2007 Readers Restaurant Poll Winners




Best Pizza

Gold: Memphis Pizza Café

Silver: Exline's

Bronze: tie: Garibaldi's Pizza, Johnny Brusco's Pizza

It's official. We hereby declare Memphis Pizza Cafe the Huey's of the pizza world. Good job to our silver and bronze winners — all are new to the list. Welcome to the big time, guys.

Best Mexican

Gold: El Porton

Silver: Molly's La Casita

Bronze: tie: Café Ole, El Mezcal

What an upset! El Mezcal ties for bronze after being voted gold last year. Molly's makes a comeback after a year off the list. Loyal you are.

Best Italian

Gold: Ronnie Grisanti & Sons

Silver: Pete & Sam's

Bronze: Spindini

The Grisantis bring in the gold and bronze, with papa Ronnie in the gold spot and son Judd in the bronze. After being knocked off completely last year, Pete & Sam's makes a victorious comeback.

Best Chinese

Gold: Wang's

Silver: P.F. Chang's

Bronze: tie: Mosa Asian Bistro, A-Tan

Wang's comes on strong in 2008 after being shut out last year. The ever-popular Chang gang holds steady at silver, with newcomer Mosa sharing bronze with last year's bronze winner, A-Tan.

Best Japanese

Gold: Sekisui

Silver: Benihana

Bronze: Sekisui Pacific Rim

It's an Ishii sandwich, same as last year.

Best Indian

Gold: India Palace

Silver: tie: Bombay House, Mayuri

Bronze: Golden India

Golden India joins us again after a year off the winners' list. Welcome back.

Best Vietnamese

Gold: Saigon Le

Silver: Pho Saigon

Bronze: Pho Vietnam

Pho Saigon bumps Lotus off for the silver spot, while Pho Vietnam makes its way into our top three. Is anyone ever going to knock Saigon Le out of the coveted gold spot? Looking doubtful after all these years, but hey, there's always a major surprise or two when the votes are counted, so we'll be watching.

Best Thai

Gold: Bhan Thai

Silver: Bangkok Alley

Bronze: Sawaddii

After tying for gold last year, Bhan Thai managed to edge out Bangkok Alley for the top honor. Sawaddii knocks off Cooper-Young's Jasmine, reclaiming its bronze seat from two years ago. Judging from the jam-packed Jasmine parking lot, they're still tops with quite a few of you.

Best Home Cooking

Gold: Cupboard

Silver: Patrick's

Bronze: Blue Plate Café

Must be those perfectly thin, crispy, simple cornmeal/salt/pepper-covered fried green tomatoes that keeps the Cupboard in the golden glow of our readers. No complaints about our other two winners, either.

Best French Continental

Gold: Paulette's

Silver: Encore

Bronze: Chez Philippe

You guys really, really like Paulette's. Jose's Encore makes the list in this category after winning silver in the best new restaurant category last year. Our prediction is that Cafe Society and Chez Philippe will battle it out to see who stays on the list next year (and that's an educated guess, folks. It was close).

Best Burgers

Gold: Huey's

Silver: Big Foot Lodge

Bronze: Belmont Grill

Yep. Add another year to your menu, Boggs family. And welcome to the list Big Foot — a first-timer. Must be those gargantuan portions that knocked Belmont's mouth-watering burger out of the silver slot. You really can't go wrong with any of these places. They all know what they're doing when it comes to America's sandwich.

Best Steak

Gold: Folk's Folly

Silver: Ruth's Chris

Bronze: Fleming's

Boggs + red meat = gold.

It's just that simple.

Best Seafood

Gold: The Blue Fish

Silver: Tsunami

Bronze: Bonefish

Is it really necessary for us to add the non-fast food caveat? Yes. Some of you have an unnatural fondness for drive-thrus with names involving "captain" and "silver's." And if that's okay with your cardiologist, it's fine by us, but that's not what we mean when we say seafood. These three winners? Oh yeah. That's what we mean.

Best Oysters

Gold: Pearl's Oyster House

Silver: Half Shell

Bronze: tie: The Blue Fish, Flying Fish

Even in our landlocked, pig-lovin' city, we manage to house some great spots to slurp down these delicious creatures. And Pearl's, with it's way-cool two-level South Main location, was an instant hit with downtowners, heck, with pretty much everyone, from the minute it opened its doors. New category this year, and quite a popular one.

Best Barbecue Sandwich

Gold: Corky's BBQ

Silver: Bar-B-Q Shop

Bronze: Central BBQ

These three are the hands-down favorites year after year, with Corky's hogging the gold spot year after year. It's the next category that we have to keep an eye on . . .

Best Barbecue Ribs

Gold: Rendezvous

Silver: Corky's BBQ

Bronze: Central BBQ

This one is always close, and we always count twice, just to be sure, but the legendary Rendezvous has unseated Corky's in the rib category!

Best Service

— Awards of Excellence to:

Houston's

Fleming's

Erling Jensen's

In a city plagued with less-than-inspiring stories about customer service, it's nice to know that our readers have such high opinions of so many different eateries around town.

Best People-Watching

Gold: Flying Saucer

Bronze: Spindini

Silver: Peabody Lobby - bar

Ever since the Flying Saucer opened downtown, the art of people watching has been brought to a whole new level. Thanks to the open-air bar spots overlooking Peabody Place and Second Street, imbibers have had plenty to keep their darting eyes occupied. From checking out the "talent" passing by on a weekend to giggling at the unfortunate souls who find parallel parking a challenge, there's never a dull moment.

