In years past, the Flyer's amateur barbecue judges have picked the Bar-B-Q Shop in Midtown as having the best ribs and pulled-pork sandwich in town. The key to its dominance was the judges' universal love for the restaurant's distinctive Dancing Pigs sauce. In addition, the Bar-B-Q Shop offers its sandwiches on a traditional bun or lightly toasted Texas toast.
1782 Madison • 272-1277 • dancingpigs.com
The menu at Bardog offers classic pub fare with fresh ingredients and Italian influences. The sliders are excellent, and the shoestring fries are not to be missed.
73 Monroe • 275-8752 • bardogtavern.com
For a tasty kick in the pants, go for Bhan Thai's Spicy Old Man, a mix of eggplant, bell peppers, onions, basil, and a secret sauce. It's a dish — on a menu with many excellent dishes — that turns casual diners into obsessives.
1324 Peabody • 272-1538 • bhanthairestaurant.com
An Italian eatery with a dash of Greek. The menu features a generous selection of pasta dishes, including Ziti Constantino, and a fine collection of pizzas, including the Gran Torino (with meatballs!). Greek offerings include Nick's souvlakia and spanakopitakia.
565 Erin Dr. • 205-2500 • ciaobellamemphis.com
Serving contemporary American cuisine with French influences, the menu includes crawfish beignets and seared foie gras as starters and sorghum-cured rack of lamb and sesame-crusted ahi tuna as entrées. Now offering Sunday brunch, 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
6150 Poplar • 746-9130 • circamemphis.com
A neighborhood restaurant with lots of charm serving home cooking and traditional Italian dishes. The toasted ravioli is much-loved, but the tamales run a close second.
645 N. McLean • 278-9127 • dinosgrill.com
Downtown's self-serve frozen yogurt shop where you can get as creative as you want: Top your birthday cake yogurt with crushed snickers? Of course. Go with a 50/50 ratio of mango sorbet with slices of fresh mango? Your prerogative. Take your root-beer float yogurt straight-up? Stay classy. You get the picture.
94 S. Main • 343-0685 • yourdreamberry.com
Ferraro's Pizzeria & Pub
Located in the former High Point Pinch, Ferraro's Pizzeria and Pub is the latest downtown eatery serving pizza (by the pie and the slice). The pub offers an amazing assortment of toppings, including roasted vegetables, eggplant, goat cheese, and gouda, along with stromboli (the house specialty), fresh salads, soups (tortellini!), and pastas.
111 Jackson • 522-2033 • ferraros-memphis.com
Fleming's Fine Steakhouse and Wine Bar
Fleming's offers a meaty menu in the best sense with tenderloin carpaccio as an appetizer and a fine peppercorn steak, as well as New Zealand lamb chops. Fleming's also has a top-notch wine list.
6245 Poplar • 761-6200 • flemingssteakhouse.com
This downtown restaurant specializes in "flights," a trio of small portions plated or poured for sampling. The term typically applies to samplings of wine, but at Flight, combinations also are offered for salads, soups, entrées, and desserts. Here's a description of the seafood flight: seared sea scallops served with black-bean ginger sauce and basmati rice, Maine lobster with shrimp risotto, lemon beurre blanc, and asparagus, and Gulf shrimp with andouille sausage, spicy beurre blanc, roasted garlic grits, and five-pepper jelly.
39 S. Main • 521-8005 • flightmemphis.com
The Flying Fish concept centers around a relaxed, lake-house-like atmosphere and simple, hearty fare. The main selections are fresh catfish, shrimp, and oysters and a specialty selection of salmon, trout, or tilapia. (One sure bet: the fish tacos.) The restaurant also features a "Billy Bass Adoption Wall," where any customer who donates a Billy Bass will receive a free basket of catfish.
105 S. Second • 522-8228 • flyingfishinthe.net/memphis
Folk's Folly Prime Steak House
The most beautiful words in the English language are "a filet mignon, piped with seasoned mushroom purée, wrapped in applewood-smoked bacon, and smothered with sautéed garlic mushrooms." You'll find them on the Prime Cuts menu at Folk's Folly.
551 S. Mendenhall • 762-8200 • folksfolly.com
The Green Beetle
The Green Beetle returns. The menu, traditional Italian food with a Southern flair, will stay small for now and features a 12-layer lasagna (a recipe passed down for four generations) and the Big Frank Burger with two beef patties topped with bacon.
325 S. Main • 527-7337
"We know how to do Mexican," says Happy Mexican owner Larry Gonzalez. He singles out the restaurant's popular "Happy Grande" burrito: steak, chicken, shrimp, grilled onions, bell peppers, tomatoes, rice, beans, pico de gallo, lettuce, and sour cream rolled inside a flour tortilla and covered with cheese, ranchero, and tomatillo sauce.
