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Food from Thorny Oyster, the new Bay St. Louis restaurant from Jeffrey and Amy Hansell.
Thorny Oyster

Where to Eat in Coastal Mississippi

Great eats when you head to the Mississippi coast, from Bay St. Louis to Pascagoula

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Food from Thorny Oyster, the new Bay St. Louis restaurant from Jeffrey and Amy Hansell.
| Thorny Oyster

Coastal Mississippi delivers much more than fun in the sun. Yes, there are sandy beaches stretching the 62 miles of coastline along the Gulf of Mexico and Mississippi Sound. But, not unlike the way the Florida Keys deliver different kinds of experiences, the 12 cities that make up Coastal Mississippi offer everything from small-town charm to arts and culture and fine dining. This list touches on 18 noteworthy mom-and-pop cafes and James Beard-nominated haute spots, all most satisfying.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Mockingbird Cafe

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This breakfast and lunch cafe fosters a welcoming environment just steps from the beach. From locally roasted coffee (Coast Roast, out of New Orleans), tasty egg dishes, short rib and brisket burgers, chicken and waffles — all served in plastic-free containers, Mockingbird Cafe can sate even the weariest traveler. Need more good juju? There’s a yoga studio upstairs.

Thorny Oyster

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Covington’s loss was Bay St. Louis’s gain when chef Jeffrey Hansell and his wife Amy left the Southern Hotel and opened the beguilingly named Thorny Oyster in the Pearl Hotel steps from the beach. Hansell’s trademark attention to detail and gorgeous composition comes across in an array of fresh Gulf seafood, from a simple fried fresh daily fish to a bouillabaisse and stuffed whole flounder. Wonderful craft cocktails, naturally.

Sea Level

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Sea Level, a sweet little shack on the beach, combines the simple pleasures of sandy toes with freshly grilled vacation food, from local fish tacos to award-winning burgers and macaroni and smoked gouda bites. Familiar New Orleans sno-balls for dessert? Yes, please.

Outside at Sea Level.
Sea Level

Long Beach Market & Deli

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Love Long Beach Market & Deli, a family-owned casual eatery that welcomes pets, kiddos, and everybody in between. There’s patio dining, where a range of Korean, Chinese, Cajun, Vietnamese, vegetarian, and American dishes are served. Whether nibbling on Korean BBQ or a banh mi, it’s worth noting that chef Lucia van Norden is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School.

Chefs William Rester and Lauren Joffrion are behind this newly opened modern Southern restaurant in Long Beach. Radish is named for the Long Beach Red, a local radish that was shipped by railroad to points North, where it was a popular bar snack dipped in butter and salt. Radish does a terrific job of both honoring and updating the Southern table. Besides a radish crudite, small plates include crab beignets with Crystal beurre blanc and fried okra with Comeback sauce. Try sweet tea-brined fried chicken with a black pepper biscuit or a killer Raines Farm hanger steak with a side of Barq’s rootbeer-infused mashed sweet potatoes that ooze rootsy goodness.

Radish/Official

The Chimneys Restaurant

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The Chimneys is a swell spot for classic coastal cuisine on the Gulfport waterfront. Take a seat on the front porch patio of this charming historic home for views of live oaks and the Gulf. The seafood gumbo is terrific, as well as the Godchaux salad, a toss of lump crabmeat, boiled shrimp, anchovy, and avocado on greens, dressed with a Creole mustard vinaigrette. Seafood is a specialty.

White Pillars Restaurant and Lounge

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James Beard semifinalist Austin Sumrall is behind White Pillars in Biloxi, a show-stopping space restored to its original 1905 splendor after hurricane Katrina. The large Greek revival-style mansion creates beautiful backdrops for Sumrall’s unfussy mix of Cajun, Creole, and new Southern cuisine. From briny oysters to crab avocado toast to wood-grilled gulf fish and duck fat fries, Sumrall’s eye for detail and sense of flavor is spot on.

Fill-Up with Billups

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With locations in Biloxi and Pass Christian, Fill-Up with Billups dishes hefty breakfasts from early to late night, including the hungover special — a split cathead biscuit stacked with a half each fried chicken thigh and chicken fried steak and hash brown patty all smothered in white sausage gravy. That should do it. The menu is vast, with burgers, pizza, sandwiches, and salads served in a friendly setting.

This revelatory Pan-Asian restaurant tucked away in Beau Rivage surprises at every turn, with authentic flavors, superb presentation, and globe-trotting dishes. Jia isn’t going for fusion, instead from pho to bun to kung pao to roti to Mongolian beef, the team of chefs takes the diner on a world journey that replicates favorite dishes from Vietnam, China, Thailand, and beyond.

The Jia roll.
Jia

Makin' Groceries

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This inspired plant-based breakfast and lunch spot will win over even the hardened carnivore. Makin’ Groceries’ flavor-packed menu is inspired by owner Lauren Turner’s travels in Europe, North Africa, and Mexico with dishes like jackfruit carnitas tacos and lentil shepherd’s pie. They also offer family meals to go — perfect to bring home to the beach house.

Thirty-Two

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This upscale restaurant in the IP Casino offers lovely water views from its 32nd-floor vista. Thirty-Two’s menu embraces traditional steak and seafood but doesn’t stop there. The chef’s southern board is a down-home take on the usual charcuterie, adding in house-made pickles, pimento cheese, crystal deviled eggs, and fried saltines to the meats and cheese. There’s a braised rabbit ragout with gnocchi and an ahi tuna crudo, a lovely variety from which to choose.

Inside Thirty-Two.
Thirty-Two

One Thirty One on Lameuse

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This newish spot in Biloxi offers Cajun-Creole-inspired coastal fare with an emphasis on seasonal and local ingredients. Open for brunch, lunch, and dinner Wednesday through Sunday, One Thirty One on Lameuse offers favorite dishes including chorizo beignets, barbecue shrimp over cheese grits, and a fried chicken sandwich.

Patio 44

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With locations in Gulfport and Biloxi, Patio 44 is a solid choice for brunch, lunch, and dinner, thanks to a copious menu with a strong seafood-centric sensibility. Indulge in the blue crab fondue (yum) and the outstanding redfish on the half shell with crawfish cream sauce. The field pea saute deserves careful attention — could it be the applewood bacon? Or the cornbread and roasted garlic aioli? Yes to both.

Le Bakery

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This French-Vietnamese bakery is loved for its fresh daily pastries (the cinnamon rolls! the danish!) French bread, and a selection of Vietnamese banh mi. Bubble teas, smoothies, and specialty cakes are also available. Le Bakery’s crusty baguettes are served at many of the best restaurants on the coast.

Eat Drink Love

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Open for lunch Tuesday through Saturday, Eat Drink Love delivers innovative dishes using local ingredients with bayou views. Thoughtfully composed sandwiches and salads are almost too pretty to eat; check the website for specials.

Vestige

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Vestige is a romantic date night spot that combines contemporary American cuisine with Japanese influences, thanks to chef Alex Perry’s wife Kumi Omori’s inspiration. Expect a farm and Gulf to table experience, with just caught seafood, museum-quality composed plates of greens and vegetables, proteins that might include perfectly cooked Black Hawk wagyu steak and boned chicken wings grilled yakitori style and topped with smoked fig miso and fermented figs. The chef’s four course tasting menu is $85 per person, an experience that would easily be twice the price in the big city.

Mosaic Restaurant & Bar

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Tapas, beer, and craft cocktails is a winning combination at Mosaic, which offers an all day menu that ranges from sandwiches and burgers, gyros, salads and tacos, along with small plates of empanadas, grilled tuna and chicken skewers. Frozen drinks are a specialty, best enjoyed on the patio where live music is played nightly.

Huck's Cove on the Bayou

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Situated at the mouth of the Mary Walker Bayou and the West Pascagoula River, Hucks Cove is a winner, a family and pet friendly spot with super views and down-home cuisine. From fried seafood to burgers and salads, there’s something for everyone here.

