Best for Beignets

Café Du Monde

Price Per Person: $5

Cuisine: Beignets & Coffee

Favorite Menu Item: Classic Beignet Trio – Fluffy, fresh beignets, doused in powdered sugar

Beignets are a staple snack or dessert in New Orleans. Beignets are fried dough puffs, covered in powdered sugar. Picture a super fluffy powdered doughnut. Café Du Monde is the most popular and the best place to find beignets in New Orleans.

Café Du Monde sells their fresh-made beignets in 3’s. Each beignet is big, so one serving can easily be shared by 2-3 people. They also sell coffee, but its decent at best.

There are many Café Du Monde locations around the city. The most popular is the French Quarter location, with a cute shop and a very long line. For an equally charming atmosphere and much shorter line, visit the Café Du Monde in the city park. The park is also a great place to explore, so it’s the perfect detour.

Café Beignet

Price Per Person: $5

Cuisine: Café

Favorite Menu Item: Fresh Handmade Beignets  

For the ultimate beignet showdown, try beignets from both Café Du Monde (above) and Café Beignet. While I prefer Café Du Monde, its an ongoing debate which shop has the best in the city. If you are traveling with a group, get an order from each store, then do a side-by-side taste test.

Like Café Du Monde, Café Biegnet serves their beignets in 3’s, great for sharing. In addition to beignets, they serve other food options such as omelets and sandwiches.

If you’ve tried both, comment below with which beignet is best!

The History of Diversity in New Orleans’ Food Scene

New Orleans’ food scene reflects the diverse migration patterns of the people who settled (or, in the case of enslaved Africans, were brought by force) in Louisiana.

There’s a lot of influence from Louisiana Creole people — in this context, this is defined as people who descended from those living in colonial Louisiana during French and Spanish rule. 

But what is Creole? The term was used first by the French to differentiate those born in Louisiana from those born in France or other French colonies.

However, the term Creole came to envelop pretty much anyone who was born in Louisiana. This included enslaved Africans who were born in Louisiana and Native Americans whose land was stolen. So when speaking of Creole, we are speaking about those who descended from people living in the same place (French/Spanish colonial era Louisiana), rather than people of a specific ethnic or racial background.

In the Louisiana context, Creole can apply to people of European descent, African descent, Native descent, or mixed descent.

But there’s also a lot of more recent immigration which has influenced New Orleans’ food culture. A few of those include large waves of Haitians, Irish, Germans, and Italians, among others. 

Many people from those waves of immigration intermarried with Louisiana-born Creoles, intermingled their food traditions, and birthed a unique New Orleans food culture you won’t find anywhere else in the world.

More recent waves of immigration include Southeast Asians, particularly Vietnamese, and Latin Americans

Best Places in New Orleans to Eat

I can’t think of a better way to experience New Orleans than with a Jazz brunch at The Court of Two Sisters.

Enjoy traditional New Orleans cuisine while listening to a live jazz band under a leafy canopy in the outdoor courtyard.

The brunch includes an all-you-can-eat buffet.

The buffet features popular dishes such as gumbo, turtle soup, jambalaya, grits, barbecue ribs, crawfish, boiled shrimp, bananas foster, bread pudding, pecan pie, and so much more!

They also serve some of the best eggs benedict around and their made-to-order omelets are divine.

The Court of Two Sisters is housed in a historic building that was built in 1832. It was originally built as a home for the president of the Bank of New Orleans.

In 1886, two Creole sisters opened a notions shop on the bottom floor called ‘The Shop of the Two Sisters’, which is where the restaurant’s name originated.

They sold Mardi Gras costumes, formal gowns, jewelry, and perfumes imported from Paris. They also served tea and cakes in the courtyard.

The store catered to the aristocratic wives of monarchs and politicians that lived on this block of Royal Street known as Governors Row.

As with many New Orleans establishments, The Court of Two Sisters comes with its fair share of ghost stories.

Marie Laveau, New Orleans resident Voodoo queen, lived only a few blocks away. Legend has it that she practiced her rituals in the fountain found in the courtyard.

The fountain has since been nicknamed the ‘Devil’s Wishing Well’.

It is also rumored that the ‘gentleman pirate’ Jean Lafitte killed three men in this courtyard during three separate duels in one night.

In the 1950s, a woman was murdered in an apartment above the restaurant by her ex-husband. A few years later he was found strangled to death in his apartment as well.

Whether you believe that the ghosts of these tortured souls still roam around the building or not, you can believe that this is one of the most unique and best places in New Orleans to eat!

The brunch buffet is offered daily from 9 am to 3 pm. Just be sure to make reservations in advance as this is one of the more popular places to eat in New Orleans.

Tableau was opened in 2013 as the brainchild of Dickie Brennan. He is a member of the Brennan family dynasty that owns 10 of the best restaurants in New Orleans.

The success of Tableau can be attributed to the food, the location, and the ambiance.

The menu offers a modern twist on classic Creole dishes using locally sourced ingredients.

The elevated cuisine is achieved through rich flavors, quality ingredients, and impeccable presentation.

Try the Bown Butter Gnocchi, Oyster Pan Roast, Maison Salad, or Chicken Tableau. Be sure to save room for the Crème Brûlée!

As for the location, Tableau is situated in the heart of the French Quarter. It is adjacent to the St. Louis Cathedral and Jackson Square.

When it comes to ambiance, Tableau was voted ‘Best Balcony for Dining and Drinking’.

The upstairs balcony overlooks St. Peter Street and Jackson Square.

When we were there, the balcony was closed for dining while undergoing some repairs, but it is usually lined with tables.

Tableau happens to be situated on a popular parade route as wedding parties travel from the cathedral to the wedding reception.

Chances are you’ll catch a festive parade from the balcony while enjoying your meal!

Guests also have the option of dining in the cozy outdoor courtyard under strings of lights.

Indoor seating is also available inside this historic building.

This impressive structure was built in 1789 and served as a hospital and an orphanage. It was also home to the 7th governor of Louisiana.

Reservations are highly recommended and be sure to specify if you would like an outdoor seat on the balcony or patio.

Jack Rose is located inside the Garden District’s iconic Pontchartrain Hotel. The restaurant’s name was inspired by Pulitzer Prize winner Tennessee Williams’ play, The Rose Tattoo.

The collection of dining rooms are both elegant and eclectic.

Each room is unique with vibrant pops of color and whimsical decor, coupled with traditional timeless elements.

The restaurant also boasts a gorgeous rose garden patio and vibrant Hot Tin rooftop bar.

Not only is Jack Rose one of the most Instagrammable restaurants in New Orleans, but the well-executed menu is just as impressive.

Start your meal off with the Kale Caesar Salad, Crawfish Cornbread, or Cheeseboard.

The Pork Belly, Fried Oyster, or Red Shrimp & Fusili come highly recommended as a main. Just be sure to save room for dessert!

