Jackson offers up some delicious dining, with Southern cuisine being the most popular choice at the best restaurants. From local eateries to mom and pop joints, you’ll find something for every taste in the “City with Soul”. Here is my list of the best restaurants in Jackson MS for 2023 and recommendations for what menu items to order.
(updated September 2023)
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Aplos Simple Mediterranean
Located in upscale Highland Village is one of Jackson’s newest restaurants, Aplos Simple Mediterranean. With an easy to read and order counter service approach, the food at Aplos is off-the-hook.
You’ll love everything about this place—from the cheerful vibe to the snazzy decor, and the amazing dishes that are served.
For the mezza (appetizer), you’ve gotta try Baked Feta Dip with roasted red peppers and pita chips. Mmm, so good. The Aplos Greek Salad or Chicken Shawarma Platter are both excellent mains, and the platter can also be served as a wrap. Platters come with a mini Greek salad, brown rice, hummus, and pita bread.
If Greek isn’t your thing, try one of Aplos variety of pizzas, including Artichoke, Shrimp Bianca, and Italian Sausage.
Beagle Bagel Cafe
We go to Beagle Bagel Cafe for the scrumptious scratch-made bagels and flavored cream cheese, but you’ll also find sandwiches, paninis, pastries, and dessert bars.
For lunch, try the famous chicken salad, but the tuna salad and pimento cheese can give it a run for its money. Yum, on all accounts. The quiche, pictured below, is quite tasty and equivalent to 1/4 of the whole quiche, at a fair price.
There are two Beagle Bagel Cafes, but the one at Highland Village is our favorite. Look at how gorgeous the outdoor seating area is, shown below.
>>>>>>>Also, check out the Best Places to eat in Flowood, for more suggestions.
BRAVO! Italian Restaurant and Bar
BRAVO is an award-winning Italian restaurant with an extensive wine list. They offer seasonal cocktails and signature dishes, as well as a gluten sensitive menu. The Classic Fettuccine Alfredo is sheer perfection, rich and creamy with the best alfredo sauce you’ve ever had.
For those not craving pasta, BRAVO offers fresh seafood dishes like succulent crab cakes and tender, juicy New York Strip steaks that will awaken your taste buds.
Another Fondren gem is Brent’s Drugs, a cool, retro diner with handmade milkshakes, burgers, and fries.
In case you think Brent’s Drugs looks familiar, the restaurant was featured in The Help movie. It is the perfect place to bring the whole family and sit in a retro blue and white booth, or enjoy the view from the soda fountain counter.
Try Brent’s Cheese Soup and the Egg and Olive Salad Sandwich, an original and oh so good. Don’t miss a side of hand-cut fries to accompany them.
FYI: Brent’s Drugs is also open for breakfast, serving omelets, pancakes, and even breakfast tacos.
Broad Street Bakery
Broad Street Bakery, as the name implies, has a huge selection of pastries, bread, and desserts. Our go-to dish at Broad Street Bakery is the Southwest Turkey Wrap, with Southwest cream cheese, baby spinach, black bean salsa, and Havarti cheese.
We also find the salad and sandwich shop creations (including paninis and wraps) tempting, always delicious, and reasonably priced.
Good luck getting out of this Broad Street Bakery without buying one of the yummy made-from-scratch treats, which are so darned tasty. The King Cakes are great!
CAET, situated in Renaissance at Colony Park in Ridgeland, is renowned for offering some of the finest seafood dishes in the Jackson area. With its combination of upscale yet casual dining experience and a full bar, CAET provides an ideal destination for those seeking an impeccable seafood and oyster bar experience.
From the moment you step in, you’ll be enticed by the delectable range of shareable appetizers, including Crispy Lobster Rolls, Wood-Oven Baked Crab Fondue, Lamb Sliders, and Pimento Cheese Toast. These enticing options are just the tip of the iceberg.
One of the most alluring temptations on the menu is the Beef Carpaccio, meticulously prepared with shaved parmesan, hand-cracked pepper, truffled aioli, Fleur de Sel, and arugula. CAET’s main dishes include the classic steak frites, pan-seared gulf grouper, and the flavorsome and spicy NOLA shrimp and grits.
