range of cuisines. Among the numerous culinary gems that Memphis offers, ten restaurants stand out as must-try destinations for an unforgettable dining experience. These restaurants have gained acclaim for their exceptional dishes, unique ambiance, and unwavering commitment to culinary excellence. Prepare your taste buds for a tantalizing journey as we delve into the top 10 must-try restaurants in Memphis.

The 12 Best Restaurants in Memphis, TN

Blues City Cafe

blues city cafe in memphis tn
blues city cafe in memphis tn

Blues City Cafe is nestled in the heart of Beale Street, a legendary establishment that seamlessly blends the city’s musical heritage with its culinary prowess. As you step into this iconic venue, the walls adorned with music memorabilia and the soulful melodies filling the air set the stage for an extraordinary dining experience. The restaurant has been a staple in Memphis since 1991, serving up delicious Southern comfort food and live music every night.

Must-Try Meals

  • Memphis BBQ Nachos
  • Fall-off-the-bone Ribs
  • Creamy Coleslaw
  • Crispy Onion Rings

The signature Memphis BBQ Nachos at Blues City Cafe are a delectable fusion of crispy tortilla chips smothered in tender pulled pork, tangy BBQ sauce, melted cheese, and a medley of fresh toppings. For the main course, indulge in their fall-off-the-bone ribs, slow-cooked to perfection and glazed with a sweet and smoky BBQ sauce. Complement your meal with a side of their creamy coleslaw and crispy onion rings for a symphony of flavors.

Average Cost

The average cost for a meal at Blues City Cafe is around $20 per person, making it an affordable option for a delicious meal in Memphis.

Address: 138 Beale St, Memphis, TN 38103

Phone: (901) 526-3637

Operating Hours: Monday-Sunday 11am-2am

Reviews: 4.5/5 on TripAdvisor, 4.6/5 on Google Reviews

Website: https://bluescitycafe.com/

Menu: https://bluescitycafe.com/menu/

Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken

Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken in memphis tn
Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken in memphis tn

Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken has been serving up their famous fried chicken since 1953, and it has become a must-try destination for visitors to Memphis. The restaurant has expanded to multiple locations across the country, but the original location in Memphis still holds its charm and authenticity. The walls are adorned with vintage photos and newspaper clippings, adding to the nostalgic atmosphere.

Must-Try Meals

  • Fried Chicken (of course!)
  • Fried Green Tomatoes
  • Mac and Cheese
  • Collard Greens

Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken is known for their perfectly seasoned and crispy fried chicken, served with a side of tangy pickles and white bread. Don’t miss out on their fried green tomatoes, a Southern delicacy, and their creamy mac and cheese and flavorful collard greens as the perfect accompaniments to your meal.

Average Cost

The average cost for a meal at Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken is around $15 per person, making it a budget-friendly option for delicious Southern food.

Address: 310 S Front St, Memphis, TN 38103

Phone: (901) 527-4877

Operating Hours: Monday-Sunday 11am-9pm

Reviews: 4.5/5 on TripAdvisor, 4.6/5 on Google Reviews

Website: https://gusfriedchicken.com/

Menu: https://gusfriedchicken.com/menu/

Charlie Vergos’ Rendezvous

Charlie Vergos' Rendezvous in memphis tn
Charlie Vergos’ Rendezvous in memphis tn

Charlie Vergos’ Rendezvous is a family-owned and operated restaurant that has been serving up their famous dry-rubbed ribs since 1948. Located in an alleyway in downtown Memphis, the restaurant has a unique ambiance with exposed brick walls and dim lighting, giving it a cozy and intimate feel.

Must-Try Meals

  • Dry-Rubbed Ribs
  • BBQ Pork Shoulder Sandwich
  • Greek Salad
  • Red Beans and Rice

The dry-rubbed ribs at Charlie Vergos’ Rendezvous are a must-try for any barbecue lover. The ribs are slow-cooked to perfection and coated in a secret blend of spices, resulting in a tender and flavorful dish. Their BBQ pork shoulder sandwich is also a crowd favorite, served on a soft bun with a side of tangy BBQ sauce. Don’t forget to try their Greek salad, a refreshing and light option, and their red beans and rice, a traditional Southern dish.

Average Cost

The average cost for a meal at Charlie Vergos’ Rendezvous is around $25 per person, making it a mid-range option for a delicious barbecue meal.

