New Orleans' Top 10 Restaurants For The Freshest Seafood
Located just upriver from the Gulf of Mexico, New Orleans is world-renowned for its fresh, flavorful seafood and is especially known for fish, shrimp, crab, crawfish and oysters. Many New Orleans chefs base their menus on the season and have close working relationships with local fishermen, making delicious seafood dishes ubiquitous in the area. We’ve selected 10 unmissable places, from sandwich shops to fine-dining establishments, to eat seafood in NOLA.
Opened in 2013 in the thriving Warehouse District of New Orleans, Peche is the third restaurant concept by the Donald Link Restaurant Group, which has been working to present New Orleans cuisine as an evolving, modern style of cooking rather than a static group of well-known dishes. Peche serves up delicious but unpretentious coastal seafood dishes. The menu’s specialties include the whole gulf fish covered in salsa verde, grilled tuna with olive salad, ground shrimp and noodles, and catfish with pickled greens and chilli broth. The interior of the restaurant is casual and rustic, featuring an open kitchen.
Borgne Restaurant | courtesy of Borgne Restaurant.
Borgne‘s Executive Chef Brian Landry grew up fishing with his uncles and cousins on Lake Borgne, the restaurant’s namesake. The fresh fish he caught with his family inspired his early interest in cooking seafood. Located in the Hyatt Hotel near the Superdome, Borgne’s menu brings out the best in coastal Louisiana seafood, with an added Isleno influence for flair. Famous menu items include garlic clove Louisiana shrimp and oyster spaghetti. Like other John Besh restaurants, Borgne offers daily happy hour specials on both food and drink.
GW Fins is known for serving not only gulf seafood, but also seafood from around the world, ranging from Alaskan king crab to New Zealand blue nose bass. Chef Tenney Flynn and his co-owner Gary Wollerman avoid heavy sauces and excessive seasoning, preferring to allow the natural flavours of the seafood to shine through. The menu at GW Fins changes regularly to reflect the seasons, so diners can count on a new experience each time they visit. The restaurant’s wine list is well known as a complement to the fresh seafood. The list features more than 100 labels, 70 of which are also available by the glass.
Opened in 1905, Galatoire’s is considered one of the ‘Grande Dames’ of New Orleans Creole cuisine. Tennessee Williams is said to have been a regular. Until 1999, Galatoire’s did not accept reservations, so locals dressed in their finest, could be seen standing in line on chaotic Bourbon Street outside the restaurant. Galatoire’s is known for it’s excellent service, with career wait staff who know the menu inside and out. In the way of seafood, Galatoire’s offers an extensive selection of shrimp, crab, crawfish, oysters, and gulf fish cooked with creole sauces and garnishes.
Located inside the Royal Sonesta Hotel, Desire Oyster Bar sits on the corner of Bourbon and Bienville Streets, arguably one of the most recognisable street corners in the New Orleans French Quarter. The menu features iconic creole dishes prepared with fresh Louisiana seafood. Diners who sit at the bar can watch oyster shuckers in action, preparing their oysters and the orders of other guests. Visitors to the Desire Oyster Bar can also view the Sonesta Art Collection located in the hotel. The collection boasts works by artists such as Frank Stella, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Carl Palazzolo, Malcolm Morley, Sol Lewitt, and Jan Dibbets.
Deanie’s Seafood is a local seafood favorite with locations in Bucktown and the French Quarter. Opened in 1961, it was the very first seafood market to open in Bucktown, a one hundred year old string of hunting and fishing camps that lined Lake Pontchartrain. In the early 20th century, Bucktown gained a reputation for rowdy residents, who frequented the saloons and speakeasies that lined the water. Today, Deanie’s remains true to its roots in Bucktown, serving classic Louisiana seafood in a distinctly casual and fun atmosphere. Deanie’s is known for boiled crawfish, which are in season from mid-Winter through Spring.
On the corner of Rampart and Dumaine Streets, Marti’s sits on the French Quarter’s border with the Treme neighbourhood. The current Marti’s is a new iteration of an older restaurant by the same name, which closed its doors in 1988. In the time between the closure and the re-opening, the space was home to a restaurant called Peristyle. Today, Marti’s still houses a famous mural of City Park’s peristyle above the bar near the Dumaine Street entrance, and the bright dining room is reminiscent of a Parisian Bistro. The menu at Marti’s changes seasonally, but always features raw and roasted oysters, as well as the plateau de fruits de mer.
Interior of Acme Oyster House | Courtesy NewOrleansOnline.com
A bastion of New Orleans seafood, Acme Oyster House, first opened on Royal Street in the French Quarter in 1910, but after a fire in 1912, the restaurant moved to its current location around the corner on Iberville Street. The atmosphere is casual, but the food is classic, fresh, and delicious. The dining room glows with neon lights, and diners eat in close quarters on checkered tablecloths. Acme is famous for its fried seafood platters and classic creole dishes featuring Louisiana seafood. Though the French Quarter restaurant is the most famous and historic, Acme now has seven locations throughout the city and the Gulf South.
Exterior of Casamento's | Image Courtesy of NewOrleansOnline.com
After moving to New Orleans from Italy, Joe Casamento opened Casamento’s in 1919. The interior of the restaurant is lined in tiles, building on decorative traditions from his home in Italy. Diners sometimes compare the interior of the restaurant to a large swimming pool, but Mr. Casamento maintained that the tiles made the space easier to clean. The menu is best known for the oyster loaves, seafood gumbo, soft shell crab, and Italian specialties like spaghetti and meatballs. Because of the unique décor, Casamento’s can be seen in a variety of commercials and television shows. The restaurant is located in Uptown New Orleans.
Exterior of Casamento’s Image Courtesy of NewOrleansOnline.com
Red Fish Grill
Restaurant, Seafood, $$$
BBQ Oysters | Image Courtesy of Red Fish Grill
Located on Bourbon Street in the French Quarter, just one block off Canal Street, Red Fish Grill is right in the center of the action. The restaurant is owned by Ralph Brennan, of the famous Brennan restaurant family. Brennan renovated the 19th century building that is now home to Red Fish Grill, and helped to revitalize the 100-block of Bourbon Street in the process. The Red Fish Grill dinner menu features fish and gulf shrimp cooked on a wood fired grill, with a separate oyster bar which is also open everyday. The restaurant’s atmosphere is casual and the walls are lined with large oyster mirrors and photography of Louisiana bayous.