As the season moves toward spring and temperatures begin to thaw, new restaurants are shaking off the past two years and giving diners an exciting mix of concepts, cuisines and cocktails. Across the south, some chefs are diving deep into local ingredients and traditional dishes, while others are bringing their cities something new via global flavors and fusion. Complementing the food and drinks is a focus on comfortable spaces with a sense of place, whether that means embracing a breezy beachside aesthetic or serving dinner and a show to a music-loving crowd.
These are six restaurants we can’t wait to try, including two in Texas (Paloma Suerte in Fort Worth and Wild Oats in Houston) and two in Florida (Mehzcla in Miami Beach and Moréa in Fort Lauderdale). There’s also Tava, an exciting pop-u-turned-brick-and-mortar in New Orleans, and Electric Jane, Nashville’s buzzy new entertainment venue.