Address: 52 S 2nd St, Memphis, TN 38103

Phone: (901) 523-2746 Operating Hours: Monday-Saturday 11am-8pm

Reviews: 4.5/5 on TripAdvisor, 4.7/5 on Google Reviews

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Website: https://hogsfly.com/

Menu: https://hogsfly.com/menu/

Central BBQ 

Central BBQ, Memphis in memphis tn
Central BBQ, Memphis in memphis tn

Central BBQ is a local favorite in Memphis, known for their mouth-watering barbecue dishes and laid-back atmosphere. The restaurant has multiple locations across the city, but the original location in Midtown is the most popular. The walls are adorned with graffiti-style art, and the outdoor patio is the perfect spot to enjoy your meal on a sunny day.

Must-Try Meals

  • Pulled Pork Sandwich
  • Smoked Sausage Plate
  • BBQ Nachos
  • Cornbread

Central BBQ is known for their perfectly smoked meats, and their pulled pork sandwich is no exception. Served on a soft bun with a side of tangy BBQ sauce, this dish is a crowd favorite. Their smoked sausage plate is also a must-try, served with a side of their famous BBQ beans. Don’t miss out on their BBQ nachos, a delicious fusion of barbecue and Mexican flavors, and their fluffy cornbread as the perfect accompaniment.

Average Cost

The average cost for a meal at Central BBQ is around $20 per person, making it an affordable option for delicious barbecue in Memphis.

Address: 147 E Butler Ave, Memphis, TN 38103

Phone: (901) 672-7760

Operating Hours: Monday-Sunday 11am-9pm

Reviews: 4.5/5 on TripAdvisor, 4.6/5 on Google Reviews

Website: https://cbqmemphis.com/

Menu: https://cbqmemphis.com/menu/

The Majestic Grille

The Majestic Grille in memphis tn
The Majestic Grille in memphis tn

The Majestic Grille is housed in a historic theater building from the early 1900s, giving it a unique and elegant ambiance. The restaurant serves up a mix of classic American dishes and Southern favorites, making it a popular spot for both locals and tourists.

Must-Try Meals

  • Shrimp and Grits
  • Majestic Burger
  • Chicken and Waffles
  • Fried Green Tomatoes

The shrimp and grits at The Majestic Grille are a must-try, with perfectly cooked shrimp served on a bed of creamy grits and topped with a flavorful sauce. Their Majestic burger is also a crowd favorite, served with a side of crispy fries. Don’t miss out on their twist on a Southern classic, chicken and waffles, and their fried green tomatoes as the perfect appetizer.

Average Cost

The average cost for a meal at The Majestic Grille is around $30 per person, making it a higher-end option for a special dining experience in Memphis.

Address: 145 S Main St, Memphis, TN 38103

Phone: (901) 522-8555

Operating Hours: Monday-Sunday 11am-9pm

Reviews: 4.5/5 on TripAdvisor, 4.6/5 on Google Reviews

Website: https://majesticgrille.com/

Menu: https://majesticgrille.com/menu/

McEwen’s Memphis

McEwen's Memphis in memphis tn
McEwen’s Memphis in memphis tn

McEwen’s Memphis is a fine dining restaurant located in the historic Cotton Row building. The restaurant serves up a mix of Southern and European-inspired dishes, using fresh and locally sourced ingredients. The elegant atmosphere and attentive service make it a popular spot for special occasions.

Must-Try Meals

  • Seared Scallops
  • Braised Short Rib
  • Lobster Mac and Cheese
  • Chocolate Lava Cake

The seared scallops at McEwen’s Memphis are a must-try, served with a flavorful sauce and accompanied by a variety of seasonal vegetables. The braised short rib is also a crowd favorite, cooked to perfection and served with creamy mashed potatoes. Don’t miss out on their indulgent lobster mac and cheese and their decadent chocolate lava cake for dessert.

Average Cost

The average cost for a meal at McEwen’s Memphis is around $50 per person, making it a higher-end option for a special occasion in Memphis.

Address: 120 Monroe Ave, Memphis, TN 38103

Phone: (901) 527-7085

Operating Hours: Monday-Saturday 11am-9pm

Reviews: 4.5/5 on TripAdvisor, 4.6/5 on Google Reviews

Website: https://mcewensmemphis.com/

Menu: https://mcewensmemphis.com/menu/

Cozy Corner Restaurant

Cozy Corner Restaurant in memphis tn
Cozy Corner Restaurant in memphis tn

Cozy Corner Restaurant may not look like much from the outside, but it has gained a reputation as one of the best barbecue spots in Memphis. The restaurant is family-owned and operated, and they take pride in serving up delicious and authentic Memphis-style barbecue.

