I spent the year trying Coast restaurants for the first time, and here are my favorites

I began a journey back in late spring to try a new Coast restaurant every week and tell readers all about them.

It’s taken me from Bay St. Louis to Pascagoula and everywhere in between. I’ve visited dark bars, popular waterside restaurants and sweets-filled ice cream parlors.

I’ve had po-boys and tuna dip, hot ramen and Italian crostini and desserts from south of the border.

While I’m not finished yet for the yea, I wanted to look back at a few of my favorite places.

These five restaurants from around South Mississippi were some of the best establishments I’ve visited in 2023.

Bacchus on the Beach

A couple of restaurants exceeded my expectations more than most. When I was told about Bacchus, I expected something similar to the usual seafood restaurant with a view.

Boy was I wrong. Bacchus brought it. Even my Louisiana-native cousin was impressed by the Cajun cuisine served here.

The one thing about this restaurant that still hasn’t escaped the front of my mind: the Nectar of the Gods. Billed to me as one of the best drinks on the Coast, it lived up to the hype. I had two before dinner actually showed up last time out.

11/10 would recommend.

The Nectar of the Gods margarita at Bacchus on the Beach in Pass Christian, Mississippi.
The Nectar of the Gods margarita at Bacchus on the Beach in Pass Christian, Mississippi.

Bozo’s Grocery

This is where I discovered happiness. It took more than 26 years, but it finally happened: I stumbled into Bozo’s Grocery.

Turns out it was in a styrofoam box all along. That box was filled with crab clusters, shrimp, potatoes and corn. And at an incredibly competitive price, too.

Buried in Pascagoula for over 60 years now, Bozo’s brings local charm and fresh seafood to all who enter.

Trinity Cafe

It doesn’t get much more hidden-gem than Trinity Cafe. Tucked into the welcome center of the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum in Biloxi, Trinity Cafe will surprise you.

Chef Joshua Mitchell serves up a high-end concept menu at an affordable cost in a laid-back atmosphere.

If I may recommend a dish, the salmon pasta with cream sauce is divine. If you’re lucky, Chef Joshua might even play the piano for you.

Heladeria La Frescura

It’s cooled down a bit, but there’s still plenty of reason to hit up this Mexican ice cream parlor. Heladeria La Frescura is versatile, colorful and delicious.

They’ve got ice cream flavors ranging from strawberry to gansito and a wide variety of aguas frescas to dive into. There are snacks, as well, with my personal favorite being the caramel-filled churros.

If you’re in Pascagoula and haven’t given this sweets shop a try, go ahead and do yourself a favor.

Cafe 871

Cafe 871 is one of my more recent stops and one I’ll have to revisit again soon. This final spot on the list could’ve gone to a few restaurants, including the cafe inside the Bella Hotel across the street from here.

But Cafe 871 was a quaint spot in Biloxi that I quickly fell in love with. It has an upscale mood without feeling overly stuffy. Like you can pop in at any point of the day for a quick lunch or an afternoon date.

The Creole-infused menu is also a huge draw for me. It’s my personal favorite genre of food, and they do it well here. Like everything else on this list, I highly recommend a trip.