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. Arnaud's

    $$$$ | French Quarter

    In the main dining room of this grande dame of classic Creole restaurants, ornate etched glass reflects light from charming old chandeliers while the late...Read More

  • 2. 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

  • 3. Commander's Palace

    $$$$ | Garden District

    No restaurant captures New Orleans's gastronomic heritage and celebratory spirit as well as this grande dame of New Orleans fine dining. The menu's classics include...Read More

  • 4. Emeril's Delmonico

    $$$$ | Garden District

    Chef Emeril Lagasse bought the century-old Delmonico restaurant in 1998 and converted it into a large, extravagant restaurant serving some of the most ambitious reinterpretations...Read More

  • 5. 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

  • 6. Antoine's

    $$$$ | French Quarter

    Though some people believe Antoine's heyday passed before the turn of the 20th century, others wouldn't leave New Orleans without at least one order of...Read More

  • 7. Brennan's

    $$$$ | French Quarter

    This luxuriously appointed restaurant, located in a gorgeous, salmon-pink, circa-1795 building, serves lavish breakfasts, served by pink-bow-tied waiters, that include "eye openers" like Caribbean milk...Read More

  • 8. Dickie Brennan's Steakhouse

    $$$$ | French Quarter

    "Straightforward steaks with a New Orleans touch" are the words to live by at this clubby shrine to red meat, the creation of a younger...Read More

  • 9. Justine

    $$$$ | French Quarter | French

    Celebrated local chef Justin Devillier (of Le Petite Grocery fame) brings an entirely new concept to the French Quarter with Justine. With a...Read More

  • 10. Pelican Club

    $$$$ | French Quarter

    Sassy New York flourishes permeate the menu of chef Richard Hughes's smartly decorated, eminently comfortable restaurant in the heart of the French Quarter, but there's...Read More

  • 11. R'evolution

    $$$$ | French Quarter

    Superstars rarely start over when they're on top—but celebrity chef Rick Tramonto, best known for his avant-garde creations at Chicago's Tru, headed south when he...Read More

  • 12. 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

  • 13. Stella!

    $$$$ | French Quarter

    Louisiana-born chef Scott Boswell has evolved into one of New Orleans's most innovative and daring culinarians, marrying wild creativity and an interest in Asian flavors...Read More

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