southern food restaurants

Best 20 Southern Food Restaurants in 2023

Hey there, fellow food enthusiasts! If you’re anything like me, your taste buds are always on the hunt for the most scrumptious Southern delights! I’m JL Surjan, your friendly neighborhood blogger, and I’ve got some exciting news for you. Today, I’m about to unveil the ultimate list of the top 20 Southern food restaurants in 2023, and believe me, it’s a collection that’ll have you salivating in anticipation.

Now, let me take you on a journey through the soul-soothing flavors of the South. Picture this – tender, smoky barbecue, the rich aroma of freshly brewed coffee, and the smooth and warming touch of bourbon. As someone who adores everything BBQ, coffee, and bourbon, I’ve spent countless hours exploring the culinary wonders of the Southern states, from Texas to Tennessee and everywhere in between.

I know how challenging it can be to find the perfect spot to satiate your cravings for authentic Southern cuisine. It’s not just about the food; it’s about the whole experience, the ambiance, the warmth, and the love poured into every dish. But fear not! I’ve done the legwork for you and scoured every nook and cranny to unearth the finest establishments that serve up the essence of the South on a platter. Whether you’re a foodie, a BBQ connoisseur, a coffee aficionado, or a bourbon lover, this list is a treasure trove you won’t want to miss.

So, dear readers, I implore you to grab a seat, buckle up, and get ready to embark on a gustatory adventure like no other. From hidden gems tucked away in charming little towns to well-known hotspots in bustling cities, each restaurant on this list has been carefully chosen based on personal experiences, in-depth research, and the heartwarming stories that make them truly exceptional.

Now, without further ado, let’s delve into the top 20 Southern food restaurants in 2023, where you’ll discover the flavors that define the South’s rich culinary heritage. Prepare to indulge your senses, tantalize your taste buds, and savor every moment as we explore the best of the best, Southern style! So, without any more delays, let’s get started on this finger-licking journey together, shall we? Y’all are in for a treat!

What Are the Best Southern Food Restaurants?

When it comes to the best “Southern Food Restaurants,” you’ll find a diverse array of culinary delights that celebrate the rich traditions and flavors of the Southern United States. These establishments offer a captivating blend of iconic BBQ joints, serving up tender, smoky meats that are a testament to time-honored techniques and regional styles. Alongside the BBQ, you’ll discover soulful Southern classics like fried chicken, collard greens, and creamy grits, providing a taste of comfort and nostalgia. Many of these restaurants prioritize using fresh, locally sourced ingredients, embracing the farm-to-table movement to create dishes that are not only delicious but also support nearby farmers and artisans.

Additionally, “Southern Food Restaurants” come in a variety of settings, from cozy family-style eateries fostering togetherness, to charming diners and iconic landmarks that hold a special place in the hearts of locals and visitors alike. Some restaurants even offer innovative fusion dishes, blending traditional Southern recipes with modern twists to surprise and delight your taste buds. To find the best options, seeking out reviews and recommendations from food enthusiasts and locals can be a valuable guide in selecting the perfect spot for your culinary adventure. Ultimately, exploring the world of Southern food restaurants promises to be a journey of indulgence, warmth, and connection, offering a delightful experience for anyone with a passion for delectable cuisine and heartwarming stories.

Alligator Soul

Savannah, Georgia

 Nestled in Savannah’s historic downtown, Alligator Soul is renowned for its inventive spin on Southern classics. The locally-sourced menu is filled with dishes that are a testament to Savannah’s coastal location. Gator and Grits, their signature, offers a fusion of the exotic with traditional Southern grits, providing an unforgettable gastronomic experience.

346605205 556588433063806 4153176269616635689 n
Credits to Alligator Soul’s instagram: alligatorsoul

State of Grace

Houston, Texas

State of Grace is a nod to the Texas of yesteryears, blending the state’s rustic charm with a refined palate. The restaurant’s standout, the “H-Town Hot Fried Chicken,” elevates the classic Southern fried chicken with a Texas kick, making it a dish that lingers in your memory long after the last bite.

