3 Southern Cities with the Best Southern Food

The culinary culture of the southern United States is a mixture of food traditions that encompass Cajun, Creole, Lowcountry, Appalachian, Floribbean, and Tidewater.

These cuisines take influence from many parts of the world. Louisiana’s Creole draws upon French, Western African, and Spanish cooking. Floribbean is Spanish-based with a Caribbean infusion, and Appalachia takes cues from Scottish and British foodways.

Ask a Southerner what their favorite dish is and it could be anything from friend chicken and field peas to country ham and jambalaya. It’s easy to find a great place to eat down south, and these cities exemplify the best of what the region has to offer.

Nashville, Tennessee

When you’re in the area looking at Nashville houses for sale, prepare yourself for an onslaught of downhome comfort foods.

Nashville is well known for its biscuits, barbecue, and namesake Hot Chicken. Hattie B’s is the most famous joint that serves up the latter, along with scratch-made sides, at various locations. If you want to dine where Hot Chicken originated 70 years ago, head to Prince’s Hot Chicken at the Assembly Food Hall or on Nolensville Pike.

Another signature Nashville dish is the meat and three, where the diner picks one meat from a daily selection of three to six choices and three side dishes from a list that may include up to a dozen other options. Arnold’s Country Kitchen on 8th Avenue South is often named as the best place to go for the dish.

Hit up The Pharmacy on Mcferrin Ave. to sit in the biergarten and have a burger, go to City House on 4th Avenue North for rustic Italian cuisine, or grab brunch at Church and Union on 4th Avenue North.

Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston is a city by the sea that takes advantage of its location by infusing the local foods into its fare. The cooking here is Lowcountry, influenced by the slave families who worked with products from the marshlands and sea, using ingredients like oysters, rice, okra, crabs, and grits.

Bowen’s Island on Bowens Island Road is the destination for locally harvested oysters, and really any seafood craving you might have.

Husk on Queen Street serves up shrimp and grits as well as pimento cheese and country ham.

For the ultimate Lowcountry experience, try tomato pie and fried chicken biscuits at Virginia’s on King or fried green tomatoes at Eli’s Table on Meeting Street.

New Orleans, Louisiana

Perhaps one of the most popular destinations for foodies in the south, New Orleans imparts a bit of soul into every dish it has.

Café Du Monde’s sugary beignets are a must-eat and a Creole lunch at Galatoire’s on Bourbon Street is highly recommended.

Po boys come in many forms: shrimp, oyster, catfish, and even roast beef. Parkway on Hagan Ave. serves them all up, as does Domilise’s on Annunciation Street.

Commander’s Palace is an iconic Garden District restaurant that has been open since 1893 and continuously serves award-winning dishes like  Turtle Soup Au Sherry, Veal Tenderloin over Truffle Potatoes, and Glade de Viands with Smoked Sea Salt and Tomato Jam. 

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