Operating from Tuesday through Saturday, CAET is open from 4:30 until the closing time when the vibrant energy of the crowd subsides. Allow yourself to indulge in the exquisite wine collection, available by the pour or in half and full glass options.
Head over to Campbell’s Bakery, a Fondren staple since 1962 for sweet tooth bites that are sure to please. Choose from classic petit fours, cookies, cupcakes, dessert bars, and much more in this retro-looking establishment with door-front parking.
Consider Campbell’s Bakery for your entertaining needs, too. They make lovely custom cakes.
The Char Restaurant is our favorite high-end dining option in Jackson. Spectacular food, service, and a wide range of dishes is on the menu at The Char, and trust us, it is all delicious.
I go for something hearty like the Wednesday daily special (either Meatloaf or Fried Chicken, both are excellent), while my husband, Eddie, loves the Ginger Peanut Chicken Salad, piled high with fried chicken tenders and a lip-smacking good dressing.
Another great option is The Char’s brunch. We went thinking we would have one of the mouth-watering menu items like Chicken & Waffles or Crab Cake Benedict, and all of us ended up with the Blue Plate specials. Reservations are recommended.
You’ll think you are in old Hollywood movie inside this classic eatery. It is also a perfect first-date option.
A new addition to the Belhaven neighborhood is the delicious District Donuts. This well-known sweet shop has donuts, drops, and pastries, plus a few lunch options.
Burgers, salad, fried chicken, and slider packs (2, 3, 6, or 12) are on the menu and full of all your southern favorites: pimento cheese, b&b pickles, candied jalapeños, and hot chicken, to name a few.
Donut flavors at District Donuts change daily; you can find them listed on the front window. When you find one you like, come early—they always sell out.
In addition to the large selection of coffee, tea, and sodas, District Donuts also serves Vietnamese coffee (super yum!) and fresh-squeezed lemonade.
Listed as “Relaxed venue fixing up brunch staples & local eats with a French twist, plus wine & cool cocktails”, it seems more to me like Elvie’s is a local neighborhood hangout for the folks of Belhaven. It has a cool, yet upscale vibe, and a tempting menu.
We went for breakfast, a highly anticipated event, that certainly did not disappoint. Everything from the marble tabletops to the heavy silverware, homey furnishings to the relaxing music, was carefully curated and a perfect fit.
The stack of pancakes, with fruit and nuts, was pure deliciousness, while the Eggs Cochon hit a homerun. If you aren’t familiar with this New Orleans-inspired dish, it has coffee-rubbed pork over a pile of grits with maple red eye gravy and topped with a poached egg. Sublime is the only word that springs to mind to describe it.
Iron Horse Grill
One of the coolest restaurants in Jackson, MS, also doubles as a music museum and live music venue. Iron Horse Grill, in the heart of downtown, opened in 1906 as the Armour Smokehouse. The property in itself is a city landmark.
Start your Iron Horse Grill dining experience with a guacamole trio or chile con queso with tortilla chips.
Charcoal grilled fajitas are one of the specialties, and they are tasty. Choose between wild-caught Biloxi shrimp, grilled or fried chicken, or beef tenderloin for your protein. A veggie-only option with peppers, squash, onion, and zucchini is also offered.
Iron Horse’s Shrimp and Grits (with Delta Grind grits) and Chef Pierre’s Habanero Pasta with chicken or shrimp are two other really tasty meal options.
When your meal is finished, try the dessert trio with a chocolate chip brownie, praline cheesecake, and bread pudding. Don’t miss the Mississippi Music Experience Museum upstairs.
Mississippi has quite a few tasty Greek restaurants, but Keifer’s Restaurant is in a league of its own. Please your palate with the bean and sesame hummus, served with hot sliced pita bread. The lamb & beef gyro or the feta cheese plate are two other great suggestions.
For dessert, try Keifer’s cheesecake or baklava, a delicate phyllo pastry with nuts and honey. Yummy!
If you are there on St. Patrick’s Day, order a green beer.
