What we eat in southeastern Louisiana
Rich with history and brimming with flavor, the greater New Orleans area all the way to Baton Rouge is the cradle of one of the world’s great regional cuisines.
The mere mention of New Orleans is enough to start mouths watering for Creole cooking, and the edible glory of this distinctive culture awaits all across Southeast Louisiana. Rich with history and brimming with flavor, the area is the cradle of one of the world’s great regional cuisines. Gumbo, jambalaya and étouffée are the most famous local dishes, but the cookbook of Southeast Louisiana is diverse and constantly evolving.
Check out the living roots in New Orleans at historic restaurants like Antoine’s, Galatoire’s and Arnaud’s with their luscious dishes like oysters Rockefeller, shrimp remoulade and grilled pompano. Celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse showcases modern interpretations of this heritage at his restaurants Emeril’s, NOLA and Emeril’s Delmonico, while rising star John Besh is building his own restaurant empire in the city.
New Orleans also means po-boys, like the dripping roast beef versions at Parkway Bakery & Tavern, and thick muffaletta sandwiches with olive salad from historic Central Grocery. Not far from the city, the waterfront Middendorf’s Restaurant has long been famous for its razor-thin catfish, while visitors to Abita Springs can sample the full range of locally made beers over a meal at the Abita Brew Pub.
Some historic plantations lining the Mississippi River now boast fine restaurants on premises, like Latil’s Landing at Houmas House Plantation with specialties like Gulf fish crusted with black-eyed peas. Cajun flair spices up the cooking in bayou country. Boiled crabs, shrimp and crawfish are piled high at places like Big Al’s Seafood in Houma while wild-caught catfish is king at Spahr’s in Des Allemends.
Creole flavor continues at Baton Rouge restaurants like Juban’s with its soft shell crabs stuffed with crawfish and at campus favorites like the Chimes, where generations of local college students have studied the classics – namely gumbo and po-boys.