Must-Try Meals

  • BBQ Cornish Hen
  • BBQ Bologna Sandwich
  • BBQ Spaghetti
  • Fried Pickles

The BBQ Cornish hen at Cozy Corner Restaurant is a must-try, cooked to perfection and served with a side of tangy BBQ sauce. Their BBQ bologna sandwich is also a crowd favorite, a unique twist on a classic Southern sandwich. Don’t miss out on their signature dish, BBQ spaghetti, and their crispy fried pickles as the perfect appetizer.

Average Cost

The average cost for a meal at Cozy Corner Restaurant is around $15 per person, making it an affordable option for delicious barbecue in Memphis.

Address: 745 N Pkwy, Memphis, TN 38105

Phone: (901) 527-9158

Operating Hours: Monday-Saturday 11am-7pm

Reviews: 4.5/5 on TripAdvisor, 4.6/5 on Google Reviews

Website: http://www.cozycornerbbq.com/

Menu: http://www.cozycornerbbq.com/menu/

Beauty Shop Restaurant

Beauty Shop Restaurant in memphis tn
Beauty Shop Restaurant in memphis tn

Beauty Shop Restaurant is a unique dining experience in Memphis, housed in an old beauty shop from the 1950s. The restaurant has maintained its retro decor, with hairdryers and salon chairs as part of the seating arrangements. The menu features a mix of American and Mediterranean dishes, with a focus on fresh and locally sourced ingredients.

Must-Try Meals

  • Grilled Octopus
  • Lamb Shank
  • Mushroom Risotto
  • Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

The grilled octopus at Beauty Shop Restaurant is a must-try, served with a flavorful sauce and accompanied by a variety of seasonal vegetables. Their lamb shank is also a crowd favorite, slow-cooked to perfection and served with creamy mashed potatoes. Don’t miss out on their creamy mushroom risotto and their indulgent chocolate peanut butter pie for dessert.

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Average Cost

The average cost for a meal at Beauty Shop Restaurant is around $40 per person, making it a higher-end option for a unique dining experience in Memphis.

Address: 966 S Cooper St, Memphis, TN 38104

Phone: (901) 272-7111

Operating Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 5pm-10pm, Sunday 11am-2pm

Reviews: 4.5/5 on TripAdvisor, 4.6/5 on Google Reviews

Website: https://www.thebeautyshoprestaurant.com/

Menu: https://www.thebeautyshoprestaurant.com/menu/

Texas de Brazil – Memphis

Texas de Brazil in memphis tn
Texas de Brazil in memphis tn

Texas de Brazil is a Brazilian Steakhouse chain known for their all-you-can-eat meat options. The Memphis location is housed in the historic Peabody Hotel, adding to its elegant and upscale atmosphere. The restaurant also offers a salad bar with a variety of fresh and delicious options.

Must-Try Meals

  • Picanha (Top Sirloin)
  • Filet Mignon
  • Brazilian Sausage
  • Cheesecake

The picanha at Texas de Brazil is a must-try, a tender and flavorful cut of top sirloin cooked to perfection. Their filet mignon is also a crowd favorite, served with a side of creamy mashed potatoes. Don’t miss out on their Brazilian sausage, a unique and delicious option, and their creamy cheesecake for dessert.

Average Cost

The average cost for a meal at Texas de Brazil is around $50 per person, making it a higher-end option for a special occasion in Memphis.

Address: 150 Peabody Pl 103, Memphis, TN 38103

Phone: (901) 526-7600

Operating Hours: Monday-Friday 5pm-9:30pm, Saturday 12pm-9:30pm, Sunday 12pm-8:30pm

Reviews: 4.5/5 on TripAdvisor, 4.6/5 on Google Reviews

Website: https://texasdebrazil.com/

Menu: https://texasdebrazil.com/menu/

Huey’s Downtown

Huey's Downtown in memphis tn
Huey’s Downtown in memphis tn

Huey’s Downtown is a local favorite in Memphis, known for their delicious burgers and laid-back atmosphere. The walls are adorned with customer-signed dollar bills, giving the restaurant a unique and quirky vibe. The restaurant also offers live music every night, adding to the fun and lively atmosphere.