343126837 642172721069232 7860701276541303386 n
Credits to State of Grace’s Instagram: stateofgracetx

Preserved Restaurant

St. Augustine, Florida

 Offering Southern cuisine with a twist, Preserved Restaurant combines a Farm-to-Fork ethos with the timeless appeal of a historical setting. The elegant ambiance provides the perfect backdrop to their Shrimp and Okra Hushpuppies, served with green tomato chow chow and pimento cheese.

336521670 894336941803673 315077407861751362 n
Credits to Preserved’s Instagram: preservedrestaurant

Merrick Inn

Lexington, Kentucky

Merrick Inn brings together sophistication and Southern cuisine, creating an inviting space for those seeking a high-class dining experience. The Kentucky Hot Brown, a local specialty, is served with flair here, showcasing why this restaurant is a beacon of Southern charm in Lexington.

338575774 6182612001789960 1398329206462157120 n
Credits to Merrick Inn’s Instagram: themerrickinn

The King’s Kitchen

Charlotte, North Carolina

More than just a restaurant, The King’s Kitchen operates on a mission to serve both the stomach and the soul. Their Shrimp and Grits plate isn’t merely a dish; it’s a slice of Southern tradition, perfectly prepared and served with heart.

310010938 524862739640686 4073910011297327523 n
Credits to The KIng’s Kichen’s Instagram: thekingskitchenclt


Auburn, Alabama

 Acre exemplifies the modern South, offering a menu that skilfully marries Southern comfort with contemporary innovation. Their Alabama Gulf Shrimp served with sweet corn, field peas, and smoked ham, captures the essence of Alabama’s rich culinary.

326788541 821081976352726 2538996203380471523 n
Credits to Acre’s Instagram: acrerestaurant

Kitchen Notes

Omni Nashville – Nashville, Tennessee

 Offering a modern take on classic Southern cuisine, Kitchen Notes delivers an experience that’s steeped in nostalgia. The Nashville Hot Chicken Biscuit is the star, showcasing the restaurant’s dedication to honoring Nashville’s culinary traditions while pushing its boundaries.

80026683 1451307631691778 7443522097445339136 n
Credits to Kitchen Notes Instagram: kitchennotesnashville


San Antonio, Texas

Cured brings new life to old food preservation techniques in a setting that’s both trendy and comforting. Their Bourbon-Glazed Quail, served with a pepper jelly glaze, represents the best of Southern cuisine, presenting familiar flavors in a delightfully unexpected.

321431027 3266559773596353 615849039130697355 n
Credits to Cured at Pearl’s Instagram: curedatpearl


Austin, Texas

Fixe is a celebration of the South’s culinary roots, offering a menu that seamlessly blends tradition and innovation. Their Sunday Supper, a heartwarming ensemble of biscuits and gravy, evokes childhood memories of family dinners, reminding us why Southern cuisine feels like home.

150775169 3919995841355582 2661765453290293438 n
Credits to Fixe Instagram: fixesouthernhouse


Highlands, North Carolina

Madison’s is a culinary retreat in the heart of the North Carolina mountains, offering rustic elegance alongside hearty southern dishes. The Highlands Rainbow Trout, fresh and beautifully cooked, makes for an exquisite gastronomic exploration of the region’s natural offerings.

345850541 903614974081823 2674820155791456581 n
Credits to Madison’s Insatgram: oldedwardsinn

Mozelle’s Fresh Southern Bistro

Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Mozelle’s delivers Southern cuisine with a gourmet spin. Their Fried Chicken Plate served with mashed potatoes and succotash, is a testament to their commitment to transforming grandma’s recipes into culinary masterpieces.

