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. 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

  • 3. 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

  • 4. 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

  • 5. 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

  • 6. 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

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