The old town of Mobile welcomed Wintzell's Oyster House with open arms way back in 1938, when it was just a 6-stool oyster shack advertising "Oysters—fried, stewed, or nude." The restaurant has a host of locations, but each serves up the same regional, seafood-centric cuisine that made the place legendary.
Sunlight glitters through Chappy's in Point Clear's wide-paned windows, illuminating chefs as they lightly fry trout fillets and drape shrimp hollandaise sauce over pork chops and tender milk-fed veal. From the kitchen, they'll hand over their gourmet surf 'n' turf entrees to a wait staff who then arranges them atop crisp white tablecloths where flower vases, napkins folded into fleur-de-lis, and life-size replicas of the Lusitania adorn place settings.
Chef Pri’s gustatory adventures meet at the intersection of Thai specialty dishes, American comfort food, and international influence. Tables play host to artfully wrapped Japanese sushi and curries accented by pineapple and butternut squash. Chicken or shrimp cozy up to stir-fried noodles, and for heartier food, Chef Pri piles pot-roasted duck infused with cinnamon atop a sautéed spinach and garlic chili sauce.
The restaurant’s dining room exemplifies the same modernity found in the menu, with coal-black ceilings and geometric artwork against mustard-hued walls. Burnt yellow lights hang like glowing champagne glasses above Jasmine’s fully stocked bar, where diners can retreat for a cocktail or wine by the glass.
The River Shack hauls in grilled platefuls and fried basketfuls of eats culled from both land and sea. Bun-corralled menu options such as the double griddle burger ($8.95) to the fried oyster po' boy ($12.95) can ably occupy hands while herds of the buffalo shrimp appetizer stampede wildly by ($7.95). Fashionably flat, the grilled flounder platter arrives escorted by two down-home sides such as slaw, fried okra, baked beans, or a retired high-school quarterback ($13.95).
Tucked behind Leinkauf Elementary School, La Pizzeria has been lauded by Press-Register food editor David Holloway as "one of the best-kept secrets" in town. He praises owner Todd Henson's balance between Italian classics—pastas with housemade sauces and calzones among them—and creative menu contributions. A list of character-inspired gourmet pizzas includes the garlic-infused Bela Lugosi and the Sherlock Holmes, a mystery order whose toppings are chosen by the chef and cooked beneath a carefully aimed magnifying glass. Strewn with white tablecloths and still-life paintings, the low-lit interior features one private table, where Henson wagers "we've had a hundred proposals of marriage … over the years."