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. August

    $$$$ | Central Business District

    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...Read More

  • 2. Cochon

    $$$ | Warehouse District

    Chef-owned restaurants are common in New Orleans, but this one builds on owner Donald Link's family heritage as he, working with co-owner Stephen Stryjewski (who...Read More

  • 3. Cochon Butcher

    $ | Warehouse District

    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...Read More

  • 4. Domenica

    $$ | Central Business District

    This eatery wows diners with rustic Italian cooking, a rarity in New Orleans's culinary landscape. In the renovated Roosevelt Hotel—a 19th-century landmark—friendly and knowledgeable waiters...Read More

  • 5. Herbsaint

    $$$ | Warehouse District

    Chef Donald Link (also of Cochon, Cochon Butcher, and Pêche Seafood Grill) turns out food that sparkles with robust flavors and top-grade ingredients at this...Read More

  • 6. The Grill Room

    $$$$ | Central Business District

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

  • 7. Bon Ton Café

    $$$ | Central Business District

    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, jambalaya, and...Read More

  • 8. Borgne

    $$$ | Central Business District

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

  • 9. Carmo

    $ | Warehouse District

    Vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options abound at this self-proclaimed "tropical café," which playfully references the cuisines of Latin America, Southeast Asia, and the Caribbean. Fresh,...Read More

  • 10. Cleo's Mediterranean Cuisine & Grocery

    $ | Central Business District

    Good things really do come in small packages, like the outstanding falafel you can order at the back of this unpretentious, pocket-size Middle Eastern convenience...Read More

  • 11. 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

  • 12. Congregation Coffee Roasters

    $ | Central Business District | American

    The house-roasted coffee here is delicious, but added takeaways are the cute alligator-themed mugs and memorabilia to take home (a "congregation...Read More

  • 13. Drago's

    $$$ | Central Business District

    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

  • 14. Emeril's

    $$$ | Warehouse District

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

  • 15. 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

  • 16. Grand Isle

    $$ | Central Business District

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

  • 17. La Boca

    $$$ | Warehouse District

    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

  • 18. Lucy's Retired Surfers Restaurant and Bar

    $ | Warehouse District

    This bar, courtyard, and dining room are a nice spot for a margarita, fresh seafood, or a Southwestern-style snack. The menu pays homage to surfing...Read More

  • 19. Marcello's

    $$ | Warehouse District | Italian

    There are two very good reasons to visit Marcello's: comforting Sicilian-American dishes at a reasonable price, and the well-stocked wine store...Read More

  • 20. 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

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