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. Arnaud's

    $$$ | French Quarter | American

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

  • 2. Bayona

    $$$ | French Quarter | American

    New World" is the label Louisiana native Susan Spicer applies to her cooking style, the delicious hallmarks of which include goat cheese crouton...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. Emeril's Delmonico

    $$$ | Lower 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. Gautreau's

    $$$ | Uptown | American

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

  • 7. 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

  • 8. Nola

    $$$ | French Quarter | American

    Fans of Emeril Lagasse will want to grab a seat at the food bar overlooking the open kitchen at this French Quarter restaurant. Freewheeling...Read More

  • 9. 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

  • 10. 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

  • 11. Bon Ton Café

    $$$ | CBD | American

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

  • 12. Borgne

    $$$ | CBD | Seafood

    It's a mystery why New Orleans doesn't have more restaurants like Borgne. Overseen by celebrity-chef John Besh and former Galatoire's chef Brian...Read More

  • 13. 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

  • 14. Brennan's

    $$$ | French Quarter | American

    This luxuriously appointed restaurant, located in a gorgeous, salmon-pink, circa-1795 building, closed for a little over a year, then reopened...Read More

  • 15. 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

  • 16. Clancy's

    $$$ | Uptown | American

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

  • 17. 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. Upstairs...Read More

  • 18. Drago's

    $$$ | CBD | Italian

    Since 1969 the Cvitanovich family restaurant has been a fixture in Metairie, just a short drive from downtown New Orleans, so when it was revealed...Read More

  • 19. 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

  • 20. 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

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