I am always intrigued by the clever trails I find when traveling. Whether it is my competitive spirit or just a fear of missing out, I love to visit the trail participants as mentioned by tourism boards or, in this case, the MS Hospitality and Restaurant Association. A trail that has been on my radar for a while is the Mississippi Seafood Trail.
Here are 10 restaurants on it, arranged north to south, including what to order. The Mississippi Seafood Trail encompasses 360 miles of delicious restaurants, all serving genuine wild-caught Gulf Coast seafood.
Fun Fact: USA Today listed this trail as number two for Best Food Trail in 2015.
1. Delta Meat Market
Cleveland is in the heart of the Mississippi Delta. Delta Meat Market, a stop on the Mississippi Seafood Trail is in the Cotton House Hotel, a restaurant originating from chef and owner Cole Ellis. Ellis was a 2017 James Beard “Best Chef South” semifinalist and has received numerous awards. One of my favorite things on the menu is Crispy Fried Gulf Oysters. They are enough to make your eyes roll to the back of your head! If you need help deciding on the main course, I suggest the seared Gulf Red Snapper with a red pepper sauce and crispy okra.
Fun Fact: The lovely foods prepared at the Delta Meat Market are served on McCarty’s Pottery from Merigold, Mississippi. The serving platters are drool-worthy.
Weidmann’s is the oldest continually operated restaurant in Mississippi. It opened in 1870 and is in downtown Meridian, a town growing by leaps and bounds. There are so many tasty dishes here, including lobster and shrimp spring rolls, shrimp scampi (sautéed in garlic and butter), crawfish diablo (penne pasta with a spicy cream sauce), and catfish belvedere (Mississippi catfish topped with crabmeat and finished with a light cream sauce).
Weidmann’s also has a fabulous Sunday Brunch, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., great for a special occasion. Two standout entrees are the shrimp remoulade (served over mixed greens with egg, avocado, and remoulade sauce) and a blackened catfish Po boy. Even though you are exploring the Mississippi Seafood Trail, you still might desire the strawberry stuffed French toast menu option.
3. Walnut Hills
Over in Vicksburg, you will be treated to Southern royalty at Walnut Hills, serving Southern cuisine in a round-table style setting. Classic dishes include redfish almondine served over angel hair pasta or hand-breaded shrimp or oysters. Of course, you have to start with a cup or bowl of the rich and creamy corn and crab bisque, made with fresh gulf crab.
Save room for dessert because even though Walnut Hills is on the Mississippi Seafood Trail, its homemade cakes and pies are my ultimate weakness. Cream of coconut pie or layered cakes (red velvet, caramel, chocolate, strawberry) are some of the choices to tempt you.
At lunch, join Walnut Hills’ round table for a jaw-dropping spread of side dishes, salads, and main courses. The restaurant is closed Tuesdays.
4. Local 463 Urban Kitchen
Join award-winning chef Derek Emerson at Local 463 Urban Kitchen, a stylishly decorated casual restaurant at Ridgeland’s Renaissance at Highland Colony. Local 463 sources the freshest local and regional ingredients, and you won’t ever taste anything served there that isn’t “knocked it out of the park” delicious. Chef Derek boasts that he prepares Southern comfort foods with a big city twist.
Try Local 463’s Fried Green Tomato Napoleon, a lovely stacked appetizer with crawfish tails and a fabulous creole mustard lemon butter. How about the fried Florida rock shrimp salad with heirloom tomato, feta cheese, and pine nuts for a light lunch option? Or, the indulgent pan seared jumbo sea scallops with a sweet pea pancetta risotto for a more hearty dish.
A popular Mississippi entree item is the Blue Plate Special. Feast on Mississippi catfish or red bean and rice on Fridays.
5. Cock Of The Walk
Cock of the Walk is a fun, rustic-style restaurant that locals swear by in Pocahontas, Mississippi. The menu isn’t huge, but what it offers is as southern as it gets… and tasty. Start your dining experience with a skillet of cornbread, the perfect accompaniment for the menu options. Choose between a few seafood options, namely fried catfish or the “Keelboat Specials” with mustard greens, mashed potatoes, or cream-style corn. I am a fan of the period costumes from the riverboat era that the servers dress in.
Cock of the Walk is a must on the Mississippi Seafood Trail because it excels in catfish, a Mississippi staple.
One of my favorite Jackson-area restaurants is Barrelhouse, located in the hip Fondren neighborhood. Barrelhouse serves Southern gastropub cuisine, and it’s all finger-lickin’ good. Take advantage of the delicious gulf seafood by trying the Chef’s daily fish special. Then, pair your perfectly cooked dish with pimento cheese grits, fried okra, butter beans, Southern-style green beans, or one of the other yummy choices.
Barrelhouse is closed on Sundays.
7. The Manship
One of our favorite Mississippi Seafood Trail restaurants is The Manship in Jackson. How could you not love a place that creates crawfish beignets? Then, for main menu items, the NOLA barbecue shrimp and grits and Simmons catfish are both awesome selections. Or you can skip the seafood altogether and go for pizza, which also gets a thumbs up.
Save room for the seasonal cobblers, bread pudding, or icebox pie. The Manship features a Saturday and Sunday brunch.
8. Half Shell Oyster House
You’ll find several Half Shell Oyster House locations around Mississippi, including Hattiesburg, the one we like best. This restaurant with a New Orleans-style menu is a favorite on the Mississippi Seafood Trail. Two dishes stand out to me.
First is the blackened redfish topped with gulf shrimp sautéed in a smoky Cajun sauce. The second is a pecan-crusted redfish coated in a bacon and pecan breading mix. Can you even wrap your head around that? The redfish is topped with more bacon and a citrus beurre blanc sauce. You have your choice for side dishes. If neither of these appeals to you, you can always have a great Po’Boy, made with authentic Gambino’s French bread and fat, gulf shrimp, or smoky bacon shrimp and grits, though it is best to skip the calorie content on this one.
Half Shell also has a fantastic Sunday brunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., with Crab Cakes Half Shell being a tantalizing menu entry. The crab cakes are topped with poached eggs and then covered with Alfredo sauce, sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, and capers. Yum!
9. Mosaic Tapas Bar
Mosaic Tapas Bar is a sophisticated casual, fine-dining restaurant with indoor and outdoor dining in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. It is open seven days a week and also has an adjoining beer house with 45 beers on tap, craft cocktails, and live music.
Mosaic’s menu includes salads, quesadillas, gyros, and classic Southern favorites like New Orleans barbecue shrimp and grits and Mahi tacos with pineapple salsa. Save room for the caramel churros for dessert.
10. Felix’s Restaurant & Oyster Bar
One of our favorite seafood restaurants in Mississippi is Felix’s Restaurant & Oyster Bar, a local Gulf Coast chain restaurant with three locations in Louisiana, plus one in Gulfport. Felix’s is the first name in oysters, with various dishes and recipes to take it to the next level, though oysters on the half shell are still the most popular.
When in season, other seafood options include boiled crawfish, snow crab, and royal reds, the most desirable shrimp of them all. Other menu items featuring Gulf Coast seafood include Po’Boy sandwiches and shrimp, fish, or oyster tacos. Come on Sunday for a celebratory brunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. with bottomless mimosas and a fabulous sounding Iberville omelet with peppers, onions, crawfish tails, and crawfish étouffée over the top.
While you’re trying out some different Gulf Coast food samples in Mississippi, check out the other attractions: