Any visit to New Orleans must include a stop at the French Quarter. But don’t spend all your time bar-hopping on Bourbon Street when there are so many good Cajun and Creole restaurants to try out. Here’s our pick of the best.
Spicy Creole dishes made from scratch have made the Original French Market a mainstay in Nola for 80 years. Let your nose lead the way to a steamy pot of boiling jumbo shrimp, crawfish, and snow crab – all available by the pound or by the boatload. Snag a coveted balcony seat where you can savor a spicy stew of crawfish étouffée with jazz music filling the air and a great view of the French Quarter.
No reservations, snarky bartenders, and an age limit of 21 and up, Coop’s Place stands as a counter to the New Orleans fine dining scene. You won’t empty your wallet filling your plate at this Decatur dive. A cup of Creole green beans, rabbit and sausage jambalaya, or seafood gumbo will run to only a few dollars. You can sample all of the above, along with shrimp Creole and Cajun fried chicken, for less than the price of a cocktail.
Classic French dishes met with local Creole culture at Broussard’s a century ago, and ever since, a balanced menu of fine yet familiar plates has drawn locals and visitors. This is the place to get your local fix of New Orleans usual suspects – such as shrimp remoulade, bronzed redfish, and crawfish ravigote. Or you can delve a little deeper in the region’s cooking with duck and alligator sausage gumbo, creole turtle soup, or a crawfish and tasso gnocchi or the chef-prepared special seared scallops St Jacques or duck breast l’satsuma.
The menu is always changing at Jewel of the South, so there’s no telling if your small plates of Oaxacan strawberries or broccolini will arrive alongside a Cajun, creole, or other cultural dish. A restaurant run by renowned Big Easy bartender Chris Hannah, your trip to this tavern will turn into a liquid lunch. Classics such as french 75 are poured as often as the signature jewel sazerac and the brandy crusta made with Remy 1738 cognac. Skip dinner altogether and settle in for the prix-fixe cocktail-hour menu, which includes three drinks and snacks.
This is an updated version of an article originally by Lou Boyd.
Why not make a weekend of it? Book a stay with Culture Trip at one of the best hotels in New Orleans or stick to a tighter budget at one of these budget hotels and hostels in Mid-City. There’s plenty to keep you busy too, from ticking off the best things to do in New Orleans off your bucket list to exploring the best museums around or trying local specialties such as a po’ boy at these top spots.