253513345 10165663956760545 4135835152443967757 n
Credits to Mozelle’s Instagram: mozelles

Restaurant R’evolution

New Orleans, Louisiana

As a testament to New Orleans’ rich cultural heritage, Restaurant R’evolution blends Cajun and Creole traditions with Southern charm. The standout is their Death by Gumbo, where quail is served with andouille sausage and oysters, proving that, here, gumbo is not just a dish but an art form.

68241715 2843692035648043 4033160615215235072 n
Credits to Restaurant R’evolution’s Instagram: restaurantrevolution_nola


Buffalo, New York

Despite its Northern location, Toutant serves Southern cuisine that’s true to its roots. Their Smoked Brisket, succulent and packed with flavor, shows that you don’t have to be in the South to taste authentic Southern barbecue.

293957483 5911792528835781 8952839803879558041 n
Credits to Toutant’s Instagram: toutantbuffalo

The Olde Pink House Restaurant

Savannah, Georgia

Located in an 18th-century mansion, The Olde Pink House offers a truly historic dining experience. The Southern Sushi, a creative combination of smoked shrimp and grits rolled in coconut-crusted Nori, showcases the restaurant’s innovative approach to classic Southern dishes.

326869286 515954440605979 6292532434557185192 n
Credits to The Olde Pink House Instagram: theoldepinkhouse


Raleigh, North Carolina

Mandolin uses farm-fresh ingredients to create a menu that’s both innovative and true to its Southern roots. The NC Shrimp and Grits, served with a bacon emulsion, exemplifies the restaurant’s commitment to reinventing Southern classics.

338178785 918980889528547 6879007823382220753 n
Credits to Mandolin’s Instagram: mandolinraleigh

Dogwood Southern Table & Bar

Charlotte, North Carolina

Dogwood provides a unique blend of modern elegance and Southern comfort food. The Low Country Shrimp Boil is a celebration of the Carolinas’ coastal heritage, featuring locally-sourced shrimp, house-made andouille, corn, and potatoes.

333041383 8849217995151190 7124949106531164163 n
Credits to Dogwood’s Instagram: dogwoodclt

Ida Claire

Addison, Texas

 Ida Claire is a Southern belle with a quirky charm. The Chicken and Waffles, served with jalapeno strawberry jam and bourbon maple syrup, offers a perfect balance of sweet, spicy, and savory, embodying the restaurant’s flair for playful Southern cuisine.

349163871 1007657350616185 3102418521018019600 n

Credits to Ida Claire’s Instagram: idasouthofordinary

Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room

Savannah, Georgia

Mrs. Wilkes offers an intimate, family-style dining experience that embodies the tradition of Southern hospitality. The Meatloaf, perfectly cooked and seasoned, reminds us that sometimes, the simplest dishes are the ones that touch our hearts the most.

343080750 663011382300063 3987089365391561507 n
Credits to Mrs. Wilke’s Facebook Page: Mrs. Wilkes’ Dining Room

Tupelo Honey

Asheville, North Carolina

Tupelo Honey brings the spirit of the Appalachian region to the forefront. Their Sweet Potato Pancakes, served with pecans and peach butter, are a vibrant, flavorful testament to the restaurant’s commitment to modern Southern comfort food.

334244898 237238481976808 6346044090920623254 n
Credits to Tupelo Honey’s Instagram: tupelohoneycafe

Bourbon Raw

Louisville, Kentucky

 Bourbon Raw perfectly marries Southern dishes with the rich tradition of bourbon. The Bourbon Glazed Salmon, served with maple roasted vegetables, offers a harmonious blend of sweet and savory flavors, showing that in the South, bourbon is not just a drink but a way of life.

83764568 2493057617483349 3244746473849487360 n
Credits to Bourbon Raw’s Instagram: bourbonrawlouisville

Central BBQ

Memphis, Tennessee

Central BBQ is a mecca for barbecue aficionados. Their Memphis-style ribs, smoky and tender, are a must-try. Slow-smoked in a pit and served with a tangy, sweet sauce, these ribs embody Memphis’s proud barbecue tradition.

