Port City Café in Biloxi is classic Americana, but with an interesting twist or two. There is certainly a bit of Cajun spice, a little Creole and a lot of Southern diner too.
The emphasis here is on comfort. Comfort food, comfortable surroundings, friendly service, more than adequate servings and family-friendly prices.
In trying to get the measure of a restaurant you have never been in before, there are two factors that almost lead you in the right direction: How long has the place been open and how crowded is it?
Port City has a twin in Gulfport, and it has been around for 15 years. That is a comfortable statistic. The Biloxi location has been open for five years, so both of these indicators are solid. This visit began just before 11 a.m. and just a table or two were filled.
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But by just a few minutes after the hour, the customers were coming in almost a steady stream. Things were looking better and better.
The menu covers a lot of ground, from breakfast to sandwiches, salads, pasta, burgers and much in demand daily lunch specials.
Breakfast is pretty straight forward with omelets ($5.99 to $8.99) platters ($5.79) and biscuits that look good if you go in for that sort of thing.
If you stick with just a biscuit with butter and jam, the price is an amazing, just 99 cents.
It is best to start with an appetizer or two, if you are eating with friends.
On this visit we ordered deep-fried okra ($5.99) and bacon and cheese fries ($6.99). Both were good, not overcooked and came with a good dipping sauce. This is exactly what you would expect at a good diner.
The daily specials should be given serious attention. Red beans and rice ($8.49) is always a good choice, and I am always a sucker for country fried steak with white gravy (also $8.49), but the final choice was pot roast and gravy ($8.99). All of these blue plate specials are solid, hearty and satisfying.
One more choice had to be made, and we went with what our waitress suggested, a fried-shrimp po-boy. It was a good choice, and after adding just a splash of hot sauce, it was perfect.
Although I did not get the chance to try one, Port City offers an interesting collection of custom sandwiches ($6.99-$7.99). The Green Wave, a veggie choice looked interesting, with fried eggplant and roasted red and yellow peppers, pesto and provolone cheese. The Eagle was another sandwich of some note, with pot roast, bacon and Swiss cheese.
The next time you are in the mood for a bit of a throwback, heavy on the comfort side, give the Port City Café a try.