Best Southern food in the U.S.

BIV

I'm Biv Dick Black, the Over Poster.
Apr 22, 2002
79,206
27,693
898
Seattle
#1
Defined by an abundance of fresh seafood and produce, grain-producing marshlands and a melting pot of Spanish/French/West African culture, Southern cuisine is soul-warming comfort food at its best.

Charleston and New Orleans are at the top of my short list for food-forward destinations, cities whose mere mention conjures up the smell of crab and shrimp sautéing in a pan. But don’t stop your culinary tour there: other Southern cities are featured here, as local chefs revisit (and revive) classic Southern recipes passed through the generations.

Martha Lou's Kitchen, Charleston, S.C.
(Photo: courtesy of Rob Matheny)

For home-style soul food, head to Martha Lou’s, located in an unmistakable pink building north of downtown Charleston. You can’t go wrong with her Southern classics, such as fried chicken, pork chops, butter beans, stewed okra and sweet tea. This is the throwback restaurant of your dreams, a comfort food Valhalla.




5 & 10, Athens, Ga.
(Photo: Rinne Allen)

Hugh Acheson’s flagship restaurant melds traditional Southern flavors with French and Italian influences, garnering top awards from Food & Wine and the James Beard Foundation. The menu changes daily, but there are a few mainstays, including the fantastic low-country Frogmore stew with shrimp, andouille and leeks in a tomato broth.


Clary's Café, Savannah, Ga.
(Photo: Nick Ledford)

The famous Clary’s Café has been around for more than a century, serving Southern comfort diner classics with a heaping pile of nostalgia. I highly recommend the Georgia pecan hot griddle cakes, crab n’ grits and the original Hoppel Poppel (scrambled eggs with chunks of salami, potatoes, onion and green peppers).



Holeman & Finch Public House, Atlanta
(Photo © Beall Thomas Photography)

Chef Linton Hopkins’s pub celebrates traditional bistro-style cuisine with a Southern twist. Start with the house-cured charcuterie and black oak country ham, then choose from a selection of “parts” (veal sweetbreads with sunchoke, rabbit liver with tomato confit) or for the less adventurous, the catfish and grits. If you’re here around 10 p.m., try to be the lucky recipient of one of the famous burgers (every night at 10 p.m., 24 burgers are available to order—only 24; they often sell out in less than a minute).

Hot and Hot Fish Club, Birmingham, Ala.
(Photo: Jason Wallis)

On Birmingham’s Southside, chef Chris Hastings (winner of the 2012 James Beard Best Chef: South award) uses locally sourced ingredients, supporting local fishermen and foragers, in his refined take on Southern cuisine. Take a seat at the chef’s counter and nosh on dishes such as roasted pork leg with white peach mojo or red snapper bouillabaisse with shrimp, clams, grouper cheek and mussels.

Restaurant August, New Orleans
(Photo: courtesy of Besh Restaurant Group)

Restaurant August, located in a 19th-century building complete with mahogany paneling and crystal chandeliers, is the flagship restaurant of James Beard award-winning chef John Besh. The menu is influenced by Besh’s Louisiana upbringing, as well as his classical training in Europe. The $20 prix fixe lunch is a steal.


Herbsaint, New Orleans
(Photo: of Link Restaurant Group)

A modern bistro on historic St. Charles Avenue, Herbsaint is consistently at the top of the Crescent City’s list of great restaurants. Celebrated chef Donald Link is reinventing the wheel with innovative takes on Southern fare—European small plates, classic gumbos and nouvelle cuisine artfully share the menu. Try the duck confit with dirty rice or stewed lamb neck with saffron fideo. The mustard-greens salad with buttermilk dressing is irresistible and the restaurant is almost 100 percent self-sufficient, even raising its own animals.

The Barn at Blackberry Farm, Walland, Tenn.
(Photo: Beall Thomas Photography)

Blackberry Farm is a luxurious retreat located in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. It’s also a dining destination, thanks to the meals served in The Barn, a turn-of-the-century structure at the heart of the 9,200-acre farmstead. The multicourse tasting menu is filled with ingredients from the in-house creamery, salumeria, bakery and butcher shop, and provisioned with products harvested right on the property.

The Catbird Seat, Nashville
(Photo: of The Catbird Seat)

One of the most sought-after reservations in the country is at this 32-seat gem in Nashville’s historic Patterson House. Diners sit at a U-shaped bar as chefs Erik Anderson and Josh Habiger (who’ve worked in some of the top kitchens in the world, including Noma, the Fat Duck and Alinea), prepare your meal—a multicourse prix fixe menu that changes weekly and is accompanied by Jane Lopes’s unique, small-batch beverages.

Yardbird Southern Table & Bar, Miami
(Photo: David Cabrera)

Yardbird is bringing a taste of Southern cuisine and hospitality to the country’s southernmost metropolis, Miami Beach, a city surprisingly absent of down-home cooking. Their chicken (straight from grandma’s recipe) spends a whole day in brine before it’s dredged in spiced flour and fried, resulting in a perfectly crisp, juicy bird. (Try the chicken on the homemade biscuits or alongside cheddar waffles with spicy Tabasco honey.) The bourbon-spiked cocktail list has a mix of classics and new inventions, such as the Pork Chop, made with apple cider, bourbon, Dijon mustard and thyme.

See more of the best Southern restaurants in the U.S.
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mills

I'll give em a state, a state of unconsciousness
Jan 30, 2005
13,849
638
628
Flea Bottom
#5
I'll hook you up. I just need you to do a little something for me about these KO-reans...
 

mills

I'll give em a state, a state of unconsciousness
Jan 30, 2005
13,849
638
628
Flea Bottom
#6
Article stinks. Pics are the food version of porn but the article doesn't tell you wtf they are? Boo.
 

Gorilla Pimp

Popped a molly i'm sweatin, WOO
Nov 2, 2009
3,269
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173
Mobile, AL
#8
Somehow my mom's cooking didn't make the list. So therefore this list is horse shit.
 
Dec 8, 2004
49,479
21,306
693
Maine
#9
When I did the [Vos]Marty Grass[/Vos] thing (I think the year before Katrina)... and traveling through LA/MI/AL/FL never had a bad meal once...