Jack Rose is known for their signature Mile High Pie, a three-layer ice-cream pie topped with a layer of toasted marshmallow. Your waiter will add the finishing touch with a drizzle of chocolate sauce.

The pie is even endorsed by NOLA’s own Lil’ Wayne. You can spot a painting in the lounge featuring the New Orleans native posing with the Mile High Pie.

This trendy spot is often crowded, so reservations are highly recommended.

While beignets are actually a French pastry, over the years they have become synonymous with New Orleans.

These deep-fried puffed donuts dusted in powdered sugar were brought to New Orleans by the early French colonists.

However, Cafe Du Monde is credited with making these beignets world-famous.

Cafe Du Monde was established in 1862 and has been producing the best beignets in New Orleans ever since.

It is even rumored that Cafe Du Monde creates its signature beignets using the same recipe that was brought over from France by the Ursuline nuns.

The cafe is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, except for Christmas day.

Expect a line to be wrapped around the building at any given time, but it is worth the wait!

If you’re craving a beignet but don’t have the time or patience to wait in line at Cafe Du Monde, then head to Cafe Beignet.

There are four different locations in New Orleans, but my favorite is the darling cafe found on Royal Street in the French Quarter.

The photogenic cafe is bursting with character and the line is so much shorter.

While the beignets at Cafe Beignet come in at a close second to Cafe Du Monde, they are still delicious and will satisfy your deep-fried powdered sugar-coated craving!

And if you’re looking for other recommendations while in the French Quarter, check out our guide 12 Unique Things to do in the French Quarter!

Cafe Du Monde is the place to go for French-style donuts, but District Donut is the place to go for traditional American-style donuts.

These donuts are made fresh daily from scratch. Even the sprinkles are homemade!

They keep a few staple flavors on the menu, but the real fun is in the specialty donuts they have on rotation.

Some flavors that have been featured in the past include Maple Bacon, Blueberry Cheesecake, Girl Scout Cookie, Nutter Butter, Wedding Cake, Horchata, Salted Caramel, Pink Lemonade, and so many more delectable creations!

If you are craving something savory and a little more substantial, their menu also includes a selection of sandwiches, sliders, and salads.

Try a Fried Chicken Sandwich with a side of Waffle Cheese Fries!

There are a few locations around New Orleans, but our favorite is the one located in a historic building on Magazine Street in the Garden District.

Commander’s Palace is one of the most famous restaurants in New Orleans.

It first opened in 1893 and the bright turquoise building has been a beloved landmark in the Garden District ever since.

The menu features high-end Creole cuisine created by some of New Orleans’ top chefs.

Celebrity chef, Emeril Lagasse was even the executive chef of this world-famous restaurant during the 1980s.

Everything on the menu is divine, but if you’re looking for recommendations try the Shrimp & Tasso Henican, Summer Squash Burrata, and Creole Bread Pudding Soufflé.

Commander’s Palace is also known for its brightly colored .25 cent martinis. Just note that there is a limit of 3 with your lunch order.

The three-story restaurant has plenty of seating, but you’ll still need to make reservations in advance.

I would recommend reserving a seat in the Garden Room with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking a sprawling ancient oak.

If you do plan to dine at Commander’s Palace, keep in mind that you’ll need to adhere to their dress code with business attire and closed-toe shoes.

And while you’re in the Garden District, be sure to check out these 18 Famous Places to See in New Orleans’ Garden District!

This iconic vibrant pink restaurant on Royal Street has become a New Orleans institution.

The Brennan family entered the NOLA food scene in 1946 with the opening of Brennan’s Restaurant on Bourbon Street.

Ten years later, it moved to its current location on Royal street where it occupies this historic 1795 Vieux Carre building in the French Quarter’s ‘old square’.

Over the years, the Brennan family has expanded its restaurant empire to encompass 13 award-winning restaurants, 10 of which are in New Orleans.

Brennan’s has been touted as one of the ‘South’s Top 10 Restaurants’ by Southern Living Magazine.

But what makes Brennan’s world-famous is that they are the creators of the original Bananas Foster.

In 1951, Owen Brennan wanted to create a dessert and name it after his friend Richard Foster.

He enlisted the help of his sister and head chef, and what they came up with has become a favorite dessert around the globe.

When visiting New Orleans, it is quite the experience to order Bananas Foster at its birthplace.

The dessert consists of bananas tossed in butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and rum.

It is flambéed tableside by your waiter and then topped with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.

Brennan’s is also the original creator of Eggs Hussarde. This dish is an elevated version of Eggs Benedict, with mushrooms and a red wine reduction.

For more recommendations, check out our guide How to Spend an Unforgettable Weekend in New Orleans!

A food tour is a great way to experience the food scene in New Orleans. You’ll be able to sample some of the best dishes while learning the history of the city. If you are interested, here are a few of the best food tours in New Orleans:

I hope this guide will help you discover the best places in New Orleans to eat!

[…] If you’re looking for more restaurant recommendations, check out our guide 8 of the Best Places to Eat in New Orleans! […]

[…] New Orleans is only a two-hour drive from Mobile, so if you are planning to visit then be sure to check out our guide 12 Things to do in the French Quarter of New Orleans or 8 of the Best Places to Eat in New Orleans! […]

[…] For more restaurant recommendations, be sure to check out our guide 8 of the Best Places to Eat in New Orleans! […]

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Where is Mother’s, New Orleans?

Mother’s New Orleans is located at 401 Poydras Street on the corner of Tchoupitoulas Street. It is located on the Edge of the Central Business District and is a short walk from the French quarter. Mothers’ hours of operation are 7 am until 10 pm. Reservations are not available so there might be a line waiting outside (and throughout the restaurant).

1. Ruth’s Chris Steak House

Ruth’s Chris Steak House is an elevated steakhouse neighboring several hotels and shopping centers.

Celebrate your special day at one of the best birthday restaurants in Baton Rouge, Ruth’s Chris Steak House.

It boasts a team of experienced professionals, personalized catering services, private venues for a more intimate experience, state-of-the-art audiovisual equipment, a customizable menu, and so much more.

Start your meal with a delectable appetizer, like the Tuna Steak.

It consists of ahi tuna, English cucumber salad, soy-ginger sesame sauce, and avocados.

Sample a specialty poultry-based entree by ordering the Stuffed Chicken Breast.

It is an oven-roasted double breast with lemon butter and garlic-herb cheese.

1. Russell’s Marina Grill

Russell’s Marina Grill is a relaxed diner serving fresh, traditional daytime fare with health-minded options and homemade desserts.

Start your day right inside one of the best breakfast places in New Orleans.

The humble set-up of this neighborhood diner provides an authentic local community vibe that’s sure to make you feel right at home in town.

Grab some Sweet Potato Beignets to start.

