Special Report

The 35 Best Restaurants in the South

Source: Courtesy of Joe's Stone Crab

6. Joe’s Stone Crab
> Location: Miami, Florida

The sweet, meaty claws of the stone crab are Florida’s most famous seafood offering, and Joe’s founder Joseph Weiss was the first restaurateur to serve them, starting in 1921. There’s a full menu of other fish and shellfish now (the snapper po’boy is a customer favorite), as well as a selection of meats and poultry, but in stone crab season — mid-October to mid-May — those claws are what people come here for.

Source: Courtesy of The Bazaar by José Andrés, South Beach

7. The Bazaar by José Andrés
> Location: Miami Beach, Florida

This South Beach outpost of chef-humanitarian José Andrés’s culinary empire features the food not of the lower right-hand corner of the United States but of Spain. The far-ranging menu incorporates some of the classic dishes of both traditional and contemporary Spanish cuisine as well as inventions of the chef. Sample classic jamón ibérico (Iberian ham) or sautéed shrimp in spicy tomato sauce with garlic and parsley, or go modern with dragon fruit and tuna ceviche or liquid-center conch fritters “Café Atlantico.”

Source: Photo by Mark Y. via Yelp

8. Rosy Tomorrows Heritage Farm
> Location: North Fort Myers, Florida

Call it a more rustic, less expensive, simpler Southwestern Florida equivalent to the famed Blue Hill at Stone Barns in New York State. Rosy Tomorrows is a working farm, raising not just a vast array of produce but also grass-fed Longhorn cattle and pastured Black Australorp chickens and Red Wattle pigs, and then serving what it grows and raises in various forms in a big screened-in dining room. The menu changes often, but might include such things as organic gazpacho with citrus-poached shrimp, thick-cut Red Wattle pork chop with salad dressed in mango vinaigrette, and candied calabaza squash and cinnamon ice cream. The wine list is small but unexpectedly well-chosen and fairly priced.

Source: Courtesy of The Surf Club Restaurant via Yelp

9. The Surf Club Restaurant
> Location: Surfside, Florida

Chef Thomas Keller, whose French Laundry in the Napa Valley and Per Se in Manhattan are considered among the best restaurants in America for their innovative contemporary French-influenced cuisine, goes in another direction at this glamorous establishment at the Four Seasons Hotel. The food served in the beautiful coral- and blue-hued dining room is old-style “Continental.” That means classic Caesar salad prepared tableside, Dover sole meunière, filet mignon, and such sides as buttermilk whipped potatoes, creamed corn, and green beans amandine.

Source: Courtesy of Five and Ten

10. Five & Ten
> Location: Athens, Georgia

Award-winning chef Hugh Acheson’s flagship restaurant features what he describes as “an open interpretation of Southern food, melding Georgia cookery with French and Italian influences.” That translates to such fare as cured duck ham with corn purée and figs, Frogmore stew (with shrimp, andouille sausage, potatoes, and corn), and cornmeal-fried catfish with “Limpin’ Susan” (a variation on the traditional rice and cowpea dish called Hoppin’ John, substituting okra for the peas).