Bay St. Louis is a charming coastal Mississippi city. Budget Travel named it one of the “Coolest Small Towns in America,” and Coastal Living Magazine recognized it as a “Top Ten Small Beach Town.”
You might wonder why Bay St. Louis, about 58 miles from New Orleans, is getting so much attention. It’s because the city has spirit and a motto – “A Place Apart.” Bay St. Louis has been home to “colorful characters,” and the residents have always appreciated diversity.
It’s a foodie destination- Bay St. Louis restaurants are serving up amazing seafood dishes and both regional and international cuisine. Blend in a vibrant art scene, home to a rich cultural heritage, including The 100 Men Hall, a historic stop on the Mississippi Blues Trail, plus all the best restaurants in Bay St. Louis, MS, and you can see why it makes all the “best of” lists.
Sitting on the west side of the Bay of St. Louis, the maritime history, the seafood, and the connection to New Orleans, have a lot to do with the cuisine you’ll taste in the restaurants. Fresh seafood is plucked right from the waters of the Mississippi Sound, and it’s not to be missed.
With influences from The Big Easy, you must try the oysters and the iconic Po’boy sandwich listed on almost every menu. And since this is the south, you’ll also notice southern staples, such as scratch-made biscuits and grits. Here are seven must-try spots for some delicious food in Bay St. Louis restaurants.
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Visiting other destinations in Mississippi? Check out our other delicious guides:
- 10 Must-Try Restaurants In Oxford, Mississippi
- 18 Must-Try Jackson, MS Restaurants
- 5 Best Biloxi Restaurants
- 7 Best Ocean Springs Restaurants
- 9 Best Pascagoula Restaurants
- 5 Best Natchez MS Restaurants
- 7 Best Bay St. Louis Restaurants
7 Best Bay St. Louis Restaurants
110 South Street, Bay St. Louis, MS // +1 (228)467-8383
Called the Living Room of The Bay, locals have found comfort, friendship, and community within the walls of this antique building circa 1868. Part art gallery, part coffee shop, this unique space opened in 2006, after the destruction of Hurricane Katrina.
During that chaotic time, the “Bird” offered a welcoming, comforting presence to all who needed a place to rest and find solace. Today it’s still a gathering place – seven days a week.
Known for their scratch-made buttermilk biscuits, pancakes, muffins, omelets, baked goods, granolas, and jams, locals and visitors flock to the Bird for breakfast, brunch, and lunch.
They serve locally roasted Coast Roast coffee and teas as well as libations. You can have anything off the menu from 7 am to 2 pm any day of the week, including breakfast or lunch specialties (sandwiches and burgers), all homemade. If the weather is mild, sit outside at a picnic table. If not, enjoy the art that graces the walls at a café table inside.
I wanted my fluffy scrambled eggs with the addition of tomato and a gigantic homemade buttermilk biscuit with a side of raspberry jam. My turmeric latte served in the most oversized cup was topped with a stamp of cinnamon sunshine that made me smile. All to-go items are served in biodegradable cups, containers, or bags. It was a terrific start to a beautiful day.
Make sure you try this iconic Bay St. Louis restaurant for your early day meal; it’s one of the best places to eat in Bay Saint Louis.
119 N. Beach Boulevard Bay St. Louis, MS // + (228)216-2600
Blind Tigers were late-night illegal bars that served bootleg whiskey and moonshine during prohibition (1920-1933). A few “blind tigers” in Bay St. Louis were popular with everyone, including local politicians and lawmen. Al Capone ran a massive rum smuggling operation just offshore from Cat Island.
Shipments of rum from Cuba were smuggled easily using fast boats that could outrun U.S. Coast Guard patrols along the coastline. These runabouts would get to the train bridge in Bay St. Louis. From there, the rum could be transported to New Orleans, Chicago, and the Mississippi River tributaries for distribution to other places in the United States.
This Blind Tiger was an instant hit when it opened in 2013. Eight years since the devastation of Katrina, it was time for restaurants to reopen on the rebuilt pier and marina on Beach Boulevard. It was so successful, owner Thomas Genin opened three more Blind Tigers in nearby towns.
Genin, who studied under Emeril Lagasse, opened and lost a restaurant in Pass Christian, a few miles up the road due to Katrina. He wanted a casual place similar to those in the Caribbean, open-air with water views and a laid-back island vibe. He nailed it, and I loved the Blind Tiger.
The menu is simple, just a few items made ideally, and a stocked bar. If you want a great waterfront restaurant in Bay St. Louis, this is it.
There’s smoked tuna dip, Mahi or shrimp tacos, a pound of Royal Red peel and eat shrimp, cantina wings, a burger, fries, seared tuna, and a chicken sandwich. It’s written in colored chalk on a blackboard, and that’s the menu. The cocktail list is enormous.