Scranton's Restaurant & Catering

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This beautifully restored historic jail firehouse sets the stage for generous portions of comfort fare for lunch and dinner everyday but Monday. Try Scranton’s she crab soup, Bang Bang shrimp tacos, pork rinds and for the vegetarians, there’s the Impossible burger.

Mockingbird Cafe

This breakfast and lunch cafe fosters a welcoming environment just steps from the beach. From locally roasted coffee (Coast Roast, out of New Orleans), tasty egg dishes, short rib and brisket burgers, chicken and waffles — all served in plastic-free containers, Mockingbird Cafe can sate even the weariest traveler. Need more good juju? There’s a yoga studio upstairs.

Thorny Oyster

Covington’s loss was Bay St. Louis’s gain when chef Jeffrey Hansell and his wife Amy left the Southern Hotel and opened the beguilingly named Thorny Oyster in the Pearl Hotel steps from the beach. Hansell’s trademark attention to detail and gorgeous composition comes across in an array of fresh Gulf seafood, from a simple fried fresh daily fish to a bouillabaisse and stuffed whole flounder. Wonderful craft cocktails, naturally.

Sea Level

Outside at Sea Level.
Sea Level

Sea Level, a sweet little shack on the beach, combines the simple pleasures of sandy toes with freshly grilled vacation food, from local fish tacos to award-winning burgers and macaroni and smoked gouda bites. Familiar New Orleans sno-balls for dessert? Yes, please.

Outside at Sea Level.
Sea Level

Long Beach Market & Deli

Love Long Beach Market & Deli, a family-owned casual eatery that welcomes pets, kiddos, and everybody in between. There’s patio dining, where a range of Korean, Chinese, Cajun, Vietnamese, vegetarian, and American dishes are served. Whether nibbling on Korean BBQ or a banh mi, it’s worth noting that chef Lucia van Norden is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School.

Radish

Radish/Official

Chefs William Rester and Lauren Joffrion are behind this newly opened modern Southern restaurant in Long Beach. Radish is named for the Long Beach Red, a local radish that was shipped by railroad to points North, where it was a popular bar snack dipped in butter and salt. Radish does a terrific job of both honoring and updating the Southern table. Besides a radish crudite, small plates include crab beignets with Crystal beurre blanc and fried okra with Comeback sauce. Try sweet tea-brined fried chicken with a black pepper biscuit or a killer Raines Farm hanger steak with a side of Barq’s rootbeer-infused mashed sweet potatoes that ooze rootsy goodness.

Radish/Official

The Chimneys Restaurant

The Chimneys is a swell spot for classic coastal cuisine on the Gulfport waterfront. Take a seat on the front porch patio of this charming historic home for views of live oaks and the Gulf. The seafood gumbo is terrific, as well as the Godchaux salad, a toss of lump crabmeat, boiled shrimp, anchovy, and avocado on greens, dressed with a Creole mustard vinaigrette. Seafood is a specialty.

White Pillars Restaurant and Lounge

James Beard semifinalist Austin Sumrall is behind White Pillars in Biloxi, a show-stopping space restored to its original 1905 splendor after hurricane Katrina. The large Greek revival-style mansion creates beautiful backdrops for Sumrall’s unfussy mix of Cajun, Creole, and new Southern cuisine. From briny oysters to crab avocado toast to wood-grilled gulf fish and duck fat fries, Sumrall’s eye for detail and sense of flavor is spot on.

Fill-Up with Billups

With locations in Biloxi and Pass Christian, Fill-Up with Billups dishes hefty breakfasts from early to late night, including the hungover special — a split cathead biscuit stacked with a half each fried chicken thigh and chicken fried steak and hash brown patty all smothered in white sausage gravy. That should do it. The menu is vast, with burgers, pizza, sandwiches, and salads served in a friendly setting.