Local 463 Urban Kitchen, in Ridgeland, is one of our favorite Jackson-area restaurants. This eatery excels in Southern eats and has a lovely setting with warm and hospital decor.
Local 463 is at the Renaissance at Highland Colony, so there is plenty of parking. The Portobello Fries appetizer, with spicy comeback sauce, is a must, but my son-in-law is crazy about the Kung Pao Rock Shrimp.
For your main course, you can never go wrong with the Honey-Rosemary Fried Chicken with a honey-rosemary glaze. It’s one of their specialties.
I prefer the 463 Blue Plates served with two vegetables, cornbread, comeback salad, and a tea. On Fridays, you have the Veggie Option, which allows you to pick four veggies. This is Mississippi, the veggies list includes all your favorite starches, like Mac & cheese, too. Praise be!
One of Jackson’s star eateries is Lou’s Full-Serv, a stylish, rustic restaurant in historic Belhaven. Lou’s has a seasonal menu and experienced waitstaff.
For starters, try the Onion Rings, unlike any you’ve ever had. I’m not sure where the sweetness comes from, but they are worthy of licking your fingers afterward, and the container that the smoked tomato remoulade came in.
For the main meal, the Chicken BLT, a new addition to the already great menu, is filling and tasty, with Swiss cheese, peppercorn dressing, and creamy Romesco. You also get one side dish of your choosing.
I went with a Caesar salad and it was amazing! And you can’t ever go wrong with Friday’s Shrimp & Crawfish Étouffée. Tuesday through Friday that include a lunch-sized meal, tea, salad, and bread for $12. Lou’s has a quaint bar area and cute patio, too.
Save room for dessert: they will put a little hurt on your wallet, but are sinfully delicious and made with the finest quality ingredients.
Located on N State Street in the Belhaven neighborhood of Jackson, this chic restaurant adorned with rustic decor is catered around Mediterranean-inspired cuisine with a Southern flair.
Your dining experience at The Manship Woodfired Kitchen begins with complimentary bread and spicy oil that is so good.
Try the Smoked Tuna Melt, a simple but elevated classic with provolone cheese, red onion, arugula, and a lemon vinaigrette dressing. Or, go for the best steak in Jackson, topped with a fantastic garlic butter.
On our last visit, we discovered the NOLA BBQ Shrimp, which was out of this world! The Manship also has a Prohibition Era cocktail menu and insists on using local and fresh ingredients. Come for the Sunday brunch and have a Waffle Flight, Brisket Benedict, or try the small plates.
Mugshots offers a delightful dining experience that will surely leave you impressed. Renowned for their scrumptious burgers, refreshing salads, flavorful sandwiches, and an impressive selection of cold beer, this laid-back eatery has gained recognition as the Best Burger in Mississippi.
Their menu boasts a variety of original and specialty burgers that will leave you spoilt for choice. Among them, the Gamble stands out as a crowd favorite, featuring layers of chili, house-made Rotel, sour cream, jalapeños, and crisp lettuce. While it may get a bit messy, the taste is absolutely worth it!
For those who prefer a sampler experience, the Mombo Combo appetizer offers three smaller portions of the most popular picks. Indulge in delectable treats like blankenshrooms, dill pickle chips, chicken tenders, cheese wedges, eggrolls, and nachos.
Pig & Pint
Our favorite and the best barbecue joint in Jackson is Pig and Pint, another Fondren area eatery offering both indoor and outdoor picnic table seating. The brisket, pulled pork, and smoked chicken are all delicious, but try it as Nachos for a unique dish that is extremely tasty.
Pig and Pint has excellent side items including collard greens, Comeback Cole slaw, potato salad, and Southern baked beans. Use one (or all) of the tangy bbq sauces for your smoked meats: Alabama White, Mississippi Sweet, and Carolina Mustard.
Don’t miss the Banana Pudding. It is creamy and perfectly satisfying.
When I visit Jackson, Mississippi, chances are I’m going dine in or bring home a meal from Rooster’s. It is one of the local restaurants that I cannot miss.
One taste of Rooster’s thinly-pounded and perfectly cooked chicken cutlets and I was hooked. The dish I’m most fond of is the Mushroom Chicken Cutlet, but the tomato option is a close second, with Creole tomato gravy.
You can choose one or two sides with most meals. Rooster’s green beans and coleslaw are always perfect accompaniments in my book, but the cheese grits and red beans & rice are two other tasty choices.
There are definitely no wrong choices on this fantastic menu. Hooray, they are opening a second location in Flowood.
Sal & Mookie’s New York Pizza and Ice Cream Joint
Serving New York Pizza, with an ice cream parlor in the back, Sal & Mookie’s is a double good idea for dining. It has been named “Best Restaurant for Families” for years running by Parents & Kids Magazine.
At Sal & Mookie’s has three locations: in the District at Eastover (the one we eat at), Madison, and in Biloxi. Here, you can enjoy a delicious dinner followed by an arsenal of dessert choices, including banana splits, malts, ice cream sundaes, or floats.
We love the plain cheese pizza, but the West End Muffuletta with sweet potato fries is mmm, mmm, good, too. Then you can’t miss the pasta dishes, which may be our favorite in all of Jackson. Whatever you get, know that the large portions are hearty.
Fun Fact: Sal & Mookie’s has quite a catering business, so keep them in mind for your special occasions.
Saltine Restaurant is renowned as Jackson’s premier oyster bar and seafood restaurant, offering a captivating menu filled with delectable options, including mouthwatering char-grilled oysters and expertly crafted cocktails. The culinary experience at Saltine is truly exceptional, complemented by a comfortable, contemporary, and chic interior.
During your visit to the south, kick off your dining experience with Saltine’s Skillet Cornbread, perfectly served with jalapeños and green onions. For an additional indulgence, consider adding bacon. The Shrimp & Lobster Spring Rolls are also highly recommended, promising a delightful fusion of flavors.
Among the many stellar main dishes, the low-country boil, blackened Gulf shrimp po’ boy, and crawfish fries stand out as our favorites.
For oyster enthusiasts, Saltine is a must-visit destination. If you’re new to oysters, we suggest trying the half dozen sampler of wood-fired (char-grilled) ones, prepared in a scorching 600+ degree oven. This enticing sampler features the irresistible flavors of Lafitte (bacon, parmesan, hot sauce butter), Bama BBQ, and citrus butter (shallots and garlic).
Each and every oyster is a true feast for the senses, worth savoring to the very last bite.
Shapley’s, one of the premier steakhouses in the Jackson area, is nestled in an off-the-beaten-path location in Ridgeland. Having opened its doors in 1985, Shapley’s has become the top choice for locals looking to celebrate a special occasion, enjoy a date night, or simply unwind on the weekend.
The menu boasts an array of prime beef cuts, delectable seafood options, and classic steakhouse dishes, complemented by an extensive selection of wines. Among the appetizers, the highlights include fried crab claws, papa’s hot tamales, and the tantalizing tuna tower. For those seeking lighter fare, the wedge or Caesar salads and jumbo shrimp cocktail are excellent choices.
Meanwhile, the stuffed shrimp with beurre blanc sauce stands out as a personal favorite, though meat lovers will find satisfaction in Shapley’s New York strip, cowboy ribeye, and porterhouse offerings.
Walk-On’s Sports Bistreaux
Walk-On’s is a prominent establishment in the Ridgeland area, making its mark throughout Mississippi with its vibrant ambiance, extensive menu, and enjoyable atmosphere. This regional chain offers an array of amenities such as numerous TVs for watching sporting events, adult action arcade-style games, and a variety of refreshing tap beers.
Begin your dining experience with the delectable fried pickle chips or the ever-popular boudin balls. While the buffalo chicken sandwich stood out during our lunch visit, the grown-up grilled cheese, featuring a blend of four cheeses and crispy bacon, proved to be a touchdown, as well.
Tempting, Tasty Jackson
I get so excited on my many visits to Mississippi because I know I will have memorable meals waiting for me in the greater Jackson area. My next visit will include stops at Walker’s Drive-In, 1908 Provisions, and Bully’s. What else should I try?
Melody Pittman and Taylor Pittman Hardy wrote this article.
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