How far would you drive for a good meal? And not just a meal, but an experience, whether it be authentic Cajun cuisine dished along the bayou, a fine dining feast with river views or a funky pub set in an old bicycle shop on Main Street USA. Make a day of it, stop along the way, hatch a mini-road trip. Summer in the city can wear a body down — maybe a delicious change of scenery is just what the doctor ordered. Most of these spots are within two hour’s drive of New Orleans, some as close as across the lake. They are all worth the trip.
14. White Pillars Restaurant and Lounge
1696 Beach Blvd
Biloxi, MS 39531
White Pillars is a showstopping space, an old mansion restored to its original 1905 splendor after suffering significant Hurricane Katrina damage. The setting is a beautiful backdrop for James Beard Award nominated chef Austin Sumrall’s unfussy mix of Cajun, Creole, and new Southern cuisine. Whether he’s serving briny oysters that were in the water just hours ago, having fun with shrimp corn dogs, or reinvigorating eggplant Josephine, an original menu item that layers eggplant with marinara, crabmeat, mozzarella and hollandaise, Sumrall’s eye for detail and sense of flavor is spot on.
Wild mushroom risotto with Two Brooks Rice basmati, foraged chanterelles and purslane, scallion oil, and whey broth White Pillars Restaurant and Lounge/Facebook
715 Washington Ave
Ocean Springs, MS 39564
James Beard award nominee Alex Perry works his magic at Vestige, an intimate bistro in downtown Ocean Springs. The menu combines contemporary American cuisine with Japanese influences, delivering a farm and Gulf to table experience, with just caught seafood, wagyu steaks, and museum-quality composed plates of greens and vegetables. The chef’s four course tasting menu is $70 per person, an experience that would easily be twice the price in the big city. Make your reservation now. And go to the Walter Anderson Museum while you’re there.
Miso brûléed salmon Vestige/Facebook