Southern Louisiana has a rich cultural heritage combining languages, cuisines, and customs from all over the world. This diversity is reflected in the region’s restaurants. We take a look at the best 10 places to eat.
Yellow Bowl is a well-kept secret located in the small town of Jeanerette, Louisiana. Legend has it that this restaurant was the first to fry crawfish. According to the story, the kitchen was rushed to keep up with a packed house and fried crawfish as a last resort. The dish was so popular, it spread throughout southern Louisiana. Guests also rave about the crawfish bisque and the seafood stuffed flounder.
Shrimp Clemenceau | Courtesy of Dooky Chase's Restaurant
Provino Mosca immigrated to the United States in 1913, traveling from a small Italian city to bustling Chicago. In 1944, Provino’s daughter married an oyster Fisherman from New Orleans and Provino decided to open a restaurant in the area. Today, Mosca’s is still owned and operated by the Mosca family. Shrimp Mosca and Oysters Mosca are two popular dishes that reflect both the family’s Italian heritage and the products of southern Louisiana.
Transformed from a sandwich shop to a well-respected dining establishment in the early 1940s, Dooky Chase’s Restaurant is known for more than just great food. The restaurant was an early meeting ground for New Orleans jazz musicians and civil rights activists. Located in the historic Treme neighborhood, Dooky Chase’s is still owned and operated by the Chase family, including the famous Leah Chase, who is known as ‘The Queen of Creole Cuisine.’
The owners of Lola’s, chef couple Keith and Nealy, began their careers as sous chefs at the famous Brennan’s Restaurant in New Orleans, where they learned about the art of fine dining. During Hurricane Katrina, the couple was forced to evacuate New Orleans and build a home in Covington, Louisiana where they opened Lola’s. The menu is modern and showcases local ingredients with dishes like Louisiana sweet potato ravioli, buffalo oysters, and gulf shrimp and grits.
Born in St. James Parish in 1946, Chef John Folse is responsible for bringing Cajun Cuisine to a global stage. He introduced his food to Beijing, Hong Kong, and Paris, among others. Folse’s cookbook After The Hunt is wildly popular; the cover pictures him with a dead alligator slung over his shoulder. Chef Folse opened Lafitte’s Landing at Bittersweet Plantation in 1978 to much acclaim.
An acclaimed Italian restaurant tucked away in Houma, Louisiana, Cristiano Ristorante is the brainchild of an unlikely couple. Cristiano came from northwestern Italy and Kelly from Houma. The two met in New York City where they opened their first cafe. In 2000, they opened Cristiano Ristorante in Houma. The combination of Italian and southern Louisiana cooking styles creates a interesting menu.
Prejean’s is a true institution in Lafayette, Louisiana, and has been serving meals to locals, visitors, and traveling dignitaries since 1980. The culinary team at Prejean’s has received numerous awards, rivaling any other restaurant in the American South. Prejean’s features live Cajun music seven days a week, and popular menu items include four types of gumbo, crawfish étouffée, and homemade crab cakes.
Louisiana Seafood | Courtesy of NewOrleansOnline.com
Brenda’s Dine In & Take Out
The exterior of Brenda’s Diner is not particularly remarkable, but step inside and you are transported to a cozy diner. You will likely be greeted, in true Louisiana hospitality fashion, by Brenda herself. The menu changes daily, but favorites include the fried chicken, smothered cabbage, red beans, and peach cobbler.
Robin's Restaurant, Henderson Highway | Courtesy of Lea's Lunchroom
Chef Robin grew up at the edge of the Atchafalaya Basin in the heart of Cajun country where he learned to cook in his family’s restaurant. Now he runs and the place and Robin’s Restaurant has earned a reputation for using only fresh local ingredients from southern Louisiana. This makes it a great spot to taste Louisiana crawfish and shrimp from the Gulf of Mexico.
Mr. Lea Johnson opened Lea’s Lunchroom in 1928 with a sparse menu of Lea’s famous ham sandwiches, a daily special lunch plate, and homemade pies. Lea always believed that simplicity was best in a menu, and that customers would always return if they liked the food. In addition to the signature ham sandwiches, Lea’s Lunchroom may be best known for pecan pie.