A Foodie's Guide to New Orleans

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Advisor - Courtney Murray
Curated By

Courtney Murray

  • New Orleans

  • Food & Wine

  • Luxury Travel

  • Louisiana

  • Outdoors

  • Local Food

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Curator’s statement

New Orleans has what some call the most unique and distinctive cuisine in the United States. The rich history of this port city with its connection to seafood, has been a strong influence on the cuisine and the people. The unique and district Cajun flavors have developed from a strong French influence but also Creole, Italian, Spanish and German traditions. While this fair leans rustic, the flavors are complex and the dishes require technique to master. The Big Easy’s food scene feeds the soul as well as the stomach.

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Where to stay in New Orleans

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Places to eat & drink in New Orleans

Cafe in Nola

Breakfast/Brunch

Café Du Monde - The beignets and chicory coffee and famous at this cash only pink building with green and white striped awnings. Stop in for breakfast or a mid-morning snack and taste one of the most famous treats in New Orleans. The fluffy sugar covered donut light pastries come in threes, a nod to the holy trinity. You can sit and enjoy them in the open-air café or take them to go as you explore Jackson Square. Keep in mind the café is open until midnight if you are looking for a snack later in the evening after visiting Burbon Street.

Café Beignet - If the line at Café Du Monde or the cash only aspect is not for you, take the five-minute walk to Café Beignet on Royal Street. This adorable café also serves the delicious puffs of pasty coated in sugar and has a slightly nice atmosphere. The historic building and attached garden are perfect for a photo op!

Commander’s Palace - On Saturday and Sunday, don’t miss the Jazz Brunch at Commander’s Palace, where fine dining meets homestyle Cajun cooking. Also open for dinner, Commander’s raises the bar for southern hospitality while serving reliably scrumptious creole dishes.

Court of Two Sisters - Beloved by locals, the Court of Two Sisters is legendary for its mysterious aura and history. Also offering Jazz brunch, but on weekdays! Try the shrimp etouffee for a true taste of New Orleans. Reservations are recommended.

Lunch

Parkway Bakery and Tavern - Invented by Bennie and Clovis Martin in 1922 to feed workers during a streetcar strike, the Po’ Boy is quintessential to the region. Asking a New Orleans native where to get the best Po’ Boy is akin to asking a Philadelphian where to get the best cheese steak- everyone will have a different answer, and everyone thinks theirs is the best. Parkway offers a few different types to try- seafood, roast beef, fried oysters, BBQ, shrimp, ham, turkey… the list goes on. Stop in for a history lesson and a sandwich that won’t make you feel poor.

The French Market - Walking distance from the French Quarter, the French Market is a long open air building featuring shopping, dining, music and local artisans. This is the place to grab a Muffuletta. Born in 1906 as a more convenient way for Sicilian farmers to consume their lunches, piling it all on bread, the sandwich consists of meat, cheese and olive salad.

Bacchanal - A bit off the beaten path but completely worth the trek, Bacchanal is an adorable wine and cheese shop near the river. Often live music can be heard from the backyard garden where patrons can enjoy their purchase. Try the bacon-wrapped dates with a crip bottle of wine on a warm afternoon.

Dinner

Peche - Located in the Warehouse district, this is my all-time favorite spot for dinner in New Orleans. Oysters are shucked fresh in front of you as you sit at the bar sipping a classic cocktail or a glass of crisp white wine. If you have a group - order the whole grilled fish for a fun show and a delicious meal.

Antoine’s Restaurant - Opened in 1840 by Frenchman Antoine Alciatore, Antione’s Restaurant is a staple in the New Orleans food scene and one of the longest running restaurants in the United States. Antione claims the invention of Oysters Rockefeller in 1899 by Antione’s son Jules. They boast a 25,000-bottle wine cellar and have been host to quite a few US presidents. The famous French-Creole menus and Hermes bar attract a lot of guests, so make a reservation.

Muriel’s - Muriel’s in the French Quarter is the place to go for gumbo, but also ghost stories! The atmosphere is casual but refined and a little bit spooky. Local legend says there’s a ghost in residence overseeing the kitchen; maybe that’s why all the food is so good!

Dooky Chase - Dooky Chase was headed by Chef Leah Chase, the Queen of Creole cuisine, until her death in 2019. The lunch buffet here offers guests the chance to get a true taste of New Orleans with offerings of red beans and rice, andouille sausage, gumbo, stuffed shrimp, po’ boys and pecan pie. Dinner is a more formal affair while still focusing on soul foods like friend chicken and gumbo.

Dakar NOLA - Headed by chef Serigne Mbaye who was nominated for a James Beard Award, Dakar offers Senegalese tasting menu dinners, showcasing West African dishes using Louisiana ingredients. Gulf shrimp almost always appear on the menu, and this is a great spot to see cultural fusion in action as it shapes the future of New Orleans cuisine.

Arnaud’s - Arnaud’s showcases a James Beard Award winning bar, French 75, where customers can relax with a cocktail before indulging in a delicious dinner. Showing off traditional Cajun-inspired foods like oysters Ohan baked with andouille sausage, in an ornate French Quarter setting. If you want a fire show with your dinner, order the café brulot.

Sweet Treats

Laura’s Candies - Invented in the 17th century in France but famous to New Orleans, Pralines are a sweet treat made from pecans covered in a mixture of milk, butter, melted sugar and sometimes chocolate or cream. Visit Laura’s Candies, New Orleans oldest sweets shop opened in 1913 to try some or grab some Mississippi Mud.

Bywater Bakery - Bywater Bakery is popular with both locals and visitors alike. Receiving national attention due to lines around the block during Mardi Gras season, this really is the place to try a cultural staple in New Orleans- the king cake. Also serving breakfast gumbo of eggs over grits and the prefect cure for a late night on Burbon street. You can’t miss the big red barn housing these unique treats.

Bars

Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop - This bar is said to be the oldest building used as a bar in the United States, dating to 1722. This is the place to try the famous Voodoo daiquiri or purple voodoo drink. Made of Everclear, bourbon, and grape flavoring, it’s both refreshing and intoxicating

Carousel Bar in Hotel Monteleone - Offering live entertainment Wednesday to Saturday, Carousel Bar is exactly as the name belies, a rotating carousel. New Orleans’ first and only rotating bar opened in 1949 and is a great spot to grab a New Orleans-famous Hurricane made from rum, citrus and passion fruit.

Sazerac House - At the corners of Canal and Magazine St is Sazerac House. It opened as a coffeehouse but is now home to some fascinating bits of local history. Sip cocktails, take a free tour, experience the three floors of exhibits and celebrate the rich history of this one-of-a-kind city. Plus, taste other spirits distilled in house or buy some to take home. Sazerac is the city’s official cocktail and has its own film, “The New Orleans Sazerac” which played at the Cannes Film Festival in 2016. The drink consists of rye whiskey, bitters, a touch of absinthe, and a twist of lemon peel.

Chandelier Bar - Located in the lobby of the Four Seasons, Chandelier Bar presents stellar versions of the city’s classic cocktails as well as champagne by the glass and caviar.

Need to Know

For more travel tips, check out my guide, 3 Days in New Orleans: 2023 Itinerary.

Advisor - Courtney Murray

Travel Advisor

Courtney Murray

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to New Orleans.