While the New Orleans dining scene may be all the rage, Louisiana boasts culinary hot spots beyond the Big Easy, and New Iberia is living proof of that. A melting pot of French, Spanish and Creole cultures, New Iberia’s heritage is reflected in its restaurants, and The Culture Trip has lined up the very best for you to enjoy.
A long-standing local favorite, Duffy’s Diner has been serving great food from its retro surrounds since 1984. From its black-and-white checkered floors and jukebox to its red leather stools and vintage memorabilia, this joint is a 1950s diner epitomized, and its affordable mix of classic American eats and casual Cajun and Creole fare has something to suit every diner. Opt for appetizers like gumbo and boudin balls, hearty po’boy sandwiches and juicy burgers or one of Duffy’s Diner’s dinner plates, catfish, meatball stew and chicken fried steak included. Make sure you stay for dessert, choose from classic diner-style sweet treats like dipped cones and banana splits.
Jane’s Seafood has racked up a whole host of local awards, most recently being voted the Best Place for Boiled Seafood in the Best of the Teche Awards. Jane’s boiled seafood specialties like crawfish, snow crab and shrimp sit alongside seafood platters of fried oysters and grilled catfish. However, what really sets Jane’s Seafood apart from New Iberia’s many other seafood restaurants is its sideline in Chinese cuisine, so guests can mix up their Southern seafood staples with dishes like Hunan beef, sweet and sour chicken and pork lo mein.
Set in the beautiful surrounds of New Iberia’s Rip Van Winkle Gardens, Café Jefferson’s specialty is classic Cajun and Creole fare. Café Jefferson’s homey dining room features a glassed-in patio with breathtaking views of the surrounding gardens and neighboring Lake Peigneur, but many guests choose to sit outside under its ancient moss-draped oak trees where they might catch a glimpse of the gardens’ famous peacock residents roaming around. Dine on dishes like seafood gumbo with shrimp, crabmeat, Louisiana crawfish and a side of rice or the much-loved crabmeat au gratin before finishing with a decadent dessert of pecan pie or crème brûlée cheesecake.
When it started out in 2001, Caribbean Ice Company’s signature snowballs and homemade ice cream quickly became a popular treat and perfect antidote to southern Louisiana’s stifling summer heat, but there’s much more to this place than just its refreshing sweet treats. Today, its extended menu features a whole host of tasty, savory fare from wraps and po’boys to pizza and hot dogs, but if you try just one thing, make sure it’s one of Caribbean Ice Company’s famous burgers, the off-menu, chef special black and blue burger topped with onions, blue cheese and bacon is a popular option.
Not to be confused with the national chain of the same name, Landry’s is a steakhouse, seafood restaurant and haven of fine Cajun cuisine that first opened its doors back in 1969. Located in a beautiful, rustic Acadian-style property boasting its own gazebo and pond, Landry’s is a charming spot for lunch or dinner and renowned local chef Alex Patout’s mouthwatering menu. Featuring choice steaks and classic Louisiana seafood like crawfish étouffée and Cajun crab cakes, it is bound to delight any diner’s palate. On Fridays and Saturdays, Landry’s offers a grand buffet and live Cajun music from the likes of local talents, Cajun Accent.
Located in beautiful downtown New Iberia, Beau Soleil Café is a popular brunch and lunch spot serving a mix of classic Cajun and Creole and American fare. Chef Rebecca Holleman Comeaux cooks up dishes like corn and crab bisque, Southern fried catfish and oyster po’boys alongside daily specials like crawfish enchiladas and almond-crusted tilapia, while brunch offerings include the likes of shrimp and grits, traditional pancakes and bananas foster French toast. Try the smoked chicken and sausage gumbo; it scooped a third place prize in New Iberia’s annual World Championship Gumbo Cook-off.
A casual, cozy little joint nestled not far from the edges of Bayou Teche, Bon Creole Seafood has been serving its legendary Southern eats for over 20 years. Its gumbo, available with seafood or chicken and sausage, is a popular dish, but guests will find plenty of heartier fare on Bon Creole’s menu from seafood baskets of shrimp, crawfish, catfish and oysters to salads and juicy burgers alongside daily lunch plate specials like pork roast and crawfish étouffée. However, if there’s one must-try item at Bon Creole, it’s the restaurant’s famous overstuffed po’boys. Available with fillings like roast beef, softshell crab and oysters, they scooped the Best Po’boys prize in the Best of the Teche Awards.
Opened in 1999 in downtown New Iberia, Clementine is an elegant little place that got its name from owner Wayne Peltier’s favorite artist, Louisiana-born Clementine Hunter, whose artwork is hung in the restaurant alongside other works of other local artists. Brothers Matt and Drew Shensky, both graduates of Colorado’s Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts, make up Clementine’s chef team. Since joining the restaurant, the chef brothers have introduced new dishes like the delicious mile high pulled pork fries (smoked pork on a bed of French fries topped with cheese, sour cream and tomatoes) alongside menu staples like gumbo and Cajun crawfish wantons.
A downtown New Iberia tradition since first opening in 1969, Victor’s Cafeteria is where locals go to get their fix of homestyle Cajun eats, and fans of writer James Lee Burke may recognize the place, a favorite haunt of his fictional detective Dave Robicheaux. Victor’s menu changes daily, but dishes like spicy shrimp étouffée, fried catfish fillets, gumbo and frog legs all feature often, and its coconut pie, featured in several food magazines, is a must-try. But beyond just great home-cooked food, Victor’s Cafeteria is a great place for soaking up local culture; keep an eye out for the Breakfast Club, a group of locals who have been meeting for breakfast at Victor’s every morning since 1975.
Serving some of the best-loved seafood in town, R & M’s Boiling Point is a must-try when dining out in New Iberia. There are appetizers like crabmeat au gratin and alligator bites plus plenty of po’boys, but to get a taste of what R & M’s Boiling Point is all about, order the seafood platter: a smorgasbord of catfish, shrimp, oyster, crawfish, stuffed shrimp, stuffed crab, crab fingers and jalapeños, best washed down with an ice cold beer. Daring diners hoping to recreate R & M’s grub can pick up some of its legendary sauces and seasonings to take home.