385 S. Second • 529-9991
6080 Primacy Pkwy. • 683-0000
2760 N. Germantown Pkwy. • 382-3202
7935 Winchester • 751-5353 • happymexican.com
A perennial favorite on the Flyer's "Best of" ballot, this colorful Midtown restaurant packs 'em in for zesty curries and tender tandoori and such flavorful off-the-menu favorites as buttery chicken tikka masala, lamb saag, spicy vegetable dishes, and other Indian specialties. Plus, India Palace serves a quick and tasty lunch buffet.
1720 Poplar • 278-1199 • indiapalaceinc.com
Jack Pirtle's Fried Chicken
Established in 1957 by Jack Pirtle, the restaurant chain still bears his name. These days, the chain includes seven locations and an extensive chicken menu that includes wings, tenders, and dinner boxes with biscuits, gravy, and veggie side. Another menu item not to miss: Jack Pirtle's chili slaw dog.
Multiple Memphis locations • jackpirtleschicken.com
Just for Lunch
For a civilized lunch, try a grilled oyster, pimento cheese, or egg and olive sandwich, along with salads, quiches, or a vegetable plate.
3092 Poplar • 323-3287
Mary's German Restaurant
Serving traditional German food, from schnitzel to bratwurst. Schnitzel, of course, is breaded, pan-fried veal (or a pork loin in some cases), and Mary's serves it a variety of ways: Paprikaschnitzel, with creamy paprika gravy; Jägerschnitzel (or Hunter's Schnitzel), with mushroom gravy; Zwiebelschnitzel, with fried onions; Holsteiner Schnitzel, with two pan-fried eggs.
2140 W. Poplar (Collierville) • 853-6527 • marysgermanrestaurant.com
McEwen's on Monroe
Southern-influenced American entrées include sweet-potato-encrusted catfish with macaroni and cheese, picatta-style scallops with cheddar cheese grits, and grilled beef tenderloin. There's also an excellent "Small Plates/Big Taste" menu (saffron lobster risotto!), and the banana cream pie is worth the trip alone.
122 Monroe • 527-7085 • mcewensonmonroe.com
Memphis Pizza Cafe
A longtime winner in the Flyer's Best of Memphis poll, the Memphis Pizza Cafe offers an extensive menus of pizzas, sandwiches, and calzones. Folks swear by the Cajun Chicken Supreme, but for something different, go for the sauceless Alternative.
Multiple locations • memphispizzacafe.com
How's the Triple Decker Diet Wrecker sound? Perhaps you're more in the mood for the Old Fashion Reuben. If it's a sandwich you want, surely one of the many offered at Miss Cordelia's will fit the bill. And while you wait for your order to be ready, you can take care of some grocery shopping at the market.
737 Harbor Bend • 526-4772 • misscordelias.com
Molly's La Casita
Long a Midtown mainstay, this Mexican restaurant hosts a boisterous happy hour and serves up some fine Tex-Mex grub, including the brilliant Mr. Bruce's nachos.
2006 Madison • 726-1873 • mollyslacasita.com
"A taste of the Mediterranean" with dishes such as moussaka, chicken souvlaki kabobs, and dolmades. One can't-miss option is the Petra Sampler with spanikopita, hummus, tabbouleh, baba ghanoush, gyro meat, feta cheese, and calamata olives.
1649 N. Germantown Pkwy. • 754-6650
6641 Poplar • 754-4440 • petracafe.com
Grab your tray and get to picking from an array of meat dishes, soups, salads, baked goods, and desserts.
Multiple locations • piccadilly.com
Boasting "the freshest authentic Mexican food north of the border." Rancho Grande features whole-fish dishes, shrimp tostadas, tamales, fried ice cream for dessert, and more.
5359 Winchester • 547-7885
Russo's New York Pizzeria
Russo's serves up giant, New York-style pizza — by the slice or the pie. The crust is chewy, dense, and a little crispy, so it's perfect for any displaced Manhattanites or Brooklyners roaming around Memphis. But even if you don't know a thing about New York-style pizza, you'll appreciate the right balance of sauce and cheese and the way that, as you take your first bites, an expanse of never-ending pizza seems to span out before you.
9087 Poplar in Germantown • 755-0092 • nypizzeria.com
Sea Bistro & Sushi Bar
There's already buzz about this new sushi bar and bistro in Cordova in the former site of Bangkok Alley. The menu features a large selection of sushi rolls, tempura rolls, noodle and soup dishes, fried rice, and more.
830 N. Germantown Pkwy. (Cordova) • 309-6528 • seabistromemphis.com
Bring your appetite. This restaurant features an extensive menu of Thai dishes, including Pla Dook, deep-fried catfish served with mixed vegetables and chili sauce, and Seafood Pik Pow, a shrimp, scallops, and mussels stir-fry. What's more: They recently began serving sushi.
1250 N. Germantown Pkwy. (Cordova) • 755-6955
149 Madison • 343-0303 • thaibistromemphis.com
Wang's Downtown China Bistro
Chinese cravings get satisfied at this downtown restaurant. Dishes include a spicy eggplant with garlic sauce, shrimp and beef lo mein, General Tso's Chicken, and a selection of healthy options.
113 S. Main • 523-2065 • wangsdowntown.com