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 Compère Lapin, Chef Nina Compton brings expert French and Italian fine-dining traditions to the down-home flavors of her St. Lucia childhood, and of her new home in the Gulf South.

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. Bayona

    $$$ | French Quarter | Modern American

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

  • 2. Boucherie

    $$ | Carrollton-Riverbend | American

    Nathanial Zimet's gutsy, down-home cooking, a unique blend of Louisiana and contemporary Southern styles, fits right in at its cozy location...Read More

  • 3. Coquette

    $$$ | Uptown | American

    Every neighborhood needs a hangout, and the dwellers of the Garden District's elegant mansions tend to spend their time at this fabulous corner...Read More

  • 4. Gautreau's

    $$$ | Uptown | Modern American

    This vine-covered neighborhood bistro doesn't have a sign, but that hasn't stopped the national food media from finding it. Lauded chefs cook...Read More

  • 5. Gris-Gris

    $$$ | Garden District | American

    If you're looking for an opportunity to converse with a top New Orleans chef, then Gris-Gris is your best bet. The first level of this Magazine...Read More

  • 6. Herbsaint

    $$$ | Warehouse District | American

    Chef Donald Link (also of Cochon, Cochon Butcher, and Pêche Seafood Grill) turns out food that sparkles with robust flavors and top-grade ingredients...Read More

  • 7. N7

    $$ | Bywater | Spanish

    It might seem unlikely that a restaurant specializing in canned fish would be one of the most romantic places to dine in New Orleans, but N7...Read More

  • 8. Patois

    $$$ | Uptown | French

    Hidden on a quiet residential corner, this bustling bistro could have been transported directly from Provence. The menu continues the French...Read More

  • 9. Bao & Noodle

    $ | Faubourg Marigny | Chinese

    Hand-pulled noodles and fluffy steamed bao are the specialties at this local favorite. Sichuan and Cantonese dishes pack the occasional punch...Read More

  • 10. Brigtsen's

    $$$ | Carrollton-Riverbend | American

    Chef Frank Brigtsen's fusion of Creole refinement and Acadian earthiness reflects his years as a Paul Prudhomme protégé, and his dishes here...Read More

  • 11. Café Degas

    $$ | Mid-City | French

    Dining at Café Degas is like being at a sidewalk café in Paris, even though the restaurant is completely covered: there's a tree growing through...Read More

  • 12. Dante's Kitchen

    $$ | Carrollton-Riverbend | American

    Ask local chefs where they dine on their day off, and chances are a good number of them will mention Dante's Kitchen. Chef-owner Eman Loubier...Read More

  • 13. Elysian Bar

    $ | Faubourg Marigny | American

    The team behind popular Bywater wine garden Bacchanal opened this chic bar and restaurant at the Hotel Peter and Paul, where you’ll find dizzying...Read More

  • 14. La Petite Grocery

    $$$ | Uptown | American

    Flower shops sometimes bloom into intimate fine-dining establishments in New Orleans, and this one, with just-bright-enough lighting and a sturdy...Read More

  • 15. Meauxbar

    $$$ | French Quarter | French

    This understated corner bistro, popular with locals-in-the-know, constantly delivers quality dishes and a pleasant evening out. The menu is...Read More

  • 16. Pelican Club

    $$$$ | French Quarter | Eclectic

    Sassy New York flourishes permeate the menu of chef Richard Hughes's smartly decorated, eminently comfortable restaurant in the heart of the...Read More

  • 17. Rue 127

    $$ | Mid-City | Modern American

    This diminutive bistro, set back from the street, can be hard to find amid the neighboring bars and casual eateries. Inside, the staff greet...Read More

  • 18. Saint-Germain

    $$$$ | St. Claude | French

    The seasonal five-course menu changes constantly at this romantic Parisian-style bistro, which is quickly becoming one of the finest dining...Read More

  • 19. Suis Generis

    $$ | Bywater | International

    Devotees of this unassuming neighborhood spot wait with bated breath on Friday afternoons, when a new menu is posted online (and outside the...Read More

  • 20. The Italian Barrel

    $$$ | French Quarter | Italian

    Here Verona-born chef Samantha Castagnetti turns out sumptuous, authentic northern Italian pasta dishes, like fusilli with peas, shallots, and...Read More

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