12 Best Restaurants in Gulfport, Mississippi

Last Updated on February 15, 2024 by Emily Johnson

Gulfport, Mississippi offers a vibrant and diverse food scene with restaurants serving up everything from fresh Gulf seafood to creative takes on Southern favorites. From waterfront eateries with breathtaking views to cozy neighborhood gems, there is something to satisfy every palate and fit any budget and occasion.

This article explores 12 of the best and most popular restaurants that both locals and visitors rave about in Gulfport. For each restaurant on the list, you’ll find key information including the cuisine type, most popular dishes, price range, and why it stands out from the competition. No matter if you’re a first-time visitor or lifelong Gulfport resident, use this guide to discover a new favorite dining destination in town.

As the second-largest city in Mississippi, Gulfport has evolved over the years into a thriving tourism and entertainment hub thanks to its prime coastal location. Stretching along the Gulf of Mexico, Gulfport’s shores are dotted with sandy beaches, historic piers, and scenic harbors which provide a picturesque backdrop for a growing food and beverage scene.

New restaurants featuring diverse cuisines are constantly popping up and competing with old Gulf Coast favorites that have been community staples for decades. From casual seafood joints and po’ boy shops to upscale steakhouses and chef-driven concepts, Gulfport has dining options for every occasion and preference.

The Gulfport dining scene also benefits greatly from the vast array of fresh seafood sourced right from the Gulf waters as well as produce and livestock from Mississippi’s fertile farmlands. Many restaurants pride themselves on serving up dishes made with high-quality, seasonal and locally-sourced ingredients.

Homegrown flavors also shine brightly with talented chefs putting creative spins on Southern classics passed down through generations. You’ll find some of the best traditional fried seafood plates, jambalaya dishes, crawfish boils, and handmade tamales that capture the essence and comfort of true Gulf Coast cuisine.

Here are 12 of the best restaurants in Gulfport that you must try whether you call the Coast home or are just visiting the area.

1. Shaggy’s Biloxi Beach

Cuisine Type: Seafood, Southern

Most Popular Dishes: Biloxi Beach Tacos, Shaggy’s Famous Shrimp Po’boy

Why It’s Great: This laid-back eatery right off Highway 90 offers panoramic views of the beach along with deliciously fresh seafood in a casual environment. It’s hugely popular for the giant po’ boys overflowing with golden fried shrimp and other local catches dressed in zesty Creole remoulade sauce.

Their famous Biloxi Beach Tacos are also a huge hit, filled with your choice of fried or blackened shrimp or fish topped with pico de gallo and shredded cabbage. With additional locations throughout the Gulf Coast, Shaggy’s brings high quality and consistency to the table without breaking the bank. It’s the perfect place to experience flavors of the Mississippi Gulf Coast in a scenic beachfront setting.

2. The Blind Tiger Restaurant

Cuisine Type: Cajun, Seafood

Most Popular Dishes: The Blind Tiger Salad with Shrimp, Crawfish Fettuccine

Why It’s Great: Specializing in the rustic flavors of Louisiana-inspired cooking, The Blind Tiger has been a go-to destination for Cajun seafood favorites since 1989. Weekly specials like Boiled Crawfish and Jambalaya highlight the menu along with po’ boys dressed with housemade remoulade and fried baskets overflowing with shrimp, catfish and oysters.

Their fettuccine topped with plump crawfish tails in a rich and spicy cream sauce also wins over crowds. With an eclectic, old-world atmosphere and adjacent casino lounge, it’s a popular neighborhood eatery to get your Cajun fix on Mississippi’s Gulf Coast.

3. White Cap Seafood Kitchen and Raw Bar

Cuisine Type: Seafood

Most Popular Dishes: Seafood Tower, Hawaiian Poke Bowl

Why It’s Great: Located near the harbor with striking views of fishing boats and yachts, this contemporary eatery focuses on impeccably fresh and sustainable seafood. The menu features an array of raw bar selections like lobster, crab legs, oysters and ceviches alongside composed entrees putting a global spin on Gulf catches.

Favorite dishes include Snapper topped with crabmeat Ravigote sauce and Seared Scallops with truffle cauliflower puree. The seafood focused menu also offers selections for land lovers from filet mignon to chicken parmesan. White Cap brings fine dining polish blended with coastal charm through breathtaking waterfront vistas.