Pair the Waffle Bananas Foster with a plate of Marina Grill’s Special Omelet.

Choose a glass of Tequila Sunrise as your refreshment.

1. Ciao Tapas Bar & Lounge

Conveniently located on Tulane Avenue, this vibrant haunt wins praises for its Sunday brunch, cocktails, and club ambiance.

Ciao Tapas Bar is an exceptional mash-up of a lounge and a brunch hotspot.

From Wednesday to Saturday, this bar captivates its guests with its live bands, DJs, and cocktail program.

On Sundays, it turns into a family-friendly restaurant that serves comforting brunch classics, like shrimp and grits, and French toast.

You can’t go wrong with their chicken and waffles.

A mouth-watering mix of crunchy chicken and fluffy waffles, this dish will sweep you away with its sweet and savory flavors.

Alternatively, indulge in their flavor-packed shrimp and grits.

If you like eating, a trip to the Big Easy is a must.

Po-boys, beignets, chicory coffee, gumbo—that’s just a handful of the foods NOLA put on the map. Here’s a few of the best places to eat in New Orleans

willie_maes_scotch_house

Both Andrew Zimmern and Anthony Bourdain claim Willie Mae makes the best fried chicken in the country. If those guys say so, I am going to go ahead and trust them! Willie Mae Seaton opened this place in 1957. Today, her great-granddaughter is still at the helm of this legendary 6th Ward restaurant. An order of fried chicken includes three pieces, plus a side, like cornbread, mac and cheese, sweet potato fries or green beans.

The Best Places to Eat in New Orleans

Donald Link is one of the biggest names in New Orleans cuisine. This James Beard Award-winning chef operates a few restaurants in town. There’s Peche for seafood, and Herbsaint for high-end Italian and French fare shot through a southern lens. The one that tops my list is Cochon, Link’s homage to regional Cajun and southern food. Share wood-fired oysters with chili garlic butter; fried alligator with chili garlic mayonnaise; and smoked pork ribs with watermelon pickles. If a fancier meal is out of your budget, check out Cochon Butcher, a casual shop specializing in charcuterie, sandwiches and southern sides. Eat-in or get your order to-go.

Who has the best po-boys in town? It’s hard to say. Mother’s typically has a line around the corner, and Stanley does a more high-end version of this NOLA staple. However, Domilise’s holds a special place in the hearts of many. Open since 1918, this no-frills shop serves excellent shrimp, oyster, roast beef, and sausage po-boys on fresh, crispy Leidenheimer bread. The food is great, but it’s really the staff that makes this place special. It’s currently in the hands of third and fourth generation Domilise family members. The bartender has been there over 45 years, and some of the sandwich makers have celebrated 35+ years at the shop. When your turnover rate is nearly non-existent, you must be doing something right!

The Best Places to Eat in New Orleans

Open since 1983, this dark and divey French Quarter staple serves some of the best jambalaya in town. Their signature version of the dish incorporates rabbit and sausage simmered with tomatoes, onion, bell pepper and Cajun seasoning. Those wanting extra local flavor may order the Supreme version, complete with shrimp and tasso (aka ham bursting with Cajun flavor).

Originally opening in 1941 as a sandwich shop and lottery ticket outlet, Dooky Chase is now regarded as one of the most iconic restaurants in town. Today, this sit-down restaurant is one of the country’s premiere spots for Creole cooking (and one of the first African-American fine dining restaurants). Check out their famous lunch buffet, featuring red beans and rice, hot sausage, gumbo, poor boys, shrimp Clemenceau, and stuffed shrimp. 

The Best Places to Eat in New Orleans

No trip to New Orleans is complete without breakfast at Café du Monde. Is it touristy? Yep. But there’s just something about sitting at one of their tiny, little bistro tables and ordering a plate of beignets and café au lait. You’ll leave covered in powdered sugar, buzzing from caffeine, with a big, fat smile on your face.

The Best Places to Eat in New Orleans

When you think of New Orleans cuisine, you probably think Cajun or Creole. However, this town is one of the best places in the country for Vietnamese food. Pho Tau Bay and Ba Mien Family Restaurant are some of the classic Vietnamese spots, but for something a little more modern, check out MoPho (not going to lie—I love the name!). Chef Michael Gulotta does Vietnamese cuisine with a Louisiana sensibility. Think pepper jelly-braised Cedar Key clams with smoked pork jowl, mint, crispy shallot and annatto beignets; or punchy bowls of pho (that’s a brothy Vietnamese noodle soup) filled with things like chicken thighs, crispy shallots, grilled greens and a slow poached egg. It might sound a little strange, but these combos work. In fact, Chef Gulotta was recently named one of Food & Wine’s Best New Chefs.

Fine Dining New Orleans Restaurants 

We will start our list off with the top fancy restaurants in New Orleans for fine dining. If you’re looking for a romantic atmosphere with wonderful food, we highly recommend these restaurants to you. 

Known as one of the best french creole restaurant in New Orleans, Criollo Restaurant is a blend of culinary traditions mixed with contemporary tastes. Enjoy their seasonal menu in an open dining area or one of their two private dining areas. If you want to try turtle soup, this is a great place for this. 

With a $31-$50 price range, this blend of multiple cultures in one dining experience can be found on 214 Royal Street.

With a contemporary french creole cuisine style deeply rooted in Cajun cuisine, Restaurant Rebirth offers an inviting atmosphere with exemplary service. 

We highly recommend enjoying one of their $19-$43 priced dinners at 857 Fulton St.

As an elevated steakhouse experience that embraces Middle Eastern heritage, Doris Metropolitan offers a luxurious dining experience accompanied by an extensive wine list. 

Their menu offers:

With a $21-$185 main dish price range, you can enjoy this fine dining experience at 620 Chartres Street. 

Restaurant August offers contemporary French cuisine that focuses on local ingredients. Enjoy a unique dining experience in their main dining room that features antique mirrors and original architectural details. 

Considered one of the most romantic New Orleans restaurants, you can enjoy this $41-$80 price range creole restaurant at 301 Tchoupitoulas St. 

Situated on historic St. Charles Avenue, Herbsaint Bar and Restaurant is the flagship restaurant of the Link Restaurant Group. Founded in 2000 by chef Donald Link, Herbsaint has been a New Orleans staple for over 20 years, serving up classic Creole cuisine with a contemporary twist. Chef Link also holds many James Beard Awards. 

The menu features dishes like shrimp and grits, chicken and waffles, and gumbo ya-ya, all made with locally sourced ingredients. The restaurant also has an extensive wine list, featuring both local and international wines. In addition to its regular menu, Herbsaint also offers a prix fixe menu that changes seasonally. Whether you’re looking for a quick bite or a leisurely meal, Herbsaint is sure to please.

A re-imagination of Cajun and Creole cuisine mixed with tradition gives you Restaurant R’evolution. Within a romantic ambiance, enjoy the melding of two distinct chef styles and excellent tableside service.

Learn about the history and evolution of the food you are enjoying at their 777 Bienville St location. 

Where to Eat in New Orleans

Price Rance Guide:

$ =    $1-$10 USD
$$ =   $11- $20 USD
$$$ =  $21-$30 USD
$$$$ = $30+ USD

GW Fins 4.5 out of 5 stars

808 Bienville St, New Orleans, LA 70112

Price Range $$$$

 

This upscale restaurant feels like a supper club. Admittedly I have no exact idea what a supper club is, but I think this is what one would feel like. You need to at least wear a collared shirt here. As I entered a buzzed belligerent dude in an undershirt was berating the staff for refusing him service. Please don’t ever be that guy.

This is a white tablecloth and waiters with waistcoats kind of place. My shrimp and goat cheese grits were the best I had in NOLA. Rachel had what I referred to as “fish in a chicken suit” – a fillet of white fish covered in chicken skin and cooked until golden. She says it was one of her Top Ten meals. I ordered the halibut topped with scallops which I really enjoyed. Make reservations.

Josephine Estelle 4.5 out of 5 stars

at the Ace Hotel in the CBD, just out of the French Quarter

Price Range (with cocktails) $$$$

Cacio e Pepe Josephine Estelle New OrleansThe intention here was to get a couple small plates and keep the price down. Then we tried their craft cocktails (Nine of Pentacles was dee-lish), subsequently realized we were hungrier than we thought, and ordered five small plates to share. Next we got a text from a friend that their cacio e pepe was killer. Well OF COURSE we had to try it. IT WAS AMAZING.

Paladar 511 Where to Eat New OrleansPaladar 511 5 out of 5 stars

511 Marigny St, New Orleans, LA 70117

Price Range (without cocktails) $$

Their weekend brunch is great. It’s a farm-to-table kind of place that puts an updated spin on local favorites. We split the lemon ricotta pancakes (which were heavenly), and I ordered the eggs benedict over cornbread with crabmeat, remoulade and jalapenos. Stop it.

The vibe is trendy industrial and the service was friendly and quick.

Peche 4 out of 5 stars

800 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70130- in the CBD

Price Range (without cocktails) $$$

Recommended several times, this unfussy gastro chic spot focuses on seafood caught sustainably. Most of the dishes are a modern take on the beloved cuisine of New Orleans and the south.

Even though they had the appearance of staying a minute too long in the dryer, their herb-y hush puppies are great. I had the fish sticks in beer batter, which if you’re into fried food is a good choice. The kale was a little over-sauced. The craft cocktails and local beers were a perfect complement.

Muriel’s Jackson Square 3.5 out of 5 stars

801 Chartres St – French Quarter

Price Range for Brunch $$$

Muriel’s Jackson Square new orleans

We were looking for a quintessential jazz brunch experience and wound up here at Muriel’s in the quarter. I have mixed feelings about this place. The ambiance is a classic southern sort of antebellum beauty. It’s pretty inside, but stuffy.

I remember having such great jazz experiences in New Orleans in the past, notably a certain brunch where my grandma felt the music so hard she got up and started dancing around the room, waving her white napkin above her head. It could’ve also been the Brandy Milk Punch, but hey, it was a joyous, fun time nevertheless.

In any case, the jazz here was good, but treated by all like it was wallpaper. The servers were awkwardly stiff. My dish, an oyster cake benedict was good, but I expected it to be incredible. Rachel ordered the pecan crusted drum with crabmeat hash (which she gave to me). I had a bite of her fish with the sauce and spicy hash and realized I had ordered wrong. That dish was amazing. Live and learn.

Palace Café 5 out of 5 stars – but for my dish alone. ????

605 Canal St

Price Range for an appetizer and a drink $$

Palace Café drinks in new orleans
My stop here was purely for a snack. You know that moment where you’re suddenly afraid you might not make it the two hours until dinner? Yeah. So we cozied up at the upstairs bar (it’s the nicer one) and I ordered this crabmeat cheesecake.

Ummmm. You guys. If you like crabmeat and cheesecakes, please go get this. With a pecan crust, sautéed mushrooms and a savory brown creole meunière sauce it was rich and delicious and one of those dishes I now dream of having again.

Our bartender was great and it was a perfect dish to hold me over until the next time I ate, which was happening in three-hour intervals in New Orleans.

Mr. B’s Bistro 4 out of 5 stars

201 Royal St, New Orleans, LA 70130

Price Range for starters, drinks and entrees $$$$

This place felt so southern to me I thought I might be on the set of Gone With the Wind. The service was super friendly and even though it was a white tablecloth place, it was relaxed and fun. I had French fries and a crab cake that were both pretty good. Oh and a salad. Because you still need your greens, even in NOLA.

Cafe du Monde 5 out of 5 stars

800 Decatur St Jackson Square, French Quarter

Price Range $

beignets in new orleans cafe du monde
This is an institution. If you’re looking good food in New Orleans, this is it. One must simply go. The menu has only a couple of things: beignets and coffee or café au lait. These flash fried donut pastries are cooked seconds before they come to your table and piled high with powdered sugar. It’s next to impossible to eat one without having the white powder cling to some part of you, so dress appropriately.

Pro Tip:  It’s open 24 hours, so try to head over at an off time (like early morning) for no wait.

cafe amelia new orleansCafe Amelie 3.5 out of 5 stars

912 Royal St, New Orleans, LA 70116- French Quarter

Price Range for a small plate and drink $$

I stopped here for a light lunch. The courtyard itself is the draw, all French and romantic, it’s a great place to slow down and visit. The cocktails were great as well, I had the Nieux Carre with cognac and rye and it was the perfect drink to take the chill out of the air.

I had the baked gulf oysters with spinach, artichokes and cheese. It’s a rich dish, but overall it lacked a complexity of flavor. I would still return and try something else, or hang out here for the ambiance alone.

Felix’s 3 out of 5 stars For the Po-Boy only

739 Iberville St, New Orleans, LA 70130- French Quarter

Price Range for a Po-Boy and beer $$

best po boys in new orleans

I love Po-Boys. Also I love hot sauce. I have a hot sauce problem if I’m being honest. I need it on everything.

When I was looking for where to eat in New Orleans, having a great po-boy experience was high on the list, and yet I never quite achieved it. Felix’s was fine. There was barely a wait and I really enjoyed the diner atmosphere.

I ordered Felix’s Special Po-Boy, which is deep-fried shrimp and oysters together. This was a very simple, straightforward version: fried seafood, white bun, lettuce, tomato. That’s it. I put about a half a bottle of hot sauce on it and mayo in an attempt to impart more flavor. It sorta worked.