Must-Try Meals

  • Huey Burger
  • BBQ Bacon Cheddar Burger
  • Fried Pickles
  • Sweet Potato Fries

The Huey Burger at Huey’s Downtown is a must-try, a juicy and flavorful burger topped with all the classic fixings. Their BBQ bacon cheddar burger is also a crowd favorite, adding a Southern twist to the classic burger. Don’t miss out on their crispy fried pickles and sweet potato fries as the perfect sides.

Average Cost

The average cost for a meal at Huey’s Downtown is around $15 per person, making it an affordable option for delicious burgers in Memphis.

Address: 77 S 2nd St, Memphis, TN 38103

Phone: (901) 527-2700

Operating Hours: Monday-Sunday 11am-2am

Reviews: 4.5/5 on TripAdvisor, 4.6/5 on Google Reviews

Website: https://hueyburger.com/

Menu: https://hueyburger.com/menu/

SOB

SOB in memphis tn
SOB in memphis tn

SOB, short for South of Beale, is a gastropub located in the heart of downtown Memphis. The restaurant offers a mix of Southern and international dishes, with a focus on using fresh and locally sourced ingredients. The industrial-chic decor and friendly atmosphere make it a popular spot for both locals and tourists.

Must-Try Meals

  • Fried Chicken Sliders
  • Shrimp and Grits
  • Korean BBQ Tacos
  • Bread Pudding

The fried chicken sliders at SOB are a must-try, served with a side of tangy slaw and a flavorful sauce. Their shrimp and grits are also a crowd favorite, a classic Southern dish with a twist. Don’t miss out on their unique Korean BBQ tacos and their indulgent bread pudding for dessert.

Average Cost

The average cost for a meal at SOB is around $25 per person, making it a mid-range option for delicious food in Memphis.

Address: 361 S Main St, Memphis, TN 38103

Phone: (901) 526-0388

Operating Hours: Monday-Sunday 11am-10pm

Reviews: 4.5/5 on TripAdvisor, 4.6/5 on Google Reviews

Website: https://sobmemphis.com/

Menu: https://sobmemphis.com/menu/

Paulette’s Restaurant

Paulette's Restaurant in memphis tn
Paulette’s Restaurant in memphis tn

Paulette’s Restaurant is a fine dining establishment located in the charming Harbor Town neighborhood of Memphis. The restaurant offers a mix of French and Southern cuisine, with an emphasis on using fresh and seasonal ingredients. The elegant atmosphere and waterfront views make it a popular spot for special occasions.

Must-Try Meals

  • Escargot
  • Beef Wellington
  • Shrimp and Grits
  • Chocolate Souffle

The escargot at Paulette’s Restaurant is a must-try, cooked to perfection and served with a flavorful garlic butter sauce. Their beef wellington is also a crowd favorite, a tender and juicy filet wrapped in puff pastry. Don’t miss out on their delicious take on shrimp and grits and their decadent chocolate souffle for dessert.

Average Cost

The average cost for a meal at Paulette’s Restaurant is around $50 per person, making it a higher-end option for a special occasion in Memphis.

Address: 50 Harbor Town Square, Memphis, TN 38103

Phone: (901) 260-3300

Operating Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 5pm-9pm, Sunday 10am-2pm

Reviews: 4.5/5 on TripAdvisor, 4.6/5 on Google Reviews

Website: https://paulettes.net/

Menu: https://paulettes.net/menu/

Some personal selections for everyone from fronteraskc

Best BBQ Restaurants in Memphis

Central BBQ
Central BBQ is a must-visit for anyone looking to experience authentic Memphis BBQ. Known for its slow-smoked meats and tangy sauces, Central BBQ has earned a reputation for serving some of the best ribs and pulled pork in the city.

The Rendezvous
Located in a downtown alley, The Rendezvous is legendary for its dry-rubbed ribs. This iconic eatery has been a staple in Memphis since 1948, drawing locals and tourists alike for its unique flavors and historic ambiance.

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Corky’s BBQ
Corky’s BBQ offers a classic Memphis BBQ experience with a family-friendly atmosphere. Their hickory-smoked ribs and famous BBQ nachos are crowd favorites that keep diners coming back for more.

Fine Dining in Memphis

Flight Restaurant and Wine Bar
For a sophisticated dining experience, Flight Restaurant and Wine Bar is the place to be. This upscale establishment offers a unique concept where guests can sample “flights” of dishes and wines, making it perfect for those who love variety.

Folk’s Folly Prime Steakhouse
Known as Memphis’s original prime steakhouse, Folk’s Folly delivers an exceptional fine dining experience. With its elegant setting and top-notch service, it’s the ideal spot for a special night out.

