Special Report

The 35 Best Restaurants in the South

16. Commander’s Palace
> Location: New Orleans, Louisiana

This “haute Creole” establishment has been owned by the Brennan family — local restaurant royalty — since 1974, but it’s been around for almost 130 years. Among the chefs during the Brennan era have been Paul Prudhomme and Emeril Lagasse, so you know the standards are high. Expect classic gumbo and other traditional fare but also such inventions as duck confit with smoky tomato preserves and cornbread and Gulf tuna with watermelon and pecan pesto couscous.

17. Dooky Chase
> Location: New Orleans, Louisiana

A restaurant so iconic it’s mentioned in an old Ray Charles song (“Early in the Morning”), and a ’60s gathering place for the Freedom Riders and Martin Luther King and his supporters, Dooky Chase serves authentic Creole cuisine — BBQ shrimp, crab soup, shrimp Clemenceau, grillades, and more. Dooky died in 2016 and his widow, Leah, continued running the place until her own demise three years later at the age of 96 — but the place is still going strong, and is a New Orleans essential.

Source: Photo by Shannon S. via Yelp

18. Galatoire’s
> Location: New Orleans, Louisiana

This legendary Bourbon Street classic, founded in 1905 by French immigrant Jean Galatoire, upholds the highest standards of Creole cuisine. Specialties include fried oysters en brochette, duck and andouille gumbo, crab-and-shrimp-stuffed eggplant, and sweet potato cheesecake with banana praline sauce. (For those with simpler appetites, there are also very good steaks.)

Source: Photo by Linda V. via Yelp

19. Pêche Seafood Grill
> Location: New Orleans, Louisiana

One of the estimable Donald Link’s restaurants (the others include Herbsaint, Cochon, and Cochon Butcher), this one focuses — as its name suggests — on fish and shellfish, especially varieties for which the region is known. Gulf shrimp, catfish with pickled greens, seafood gumbo, baked drum with corn and zucchini, and a whole grilled fish of the day are among the staples of the menu.

Source: Courtesy of Doe's Eat Place - The Original

20. Doe’s Eat Place
> Location: Greenville, Mississippi

There are 13 other locations of this legendary steak-centric eatery, most of them franchises, ranging from Baton Rouge Little Rock to Claremore, Oklahoma, but this Mississippi Delta original is the place to be, for its lived-and-eaten-in atmosphere (it opened in 1941 in what had been Dominick “Doe” Signa’s family grocery store) and its short, uncompromising menu of Mississippi-style tamales and thick-cut pan-fried steaks.