4. Hook Gulf Coast Cuisine

Cuisine Type: Seafood, Southern

Most Popular Dishes: Gulf Coast Nachos, Crab Cake Sandwich

Why It’s Great: Focusing on the quintessential flavors of the Northern Gulf, Hook plates up classics like fried platters and po’boys while also putting their own creative spin on regional seafood through tacos, nachos and other inventive shareables.

Daily chalkboard specials highlight the freshest catches from local waters that end up in ceviches, sandwiches and chef’s bowls. Their Gulf Coast Nachos pile warm crispy tortilla chips high with shredded barbecue pork,

black beans, peppers, onions, cheese sauce and all the fixings. Located just off Highway 90, it’s a contemporary take on Gulf comfort food perfect for kicking back and relaxing after time at the beach.

5. Half Shell Oyster House

Cuisine Type: Seafood

Most Popular Dishes: Chargrilled Oysters, Oyster Po’ Boy

Why It’s Great: When it comes to oysters done right, nobody does it better than Half Shell Oyster House. Slurping back raw, char-grilled and fried Gulf oysters along with other seafood favorites in a laid back atmosphere is what keeps locals and visitors coming back.

Chargrilled oysters bathed in butter, garlic and Parmesan is a signature specialty not to miss. You’ll also find baskets and po’boys overflowing with fried shrimp, catfish and crab cakes on the menu if you’re not into oysters.

With additional outposts throughout the Gulf South emphasizing quality and consistency, Half Shell brings the best of Mississippi oysters and coastal cooking to the table every time.

6. Mosaic Foods Restaurant

Cuisine Type: American, Seafood, Steakhouse

Most Popular Dishes: Mosaic Surf n Turf, Pecan Crusted Gulf Red Snapper

Why It’s Great: Regarded as one of the finest restaurants in Gulfport, Mosaic plates a menu showcasing diverse flavors and high-quality ingredients from land and sea. The elegant atmosphere with fine dining service makes it a popular special occasion restaurant, while the lounge offers a more casual experience for enjoying creative cocktails and plates.

Gulf seafood specialties like Pecan crusted Gulf Red Snapper share the menu alongside prime steaks and chops. Their signature Mosaic Surf n Turf pairs a tender filet mignon and jumbo lump crab cake with béarnaise sauce for an indulgent feast.

With an extensive Gulf-inspired menu not limited to just surf and turf, Mosaic brings a refined dining experience to match Gulfport’s easygoing coastal lifestyle.

7. Virginia’s On The Harbor

Cuisine Type: Seafood, Southern

Most Popular Dishes: Fried Catfish Platter, Jambalaya Pasta, Bread Pudding

Why It’s Great: Offering up Gulf Coast favorites with a heavy Southern influence in a relaxed waterfront setting, Virginia’s has been a reliable fixture for fresh seafood and regional comfort food since 1947. You’ll find filling plates of fried seafood, jambalaya pasta, po’ boys, steaks and broiled seafood baskets that hit the spot without breaking the bank.

While guests rave about classics like the fried catfish platter, Virginia’s also deserves a noteworthy mention for its melt-in-your-mouth bread pudding drizzled with whiskey sauce – one of the Coast’s best desserts. With charm that only comes with history and consistency through multiple generations, Virginia’s remains a quintessential Gulfport restaurant after over seven decades in business.

8. Firefly

Cuisine Type: French, Seafood

Most Popular Dishes: Parmesan Crusted Gulf Red Snapper, Firefly Bouillabaisse

Why It’s Great: Offering an upscale casual dining experience emphasizing Gulf flavors and ingredients through a French-American lens, Firefly plates some of the most inventive dishes in town that keep diners coming back. Parmesan crusted Gulf red snapper served over crab and spinach risotto has become a signature plate not to miss.

Their take on classic bouillabaisse sees an array of seafood stewed in a saffron tomato broth that pops with flavor and aroma. Located downtown just off scenic Beach Blvd, the converted historic home offers intimate indoor dining areas plus a breezy patio wrapped in twinkling lights – the perfect destination for a relaxing upscale dinner any night of the week.

