Seafood Restaurants in Meridian, MS

By Kim Madlom on April 29, 2011 at 3:57 am EST

Menus and maps go together in East Mississippi. "Meridian is in an interesting geographic location for cuisine," says chef Robert St. John. "Being located just a few hours from the Gulf of Mexico allows us to a steady supply of fresh seafood. The gulf offers, in my opinion, the best seafood in the country."

St. John, a native of Hattiesburg, is a 28-year veteran of the restaurant industry. For the last 22 years he has served as executive chef, president, and CEO of the Purple Parrot Café and the Mahogany Bar in Hattiesburg and Meridian.

He says the seafood served in restaurants here earns high marks.

"Unlike the fish that come from the cooler waters of the Atlantic and Pacific, The Gulf of Mexico – the Third Coast – has an abundance of year-round, warm water species: Speckled trout, flounder. red fish, grouper, pompano, and red snapper are among my favorites. Our Blue Crab are superior to any other crab species on the planet. We Mississippians love crabmeat. Our oysters are clean and salty."

St. John's specializes in what he describes as Piney Woods Cuisine. "It's a mix of the fresh seafood from the Gulf, Creole flavors from New Orleans and foods fresh from the South Mississippi garden." 

St. John has appeared on The Food Network, The Travel Channel and the Turner South network. A self-taught cook, St. John has been named the state’s top chef, by Mississippi Magazine in 2006, 2007 and 2008.

Additionally, the former Mississippi Restaurateur of the Year’s restaurant – The Purple Parrot Café – has been named the best fine dining restaurant in Mississippi and just received a Four-Diamond rating from the AAA Travel Guide.

Find more great cuisine in Meridian, MS.

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