Jia

The Jia roll.
Jia

This revelatory Pan-Asian restaurant tucked away in Beau Rivage surprises at every turn, with authentic flavors, superb presentation, and globe-trotting dishes. Jia isn’t going for fusion, instead from pho to bun to kung pao to roti to Mongolian beef, the team of chefs takes the diner on a world journey that replicates favorite dishes from Vietnam, China, Thailand, and beyond.

The Jia roll.
Jia

Makin' Groceries

This inspired plant-based breakfast and lunch spot will win over even the hardened carnivore. Makin’ Groceries’ flavor-packed menu is inspired by owner Lauren Turner’s travels in Europe, North Africa, and Mexico with dishes like jackfruit carnitas tacos and lentil shepherd’s pie. They also offer family meals to go — perfect to bring home to the beach house.

Thirty-Two

Inside Thirty-Two.
Thirty-Two

This upscale restaurant in the IP Casino offers lovely water views from its 32nd-floor vista. Thirty-Two’s menu embraces traditional steak and seafood but doesn’t stop there. The chef’s southern board is a down-home take on the usual charcuterie, adding in house-made pickles, pimento cheese, crystal deviled eggs, and fried saltines to the meats and cheese. There’s a braised rabbit ragout with gnocchi and an ahi tuna crudo, a lovely variety from which to choose.

Inside Thirty-Two.
Thirty-Two

One Thirty One on Lameuse

This newish spot in Biloxi offers Cajun-Creole-inspired coastal fare with an emphasis on seasonal and local ingredients. Open for brunch, lunch, and dinner Wednesday through Sunday, One Thirty One on Lameuse offers favorite dishes including chorizo beignets, barbecue shrimp over cheese grits, and a fried chicken sandwich.

Patio 44

With locations in Gulfport and Biloxi, Patio 44 is a solid choice for brunch, lunch, and dinner, thanks to a copious menu with a strong seafood-centric sensibility. Indulge in the blue crab fondue (yum) and the outstanding redfish on the half shell with crawfish cream sauce. The field pea saute deserves careful attention — could it be the applewood bacon? Or the cornbread and roasted garlic aioli? Yes to both.

Le Bakery

This French-Vietnamese bakery is loved for its fresh daily pastries (the cinnamon rolls! the danish!) French bread, and a selection of Vietnamese banh mi. Bubble teas, smoothies, and specialty cakes are also available. Le Bakery’s crusty baguettes are served at many of the best restaurants on the coast.

Eat Drink Love

Open for lunch Tuesday through Saturday, Eat Drink Love delivers innovative dishes using local ingredients with bayou views. Thoughtfully composed sandwiches and salads are almost too pretty to eat; check the website for specials.

Related Maps

Vestige

Vestige is a romantic date night spot that combines contemporary American cuisine with Japanese influences, thanks to chef Alex Perry’s wife Kumi Omori’s inspiration. Expect a farm and Gulf to table experience, with just caught seafood, museum-quality composed plates of greens and vegetables, proteins that might include perfectly cooked Black Hawk wagyu steak and boned chicken wings grilled yakitori style and topped with smoked fig miso and fermented figs. The chef’s four course tasting menu is $85 per person, an experience that would easily be twice the price in the big city.

Mosaic Restaurant & Bar

Tapas, beer, and craft cocktails is a winning combination at Mosaic, which offers an all day menu that ranges from sandwiches and burgers, gyros, salads and tacos, along with small plates of empanadas, grilled tuna and chicken skewers. Frozen drinks are a specialty, best enjoyed on the patio where live music is played nightly.

Huck's Cove on the Bayou

Situated at the mouth of the Mary Walker Bayou and the West Pascagoula River, Hucks Cove is a winner, a family and pet friendly spot with super views and down-home cuisine. From fried seafood to burgers and salads, there’s something for everyone here.

Scranton's Restaurant & Catering

This beautifully restored historic jail firehouse sets the stage for generous portions of comfort fare for lunch and dinner everyday but Monday. Try Scranton’s she crab soup, Bang Bang shrimp tacos, pork rinds and for the vegetarians, there’s the Impossible burger.

Related Maps