9. Aunt Jenny’s Catfish Restaurant

Cuisine Type: Seafood, Southern

Most Popular Dishes: Fried Catfish Dinner, Southern Fried Shrimp Po’boy

Why It’s Great: This old-fashioned staple plates up the South’s favorite freshwater fish – catfish – done right since 1985 using original recipes. Guests rave about the lightly breaded and fried catfish fillets that stay crispy and golden thanks to a signature blend of cornmeal and seasonings.

Beyond catfish, you’ll also find Po’Boys, shrimp baskets and homemade desserts like cobbler and banana pudding rounding out the menu. Very wallet-friendly and always bustling with regulars and visitors, Aunt Jenny’s is classic Southern comfort food at its best focusing on the Mississippi staple of crisp, golden fried catfish.

10. Buoy’s Seafood Market and Restaurant

Cuisine Type: Seafood

Most Popular Dishes: Captain’s Platter with Stuffed Shrimp, Broiled Seafood Platter

Why It’s Great: This low-key spot attached to a seafood market serves up sizzling platters and baskets brimming with the freshest Gulf catches from their own fleet of fishing boats. Daily specials highlight what was just pulled from the water and whisked right to their kitchen like snapper and crab claws.

Guests recommend the broiled seafood platter, which lets you choose from shrimp, oysters, redfish and more prepared either fried, grilled or broiled. Homestyle sides made from scratch complete the meals.

For nearly 40 years, buoy’s no-frills approach focuses on serving incredible seafood straight from the docks to your table – some of the freshest you’ll find in town.

11. The Shed BBQ & Blues Joint

Cuisine Type: Barbecue

Most Popular Dishes: Kansas City Smoked Ribs, Mississippi Mud Pie

Why It’s Great: If you need a break from fresh Gulf seafood, this eatery smokes up meaty plates of Southern barbecue that have earned national acclaim. Specializing in Kansas City-style ribs, the tender and fall-off-the-bone meat is smoked low and slow over hickory wood – a rarity in this corner of barbecue country.

Beyond the melt-in-your mouth ribs, you’ll also find smoked chicken, sausage, brisket, pulled pork sandwiches and all the classic fixings from baked beans to potato salad. Save room for their famous Mississippi Mud Pie, a decadent chocolate and marshmallow delight that leaves guests raving.

Offering live music nightly with a laid back lounge vibe, The Shed brings award-winning barbecue – plus plenty of blues – straight from the heartland to Mississippi’s Gulf Coast.

12. Orange Grove Steak & Seafood

Cuisine Type: Steakhouse, Seafood

Most Popular Dishes: Surf & Turf, Espresso Rubbed Ribeye Steak

Why It’s Great: Regarded as one of the finest steakhouses along the northern Gulf Coast, Orange Grove brings premium cuts of perfectly aged Midwestern beef and pristine seafood to white tablecloth-adorned tables.

The elegant dining room offers a refined experience you’d expect from an upscale steakhouse while still retaining that southern hospitality warmth and charm. Gulf shrimp, seabass and tuna share the menu alongside hand-cut filet mignon, ribeyes and New York strips perfectly charred. Guests rave about the espresso-rubbed ribeye bursting with flavor and tender to the bite.

Classic sides like au gratin potatoes, roasted mushrooms and asparagus balance out the generous steaks and seafood entrees. For celebrations big or small, Orange Grove hits the sweet spot between polished dining and coastal charm through expertly prepared surf and turf.

Conclusion

Gulfport’s vibrant food scene has something to satisfy every preference and budget thanks to skilled chefs and restaurants committed to delivering quality dishes made with fresh regional ingredients from the Mississippi Gulf.

From down home seafood shacks serving up straight-from-the-docks fried platters to restaurants putting creative spins on Cajun cuisine and upscale steak and seafood houses, this guide highlights some of the best places in Gulfport to experience authentic flavors of the northern Gulf coast.

Whether you stick to Gulf classics like chargrilled oysters and jumbo shrimp po’boys or feel like trying inventive surf and turf plates, cocktails and more, this roundup gives you a great starting point to discovering new favorite restaurants in town. Just come hungry and ready to soak in the sights, sounds, scenes – and most importantly – the rich food culture unique to the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

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