My quest continues. If you have a fav place to get po-boys, please put it in the comments!!

killer poboys in new orleansKiller Po-Boys 2.5 out of 5 stars based solely on the sweet potato Po-Boy

219 Dauphine St- French Quarter

Price Range for a sandwich, chips and a beer – $$

Still on a po-boy quest, I tried Killer’s sweet potato po-boy. I applaud the effort – it’s not always easy to find non-meat options in this town. But I would’ve loved for this to have a different texture. It’s a bun with cooked greens and sweet potato chunks. It was mushy.

There was the contrast of the bitter greens and the sweet of the potato, but overall, it wasn’t what I expect from a po-boy. I mean we know this isn’t health food, so maybe let’s see what happens if we batter that potato and fry it; give it some crunch, you know?

Coterie NOLA 3 out of 5 stars

135 Decatur St, New Orleans, LA 70130- French Quarter

Where to eat in new orleans french quartersPrice Range $$

This spot was attached to our hotel making it extremely convenient. We had the fried green pickles and a crab cake. It was fine. Nothing mind-blowing and that’s the problem. In a town like New Orleans where the food is so incredible, it’s hard to want to spend your calories on the merely good.

But if you want a snack and you’re staying at the La Galerie Hotel, it’s an easy stop.

Which leads me to…

Best Restaurants in New Orleans

After visiting NOLA again and again and again, we’ve eaten at enough New Orleans restaurants to have our go-to spots. Our favorites include down-and-dirty casual eateries as well as dining temples where servers wear jackets and white gloves. Some double as the best restaurants in the French Quarter though some favorites are located further afield.

As we’ve discovered, some of the best places to eat in New Orleans are relatively new while others have been in business for more than a century. This a city where good restaurants are a dime a dozen but the great ones are truly special.

It’s fair to say that we’ve eaten at most of the best restaurants in NOLA. Dozens and dozens of restaurants. Enough that we’re ready to narrow down more than a hundred restaurants to 20 restaurants that achieve the following Merriam-Webster definition of the word iconic:

“widely known and acknowledged especially for distinctive excellence”

We recommend that you start your NOLA restaurant exploration at these 20 iconic restaurants to experience the true essence of New Orleans cuisine. We’ve eaten at them all, some twice and others even more times. We’re confident that you’ll enjoy their food as much as we always do.

Open since 1893 and located in the Garden District, Commander’s Palace is the grande dame of the New Orleans dining scene and the jewel in the Brennan family crown. Famous chefs like Emeril Lagasse and Paul Prudhomme have cooked here and thousand of diners have eaten inside its striped blue walls.

It all sounds very formal and in some ways it is. The restaurant has a business attire dress code that encourages men to wear jackets and bans everybody from wearing shorts, flip flops, t-shirts, sweat pants and ripped jeans.

But, despite its impressive past and modern code of formality, Commander’s Palace is a friendly place where celebrating customers don chef toques made of paper and colorful balloons float from chairs. It’s also a restaurant that serves outstanding food for both lunch and dinner.

If you only have time for one meal in New Orleans (which is crazy but could happen), Commander’s Palace will check off many of your New Orleans dining goals. This is especially true if you make a lunch reservation and order gussied up Po Boys and 25-cent martinis.

We enjoyed both a Po Boy and a rainbow of martinis during our lunch as well as Louisiana food classics like Gumbo and Turtle Soup. We also ate an exquisite Stuffed Quail, sipped French wine and chowed down on a delicate Bread Pudding Souflée while creating memories that have lasted far longer than the two-hour meal.

The fact that Commander’s Palace has been one of the top 10 restaurants in New Orleans for more than a century isn’t a fluke. Crowds flock here to experience what many consider to be the most quintessential New Orleans dining experience.

Accordingly, Commander’s Palace is a restaurant where advance planning is an absolute must. Expecting a last minute reservation here is a recipe for disaster. However, those who plan ahead will be royally rewarded. They’ll experience the epitome of restaurant dining in New Orleans as we did during our memorable lunch.

Commander’s Palace is located at 1403 Washington Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70130, United States.

Open since 1946 on Royal Street, Brennan’s Restaurant has a rich history that dates back to a bygone era before celebrity chefs, gastropubs, small plate menus and online reservation systems. It’s also a restaurant notorious for serving rich, eggy breakfast dishes, flaming Bananas Foster and Brandy Milk Punch cocktails.

The acclaimed French Quarter restaurant endured destruction from Hurricane Katrina and a closure in 2013 that threatened its very existence. Luckily, a member of the Brennan family along with additional investors stepped in to save and remodel the French Quarter stalwart.

After skipping Brennan’s during numerous visit, we made a breakfast reservation prior to our 2021 visit and arrived ready to eat it all.

Well, not really everything, though we did enjoy a variety of dishes including Oysters J’Aime topped with Creole tomato gravy and cornbread crumble, Eggs St. Charles with crispy Gulf fish, creamed spinach and orange hollandaise sauce, a relatively simple Crawfish & Asparagus Omelette, two cocktails and, of course, Bananas Foster.

While the Eggs St. Charles was the standout dish, dessert was the meal’s showstopper. It’s hard to beat watching a server flambé Bananas Foster in front of your eyes. Eating the restaurant’s iconic dish was fun too. Now we understand why Brennan’s is considered one of the best restaurants in the French Quarter and a fun spot to start the day with breakfast or brunch.

Brennan’s Restaurant is located at 417 Royal Street, New Orleans, LA 70130, United States.

Willie Mae’s Scotch House is serving up the most famous fried chicken in New Orleans, if not the country.

The restaurant’s menu describes its fried chicken as “America’s Best…” and accolades from the likes of James Beard and the late Anthony Bourdain prove that point. If you want to eat the best lunch in New Orleans, you need to add the fried chicken at Willie Mae’s to your New Orleans eating plan.

Located in historic Tremé, about a 20 minute walk or a short cab/uber ride from the French Quarter, Willie Mae’s is true to its neighborhood, city and owners. Crispy, spicy and slightly salty on the outside yet super moist and juicy on the inside, their made-to-order fried chicken is not to be missed.

Willie Mae has other things on the menu, but why bother. Get the fried chicken platter and pick out a side like amazing red beans and rice or comforting mac and cheese. Order an additional side if you’re extra hungry. Then sit back and enjoy the ultimate fried chicken experience – one of our favorite cheap eats in New Orleans and one of our favorites foods in the world.

Willie Mae’s Scotch House is located at 2401 St Ann Street, New Orleans, LA 70119, United States.

Our obligatory first stop in New Orleans is always Café Du Monde in the French Quarter. And why not?

This popular coffee shop is open 364 days on a 24/7 basis, only closing for Christmas and the occasional hurricane. Frying beignets since 1862, Café Du Monde is a legend that lives up to its reputation as one of the best breakfasts in New Orleans. We would expect nothing less from the third oldest restaurant in New Orleans. Antoine’s, open since 1940, is the oldest restaurant in New Orleans.