Paulette’s Restaurant
Nestled in the heart of Harbor Town, Paulette’s Restaurant combines charming ambiance with gourmet cuisine. Their diverse menu and renowned popovers make it a standout choice for fine dining in Memphis.

Family-Friendly Restaurants

The Arcade Restaurant
As Memphis’s oldest café, The Arcade Restaurant is a beloved institution. Its retro décor and hearty breakfasts make it a great spot for families looking to enjoy a meal together.

Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken
Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken is famous for its spicy, crispy fried chicken. This no-frills eatery provides a casual dining experience that the whole family will love.

Memphis Pizza Cafe
Memphis Pizza Cafe is perfect for a laid-back family meal. With a variety of pizzas and a relaxed atmosphere, it’s a hit with kids and adults alike.

Romantic Dining Spots

Itta Bena
Itta Bena, located above the famous B.B. King’s Blues Club, offers a romantic escape with its intimate setting and delicious Southern cuisine. It’s an excellent choice for a date night in Memphis.

The Beauty Shop Restaurant
Housed in a former beauty salon where Priscilla Presley once had her hair done, The Beauty Shop Restaurant combines retro charm with inventive dishes, making it a unique and romantic dining destination.

Chez Philippe
For a luxurious dining experience, Chez Philippe at The Peabody Hotel is unmatched. This French restaurant exudes elegance and offers an exquisite menu perfect for a special occasion.

Affordable Dining Options

Soul Fish Cafe
Soul Fish Cafe serves up delicious Southern comfort food at reasonable prices. Their catfish and po’ boys are particularly popular, making it a great option for a satisfying yet affordable meal.

Cozy Corner Restaurant
Cozy Corner Restaurant is a family-owned BBQ joint that delivers big flavors on a budget. Their ribs and Cornish hens are legendary, and the prices won’t break the bank.

Elwood’s Shack
Elwood’s Shack offers a quirky dining experience with its eclectic menu and casual vibe. Known for its smoked salmon tacos and pulled pork sandwiches, it’s a hidden gem worth seeking out.

Vegetarian and Vegan Options

The Farmer
The Farmer focuses on farm-to-table cuisine with plenty of vegetarian options. Their commitment to fresh, local ingredients makes their dishes both healthy and flavorful.

Imagine Vegan Cafe
Imagine Vegan Cafe is a haven for vegetarians and vegans in Memphis. Their extensive menu features a variety of plant-based comfort foods that even non-vegans will enjoy.

Fuel Cafe
Fuel Cafe offers a diverse menu with several vegetarian and vegan options. Their black bean tacos and quinoa bowls are particularly popular among health-conscious diners.

Unique Dining Experiences

Memphis is home to several unique dining experiences that combine great food with a memorable atmosphere. For instance, many restaurants on Beale Street offer live music, providing the perfect backdrop for a meal. Historic restaurants like The Arcade offer a taste of the past, while food trucks and street food vendors bring innovative flavors to the streets of Memphis.

Exploring Memphis Cuisine

Memphis cuisine is heavily influenced by its Southern roots and rich musical heritage. Signature dishes like BBQ ribs, fried chicken, and catfish are staples, but the city’s food scene also embraces international flavors and modern culinary trends. As Virginia Woolf once said, “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well,” and Memphis certainly ensures you dine well.

FAQs

What are the best BBQ restaurants in Memphis?
The best BBQ restaurants in Memphis include Central BBQ, The Rendezvous, and Corky’s BBQ.

Are there any vegetarian-friendly restaurants in Memphis?
Yes, some vegetarian-friendly restaurants in Memphis include The Farmer, Imagine Vegan Cafe, and Fuel Cafe.

Which Memphis restaurants offer live music?
Many restaurants on Beale Street offer live music, including Itta Bena and B.B. King’s Blues Club.

What are some family-friendly dining options in Memphis?
Family-friendly dining options in Memphis include The Arcade Restaurant, Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken, and Memphis Pizza Cafe.

Discover the best of Memphis’s culinary scene and embark on a gastronomic adventure that promises to delight and satisfy.

Conclusion

Memphis is known for its delicious and unique food scene, and these restaurants are just a small sample of what the city has to offer. From classic Southern barbecue to upscale fine dining, there is something for everyone to enjoy in this vibrant and diverse city. So next time you’re in Memphis, be sure to check out one (or all!) of these amazing restaurants for a true taste of the city.