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. Elizabeth's

    $ | Bywater | American

    Real food, done real good" is the motto at hipster-haven Elizabeth's, where the vinyl-print tablecloths look just like grandma's and breakfast...Read More

  • 2. Jacques-Imo's Cafe

    $$ | Carrollton-Riverbend | American

    Oak Street might look like any other sleepy urban thoroughfare by day, but once the sun sets, the half-block stretch containing Jacques-Imo...Read More

  • 3. Acme Oyster House

    $$ | French Quarter | Seafood

    A rough-edge classic in every way, this no-frills eatery is a prime source for briny, chilled Gulf oysters; legendary shrimp, oyster, and roast...Read More

  • 4. Adolfo's

    $$ | Faubourg Marigny | Italian

    Rustic and charming, this cramped dining room lords over Frenchmen Street and serves big plates of classic Italian-American cuisine with a Creole...Read More

  • 5. Atchafalaya

    $$ | Uptown | American

    Even with reservations, expect to wait for weekend brunch at this Uptown institution, but your taste buds will thank you later. Locals tend...Read More

  • 6. Bellegarde Bakery

    $ | Carrollton-Riverbend | Bakery

    At Bellegarde Bakery, far from the popular tourist sites, Graison Gill and his team freshly mill all of their flour on-site, producing bread...Read More

  • 7. Bon Ton Café

    $$$ | Central Business District | Cajun

    Bon Ton's opening in 1953 marked the first appearance of a significant Cajun restaurant in New Orleans, and the now-famed crawfish dishes, gumbo...Read More

  • 8. Borgne

    $$$ | Central Business District | Seafood

    In a spacious dining room accented by nautical touches, floor-to-ceiling chalkboard panels, and local artwork, you'll find rustic Louisiana...Read More

  • 9. 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

  • 10. Brennan's

    $$$$ | French Quarter | American

    This luxuriously appointed restaurant, located in a gorgeous, salmon-pink, circa-1795 building, serves lavish breakfasts, served by pink-bow...Read More

  • 11. Bywater American Bistro

    $$$ | Bywater | American

    The latest project from chef Nina Compton, Top Chef contestant and owner of popular Compère Lapin in the Warehouse District, is a real neighborhood...Read More

  • 12. Clancy's

    $$$ | Uptown | American

    Understatement characterizes the mood at locally beloved Clancy's, and the classy but neutral decor reflects this, though the scene can get...Read More

  • 13. Emeril's

    $$$ | Warehouse District | American

    Celebrity-chef Emeril Lagasse's urban-chic flagship restaurant is always jammed, so it's fortunate that the basket weave–pattern wood ceiling...Read More

  • 14. Finn McCool's Irish Pub

    $ | Mid-City | Café

    This convivial spot is more than just your average corner bar: it streams European soccer games (opening as early as 7 am to do so) and hosts...Read More

  • 15. Grand Isle

    $$ | CBD | American

    The rustic interior, reminiscent of 1920s and '30s Louisiana fish camps, is the perfect backdrop for shrimp gumbo, spicy boiled shrimp, fresh...Read More

  • 16. 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

  • 17. Justine

    $$$$ | French Quarter | French

    Celebrated local chef Justin Devillier (of Le Petite Grocery fame) brings an entirely new concept to the French Quarter with Justine. With a...Read More

  • 18. K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen

    $$$ | French Quarter | Cajun

    At this comfortable French Quarter café with glossy wooden floors and exposed brick, chef Paul Prudhomme added "Cajun" to America's culinary...Read More

  • 19. Kebab

    $ | Faubourg Marigny | Middle Eastern

    The gyro sandwich with a side of Belgian fries (and indulgent housemade aioli) here is a satisfying meal for those looking to make a late night...Read More

  • 20. La Boca

    $$$ | Warehouse District | Latin American

    Need a break from the bounties of the sea prevalent in New Orleans restaurants? Book a table at this classic Argentine steak house, where wine...Read More

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