Welcome to the land of stiff drinks, celebrity chefs and locals who lift dining to an art form.
New Orleans’ cuisine is like no other. Since the city’s founding three centuries ago, French, Spanish, Caribbean and African influences – and actually, many more – have had a hand in creating the iconic dishes associated with the Big Easy. There’s no such thing as too many cooks in this multicultural kitchen.
Start your journey in this cosmopolitan center, home of the Sazerac cocktail, Oysters Rockefeller, and Bananas Foster. There are so many icons of the New Orleans restaurant scene, including the 100-plus-year-old Commander's Palace, a beloved favorite of locals and out-of-towners because of chef Tory McPhail's Creole cooking and their 25-cent martinis. The city's location means delicious Gulf seafood is a menu staple. At Pascal's Manale, folks line up for the barbecued shrimp, while at Drago's the charbroiled oysters earn rave reviews. There are plenty of newcomers to the restaurant scene who are worthy of a visit as well, such as Dominique's on Magazine. Chef Dominique Macquet presents French cuisine with ingredients sourced within 100 miles of New Orleans. And you can't leave the city without sampling a signature sandwich. Two great choices are a po-boy from Mahony's Po-Boy Shop and a muffuletta from Central Grocery.
Next, make your way to Jefferson Parish for their brand-new Oyster Trail. Many of their local chefs are dishing up special oyster creations, including the scrumptious baked oysters Radosta at Andrea's Restaurant in Metairie. Take time to also explore nearby suburbs like the St. Bernard area nestled along the Gulf Coast where the Spanish culture of the Isleños is celebrated and fresh-caught seafood dishes are served up with Creole and Spanish flair. Seeking some made-from-scratch comfort food? Make a beeline for Rocky and Carlo's in Chalmette. Order their macaroni and cheese and you'll find yourself still talking about it weeks later.
As you explore this trail you’ll find more than good meals. Come and see for yourself why this region and its people have earned a place in the hearts of many.