Best Salads

Gold: Houston's

Silver: Boscos

Bronze: Ruby Tuesday

House-made dressings, cheese toast? What's not to love about Houston's salads?

Best Late-Night

— Awards of Excellence to:

Belmont Grill, Half Shell, Huey's, Brookhaven Pub, Dish, Sekisui, Pacific Rim

Great choices, all. But honestly, anything that keeps you out of the Krystal drive-thru at 2 a.m. is a good thing, no?

Best Fries

Gold: Huey's

Silver: Young Avenue Deli

Bronze: Houston's

Boy, this was close. Houston's crispy shoestrings and Young Avenue's thick, über-seasoned offerings couldn't keep Huey's from taking gold again this year. We think perhaps the proximity of the fries to the best burger in town made for a winning combination.

Best Fried Chicken

Gold: Gus's

Silver: tie: KFC, Popeye's

Bronze: tie: Church's Chicken, The Cupboard, Patrick's

Overwhelmingly, this category was Gus's for the taking, and is anyone really surprised? While we can't say we agree with our readers' fast-food choices on this one, nevertheless, we report the results. How many times did Britney Spears vote in our poll, y'all?

Best Outdoor Dining

Gold: Boscos

Silver: Bhan Thai

Bronze: Café Ole

We agree 100 percent with you guys on this one. All three have their own unique outdoor charm.

Best Brunch

Gold: Owen Brennan's

Silver: Peabody

Bronze: tie: Boscos, Yia Yia's Eurocafe

No arguments here either. You really can't go wrong with a mimosa and cheese grits in front of you on a Sunday, and all three of these places make that transition from weekend-to-work mode a bit easier on all of us.

Best Breakfast

Gold: Brother Juniper's

Silver: Blue Plate

Bronze: Bryant's

The little cafe that could, Brother Juniper's is a Memphis favorite, and with good reason. Friendly service, hearty fare, good coffee. Blue Plate's French toast has lured many of us from our beds in the early morning hours, and there's an unpretentious charm to standing in line at Bryant's with an amazing cross-section of the city, waiting for your aluminum-foil-wrapped bundle of breakfast goodness.

Best Deli

Gold: Bogie's

Silver: Jason's

Bronze: Fino's

Bogie's takes gold again this year, with a close finish for silver and bronze.

Best Place to Satisfy A Sweet Tooth

Gold: Cheesecake Corner

Silver: La Baguette

Bronze: Paulette's

Diets be damned. Life's too short to skip dessert, and our readers agree.

Best Coffee

Gold: Starbucks

Silver: High Point Coffee

Bronze: Otherland's

The Starbucks machine edged out our locally owned places with a pretty Venti lead, but our silver and bronze places often leave us foaming at the mouth for their tasty concoctions.

Best Business Dinner Locale

Gold: Fleming's

Silver: Folk's Folly

Bronze: Grove Grill

Red meat apparently helps close deals, and our winners here prove it.

Worth the Drive(no more than two hours' drive from Memphis)

Gold: City Grocery (Oxford)

Silver: tie: Bonne Terre Café (Nesbit), Timbeaux (Hernando)

No matter how high the price of gas, we'd gladly burn a tank to visit any of your choices.

Restaurant We Miss the Most

Gold: LuLu Grille

Silver: tie: Anderton's, Justine's

Bronze: La Tourelle

We hope that no new winners ever appear in this category. Visit your favorite restaurants often, readers!

Best Chain

Gold: Houston's

Silver: Chili's

Bronze: tie: Back Yard Burger, P.F. Chang's

Chain chain chain . . . our voters are no fools when it comes to finding the best the national guys have to offer.

Best Memphis Chef

Gold: Erling Jensen, Erling Jensen the Restaurant

Silver: Jose Gutierrez, Encore

Bronze: Rick Farmer, Jarrett's

Aren't we lucky to have all of these chefs, plus many more, calling Memphis home?

Best New Restaurant

Gold: Spindini

Silver: Interim

Bronze: Sauces

The dining scene in the Bluff City gets better every year. We can't wait to see what 2008 brings.

Drum roll,

please . . .

Best Restaurant

Gold: Jarrett's

Silver: Erling Jensen, The Restaurant

Bronze: tie: Grove Grill, Jim's Place East

Once again, Jarrett's takes top honors. Congrats to Chef Rick Farmer, and to all of our winners.

Hippest Bar Setting

Gold: Spindini

Silver: Swig

Bronze: tie: Bluefin, Mollie Fontaine Lounge

Best Dive Bar

Gold: Earnestine & Hazel's

Silver: Alex's

Bronze: P & H Cafe

Best Martinis

Gold: Swig

Silver: Side Street Grill

Bronze: Bonefish

Best Bloody Marys

Gold: Owen Brennan's

Silver: Boscos

Bronze: Bayou Bar & Grill

Best Margaritas

Gold: Molly's La Casita

Silver: Café Ole

Bronze: El Porton

Best Wine Selection

Gold: Le Chardonnay

Silver: Fleming's

Bronze: tie: Circa, McEwen's on Monroe

Best Beer Selection

Gold: Flying Saucer

Silver: Boscos

Bronze: Young Avenue Deli

Most Happening Happy Hour

Gold: Flying Saucer

Silver: Chili's

Bronze: tie: Celtic Crossing, The Grove Grill, Swig

Best Place to Watch the Game

Gold: Fox & Hound

Silver: Buffalo Wild Wings

Bronze: Brookhaven Pub