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. Boucherie

    $$ | Carrollton-Riverbend

    Nathanial Zimet's gutsy, down-home cooking, a unique blend of Louisiana and contemporary Southern styles, fits right in at its cozy location in a converted Uptown...Read More

  • 2. Company Burger

    $ | Uptown

    At the Company Burger, your order is simple: the amazing signature burger comes with two fresh-ground patties, bread-and-butter pickles, American cheese, and red onions on...Read More

  • 3. Dat Dog

    $ | Uptown

    At Dat Dog, the sprawling stand is painted in primary hues, as if the work had been outsourced to a talented kindergarten class, and the...Read More

  • 4. Gautreau's

    $$$ | Uptown

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

  • 5. Jacques-Imo's Cafe

    $$ | Carrollton-Riverbend

    Oak Street might look like any other sleepy urban thoroughfare by day, but once the sun sets, the half-block stretch containing Jacques-Imo's Cafe feels like...Read More

  • 6. Patois

    $$$ | Uptown

    Hidden on a quiet residential corner, this bustling bistro could have been transported directly from Provence. The menu continues the French theme, but with a...Read More

  • 7. Shaya

    $$ | Uptown

    You may think you’ve been transported to sexy Tel Aviv in this softly lighted but thoroughly modern dining room set on a hopping stretch of...Read More

  • 8. Upperline

    $$$ | Uptown

    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, combining...Read More

  • 9. Ancora

    $ | Uptown

    Every dish on the short menu here shows an obsessive attention to detail. The main attraction are the pizzas, which follow Neapolitan rules and use...Read More

  • 10. Atchafalaya

    $$ | Uptown

    Even with reservations, expect to wait for weekend brunch at this Uptown institution, but your taste buds will thank you later. Locals tend to linger...Read More

  • 11. Audubon Clubhouse Café

    $ | Uptown

    Eat in an airy dining room overlooking Audubon Park golf course, or relax with a drink on the veranda....Read More

  • 12. Bellegarde Bakery

    $ | Carrollton-Riverbend | Bakery

    At Bellegarde Bakery, far from the popular tourist sites, Graison Gill and his team freshly mill all of their flour on-site, producing bread...Read More

  • 13. Brigtsen's

    $$$ | Carrollton-Riverbend

    Chef Frank Brigtsen's fusion of Creole refinement and Acadian earthiness reflects his years as a Paul Prudhomme protégé, and his dishes here represent some of...Read More

  • 14. Casamento's

    $ | Uptown

    This eatery has been a haven for Uptown seafood lovers since 1919. Family members still wait tables and staff the immaculate kitchen in back, while...Read More

  • 15. Cavan

    $$ | Uptown

    Set back from Magazine Street in a gorgeous converted town house (eating on the large veranda on warm evenings is especially a treat), the sophisticated...Read More

  • 16. Clancy's

    $$$ | Uptown

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

  • 17. Frankie & Johnny's

    $ | Uptown

    If you're trying to find the quintessential New Orleans neighborhood restaurant, look no further: team pennants and posers vie for space on the paneled walls...Read More

  • 18. La Crêpe Nanou

    $$ | Uptown

    French chic for the budget-minded is the style at this welcoming neighborhood bistro, where during peak hours there might be a half-hour wait for a...Read More

  • 19. La Petite Grocery

    $$$ | Uptown

    Flower shops sometimes bloom into intimate fine-dining establishments in New Orleans, and this one, with just-bright-enough lighting and a sturdy mahogany bar, has caught on...Read More

  • 20. Lilette

    $$$ | Uptown

    Proprietor-chef John Harris uses French and Italian culinary traditions as springboards for Lilette's inspired dishes. Look for Italian wedding soup, roasted Muscovy duck breast, and...Read More

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