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. Arnaud's

    $$$$ | French Quarter | American

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

  • 2. August

    $$$$ | CBD | Modern American

    If the Gilded Age is long past, someone forgot to tell the folks at August, where the main dining room shimmers with masses of chandelier prisms...Read More

  • 3. Commander's Palace

    $$$$ | Garden District | American

    No restaurant captures New Orleans's gastronomic heritage and celebratory spirit as well as this grande dame of New Orleans fine dining. The...Read More

  • 4. Emeril's Delmonico

    $$$$ | Garden District | American

    Chef Emeril Lagasse bought the century-old Delmonico restaurant in 1998 and converted it into a large, extravagant restaurant serving some of...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. The Grill Room

    $$$$ | CBD | American

    With its elegant table settings and canvases depicting the lives of British nobility, the Grill Room on the second floor of the Windsor Court...Read More

  • 7. Upperline

    $$$ | Uptown | American

    For more than 25 years, this gaily colored cottage filled with a museum's worth of regional art has defined New Orleans Creole bistro fare,...Read More

  • 8. 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

  • 9. 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

  • 10. Compère Lapin

    $$$ | Central Business District | Fusion

    Those tired of the white-tablecloth restaurants with decades-old menus of shrimp rémoulade and redfish renditions that populate so much of the...Read More

  • 11. 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

  • 12. Gianna

    $$$ | Warehouse District | Italian

    An evening at this corner restaurant combines a sophisticated night out with nourishing, down-to-earth food. Chef Rebecca Wilcomb, the former...Read More

  • 13. 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

  • 14. Maypop

    $$$ | Central Business District | Asian

    After gaining notoriety for his Southeast Asian–inspired cuisine at Mopho in Mid-City, Chef Michael Gulotta moved into new territory, with a...Read More

  • 15. Muriel's Jackson Square

    $$$ | French Quarter | American

    Among Jackson Square's many dining spots, Muriel's is easily the most ambitious, in both atmosphere and menu. In the large downstairs rooms...Read More

  • 16. Paladar 511

    $$ | Faubourg Marigny | Italian

    This airy, industrial space has two equally enjoyable identities, depending on the time of day. Weekend brunches are bustling and lively and...Read More

  • 17. Pascal's Manale

    $$$ | Uptown | Italian

    Barbecue shrimp is an addictive regional specialty that involves neither a barbecue nor barbecue sauce, and Pascal's is considered the dish...Read More

  • 18. R'evolution

    $$$$ | French Quarter | American

    Superstars rarely start over when they're on top—but celebrity chef Rick Tramonto, best known for his avant-garde creations at Chicago's Tru...Read More

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