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November 24, 2020
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Oyster special at White Pillars
Food & Dining

5 Fine-Dining Coastal Restaurants You Need to Try

I have been writing about food in the Deep South for more than ten years, and the one question I get more often than not is what’s your favorite restaurant. My reply is always the same, it would not be fair to compare a taco place to a fine dining restaurant, so I can list my favorite places, but it would be by category.

Here is a bit of a disclaimer, I haven’t been to every restaurant in south Mississippi, and I would bet good money that there are some very good ones out there I have never heard of. So, this is a list of the fine dining restaurants that I have been to more than once, they are all restaurants that have maintained standards over time, and all places that would not hesitate to suggest to friends. I’ll get to other categories another time.

None of these restaurants are inside casinos. It is a bit unfair to compare a privately owned restaurant, to one owned by a big corporation that has assets the smaller places could only dream of. I will do my casino list another time as well.

I would have to start with the two restaurants on the Coast that are owned by James Beard-nominated chefs, Vestige in Ocean Springs, and White Pillars in Biloxi. Both have amazingly high standards, are creative and inventive on a scale that is hard to believe, and I have never been disappointed in any way in either. Both source ingredients locally and use only the highest quality foods. Vestige calls itself Modern American, with a fair amount of Japanese influence. White Pillars probably falls into the Modern American category as well, but with Creole and Cajun influences.

Next would be Fields Steak and Oyster Bar in Bay St Louis. The chef de cuisine there is Lauren Joffrion, who you might have met at Stalla at the Beau, or as the pastry chef for Chef David Dickensaug at his now-closed C&C Italian Bistro. This up and coming chef is absolutely on fire. Expect some amazing pairings, great attention to detail, and beautiful plating. The last time I was there I had a crab cake that was sublime.

Tomato and okra salad at Vestige
Tomato and okra salad at Vestige

The Chimneys would also fall into this category. They have been serving classic coastal style food and fresh seafood for twenty years. Expect and a very pleasant atmosphere and great service. You will love what they do with trout meuniere’ almandine, crabmeat Chimneys, and lemon beurre’ blanc chicken, to name just a few of their great dishes.

Shrimp and grits at Fields
Shrimp and grits at Fields

The last place I would include is the Jourdan River Steamer. It is a seafood place and has great steaks too, but the seafood really is exceptional. You won’t find any fried seafood here, just steamed and it is prepared and steamed to perfection. Try their royal reds, king or snow crab, or one of the platters. There is an abundance of food, that is carefully attended to and absolutely delicious.

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