Galatoire’s Restaurant, New Orleans, LA

The quest for delicious food is something most of us can sink our teeth into. Heated discussions take place regularly over who has the best barbeque or the most authentic ethnic delicacy. We’ve all experienced memorable cuisine, and our measurement of the establishments in which we enjoyed those meals is often passionate.

Having had the good fortune to dine—a word I don’t use lightly–in many really fine eateries around the world, I feel at least reasonably qualified to offer my opinion on the superiority of some of them. Through absolutely no prejudice on my part, my current list contains an overwhelmingly large number of restaurants that are located in the South. Okay, maybe I’m just the least bit biased in my leanings toward southern fare, but there’s no denying it, the southern United States is home to some of the best places to eat on the planet.

Restaurants that immediately come to mind are the first list that I’d like to share with you, and it’s an all-inclusive one, incorporating establishments from all over the world. Just my opinion, you understand, but as an enthusiastic participant in food indulgence, I think I’ve assembled a diverse and substantial collection.

Restaurant reviewers usually insist on delivering a numerical grade, indicating the relative quality of each establishment, as if all restaurants were playing on a level field. Michelin and Mobile use a system of stars. The more stars, the better the restaurant. I’ve devised my own system, which recognizes that all eateries should not be judged by a single offering, but divided into categories based on what they are trying to achieve. The relative quality of each place in the category can then be judged more fairly. My system recognizes these categories, and uses a five plus-sign rating system. After I have actually visited a restaurant, I’ll take the time to rate and review it, only if I feel they are worthy of at least one plus-sign.

Several establishments that I’ve chosen to represent here have gone out of business for one reason or another, but were so outstanding during their run, that they deserve recognition. Occasionally a restaurant is so bad that I just can’t keep quiet, but I’ll treat those merely as “Avoid at all cost!”


Noja, Mobile, AL

As I continue to pursue my gastronomic passion, my list will grow and I’ll happily share it with you. To get things started however, here are my current ratings. I’ve reviewed some of these in the past on my personal blog, www.tomlawrenceblog.com, so you may enjoy reading brief postings on individual spots. Certainly not everyone will agree with my entire list, or maybe any of it, but I love to try new places, so feel free to comment and send me your suggestions.


Doe’s Eat Place, Greenville, MS



L’Ambroisie                                                         ++++          Paris

The Connaught Hotel Dining Room    +++++       London

Lutece           (Closed)                                        ++++          New York

Le Cote Basque      (Closed)                         ++++          New York City

Chez l’Ami Louis                                                ++++          Paris

La Pergola,                                                             ++++          Rome

Galatoires                                                              ++++           New Orleans

One if by Land, Two if by Sea                    +++              New York

Commanders Palace                                       +++              New Orleans

NOJA                                                                         +++              Mobile, AL

Bern’s                                                                        +++               Tampa, FL

Café Epic                                                                 ++                  Columbus, GA

Walker’s Drive Inn                                           ++                  Jackson, MS

Antoines                                                                  ++                  New Orleans

Arnaud’s                                                                  ++                   New Orleans

Upperline                                                                ++                   New Orleans

Warehouse Bistro                                             +                       Opelika, AL




Doe’s Eat Place                                    +++++          Greenville, MS

Smith & Wollensky                           ++++              New York

Peter Luger’s                                         ++++               New York

Ruth’s Chris                                            +++                  Chain

Morton’s                                                   +++                  Chain

Tico’s                                                           +++                   Jackson, MS

Charlie’s                                                    +++                   New Orleans

Jimmy Kelly’s                                         ++                      Nashville, TN

The Hunter’s Pub                                 +                         Columbus, GA

Outback Steakhouse                         +                         Chain

Flemings Steakhouse                        ++                       Chain

Bone’s                                                          ++                       Atlanta, GA

Chop’s                                                          +                          Atlanta. GA

Hunter’s Pub                                           +                          Columbus, GA




Hunan Homes (Chinese)                 +++++              San Francisco

Karam’s (Closed) (Mexican)         +++++              San Antonio, TX

The Columbia (Cuban)                     ++++                  Tampa, FL

The Red Iguna (Mexican)                +++                    Salt Lake City, UT

Athena (Greek)                                      +++                    Chicago

Manale’s (Italian)                                  ++                       New Orleans

Maggiano’s (Italian)                            ++                        Chain

Valentino’s (Italian)                            ++                        Nashville, TN

Pompilio’s (Italian)                              ++                         Cincinnati OH

The Mayflower (Greek)                    +                            Jackson. MS

Pete & Sam’s (Italian)                         +                            Memphis, TN

Wok & Roll (Asian)                               +                            Opelika, AL

P.F.Chang (Asian)                                  +                             Chain




Louie & the Red Headed Lady  ++++                 Mandeville, LA

K-Paul”s                                                   ++                      New Orleans

Red Maple                                              +++                    Gretna, LA

The Buckhead Dinner                    +++                     Atlanta

Mosca’s                                                    +++                     Westwego, LA

Emeril’s                                                     +++                     New Orleans

Crook’s Corner                                    ++                        Chapel Hill, NC

JAlexander’s                                         ++                        Chain

The Tin Angel                                        +                           Nashville, TN

Mendenhall Hotel                              +                           Mendenhall, MS

The Loveless Café                               +                           Nashville, TN

Sperry’s                                                      +                           Nashville, TN




Morris BBQ                                         +++++                     Eads, TN

The Cozy Corner                              ++++                        Memphis, TN

The Rendezvous                               +++                           Memphis, TN

Corky’s BBQ                                        +++                           Memphis, TN

Chuck’s BBQ                                        ++                              Opelika, AL




Abe’s Grill, Corinth, MS


Mother’s                                       +++                              New Orleans,

Camilla Grill                               +++                               New Orleans

A Spot of Tea                             ++                                  Mobile AL

The Pancake Pantry             ++                                  Nashville, TN

Abe’s                                                ++                                  Corinth, MS.




The Parkway                              ++++                          New Orleans

Huey’s                                             +++                             Memphis, TN

White Castle                               +                                   Chain

Rortier’s                                         +                                   Nashville, TN




Doe’s Eat Place (Hot Tamales)                      +++++      Greenville, MS

Airport Café            (Hot Tamales)                 +++             Cleveland, MS

Acme Oyster House (Oysters)                      ++++           New Orleans,

Wintzell’s (Oysters)                                             ++++            Mobile, AL

Central Grocery (Olive Relish)                      ++++            New Orleans

Pannie George (Fried Chicken)                     +++               Auburn, AL

Sara Jay’s (Fried Chicken)                                 ++                  Opelika. AL

Chicken Salad Chick (Chicken Salad)        ++                   Auburn, AL

Mayflower Café (Comeback Dressing)     ++++            Jackson, MS           


Photo of Galatoire’s by Louis Sahuc pulled from Galatoire’s website: http://www.galatoires.com

Photo of Noja from their website: http://www.nojamobile.com

Photo of Doe’s Eat Place from their website: http://doeseatplace.com

Photo of Abe’s Grill from their website: http://abesgrill.com


2 thoughts on “CULINARY QUEST by Tom Lawrence

  1. Turnip Truck Driver

    Rendezvous – Memphis …. Avoid at all costs!
    Now equating to an alligator farm … for Nawthern tourists only.

    1. I agree, the only reason I would ever go is for the lamb riblets.

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