Top Restaurants and Culinary Experiences in New Orleans
Believe the hype: New Orleans’ reputation for being one of America’s top food cities is well-deserved and stronger than ever.
New Orleans' culinary scene is a mix of tradition — found in the numerous Creole restaurants of the French Quarter — and innovation, with flavors of Southeast Asia, the Middle East and beyond complementing the city’s already exotic palate. From culinary tours to farmers markets, New Orleans will have your taste buds singing. New Orleans is the epicenter of the Creole Crescent Culinary Trail.
Top Culinary Experiences in New Orleans
Dooky Chase's Restaurant
Walking into Dooky Chase's Restaurant for a legendary bowl of gumbo means not only epic flavors, but a loving dose of history to go with it. Starting in 1941, the Chase family's simple sandwich shop and bar quickly became a popular meeting spot for musicians, civil rights activists and cultural happenings in New Orleans. Leah Chase transformed the shop into a sit-down restaurant in the mid-40s making it the location for African-American art and Creole cooking in the city. From there the restaurant only became more popular and she became known as the legendary Creole chef Leah Chase serving her signature food until she passed away on June 1, 2019 at 96 years old. The restaurant continues her legacy serving her down-home Creole staples in a vibrant, art-filled space that has since become a spot on the Louisiana Civil Rights Trail.
Confederacy of Cruisers
This is one of New Orleans' favorite culinary tours ... introducing Confederacy of Cruisers neighborhood culinary tours! These tours are all on bikes and should be considered more like “eating” tours, rather than tastings. They take guests via a good ol' fashioned bike ride to eateries that are cheap, make ridiculously delicious food, and are well off the average tourist beat…visitors won't forget this unique experience.
Southern Food & Beverage Museum
The Southern Food & Beverage Museum is a living history organization dedicated to the discovery, understanding and celebration of the food, drink and the related culture of the South. While based in New Orleans, the Museum examines and celebrates all the cultures that have come together through the centuries to create the South’s unique culinary heritage. SoFAB also hosts special exhibits, demonstrations, lectures and tastings that showcase the food and drink of the South.
New Orleans School of Cooking
Since 1980, the New Orleans School of Cooking has introduced countless visitors from around the world to the wonderful food and rich culture of Louisiana and New Orleans. Classes are held seven days a week in our beautifully renovated 1830s molasses warehouse, located at 524 St. Louis Street in New Orleans. We teach the basics of Louisiana cooking in a way you'll never forget. Fun is the primary ingredient in our kitchen! Our Cajun/Creole experts teach New Orleans specialties such as gumbo, jambalaya and pralines and season them with history and humor!
As America’s oldest continuously operated open-air market, the French Market is truly a hip and historic culinary landmark. This historic and vibrant market has full-service eateries serving breakfast, lunch and dinner and a variety of fresh produce and seafood, local specialty foods, cheese and wine, sandwiches and salads, and sweets. The French Market is also home to two weekly fresh food farmers markets: Wednesday Crescent City Farmers Market (weekly 1-5pm, October-June) and French Market’s Artisan Saturday Market, full of local food, art and crafts, as well as daily farmers market vendors with fresh local foods.
The Four Seasons Hotel
The Four Seasons on Canal Street has two fine dining restaurants onsite - Miss River and Chemin à la Mer. Miss River offers elevated versions of classic New Orleans dishes, like fried chicken and red beans and rice, using local ingredients. A unique aspect of this eatery is the Food Stage, where guests can watch the chefs plate the extravagant signature dishes. Chemin a la Mer features panoramic views of the Mississippi River and a curated menu of Louisiana fare prepared with French technique. At the top of the hotel is Vue Orleans which features interactive exhibits depicting the story of New Orleans - like The Story Café, where visitors can explore the history of New Orleans cuisine in a fascinating atmosphere.
Don’t Miss Dishes in the New Orleans Area
Café du Monde
No trip to the Crescent City is complete without a plate of beignets and cup of cafe au lait. Try them at the world renowned Café du Monde on the banks of the Mississippi River in the French Quarter. The fried pastry is a perfect snack in the morning or late night.
Whether you fall on the po'boy or muffuletta side of the “best Louisiana sandwich” argument, you'll want to try a muffaletta at Central Grocery - the home of the original. Have one to share... or not.
Mosquito Supper Club
Mosquito Supper Club is an experimental restaurant offering culinary glimpse into the cuisine of the Louisiana bayou. The flagship supper club was created to celebrate the bounty of shrimpers, oyster fishermen, crabbers and farmers that define our cuisine. Choose between private or communal seatings. Reservations are required.
New Orleans is not all Creole food, though the city’s renowned for it. Just look no further than Shaya, a modern Israeli restaurant known for awesome dishes that won the prestigious James Beard award for Best New Restaurant in 2016.
Emeril’s Family of Restaurants
Emeril Lagasse is culinary royalty in New Orleans, thanks to his numerous cooking shows and books that have brought what’s become known as “new New Orleans” cuisine to the masses. Get a taste of Emeril’s signature style in the city where it all began. His empire includes numerous New Orleans restaurants, including Emeril’s, Emeril’s Delmonico and Meril.
In 1993 Tommy Cvitanovich, a restaurant manager at Drago’s, first came up with the charbroiled oyster, and people haven’t stopped waiting in lines to get some since. Tommy brushed a sauce of butter, garlic, and herbs on top of freshly shucked Louisiana oysters, then sprinkled them with a blend of cheeses and charbroiled them on the half shell. These special oysters have a place in everyone’s stomach!
A winner of Food Network’s “Chopped” and chef at Boucherie in Uptown New Orleans, Nathanial Zimet creates a phenomenal combination of flavors with his blackened shrimp and grit cake appetizer. Finish things off with Krispy Kreme bread pudding. Need we say more?
With New Orleans' proximity to the Gulf of Mexico and constant supply of fresh Louisiana seafood, Peche is one stop you won't want to miss. Enjoy a literal taste of the Gulf coast in a whole grilled fish with chimichurri.
Right outside of New Orleans, in St. Bernard Parish, you’ll find these two popular spots:
Rocky & Carlo’s
Rocky & Carlo’s in Chalmette recently reopened with a line of patiently waiting patrons to finally get a taste of the remarkable food that comes out of the cozy kitchen. You’ll find macaroni and cheese the way it is meant to be. With just one bite of the delicately creamy baked macaroni and cheese you enter food paradise, and you do not want to leave.
Arabi Food Store
Years ago Elliot Gaspard realized that selling groceries is less than what the people of Arabi, Louisiana deserved. He began serving delicious po' boys at his food store and never looked back. Po' boys are a regular sandwich choice for the New Orleans area, but the signature sandwiches served at the Arabi Food Store are more than traditional fare. With a large selection of po' boys, customers travel from all over the world to chow down on the best sandwiches in town.
Discover so many more culinary must-do's and delectable restaurants in New Orleans and the Creole Crescent Culinary Trail.