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. Elizabeth's

    $ | Bywater

    "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 really is the most...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. Adolfo's

    $$ | Faubourg Marigny | Italian

    Rustic and charming, this cramped dining room lords over Frenchmen Street and serves big plates of classic Italian-American cuisine with a Creole...Read More

  • 4. Bao & Noodle

    $ | Faubourg Marigny | Chinese

    Hand-pulled noodles and fluffy steamed bao are the specialties at this local favorite. Sichuan and Cantonese dishes pack the occasional punch...Read More

  • 5. 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

  • 6. Bywater Bakery

    $ | Bywater | American

    This is everything you could want from a neighborhood coffee shop: delicious coffee, premium baked goods, and hearty sandwiches and comfort...Read More

  • 7. Capulet

    $ | Bywater | American

    This lofted space has great vegetarian options and hearty sandwiches that skew creative; think a BLT with kimchi and thick-slab bacon or smoked...Read More

  • 8. 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

  • 9. Em Trai Sandwich Co.

    $ | Faubourg Marigny | Vietnamese

    This casual counter-service eatery is a good place to fuel up while exploring the Marigny and next-door Bywater. Traditional Vietnamese dishes...Read More

  • 10. Frady's One Stop Food Store

    $ | Bywater | American

    Both a convenience store and a lunch counter, this friendly neighborhood institution is the perfect place to stop for a cold drink and a delicious...Read More

  • 11. Galaxie

    $ | Bywater | Mexican

    Inside this gas station–turned–taco shop, meats are spit-roasted and masa is crafted by hand. The casual, open-air space serves counter-service...Read More

  • 12. Jack Dempsey's

    $$ | St. Claude | Seafood

    As the Bywater dining scene has largely shifted towards the new, trendy, and exploratory, this historical location on Poland Avenue has stood...Read More

  • 13. Kebab

    $ | Faubourg Marigny | Middle Eastern

    The gyro sandwich with a side of Belgian fries (and indulgent housemade aioli) here is a satisfying meal for those looking to make a late night...Read More

  • 14. Nola Mia Gelato

    $ | Faubourg Marigny | Italian

    This is a charming little stop on the way down St. Claude Avenue. The friendly owner will fix you a cappuccino (or hot-pressed panini), while...Read More

  • 15. 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

  • 16. Pizza Delicious

    $ | Bywater | Pizza

    Hipsters, lifelong Bywater residents, and locals far across town all take great pride in "Pizza D" as one of the only (and best) places to get...Read More

  • 17. Red's Chinese

    $ | St. Claude | Asian

    The funky, Mission Chinese–style Asian fusion served here pairs well with late night dancing and drinking on St. Claude Avenue. Expect flavor...Read More

  • 18. 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

  • 19. Shank Charcuterie

    $ | Faubourg Marigny | Cajun

    This hip butcher shop specializes in all things meat, with plenty to enjoy inside or take to go. Along with quality cuts of meat (and beer and...Read More

  • 20. St. Roch Market

    $$ | Faubourg Marigny | Eclectic

    This revamped food hall offers visitors a (slightly overpriced) chance to sample from a wide array of flavors. Vendors offer casual local favorites...Read More

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