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. 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

  • 2. Cochon Butcher

    $ | Warehouse District | American

    Around the corner from its big brother Cochon, Butcher packs its own Cajun punch with an upscale sandwich menu that dials up the flavor on local...Read More

  • 3. 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

  • 4. 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

  • 5. 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

  • 6. 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

  • 7. 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

  • 8. Maurepas Foods

    $ | Bywater | American

    This relative newcomer and self-proclaimed purveyor of "robust cuisine" already has the lived-in charm of a corner store with a hip edginess...Read More

  • 9. Purloo

    $$$ | American

    Inspired by cooking styles from New Orleans to North Carolina, Chef Ryan Hughes brings an ambitious menu of refined Southern cuisine to Purloo...Read More

  • 10. The Joint

    $ | Bywater | American

    You can't miss this bright, yellow-striped building, but it's the smell of the meat—pork shoulder, pork ribs, beef brisket, and chicken—cooking...Read More

  • 11. Cuve

    $$$ | Central Business District | American

    With a name that refers to a blend of wines, this restaurant divides its inspirations between France's Champagne region and south Louisiana...Read More

  • 12. ONE

    $$ | Carrollton-Riverbend | American

    Intimate, neighborhoody, and chic all at once, ONE manages to feel casual and upscale at the same time. The interior is sleek and sophisticated...Read More

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