Mississippi might evoke images of the old South, or the Delta blues perhaps, or maybe the urbanity of Jackson, but in the coastal counties, Mississippi is a different world altogether, a region characterized by French and Spanish influence and the beautiful beaches, bays and bayous. Devastated by 1969’s Hurricane Camille, some areas had only fully recovered a few years before Katrina wiped everything out again in 2005. Perhaps no town was harder hit than Bay St. Louis, the county seat of Hancock County, Mississippi’s closest county to New Orleans. The little town has always had a peculiar charm, but since Katrina it has become a community of art galleries, unique shops and fine restaurants, while its proximity to the Crescent City and its waterfront setting make it especially attractive as a weekend or summer getaway for New Orleanians. The downtown area offers a number of intriguing restaurant choices, and all of them were packed to the rafters with Saints fans on the night I was there, but I decided on Trapani’s Eatery, a place which I chose because I recall hearing the name back in my youth (the restaurant opened in 1994), because of its bayfront location, and because of its exceptionally good reviews on Yelp.
Trapani’s is a rather casual two-story restaurant on Beach Boulevard with a nautical theme and decor. Not particularly fancy, it features an upstairs bar, and a fair amount of outdoor tables, a few of which were occupied, as the weather was fairly warm for January, although windy. The menu encompasses both seafood and steaks, but of course seafood is the big draw here, and deservedly so. I chose the Paneed Trout Eatery, a fancy version of trout almondine that was absolutely amazing. Besides the almonds and butter, and the lightly-breaded, pan-fried trout, the dish featured white wine, lump crab, shrimp and a hollandaise sauce. It came accompanied with angel-hair alfredo pasta with freshly-grated parmesan cheese, and toasted bread. Trapani’s also offers po-boys, and steaks which I will have to try on a future visit. Service was friendly and attentive, and that was true even though the place was packed due to the Saints play-off game on the flat-screen TV. Trapani’s is definitely a must-visit when in Bay St. Louis.
116 North Beach Blvd
Bay St. Louis, MS 39520