One of the best parts about travelling to new places is the food. Sampling different cuisines from other parts of the world is always a tasty treat – and luckily, you don’t have to leave Mississippi to do it. There are plenty of ethnic eateries in the Magnolia State where you can get your fill of great food
and culture; here are 11 of our favorites.
1. Saint Leo (1101 Jackson Ave. East, Oxford)
Among the impressive restaurants that fill the food centric city of Oxford, you’ll find Saint Leo. The entire restaurant is based around a wood burning oven imported straight from Italy, so you know the pizza’s good. But that’s not all the eatery has to offer. Aside from great pizza, the menu includes several other Italian dishes - all of which are made from locally sourced, quality ingredients.
2. Lillo’s (2001 Highway 82 E., Leland)
A long time favorite, Lillo’s first opened in 1948, introducing the area to authentic Italian cuisine. Since then, the menu has grown tremendously and now features steaks, seafood, and a variety of mouthwatering Italian dishes, including lots of pastas and salads topped with homemade sauces and dressings.
3. Keifer’s (710 Poplar Blvd. Jackson)
Serving downtown Jackson since 1980, Keifer’s has kept customers satisfied with an array of Greek favorites, including hummus, gyros, and the restaurant’s famous feta dressing. The dressing is so popular that it has its own fan page with followers from all over the world. But the restaurant’s specialty doesn’t end with the dressing; the pita used at Keifer’s is made solely for the eatery by a bakery in Chicago and isn't available anywhere else.
4. Best Wok (28 Market Ct., Hattiesburg)
According to customer reviews, this unassuming eatery serves some of the best Chinese food around. And with an authentically tasty fare, huge portions, and low prices, it’s easy to see why this place is a local favorite. It tends to get pretty crowded, so call and place your order ahead of time if you’re in a hurry.
5. Mary Mahoney’s (110 Rue Magnolia, Biloxi)
Known as the "Old French House," the building that houses Mary Mahoney’s was built in 1737, when the area was still a part of French territory. Today, the restaurant pays homage to its roots by putting a French twist on New Orleans cuisine. Browse the menu and you’ll find French favorites, such as escargot and seafood au gratin.
6. Cannella (1113 US-90, Bay St. Louis)
The best of both worlds, Cannella features an Italian and German fare. You’re probably wondering, "How can a restaurant offer both and be taken seriously?" However, once you learn that the eatery is owned by a husband and wife team – one of whom is German, the other Italian – it all makes sense. And if you’re still not convinced, you definitely will be once you try the food. The menu is brimming with delicious options, including an array of German sausage, pastas, and more.
7. Orchid Indian Restaurant (162 Tegarden Rd., Gulfport)
A favorite among Gulfport residents, Orchid Indian Restaurant features an authentic Indian fare that’s sure to please. The exotic dishes are packed with flavor, which most likely has something to do with the fact that the eatery imports its spices straight from India. In addition to an impressive menu, you’ll find a buffet filled with mouthwatering options.
8. Phoenicia Gourmet (1223 Government St., Ocean Springs)
With rave customer reviews and numerous awards, including "Restaurant of the Year," it should come as no surprise that Phoenicia attracts diners from as far away as New Orleans, Alabama, and Florida. The eatery focuses on Greek and Lebanese entrees – all of which are made using authentic recipes and the freshest ingredients available.
9. El Lupillo (1909 E. Pass Rd., Gulfport)
At El Lupillo, tacos are the specialty, which means the restaurant has had plenty of time to perfect them. Described as "authentic street tacos," the tasty creations are served on your choice of a corn or flour tortilla and stuffed to the brim with the meat of your choice.
10. Naru Japanese Restaurant (6585 Towne Center Xing, Southaven)
Don’t let the fact that this eatery is located in a shopping mall fool you; Naru has garnered a reputation for its amazing Japanese fare. Always fresh, the sushi has consistently received rave reviews on websites such as Yelp and Trip Advisor. In addition to sushi, the menu includes hibachi and a variety of signature entrees.
11. Sao Thai (725 N. Gloster St., Tupelo)
A true hidden gem, Sao Thai is the place to go for authentic Thai food in Tupelo. The unsuspecting eatery may not look like much on the outside but as soon as you step inside and the aroma of the flavorful fare hits you, you’ll know it’s the real deal. Look over the menu and you’ll find a variety of savory entrees, all of which are prepared with authentic spices and seasonings.
Have you visited the restaurants listed above? Know of another eatery that should’ve been included? Tell us in the comments section.
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