by Rebecca Fending
Call the babysitter, order the kids a pizza and plan a night out!
If you and your love need some time to unwind and enjoy all JXN’s culinary scene has to offer, we have suggestions for a handful of favorite “date night” dining spots in the city.
Estelle Wine Bar and Bistro– Downtown
Winner of the Diner’s Choice 2020 title, Estelle is the ideal place to get your weekend started.
With everything from light bites to hearty dinners, this restaurant offers something for every taste.
Chef Jonathan Boyd is the brain behind the incredible menu of Estelle. Graduate of the Art Institute of Atlanta in Culinary Management, Boyd puts his 16 years in the industry to work by crafting menu items that pair perfectly with every palate. The dinner menu does not disappoint with Southern classics like pimento cheese and shrimp and grits to exotic flavors like sweet chili shrimp.
Not only does Estelle have a sensational dinner menu, but they also serve brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 7 am to 2 pm. From sweet and sticky cinnamon rolls to savory and classic eggs benedict, Estelle is your destination for weekend brunch.
Open for dinner each night from 4 to 10 pm, reservations are recommended. To learn more, visit their website at estellejackson.com.
Walker’s Drive-In– Fondren
Self-described as “upscale dining in a laidback atmosphere,” Walker’s is a great place to find yourself for a special night out.
Focused on featuring what the state offers, this restaurant sources fresh, seasonal ingredients, including sustainably sourced seafood and beef.
Chef Derek Emerson has created a menu that tickles any taste bud. From BBQ fried oysters as a starter to wood-grilled Wagyu hanger steak as the main course, Walker’s menu is diverse and deliciously unique to the Fondren District.
Although walk-ins are welcomed at Walker’s, reservations are suggested for dinner.
Find more information on their website, walkersdrivein.com.
Mayflower Café – Downtown
Awarded with the title of “The Best Comeback Salad Dressing,” the Mayflower Café is a Jackson classic since 1935.
Their Greek-inspired seafood and steak menu items are the reason they’ve been feeding Jackson locals and visitors for 85 years.
Their fantastic menu offers options for every eater, from a table’s steak lover to fresh Greek salads and even their extensive seafood list. There’s no way to go hungry at Mayflower Café!
Deemed a favorite gathering place once the sun sets on the city, Mayflower Café has also been featured in movies such as The Help (2011) and Ghosts of Mississippi (1996) for its historical quality and feel.
To learn more about the restaurant’s history, menu and specials, visit them at mayflowercafems.com.
BRAVO!– LeFleur East
From gourmet pasta to wood-fired pizzas, BRAVO! is your stop for any taste you may have.
Since 1994, this restaurant has made comfort and satisfaction the name of their game. Fresh ingredients and experienced chefs are the reason BRAVO! has so many returning customers. From salads overflowing with freshly prepared vegetables, fruit and meat, to satisfying and soul-warming entrees like veal parmigiana, BRAVO! is an easy choice.
Not only is the food delectable, but this restaurant specializes in wine, with a glass that pairs with each dish. They have everything from the deep tannins found in their pinot noir that pairs well with salmon to a tart and dry chardonnay to complement their angel hair pasta with scallops and shrimp.
BRAVO! also has daily lunch specials from 11 am to 5 pm, so be sure to ask your server what the kitchen has special that day.
Learn more at the BRAVO! website, bravobuzz.com.
Library Lounge – Belhaven
Located in the historic Fairview Inn, Library Lounge was established in 1908 and has been a Jackson hotspot ever since.
Originally the library for the inn, it was converted to a lounge dedicated to local Mississippi writers such as John Grisham, William Faulkner and Tennessee Williams, to name a few.
History aside, the Library Lounge offers a fantastic array of dishes and cocktails to guests. With new chef Connor Mize (formerly of Saltine and Yuzu Ramen), look for a fresh take on their menu this winter. They also feature an extensive wine menu for a glass that will pair wonderfully with any menu item you choose.
To read more about the history or for menus, visit their website at fairviewinn.com/library-lounge.
Johnny T’s Bistro & Blues – Downtown
Once dinner time rolls around, Johnny T’s is the perfect place to either wind down after a full day or gear up before a night of fun.
Founded in the name of the legend of Johnny T., a blues player in the 1900s, Johnny T’s marries the classic Southern flare of the blues with quintessentially Mississippi fare. Their signature items include their salmon balls (salmon croquettes deep fried and served with honey butter sauce), shrimp toast and Johnny T’s burger (an eight-ounce handmade patty with lettuce and tomato on a brioche bun).
Be sure to check out the upstairs of the restaurant, known as the 540 Ultra Lounge. This upscale and sexy lounge is open until the wee hours of the morning, allowing you to carry that special evening to last throughout the night.
Read more about Johnny T’s at johnnytsbistroandblues.com.