New Orleans

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A visit to New Orleans is a gastronomic carnival, with zesty flavors suitable to all palates. Sample the Cajun, Creole, and Gulf delicacies such as po’ boy sandwiches, gumbo, jambalaya, crawfish, alligator meat, and revised French fare reinvented in the bayou tradition.

Top Restaurants in New Orleans

Acme Oyster House

The warm glow of a simple red neon sign off Bourbon Street guides hungry patrons to this elbows-on-the-table, gritty oyster house. Acme focuses on fresh Gulf seafood and traditional Louisianan dishes such as oyster and shrimp po’ boys, complete with all the fixings at several locations

LA, 504-522-5973, www.acmeoyster.com
Tags: moderate | seafood

Antonie's

Antoine’s redefines French cuisine by adding a tasty twist of Creole tradition in the form of alligator bisque and grilled trout topped with crawfish in a delicate white wine butter sauce. The elegant dining room is all candles, polished silver, and white cloth. The dining room is closed for dinner on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

713 St. Louis St., LA, 504-581-4422, www.antoines.com
Tags: expensive | french | cajun

Arnaud's

For a distinctive New Orleans dining experience complete with Dixieland jazz and Creole cuisine, head to Arnaud’s (open for dinner only). Everything on the menu is good, but the restaurant’s real claim to fame is its Shrimp Arnaud topped with Remoulade sauce and its baked Oysters Bienville. More than just a restaurant, Arnaud’s also contains The Germaine Cazenave Wells Mardi Gras Museum, which contains Carnival court gowns and costumes from 1939 to 1968.

813 Rue Bienville St., LA, 866-230-8895, www.arnauds.com
Tags: expensive | cajun

Café du Monde

No trip to New Orleans would be complete without a beignet and a café au lait from Café du Monde, a French Quarter staple since 1892. The café is constantly packed and the line is always long for take out, but the service is quick once you stake out a table. The famous beignets come fried and piled high with powdered sugar – served in orders of three, they really are irresistible. Open 24 hours/day.

800 Decatur St., LA, 504-525-4544, www.cafedumonde.com
Tags: budget | dessert | boats and cruise

Commander's Palace

Still one of the best dining experiences in New Orleans (and where Emeril Lagasse got his start), the renovated and redecorated (post-Katrina) restaurant boasts a spiffed-up, elegant setting with classic Creole cuisine like turtle soup au sherry and crispy whole gulf fish.

1403 Washington Ave., LA, 504-899-8221, www.commanderspalace.com
Tags: expensive | historic | smart splurge | brunch | cajun

Galatoire's

You’ll see the line forming around the block to get into one of New Orleans most venerated eateries. Famously patronized by Tennessee Williams, this classy Bourbon Street restaurant features traditional French Creole fare like Poisson Meunière Amandine, a fresh fish dish in a red wine butter topped with sautéed crawfish, and seasonal seafood entrees like the rich, garlic-buttered shrimp clemenceau. While the second floor takes reservations, to eat on the ground level, you’ll have to take a place in line, as the Galatoire’s remains notoriously strict about the first come, first served policy.

209 Bourbon St., LA, 504-525-2021, www.galatoires.com
Tags: expensive | french | cajun

Ignatius Eatery

It may be out of the way in Carrollton, but Ignatius is worth the trip from the French Quarter for its Cajun-fusion cuisine (try the chicken stuffed with gumbo and the seafood etouffees). Inside, the authentic local eatery – a favorite among university hipsters – is decorated to resemble a small Cajun grocer. They also have a small sidewalk café outside.

4200 Magazine St., LA, 504-896-2225
Tags: moderate | local favorite | cajun

Mother's

This cafeteria-style staple and bona fide dive is a must for New Orleans home-cooking: gumbo, po’ boys, and étoufflée. Don’t let the long line of tourists keep you away – Mother’s is worth the wait, especially if you order the finger-lickin’ Famous Ferdi special: a po’ boy with baked ham, roast beef, gravy, and debris (the roast beef pieces that fall into the gravy while baking in the oven). The hearty breakfast menu is also second to none.

401 Poydras St., LA, 504-523-9656, www.mothersrestaurant.net
Tags: budget | breakfast | cajun

NOLA Restaurant

A brick-and-glass elevator sets the stage for celebrity chef Emeril’s cool and casual eatery in the French Quarter. Come hungry for his creative takes on flavorful Southern dishes: shrimp and grits and buttermilk fried chicken breast with bourbon mashed sweet potatoes.

534 Saint Louis St., LA, 504-522-6652, www.emerils.com
Tags: expensive | notable chef | comfort food | cajun

Sucre

Opened in April 2007, Sucre has become the darling of Magazine Street in the Garden District. Locals come for the gourmet sandwiches and soup around lunchtime, but the meal of the day at Sucre is dessert. Artisanal sweets include authentic Parisian macaroons in flavors like Orange Marmalade and Pistachio, homemade gelato, and chocolates filled with passion fruit and ganache. While the treats are extravagant, the staff, patiently assisting patrons to find what they need, is not. If you’re lucky, you’ll run into renowned pastry chef and occasional Food Network guest Tariq Hanna, the mastermind behind Sucre’s menu.

3025 Magazine St., LA, 504-520-8311, www.shopsucre.com
Tags: budget | dessert

The Gumbo Shop

Continuously winning “Best Gumbo” awards in New Orleans, The Gumbo Shop is a must if you want to experience the “flavor” of the city. Situated in one of a handful of surviving 18th-century buildings in the French Quarter, the restaurant is intimate, with indoor and outdoor seating sections. Best of all, the prices are reasonable.

630 St. Peter St., LA, 877-525-1486, www.gumboshop.com
Tags: moderate | cajun

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