Café du Monde’s limited menu features beignets, coffee (regular and chicory), milk, orange juice and soft drinks. Even with so few options, the queue is often quite long. But don’t be afraid. The line moves quickly.

Trust us and not your cardiologist. It’s worth the wait when the end result is a plate of fried dough generously smothered in mountains of powdered sugar.

The original Café du Monde is located at 1039 Decatur Street, New Orleans, LA 70116, United States.

Like many of the best New Orleans Po Boy shops, Parkway Bakery & Tavern is located slightly off the beaten track. However, it’s worth the extra effort to travel to this Mid-City institution by cab, uber or streetcar.

After first visiting Parkway in 2007, just a couple years after Katrina, we’ve since returned a half dozen or so times. We typically sit in the bar where we can order local Abita beers and spicy Bloody Mary cocktails to enjoy with our favorite New Orleans Po Boys.

We always order a side of debris fries and bread pudding for dessert when we dine at Parkway. The debris fries, smothered with roast beef gravy with large strands of brisket that taste like they’ve been cooked by a Louisiana grandmother, could be a meal all by themselves.

As for the bread pudding with rum sauce, let’s just say that it’s the best dessert we’ve ever eaten served in a french fry boat. Also, be sure to look for the oyster po boy, currently served only on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Parkway Bakery and Tavern is located at 538 Hagan Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70119, United States.

If you can find the St. Charles streetcar, then you can find Herbsaint. The popular Central Business District restaurant is literally adjacent to the tracks. Once you do, expect to eat elevated Cajun dishes as well as French and Italian fare at this popular New Orleans bistro.

No flash in the pan (or should we say cast iron skillet?), Herbsaint quickly became a fixture after Donald Link opened the restaurant in 2000. Not only has the chef won multiple James Beard awards and published two cookbooks during the ensuing two decades, but his restaurant group has also expanded to include notable restaurants including Cochon and Pêche.

After eating at Link’s Cochon in 2011 and at his more casual Cochon Butcher in 2016, we finally made it to Herbsaint in 2021. Planning ahead, we booked an outdoor table for dinner and showed up with high expectaions.

With its mix of chicken, tasso and andouille, the restaurant’s deep dark chocolate Gumbo burst with flavors of the Bayou while retaining a luxurious texture that wasn’t overly thick. Other standout dishes included Cornmeal Fried Oysters served with hot sauce and coleslaw and the restaurant’s French-inspired Oeufs Mayonnaise accompanied by jumbo lump crab meat and petite lettuce.

However, we’ll issue a mild note of complaint about dining outside under the restaurant’s Storyville portico. That St. Charles streetcar which seemed so charming in theory made loud clanking sounds every time it rumbled by, shaking our table and rattling our nerves. Plus, the service seemed disconnected from what we noted in the bustling dining room just feet away. We’ll award a post-COVID mulligan for the surly service attributing it to what some New Orleanians call the “Aftertimes.”

All things considered, we’ll return to Herbsaint to eat more of that singular, world-class Gumbo and to try dishes like Louisiana Jumbo Shrimp and Muscovy Duck Leg Confit. However, next time we’ll eat inside.

Herbsaint is located at 701 St Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70130, United States.

Eating at Dooky Chase’s is a full sensory experience.

The eyes get engaged first thanks to a colorful art collection that fills every nook and cranny of the vaulted ceiling space, curated in a style reminiscent of Philadelphia’s eccentric Albert Barnes. Next come the ears which can’t help but hear both buzzy conversation and clanking cutlery. But the down-home food is the reason why most people come to this elegant restaurant. And that’s where the senses of taste, touch and smell come to the party.

While Edgar Chase does a fine job helming the multi-generational restaurant, he has big shoes to fill. The legacy of his grandmother, the late Leah Chase, is palpable to all who walk through the doors. The deceased matriarch’s spirit remains omnipresent in the Tremé restaurant that she made so famous.

We finally made it to Dooky Chase’s in 2021 after several failed attempts.

The restaurant was closed for a couple years after Hurricane Katrina and we never seemed to get our timing right after it re-opened. When we finally ate there, Leah was gone and, due to the pandemic, so was the famous lunch buffet.

However these changes didn’t stop us from enjoying the restaurant’s crispy fried chicken and equally crispy, mouth-filling Crabmeat Stuffed Shrimp. We also indulged in Mac & Cheese (’cause that’s what you do) and washed it all down with a refreshing Mint Julep highball dusted with so much powdered sugar that it looked like it was crafted in snowstorm.

Overall, we’re glad that we made a reservation and trekked to Tremé for lunch. The dining experience brought back memories of our meal at The Four Way in Memphis and sparked conversations about both racial equality and hearty downhome cooking. We couldn’t help but remember generations of American royalty including Martin Luther King Jr., Thurgood Marshall, Barack Obama and Ray Charles who all ate at Dooky Chase’s over the years.

Those giants of American history enjoyed the pleasure of dining in the Chase family’s restaurant and so did we.

Dooky Chase’s is located at 2301 Orleans Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70119, United States.

Liuzza’s by the Track is more than ‘just’ a Po Boy shop located near the Fairgrounds Race Course.

With a full bar as well as a menu that features burgers, salads and a full range of seafood plates, it’s more of a neighborhood restaurant. However, despite its varied menu, Liuzza’s signature dish is its famous BBQ Shrimp Po Boy.

Make no mistake – this BBQ Shrimp Po Boy is a show stopper with its mass of sautéed fresh shrimp stuffed into a French bread pistolette. Tangy barbecue sauce completes the sandwich and makes utensils a must.

Don’t miss eating at Liuzza’s by the Track if you attend Jazz Fest at the nearby Fairgrounds. The tavern’s block becomes a huge street scene during the annual music celebration.

Liuzza’s by the Track is located at 1518 N Lopez Street, New Orleans, LA 70119, United States.

In case you missed the memo, Vietnamese restaurants are flourishing in New Orleans.

Not only do both Vietnam and Louisiana have historical French connections, but the Big Easy also has a thriving community of Vietnamese immigrants within its borders. Some Vietnamese restaurants like Lilly’s Cafe are traditional while others like Banh Mi Boys focus on sandwiches. And then there’s MoPho.

After living in Vietnam for almost a year and also experiencing Houston’s take on Vietnamese food, we were were curious to try MoPho’s approach to fusing New Orleans ingredients and techniques associated with the Southeast Asian cuisine. Add a classically trained chef (namely Michael Gulotta, a former Chef de Cuisine at August) to the equation and we were intrigued.

Like its name asserts, MoPho has Pho on its menu and not just one type. The MoPho menu features veggie Pho, chicken Pho, Beef Pho and the one that we ordered – Hangover Part II Pho, a kitchen sink soup with beef broth, Burmese pork meatballs, double smoked bacon, mushrooms, slow poached egg and jalapeño American cheese.

We wanted to love our Pho but it was a bit of a mess when it arrived at our table. Ingredients like Burmese pork meatballs, double smoked bacon, mushrooms, slow poached egg and jalapeño American cheese seemed to be dumped into the beef broth with no rhyme or reason. However, our other dishes were all great. And none was better than the Crispy Chicken Wings coated in a nuoc mam (i.e. fish sauce) glaze.

Reminiscent of the fantastic fish sauce wings we ate at now-closed Pok Pok in Portland, Mopho coats their crispy cluckers with a dark, NOLA-style caramel sauce infused with flavors of Vietnamese nuoc cham. These wings inspired us to spend much of our meal trying to figure out what was in the recipe. Certainly fish sauce as well as lemongrass, caramel, ginger, Thai chilies and possibly shrimp paste? Ingredients aside, we can’t wait to create our own version at home.

Other meal highlights were the Spicy Sesame Cucumber and Crispy Fried Green Beans and the Cure-All, a monster sandwich jam packed with griddled lemongrass sausage, a fried egg, melted jack cheese, bacon sambal, mayonnaise, and jalapeño slaw. Since we couldn’t eat it all, we were thrilled to have a refrigerator in our hotel room.

MoPho isn’t fancy and it’s Mid City location requires a ride in a car, bus or streetcar. (We took a bus there and an Uber back to our hotel.) But the trip is worth the effort for the wings alone.

MoPho is located at 514 City Park Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70119, United States.

Open since 1946, The Camellia Grill isn’t fancy or trendy. Food here, like the Chili Omelette and Grilled Pecan Pie that we ate during our most recent meal, is solid and straightforward. It’s also cheap and tasty – two things that we appreciate when we dine out at home and in cities like New Orleans.

Other popular dishes include hamburgers, patty melts and grilled cheese sandwiches. If you think The Camellia Grill sounds like a diner, you’re correct. However, this New Orleans diner differentiates itself from other diners with its genteel, uniformed servers and a selection of Po Boys on the menu.

After more than a half-century of indoor dining only, The Camellia Grill has added outdoor dining for those who want to dine alfresco. We recommend doing this and also ordering an Orange Freeze with two scoops of ice cream unless you’d rather order a different flavor Freeze like chocolate, cherry or oreo.

Although The Camellia Grill is in the Garden District, it’s an easy street car ride from Canal Street. In fact, the St. Charles street car practically stops at the restaurant.

The Camellia Grill is located at 626 S Carrollton Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70118, United States.

People flock to Domilise’s Po-Boy & Bar, a local institution with unique corner bar charm, worn floor tiles, wood paneling and black vinyl barstools. This shop separates itself from the pack with its great Po-Boys served by a friendly crew that’ worked at the shop for decades. Domilise’s gained additional fame when the late, great Anthony Bourdain visited the bar in his 2008 episode of No Reservations.

Owned by the Domilise family for more than a century, the down and dirty Po Boy shop excels at making sandwiches filled with roast beef, seafood and even meatballs. Hamburgers and hot dogs are also on the menu; however, while they may be good, they’re not the thing to order here.

During our visit, we bellied up to the bar and ordered crisp beer and a Po Boy generously loaded with fried shrimp. The small ones are big enough to share, which is what we did, but we won’t judge you if you splurge and order a large and eat it all by yourself. The Po Boys at Domilise’s are that good.

Domilise’s Po-Boy & Bar is located at 5240 Annunciation Street, New Orleans, LA 70115, United States.

Located on the edge of the French Quarter, Port of Call has been slinging out top-quality burgers and baked potatoes for years. In fact, this restaurant has been in the burger business since the 1960s.

Port of Call’s burgers are serious business – each starting out with a half pound of ground beef – and served with a big baked potato. You’ll want to splurge a few bucks to get cheese and mushrooms added. The unmelted cheese and wine-sautéed mushrooms meld together to create a unique burger experience.

Port of Call is far from fancy. Plus, there’s often a line to be seated since many people consider Port of Call to be one of the must eat New Orleans restaurants. Hang in there though – it’s worth the wait to enjoy a reasonable meal that will satisfy your taste buds and fill your stomach.

Port of Call is located at 838 Esplanade Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70116, United States.

Galatoire’s isn’t new or trendy and that’s okay. The classic New Orleans restaurant started serving French Creole dishes like Gumbo and Shrimp Remoulade on Bourbon Street in 1905 and earned a James Beard award exactly a century later for serving those same dishes. All these years later, Galatoire’s remains one of the best restaurants on Bourbon Street, if not the best restaurant on New Orleans’ notorious famous street.

Unlike Commander’s Palace (see above) which prefers that men wear jackets, Galatoire’s goes the extra step by requiring them. While we came prepared during our 2011 dinner, we noted a rack filled with jackets for those who hadn’t planned ahead.

Since we didn’t photograph our food a decade ago, we have to rely on our memories about that meal at Galatoire’s And what memories they are! This is the meal where we drank our first Sazeracs while sharing dishes like Shrimp Remoulade served on crisp iceberg lettuce and Crab Yvonne bursting with jumbo lump crab and artichoke hearts.

However, there was one dish we didn’t share – veal liver. Daryl never has to share when he orders liver.

Galatoire’s Restaurant is located at 209 Bourbon Street, New Orleans, LA 70130, United States.

Dingy and dark, the well-worn Coop’s Place looks more like a dive bar than a restaurant serving up good food. As it turns out, Coop’s Place is both.

Aside from its crispy fried chicken and some of the best jambalaya in New Orleans, the other draw to Coop’s is its busy cheek to jowl atmosphere. It’s fun to watch servers ‘work the room’ as they expertly referee the crowd while serving some of the best Cajun food in New Orleans.

Yes, like nearby Cafe Du Monde (see above), there’s often a line to get into Coop’s Place but it’s well worth the wait. The reason is that Coops serves some of the city’s best cheap eats along with some dangerously tasty cocktails.

The atmosphere is far from fancy and the service can be surly if you sport an attitude. But who cares when the food is this good?

Coop’s Place is located at 1109 Decatur Street, New Orleans, LA 70116, United States.

Bywater Bakery justifies a morning trip to the funky Bywater neighborhood for its menu filled with breakfast joy, lunch happiness and cake love. Seriously, these are the categories on the Bywater Bakery menu.

Open since 2017 and managed by married owners Chef Chaya Conrad and Alton Osborne, Bywater Bakery has become a community hub. It’s also a destination for New Orleans foodies with an appreciation for tasty cheap eats, local culture and comforting desserts.

Some trek to Bywater Bakery to eat morning dishes like Breakfast Gumbo and Tofu Scramble. Others linger over soup and sandwiches for lunch – but not just any soup and sandwiches. We’re talking about flavorful Cubanos, meaty Muffalettas and bowls of Yaka Mein, a local beef noodle soup that doubles as a hangover cure.

Pretty much everybody eats dessert at Bywater Bakery. Most of the year, options include Chantilly Cake, Gluten-Free Brownies and Turtle Cookies. In the spring, Conrad’s famous King Cake joins Bywater Bakery’s sweet roster.

Bywater Bakery is located at 3624 Dauphine Street, New Orleans, LA 70117, United States.

Turkey and the Wolf forged it way into iconic status when the newbie restaurant pulled off a shocker by winning Bon Appetit‘s title of Best New Restaurant of the Year in 2017. After all, everything about Turkey and the Wolf is about as casual as it gets.

But a deeper dig into Turkey and the Wolf’s menu reveals an interesting selection of re-imagined lunch food favorites. Mason Hereford accomplishes this by using the best available ingredients and his vivid imagination. And the best part? He’s done the same with breakfast food favorites at nearby Molly’s Rise and Shine.

Expect menu items like Fried Bologna Sandwiches with the potato chips inside the sandwich and Wedge Salads with everything bagel ‘crunchy stuff’ on top at this quirky restaurant. Originally planning to order the Lower Garden District restaurant’s insta-famous Deviled Eggs with Fried Chicken Skin, we regrouped and ordered a Fried Pot Pie when those eggs weren’t on the menu.

Served with tarragon buttermilk dressing and filled with slow cooked chicken and vegetables, the Fried Pot Pie was unlike anything we had eaten before. The dish, which reminded us of Thanksgiving, was a crunchy, rich, flavor-packed, fried hot pocket filled with yum.

Turkey and the Wolf is located at 739 Jackson Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70130, United States.

Willa Jean attracts a variety of customers. Some customers skip buffet breakfasts at nearby New Orleans hotels while others show up for for power breakfasts near their offices. Then there are the New Orleans foodies who make a special trip to the famous Central Business District restaurant to eat pastries created by a James Beard award winner.

These diners have one thing in common – they all have a bit of a biscuit situation.

Willa Jean fulfills their food wishes with a varied selection of belly-busting breakfast and lunch items. We’re talking about cornbread served with whipped butter and Poirier’s cane syrup as well ramped up BLT sandwiches filled with fried oysters and horseradish tabasco aioli.

But what about the biscuits?

Kelly Fields, Willa Jean’s original chef, created a small but mighty biscuit menu featuring biscuits filled with ingredients like fried chicken, sausage gravy, bacon and pimento cheese. After eating one of Fields’ breakfast sandwiches during our 2015 Willa Jean breakfast, we promptly bought a t-shirt with a picture of… you guessed it… a biscuit.

Willa Jean is located at 611 O’Keefe Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70113, United States.

Two main things stick in our heads about our 2007 lunch at Bayona, a New Orleans restaurant located in a 200-year old Creole cottage behind a French Quarter courtyard.

First was seeing Chef Susan Spicer working the flower-filled dining room after she had worked culinary magic in the kitchen. Yet another James Beard award winner, Spicer achieved national notoriety after opening Bayona in 1990. She later was one of the opening partners at Herbsaint (see above).

You may recognize Spicer’s name if you watched HBO’s Treme since she appeared in an episode and acted as as a culinary consultant. These days, she assumes the restaurant’s executive chef role along with Chef de Cuisine Eason Barksdale.

We also have vivid memories of the food, especially the Smoked Duck PB&J. This sandwich may be the best sandwich in a city known for Po Boys and Muffalettas. With ingredients like smoked duck, peanut-cashew butter and pepper jelly, it’s certainly the city’s most unusual sandwich and one of the reasons that many consider lunch at Bayona to be the best lunch in the French Quarter and maybe even the best lunch in New Orleans.

Bayona is located at 430 Dauphine Street, New Orleans, LA 70112, United States.

The New Orleans restaurant Shaya is proof that the world of upscale Israeli food is a small one.

Originally opened on Magazine Street by Chef Alon Shaya in 2015, the restaurant and its chef quickly earned James Beard awards. Although he was born in Israel, Shaya grew up in Philadelphia, the city where James Beard winner Michael Solomonov has been operating the lauded Zahav since 2008.

And then there’s Zach Engel who worked at Zahav before joining Shaya in New Orleans. Engel eventually earned his own James Beard award while cooking at Shaya.

Both Shaya and Engel left Shaya (the restaurant) in 2017 and opened Saba in New Orleans. Shaya also operates an Israeli restaurant called Safta in Denver while Engel eventually moved on to open Galit in Chicago.

Despite all the moving and shaking with the chefs previously involved with Shaya, the Garden District restaurant remains a standout with pitas cooked in a wood-fire oven and a menu that incorporates both big and small plates.

Our Shaya dinner was series of hits and no misses that started with three Saltatim (i.e. salad) plates with Labneh, Pickles and Ikra before continuing to larger plates topped with Crispy Haloumi and Hummus. But not just any hummus…

In what may be the ultimate Israel-New Orleans food fusion, our hummus was topped with FRIED CHICKEN. Other ingredients included date salsa verde, Tunisian spices and Aleppo pepper. But, seriously, adding fried chicken to hummus is a game changer that we don’t want to change back.

Shaya is located at 4213 Magazine Street, New Orleans, LA 70115, United States.

Only open since 2015 in a former tire shop, N7 hit the national radar the following year when the quirky restaurant operated by filmmaker Aaron Walker and chef Yuki Yamaguchi made Bon Appetit‘s best new restaurant short list. In its article, the food-focused magazine referred to the New Orleans restaurant as “the most romantic French restaurant in the world.”

Since we have an ongoing love affair with Paris and its restaurants, we find this statement to be hyperbole. However, we don’t hesitate to recommend N7 for a chill night in the Bywater neighborhood filled with al fresco dining, bistro food and natural wine.

Be forewarned, N7 is a difficult table to score. Not only is the Bywater restaurant often fully booked, but the restaurant doesn’t have a listed phone number. You’ll need to make an online reservation. Then there’s finding the restaurant behind a blue wall-like fence. Follow Google Maps as well as your secret spidey sense and you’ll be okay.

Those who make the extra effort will be rewarded with a Japanese-inspired modern French menu in N7’s seemingly secret world. You won’t eat Gumbo or Jambalaya at this restaurant. Instead, plan to nibble on house made charcuterie and eat dishes like Escargot Tempura and the chef’s interpretation of Duck Breast a l’Orange.

N7 is located at 1117 Montegut Street, New Orleans, LA 70117, United States.

The number of notable restaurants in New Orleans is astounding. Don’t stop once you eat your way through the above 20 restaurant. Here are 20 more restaurants to add to your New Orleans eating list:

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