313264464 1082281635811536 8057232673417988124 n
Credits to Central BBQ’s Instagram: centralbbq

Weidmann‘s Restaurant

Meridian, Mississippi

Since 1870, Weidmann’s has been a stalwart of Southern hospitality and culinary tradition. Their Blackened Catfish, a delicacy served with their signature rémoulade sauce, is the epitome of Southern comfort food. The flavors meld together in a symphony, exemplifying the culinary heritage of Mississippi.

327184904 566358398703485 4712031633198050353 n
Credits to Weidmann’s Instagram: weidmanns1870

Franklin Barbecue

Austin, Texas

 No list of Southern cuisine would be complete without Franklin Barbecue. The sheer dedication to the craft of barbecue is evident in their renowned Brisket. Smoked for hours until it achieves the perfect balance of tenderness and flavor, this Brisket is often cited as the best in America.

341550348 2293593230813672 8871822467353814140 n
Credits to Franklin Barbecue’s Instagram: franklinbbq

What Is a Southern Food Restaurant?

When we talk about “Southern food restaurants,” we’re delving into the heart and soul of American cuisine, deeply rooted in the traditions of the Southern United States. These restaurants offer a tantalizing array of dishes that reflect the region’s rich cultural history and diverse influences. From mouthwatering barbecues and finger-licking fried chicken to soulful collard greens and creamy grits, Southern food restaurants are a celebration of flavors that have stood the test of time.

Beyond the delectable dishes, these eateries provide a warm and welcoming atmosphere that embodies Southern hospitality. It’s not just about the food; it’s the entire experience that draws people in. Each restaurant has its unique story to tell, passed down through generations, and many of them continue to use age-old recipes that have been perfected over time. Whether you’re a seasoned local or a curious traveler, stepping into a Southern food restaurant is like stepping into a cherished piece of history, where you can taste the love and dedication that goes into every bite.

So, if you’re a passionate foodie, an adventurer seeking new culinary experiences, or simply a lover of comfort food done right, exploring the world of Southern food restaurants is a journey you won’t want to miss. Get ready to immerse yourself in flavors that dance on your palate and stories that resonate with your soul. These establishments are more than just places to eat; they are living emblems of the South’s heartwarming culinary heritage.

How Can a Southern Food Restaurant Make My Life Better?

Embracing the world of Southern food restaurants can truly enhance your life in more ways than one. These culinary havens not only serve up delicious meals but also offer a host of experiences that can leave a lasting impact on your well-being and sense of community.

First and foremost, indulging in the flavors of Southern cuisine can be a soul-satisfying experience. The comfort and warmth of dishes like slow-cooked barbecues and creamy macaroni and cheese can provide a sense of nostalgia and happiness that soothes the spirit. The joy of savoring each mouthful of perfectly seasoned fried chicken or a slice of pecan pie can uplift your mood and create cherished memories.

Additionally, dining at Southern food restaurants can foster a sense of togetherness and connection. Many of these establishments prioritize family-style dining, where loved ones gather around the table to share hearty meals and laughter. Whether you’re dining with friends or making new acquaintances, these restaurants offer an opportunity to bond and build relationships over a shared love for good food and great company.

Moreover, Southern food restaurants often champion local and regional produce, supporting nearby farmers and artisans. By choosing these eateries, you contribute to the sustainable food movement and the preservation of Southern culinary traditions. So, not only do you get to enjoy delectable dishes, but you also become part of a larger effort to promote community-driven businesses and celebrate the unique flavors of the South.

In conclusion, exploring Southern food restaurants can bring joy, connection, and a sense of belonging into your life. It’s not just about the food on the plate; it’s about the stories behind each dish, the traditions woven into every recipe, and the warmth exuded by these welcoming establishments. So, Try ’em and discover how “Southern Food Restaurants” can enrich your life and leave you with a satisfied heart and a happy stomach.


