New Orleans Restaurants

New Orleanians are obsessed with food. Over lunch they're likely talking about dinner. Ask where to get the best gumbo, and you'll spark a heated debate among city natives.

Everyone, no matter what neighborhood they're from or what they do for a living, wants a plate of red beans and rice on Monday, has a favorite spot for a roast beef po'boy, and holds strong opinions about the proper flavor for a shaved ice "sno-ball."

The menus of New Orleans's restaurants reflect the many cultures that have contributed to this always-simmering culinary gumbo pot over the last three centuries. It's easy to find French, African, Spanish, German, Italian, and Caribbean influences—and increasingly Asian and Latin American as well. The speckled trout amandine at Antoine's could have been on the menu when the French Creole institution opened in 1840. Across the Mississippi River on the West Bank, Tan Dinh serves fragrant bowls of pho that remind New Orleans's large Vietnamese population of the home they left in the 1970s. And at MiLa, husband-and-wife team Slade Rushing and Allison Vines-Rushing apply the cutting-edge culinary techniques they learned in New York City to the dishes they grew up eating in Mississippi and Louisiana.

For years New Orleans paid little attention to food trends from the East and West coasts. Recently, however, the city has taken more notice of the "latest things." In Orleans Parish you'll now find gastropubs, gourmet burgers, and numerous small-plate specialists. In a town where people track the crawfish season as closely as the pennant race, no one has to preach the virtues of eating seasonally. New Orleans is still one of the most exciting places to eat in America. There's no danger that will change.

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  • 1. Acme Oyster House

    $ | French Quarter | Seafood

    A rough-edge classic in every way, this no-frills eatery at the entrance to the French Quarter is a prime source for briny, chilled Gulf oysters...Read More

  • 2. Arnaud's

    $$$ | French Quarter | American

    This grande dame of classic Creole restaurants still sparkles. In the main dining room, ornate etched glass reflects light from charming old...Read More

  • 3. Bayona

    $$$ | French Quarter | American

    New World" is the label Louisiana native Susan Spicer applies to her cooking style, the delicious hallmarks of which include goat cheese crouton...Read More

  • 4. Café du Monde

    $ | French Quarter | Café

    No visit to New Orleans is complete without a chicory-laced café au lait paired with the addictive, sugar-dusted beignets at this venerable...Read More

  • 5. Galatoire's

    $$$ | French Quarter | American

    With many of its recipes dating to 1905, Galatoire's epitomizes the old-style French Creole bistro. Fried oysters and bacon en brochette are...Read More

  • 6. Nola

    $$$ | French Quarter | American

    Fans of Emeril Lagasse will want to grab a seat at the food bar overlooking the open kitchen at this French Quarter restaurant. Freewheeling...Read More

  • 7. Antoine's

    $$$$ | French Quarter | American

    Though some people believe Antoine's heyday passed before the turn of the 20th century, others wouldn't leave New Orleans without at least one...Read More

  • 8. Bourbon House

    $$$ | French Quarter | American

    On one of the French Quarter's busiest corners is Dickie Brennan's biggest and flashiest restaurant yet (he also owns Palace Café and Dickie...Read More

  • 9. Brennan's

    $$$ | French Quarter | American

    This luxuriously appointed restaurant, located in a gorgeous, salmon-pink, circa-1795 building, closed for a little over a year, then reopened...Read More

  • 10. Broussard's

    $$$$ | French Quarter | American

    If local restaurants were judged solely by the beauty of their courtyards, Broussard's would certainly be a standout, but the food here is also...Read More

  • 11. Café du Monde

    $ | French Quarter

    Open around the clock for late-night treats Café du Monde has been serving up café au lait and beignets for more than a century. If the open...Read More

  • 12. Central Grocery

    $ | French Quarter | Deli

    This old-fashioned grocery store creates authentic muffulettas, a gastronomic gift from the city's Italian immigrants. Made by filling nearly...Read More

  • 13. Croissant d'Or Patisserie

    $ | French Quarter | Café

    In a quiet corner of the French Quarter, you'll have to look for the quaint Croissant d'Or Patisserie. Once you've found it, you'll understand...Read More

  • 14. Dickie Brennan's Steakhouse

    $$$$ | French Quarter | Steakhouse

    Straightforward steaks with a New Orleans touch" are the words to live by at this clubby shrine to red meat, the creation of a younger member...Read More

  • 15. Green Goddess

    $ | French Quarter | Eclectic

    At this cozy (read: small) restaurant in the heart of the French Quarter, diners are wowed by the inventive and globally inspired cuisine, though...Read More

  • 16. Gumbo Shop

    $ | French Quarter | American

    Even given a few modern touches—like the vegetarian gumbo offered daily—this place evokes a sense of old New Orleans. The menu is chock-full...Read More

  • 17. GW Fins

    $$$ | French Quarter | Seafood

    If you're looking for seafood, you won't be disappointed with GW Fins, which impresses with quality and variety—the bounty of fish species from...Read More

  • 18. Hermes Bar

    $ | French Quarter | American

    The allure of Hermes Bar is that you'll have your pick of the classic dishes that made Antoine's (founded in 1840) famous, without committing...Read More

  • 19. Irene's Cuisine

    $$ | French Quarter | Italian

    The walls here are festooned with enough snapshots, garlic braids, and crockery for at least two more restaurants, but it all just adds to the...Read More

  • 20. Johnny's Po-boys

    $ | French Quarter | Deli

    Strangely enough, good po'boys are hard to find in the French Quarter. Established in 1950, Johnny's compensates for that scarcity with a cornucopia...Read More

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