- Colin Hyde
If there is one aspect of life held most dear to the hearts of those from the bayou state, it must be food. In New Orleans, the Cajun and Creole flavors dominate the palates of locals and visitors. New Orleans has for many years been known for its good eats and its tornado of cultural diversity; never has that been more true than today. New and exciting restaurants are revolutionizing the traditional tastes of the city, here are our top picks.
If you are looking for an incredible Louisiana dining experience, look no further than NOLA Restaurant. Owned by the renowned Chef Emeril Lagasse, NOLA does not disappoint with its menu of traditional Creole cuisine, incorporating a twists of global inspirations. Start your meal with an appetizer of the classic Emeril’s barbecue shrimp, then try the garlic crusted drum, and finish up with the delectable Créme Brúlée Trio. Just make sure you call ahead to get a table at this New Orleans favorite.
This upscale seafood restaurant in the heart of the French Quarter is a staple of the New Orleans culinary scene. Chef Tenney Flynn’s focus on enhancing the natural flavors of the seafood, and his menu that changes daily, ensure a new and flavorful experience every time. Dress code is ‘dressy casual’ – gentlemen, take your hats off at the door; they are not permitted to be worn in the dining room. Reservations are highly recommended.
Muriel’s Jackson Square
Enjoy a taste of south Louisiana as you are introduced to the dishes that make New Orleans great. Order the blackened redfish or slow-roasted duck to get a true sense of the legendary southern cuisine. After dinner, enjoy a romantic stroll through the historic Jackson Square Park, take a horse-drawn carriage for a tour of the French Quarter, or stop by Café de Monde for an order of beignets and coffee. It’s all about location, and Muriel’s Jackson Square is second to none.
Address & telephone: 801 Chartres Street, New Orleans, LA 70116, 504-568-1885
This award-winning Creole restaurant, located on the fringe of the French Quarter, is a favorite of both visitors and locals. If you want to experience what it feels like to live in this incredible city – to wake up every day and breathe in the spirit of the culture – walk through the doors of Palace Café. Experience the fantastic architecture, the spiral staircase cascading down into the middle of the dining room, and the images of parading jazz musicians. Start your meal with a cup of the turtle soup; for your entrée, you must try the andouille crusted fish; and the white chocolate bread pudding for dessert.
Family-owned since the beginning, this establishment is a culinary anachronism with a 175-year-old tradition. Boasting the title of ‘the oldest French-Creole fine dining restaurant in New Orleans,’ Antoine’s is in a league all of its own. It’s an enormous restaurant, consisting of 14 separate dining rooms, and capable of accommodating over 700 guests. No other restaurant can compare to the superior culinary craftsmanship and history of this magnificent venue.
Address & telephone: 513 Royal St, New Orleans, 504-525-8045
World-famous chef and expert of the Louisiana culinary arts, John Folse, teamed up with Chef Rick Tramonto to revolutionize how Louisiana cuisine is understood. The duo takes an innovative and contemporary approach to their craft – evolving the traditional tastes of Cajun and Creole dishes. New Orleans is a melting pot of different cultures and heritage – no other restaurant in the city captures this beautiful diversity like the chefs at Restaurant R’evolution.
Eating at Galatoire’s is like getting a slice of pizza when you go to New York; you just have to do it. Located on the world-famous Bourbon Street, this French Quarter relic has been serving up some of the best New Orleans classics since it opened in 1905. Try the scrumptious shrimp remoulade, or one of their many delicious seasonal fish entrees. You should definitely make a reservation first – this is a favorite among the locals as well as tourists.
Address & telephone:209 Bourbon Street, New Orleans, LA 70130, 504-525-2021
Step into a time machine as you walk through the doors of Arnaud’s – a French Quarter tradition since 1918. Enjoy a fine dining experience that has been almost completely lost to the generations past. The impeccable service and animated jazz bistro set the mood for an impressive and entertaining meal – try the shrimp Arnaud and oysters Rockefeller. Do not pay your tab without trying one, or more, of the incredible cocktails the mixologists are serving up behind the bar. Make a reservation and dress to impress at this upscale, award-winning venue.
Acme Oyster House
If you are lost in the French Quarter looking for a casual joint – just somewhere serving up all of the best dishes that have come to define southern Louisiana – look no further than the Acme Oyster House. Be prepared to wait your turn for a seat in this place, as the line is usually stretched down the road. They’ve got the oysters, gumbo, etouffee, red beans and rice, jambalaya, the fried seafood and the po-boys – everything you could ever need to help absorb the alcohol from hours of New Orleans shenanigans.
Address & telephone: 724 Iberville Street, New Orleans, LA 70130, 504-522-5973
This list would not be complete without the world-famous Pat O’s, located on Bourbon Street. Good food, great drinks, and an incredible courtyard piano bar set the mood for a great evening in the Big Easy. Get an order of Alligator Bites, a Muffaletta, and one of their legendary hurricanes; kick back, listen to the harmonious sounds bellowing from the courtyard, and breathe in the essence of New Orleans.
Address & telephone:624 Bourbon Street, New Orleans, LA 70130, 504-525-4823