In conclusion, we’ve delved into the world of “Southern Food Restaurants” and uncovered the essence of this beloved culinary landscape. From the attention-grabbing list of the top 20 Southern food restaurants in 2023 to understanding how these establishments can make your life better, we’ve explored the mouthwatering delights, heartwarming experiences, and cherished traditions that define Southern cuisine.

As a passionate blogger who shares my love for BBQ, coffee, and bourbon, I can guarantee you that my recommendations are crafted with a discerning palate and a deep appreciation for the Southern culinary heritage. Having personally experienced the joy and camaraderie found in these establishments, I am excited to share my knowledge and discoveries with you.

So, if you’re seeking to embark on a gastronomic adventure filled with delectable flavors, heartwarming stories, and a sense of belonging, I invited you to trust in my expertise and join me on this journey through the best Southern food restaurants. Together, We uncovered the hidden gems and iconic eateries that showcase the true spirit of the South’s remarkable culinary traditions. Get ready to savor the most exceptional dishes, connect with like-minded food enthusiasts, and create memories that will last a lifetime. Cheers to indulging in the soulful flavors of the South!

Frequently Asked Questions about Southern Food Restaurants:

Q1. What are Southern food restaurants known for?
A: Southern food restaurants are renowned for serving up a delectable array of dishes rooted in the region’s rich culinary heritage, including iconic BBQ, fried chicken, collard greens, and creamy grits.

Q2. Are Southern food restaurants family-friendly?
A: Yes, many Southern food restaurants prioritize family-style dining, providing a warm and welcoming atmosphere that encourages gatherings and shared meals.

Q3. Do Southern food restaurants cater to dietary preferences?
A: Absolutely! You can find a variety of options in Southern food restaurants, including vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free dishes to cater to different dietary preferences.

Q4. Are there any famous landmarks among Southern food restaurants?
A: Certainly! Some Southern food landmarks, often cherished by locals, offer iconic dishes and storied histories that make them must-visit destinations for food enthusiasts.

Q5. How do Southern food restaurants incorporate farm-to-table practices?
A: Many Southern food restaurants emphasize using fresh, locally sourced ingredients to create their dishes, supporting nearby farmers and artisans and promoting sustainable dining practices.

Q6. What types of fusion dishes can be found in Southern food restaurants?
A: Southern food restaurants often showcase creative fusion dishes, blending traditional Southern recipes with contemporary influences, offering innovative and delightful culinary experiences.

Q7. Which Southern food restaurants offer the best BBQ?
A: The list of the top 20 Southern food restaurants in 2023 will highlight the most outstanding BBQ joints, each with their unique style and mouthwatering smoky flavors.

Q8. Can I find Southern food restaurants outside the Southern United States?
A: While the heart of Southern cuisine lies in the South, you may find restaurants outside the region that specialize in Southern dishes and strive to recreate the authentic flavors.

Q9. Are reservations required at popular Southern food restaurants?
A: Reservations are often recommended, especially for well-known and sought-after Southern food restaurants, to secure your spot and avoid long wait times.

Q10. What should I expect from the ambiance of Southern food restaurants?
A: Southern food restaurants often exude a cozy and inviting ambiance, reflecting the warm hospitality and charm synonymous with the region.

Q11. Are there vegetarian-friendly options in Southern food restaurants?
A: Yes, many Southern food restaurants offer a range of vegetarian-friendly dishes, ensuring everyone can indulge in the Southern culinary experience.

Q12. Can I find healthier options at Southern food restaurants?
A: Absolutely! Some Southern food restaurants offer healthier menu choices, such as grilled meats, fresh salads, and lighter versions of classic dishes.


Disclosure: Our blog contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. However, this does not impact our reviews and comparisons. We try our best to keep things fair and balanced, in order to help you make the best choice for you.

Similar Posts


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *