Top Restaurants and Culinary Experiences in Shreveport-Bossier and Natchitoches
The Red River flows through this culinary area, which incorporates north Louisiana’s largest metro area (Shreveport and Bossier City), the charming and historic town of Natchitoches, and the wide-open spaces between the two. The Red River Riches trail is full of local produce that you can purchase from the men and women who grew them, down-home diners, award-winning cosmopolitan restaurants and events that celebrate the region’s culinary culture.
Top Restaurants and Dining Experiences in Shreveport-Bossier City
An extension of the Louisiana Film, Music and Startup Prizes, the Louisiana Food Prize includes a Chopped-style live cooking competition featuring some of the best chefs in north Louisiana as well as special celebrity chefs and guests from throughout the U.S. Also taking place during the Louisiana Food Prize is Come and Get It, a food, wine and spirits event. Throughout these events, food lovers can watch cooking demos, rub elbows with chefs and sample food, wine and cocktails. Insider’s tip: Work up an appetite during the Louisiana Food Prize by attending screenings at the Louisiana Film Prize, which takes place on the same dates. 2018 dates are Oct. 5-7.
Farm-to-table dining enthusiasts will enjoy a visit to Mahaffey Farms in Princeton (just east of Bossier City), where pasture-raised and hormone and chemical-free beef, pork, chicken and seasonal vegetables can be purchased directly from the McCommon family. The farm stand is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Friday, as well as most Saturdays in the spring and fall. Visitors who stop by on Saturday morning can take part in free, educational walking tours of this picturesque working farm. Insider’s tip: Call to make sure they’re open and visit on a Saturday morning; the farm tour is outstanding.
Chef Anthony Felan, a well-known Shreveport chef who placed second in the 2017 Louisiana Seafood Cook-Off, pairs creative, multicourse tasting menus with fascinating historic buildings during his 2nd Act Supper Club dinners. 2nd Act Supper Club menus and locations are not announced until the day of the event, adding an element of surprise and drama to the evening. Learn more about tickets, locations, and details by joining the Facebook group (search “2nd Act Supper Club”). Insider’s tip: 2nd Act Supper Club events typically include a craft cocktail experience, but diners are also invited to BYOB their beverage of choice.
Held each spring in various locations, 318 Restaurant Week is a week-long celebration of Shreveport-Bossier’s dining scene that is organized by the Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau and its partners. Reduced price lunch specials, multicourse tasting menu dinners and unique, one-night-only foodie events highlight the energy and creativity of the local restaurant scene. Insider’s tip: Like 318 Restaurant Week on Facebook to participate in multiple giveaways during the event and in the weeks leading up to it. 2018 dates are March 13-18.
One of the largest farmers’ markets in North Louisiana, the Shreveport Farmers’ Market takes place on most Saturday mornings in the summer and fall. With more than 100 vendors selling fresh, local produce including locally raised meats, fruits and vegetables as well as ready-to-eat meals ranging from traditional Southern comfort food to international cuisine, the Shreveport Farmers’ Market offers the atmosphere and experience of a small, local food festival. Live music, cooking demonstrations and more are also offered. Opening day in 2017 was attended by more than 6,000 marketgoers. Insider’s tip: Explore the Shreveport Farmers’ Market website to see a complete list of participating vendors and ready-to-eat food options.
The annual Battle of the Gumbo Gladiators in downtown Shreveport brings together gumbo teams from throughout Louisiana and the surrounding states to cook and serve gumbo for a day-long fundraiser benefiting Volunteers for Youth Justice. Participating teams compete for cash prizes and bragging rights while thousands of gumbo fans spend the day sampling as many gumbos as possible and voting for their favorites. In 2017, 62 pots of gumbo were prepared and more than 6,000 festivalgoers cast votes. Insider’s tip: Arrive early to have the best shot at tasting all of the competing gumbos – popular booths and returning champions can run out by 3 p.m.! 2018 date is March 24.
Held on a Sunday afternoon each April, Wine Country Bistro’s Wine and Swine celebrates – you guessed it – all things related to barbecue and wine. Spend an afternoon sampling a thoughtfully curated list of more than 75 wines while dining on “whole hog”-style barbecue prepared by up-and-coming chefs from throughout Louisiana. Live music and cooking demonstrations round out this popular annual party. Insider’s tip: Tickets to Wine and Swine typically sell out in advance; follow Wine Country Bistro on Facebook in order not to miss the ticket sales announcement.
The Mabry House, an off-the-beaten-path fine dining restaurant housed in a Victorian-era mansion in Shreveport’s Highland neighborhood, offers what may be the only “chef’s table” experience in northern Louisiana. Six to eight diners are seated at the only table in the kitchen, where they can watch as Chef Steve Mylar prepares an elaborate tasting menu complete with wine pairings. Must be booked in advance. Insider’s tip: If you’re not dining with six or more companions, The Mabry House also provides a very unique and romantic atmosphere for couples dining.
Bossier City’s Kabuki Sushi and Roll is an unassuming, mom-and-pop restaurant that offers traditional sushi and sashimi favorites as well as an adventurous Korean menu. They also offer Shreveport-Bossier’s only “omakase”-style tasting menu experience. This nine-course dinner features no set menu; diners simply trust the chef to be innovative and surprising (in the Japanese language, “omakase” means “I’ll leave it up to you”). Reservations are not required but are preferred for the omakase dinner and a minimum of two diners must order omakase. Insider’s tip: If you’re not up for nine courses, explore the Korean menu – traditional Korean favorites such as Bibimbap are house favorites.
Shreveport’s wildest brunch is served at Marilynn’s Place, a festive Cajun and Creole eatery located in the Broadmoor neighborhood. Each Sunday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Chef Boz Baucum welcomes hundreds of diners with creative brunch specials, “bottomless” drink specials and great people-watching. As the crowd spills out onto the patio and countless mimosas are imbibed, brunch at Marilynn’s Place becomes the wildest Sunday morning party in town. Insider’s tip: Marilynn’s Place is located in a renovated service station with roll-up service bay doors; when the weather is nice during the spring and fall, all of the bay doors are raised for an indoor/outdoor patio vibe.
Must-Taste Restaurants in Natchitoches
Celebrating their 50th anniversary and home of the famous Lasyone’s Meat Pie and Cane River Pie, Lasyone’s in downtown Natchitoches presents a welcoming atmosphere with a variety of soulful, Creole cuisine. The meat pies, a mixture of beef and pork, are fried until golden brown and the Cane River Pie is layered in rich chocolate and decadent cream.
Located on scenic Lake Sibley, Mariner’s Seafood and Steakhouse offers fine dining in a lavish interior. With fresh seafood, certified Angus beef, and a variety of Cajun/Creole dishes to choose from, what’s not to love about this waterfront restaurant?
Located on Front Street in Natchitoches, Mayeaux’s is one of the more recent culinary developments in the Historic District. Featuring aged steaks, fresh seafood, and a well-stocked bar, Mayeaux’s Steakhouse is serving up classic Louisiana cuisine with a Cane River flair!
Known for their Cajun Baked Potato and Bread Pudding, Merci Beaucoup in downtown Natchitoches is a welcoming establishment that offers casual dining with friendly service. Merci Beaucoup is open for breakfast and lunch and caters to groups and private parties.
With authentic Louisiana food in a casual atmosphere, Mama’s Oyster House is located right next door to its brother restaurant, Papa’s on Front Street next to the Cane River waterfront in downtown Natchitoches. In addition to live music every Saturday night in their famed Blues Room, Mama’s also features a wide variety of sandwiches, po’boys, fried seafood, and steak!
Learn more about the fantastic culinary traditions in the Red River Riches culinary trail of Louisiana.