The cantina shrimp tacos were my choice with a cold beer, and it was the perfect lunch. The shrimp were lightly fried and tossed in a spicy cantina sauce. They were piled into two flour tortillas with a salsa of corn, tomatoes, red onion, cilantro, and black beans. It was beyond yum.
The atmosphere and food are fantastic, with perfect views of the Bay of St. Louis. If you are in town, go for either lunch or dinner, but sunsets are a great time to capture the views of the water in this must-try Bay St. Louis restaurant.
111 Main Street Unit A Bay St. Louis, MS // +1 (228) 231-1972
Chef Lauren Joffrion outdid herself. It was her day off, and she was trying out some new menu items for us to sample. Field’s was closed the day I visited Bay St. Louis, but she offered to open just to explain what was new and offer a tasting. Known for their oysters and hand-cut steaks, Lauren began working at Field’s in 2019.
A self-taught chef, she studied architecture before she found her true passion – cooking. Lauren is obsessed with dry-aging and butchering beef, and has several creative ideas flowing for the Bay St. Louis restaurant. These are some new menu items for Field’s Steak and Oyster Bar, and she is excited to explain them and get some feedback.
We will have steak, but first, Lauren places a stack of vibrant layers on the table. The tower of incredibly fresh yellowfin tuna, mango salsa, avocado, seaweed salad, fried onions, yuzu soy glaze, and a spicy dynamite sauce is gorgeous. Alongside are crispy triangles of wonton chips to scoop the tuna and munch.
We hate to destroy the pretty presentation, but we are hungry and excited to try. The flavors are fantastic together – both spicy and sweet. The crunch of the chips is so satisfying, along with the fresh tuna, creamy avocado, and salty seaweed salad; we simply can’t stop eating it. We enthusiastically give it two thumbs up.
Next, Lauren brings out a panko-fried cauliflower with a sweet and sour sauce, yuzu soy, a sprinkle of sesame seeds, and green onions. We love this dish too. It’s lovely to have a vegetarian option in a steak and seafood restaurant, and this crisp cauliflower is addictive. It’s a winner.
We get to the steak, and the presentation is impressive. An eight oz. blue crab cake with practically no filler is on the bottom. A petite, pepper-crusted, aged filet is seared in cast iron and placed on top of that. Then sauteed asparagus are gently placed on the steak, and wagyu butter is the final topper. A sprig of rosemary is lit on fire to cleanse the palate and make for a phenomenal presentation. We enjoy almost every morsel.
We are so full we can’t eat it all and take home half of our steaks. The care of the preparation and food quality should have you running to dine at Field’s. From the aging to the butchering, every detail is thought out. Our meal was absolutely fantastic.
For a true gourmet experience, this is one of the best places to eat in Bay St. Louis.
200 North Beach Blvd. Bay St. Louis, MS // + (228) 467-9388
The charming restaurant at 200 North Beach Boulevard is a historical treasure. Built in 1903, it was the home of the Sea Coast Echo Newspaper and is one of the best examples of early 20th century architecture on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
After the destruction of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Ann Tidwell and her family restored the structure back to its original stately self. And, in 2011, it reopened to the public. The restaurant has been serving fine seafood, steaks, and cocktails ever since.
This romantic spot has fantastic views of the bay from its outdoor wrought-iron terrace and patio. With the addition of Chef Bernard Carmouche, a protégé of Chef Emeril Lagasse, there were exciting changes to the menu. Chef Bernard added twists on local seafood dishes, charbroiled oysters, a favorite in the area, and several innovative dinners and drink specials.
I decided to try the fried shrimp Po’boy. The Po’boy is a classic sandwich served on a French baguette that originated in New Orleans. It’s offered everywhere and is almost always fried shrimp, oysters, or catfish. This sandwich is eight inches long and a generous portion, with a side of fries.
I ordered it “dressed” with mayonnaise, shredded lettuce, tomato, and sliced pickles. It was heavenly. The shrimp were crisp and not greasy. The bread is fluffy on the inside, and the crust is crispy, just fantastic. With all the fixings, it’s such a delicious combination with the cool lettuce and creamy mayo. I had to cut it in half to eat it, but it was well worth the indulgence.
I can understand why every restaurant has this classic on their menus; it is a must-try when you visit the Bay St. Louis restaurants, and 200 North Beach does it right.
108 South Beach Blvd. Bay St. Louis, MS // +1 (228) 467-3707
Since 2004, this family business has stood the test of time and a devastating hurricane. In their new restaurant on South Beach Boulevard, the traditions continue. They hope loyal customers will enjoy the freshest seafood, the coldest beer, and that same hospitality that keeps people coming back over and over to sit inside or outside under the live oak trees. They use the freshest of everything and get it delivered daily.
There are always oysters, either raw or chargrilled. Appetizers include alligator bites, gumbo, seafood bisque, redfish dip, and fried green tomatoes. You have a full selection of Po’boys, and one option I hadn’t seen is alligator sausage.
And then the blackened redfish catches my eye. I am a sucker for Cajun fish, and I am told it was brought in fresh today. It’s served with a salad and hush puppies, which are fried cornmeal balls, and wild rice. The portion is enormous. An entire filet coated in blackened spices with a squeeze of fresh lemon. It’s so good, including the hush puppies, which are sweet and crunchy.
I love it all, but really, it’s a lot of food. Cuz’s is lively, and everyone seems to know each other. The waitresses know all the customers, and my server is friendly and chatty. It’s a family place with a lot of kid’s choices on the menu.
I love that you can have a full bar, sports on tv, and good food at reasonable prices in a casual space. Children are welcome inside or out and it’s low-key. Everything here is authentic and delicious, which makes it a perfect place to eat in Bay St. Louis.
112 N. 2nd St. Bay St. Louis, MS // +(228) 466-4930
The Buttercup is a local favorite. Inside it’s a charming little breakfast place with a few tables. Outside, the patio is lovely. There are wrought iron tables in front of the historic, tiny yellow house and a few on the sweet front porch. There are a few tables occupied outside, and the occupants are from town. I asked to sit outside, and I have a whole table to myself.
The Buttercup is open for breakfast and lunch daily. I arrived early in the day, so I ordered coffee and perused the breakfast menu. I see most of the usual choices, and then I noticed the Betty Special.
I ask my server what it is. She explains that Betty was a regular customer who always ordered the same breakfast. Her order, two eggs cooked over easy on top of grits, with crumbled bacon bits and shredded cheddar cheese on top. You also get a choice of toast. I noticed homemade biscuits, so I order one instead of toast.
When Betty died, the owner put her picture on the wall and put her favorite breakfast on the menu. When the bowl came, I dug in. The egg yolks dripped into the grits, and the cheese and bacon melted into them as well. It was a breakfast bowl! Betty was ahead of her time, and it was terrific. I didn’t need the biscuit, but I nibbled at it anyway. It was light, fluffy, and yummy too.
I just loved the heart and the kindness at the Buttercup. The friendly feeling here in this Bay St. Louis restaurant made my day, and the breakfast hit the spot. Lunch items include sandwiches, burgers, veggie paninis, and salads.
116 N Beach Blvd. Bay St. Louis, MS // +(228) 467-8570
Trapani’s Eatery was established in 1994. It was destroyed and rebuilt in the exact location where it still serves the best seafood, steaks, and world-famous Po’boys for over twenty years. Here, you can sit outside on the patio with bay views or inside with a seashore vibe that includes a giant crab that hangs from the ceiling.
The locals love this place, and live music plays on the patio often. Trapani’s has an authentic New Orleans vibe and dishes that reflect Big Easy favorites, like the Muffuletta sandwich. The sandwich is Genoa salami, smoked ham, turkey, Provolone cheese, and homemade olive salad.
I had to try a Po’boy at Trapani’s. All the sandwiches come dressed with lettuce, mayonnaise, and tomatoes, but you can choose between a four-inch and an eight-inch size made on baguette bread. This is excellent news because the portions are usually huge here in Bay St. Louis restaurants.
There are the usual fried shrimp, oyster, and traditional catfish options. But as I read on, I see sautéed shrimp, grilled tuna, a Cuban press, roast beef, meatball with melted provolone and red sauce, and sautéed veal with red sauce. I know that roast beef is also traditional, but I want to try the non-fried shrimp in the four-inch size.
Just as it’s described, the roll is more petite and dressed, but the plate is overflowing with garlicky, buttery shrimp. The bread is crispy, and the shrimp are seasoned generously with salt and pepper. This version is fantastic, and I eat it all. I love the fact that you can have all types of Po’boys here at Trapani’s. Even a Cuban Sandwich is a Po’boy because I’m told the bread makes it a Po’boy.
If you are looking for an authentic taste of New Orleans and the south in general, you’ll love this Bay St. Louis restaurant.
The influence of New Orleans, the seafood from the Mississippi Sound, and the Gulf of Mexico supply the best Bay St. Louis restaurants with an unending bounty from the waters right off the coast. The chefs are inspired. They get their inspiration from the seasonal produce from the farmers and the locals who come back time after time.
Their support, resilience, and dedication to the Bay by deciding to stay and build back after devastation are incredible. Also, the residents help each other out and that makes the chefs want to offer the best they can to feed their locals from the heart. That general feeling makes hospitality easy. Good people, good times, good food – Let the good times roll!
Which of these Bay St. Louis restaurants do you most want to try? Let us know in the comments section below!
Jeanine Consoli is a freelance travel writer, photographer, and foodie based in Washington Crossing, PA. A retired elementary school teacher used her summers to feed her passion for travel and kept journals of all the destinations she explored. Today, Jeanine is working as a writer full-time. She loves uncovering the history and understanding the culture of each location, including the local flavors of each place. She has traveled extensively in the United States and Europe and is excited to keep adding to the list, finding special places that are off the beaten path both at home and abroad.