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New Orleans Food and Restaurants you MUST try

Summoning all foodies! Listen up, if you don’t know… now you do. New Orleans food is ravishing. In fact, New Orleans food is so good, that Nola has developed a reputation for being a top foodie destination in the USA.

Accordingly, the city is home to over 130 Michellin star restaurants and countless James Beard Award winning restaurants. For reference, winning a James Beard Award is sorta the hospitality industry equivalent of winning an Oscar. Indeed, New Orleans food has rightfully earned its esteemed reverence.

However, the best part about scouring the Crescent City for the best eats is that it’s almost hard to miss. Whether it’s an iconic success like Emeril’s or a lesser known treasure found at a random intersection, one thing is certain: you will be eating really well in New Orleans.

Palace Café by Dickie Brennan & Co.

Creole Restaurant at the foot of the French Quarter

Exterior entrance of the Palace Café
Exterior entrance of the Palace Café

Eating at the Palace Café will make you cry… but don’t worry. They’ll be tears of joy. Honestly, the food at the Palace Café is such a delight. It’s tasty Creole food, rich, packed with flavor and you should definitely not come here on a diet. In fact, you shouldn’t come to New Orleans on a diet, period. But, back to Palace Café.

Andouille crusted fish
Andouille crusted fish – chefs kiss!
seasonal fish entree with a pecan sauce
A to die for seasonal fish entree with a pecan sauce
Crabmeat cheesecake in a Creole Meuniére sauce and pecan crust
Crabmeat cheesecake in a Creole Meuniére sauce and pecan crust

Aside from the food, the service is decent, albeit, it is presenting itself as a tiny bit more white glove than it is. Palace Café isn’t talked about as much as other restaurants, but make no mistake, it’s worthy of a visit. Dropped in for a late lunch (or early dinner, depending on how you look at it), with no reservations and was seated immediately.

Tip: This is a restaurant that you should consider ordering their daily or seasonal specials as they are inventive and interesting and you’ll likely be surprised and delighted. They also offer table side Bananas Foster, which hallmarks iconic New Orleans food.

Palace Café by Dickie Brennan & Co

605 Canal Street New Orleans, LA 70130

palacecafe.com

Mother’s Restaurant

Cafeteria style Restaurant serving Po’ boys and Southern fare in Eastern New Orleans

two white plates side by side with fried shrimp, black beans, grits, and red beans and rice in cups on them
A whole spread of southern goodness from Mother’s

Mother’s has been serving up down-home style southern grub since 1938. Further, this is a place you come to do some serious eating, so wear your stretchy pants friends. It’s an ultra casual, cafeteria style restaurant. I found the staff to be pleasant and helpful. They are known for their Po’boys, but all their other fixings are great too. Pictured above: Seafood Platter Extra Extra ($38) featuring shrimp, oysters, catfish, jambalaya and crawfish Etouffeé. Additionally, we chose plain grits and red beans & rice as sides.

Live out of state and have a hankering for Mother’s home style fare? They now ship nation wide.

Tip: First come, first serve – no reservations accepted. There will likely be a wait, maybe even a long wait, as Mother’s draws a crowd. They also offer a Gluten-free and vegetarian menu. Don’t skip the Bread Pudding with Brandy sauce for dessert!

Mother’s Restaurant

401 Poydras St, New Orleans, LA 70130

mothersrestaurant.net

Parkway Bakery & Tavern

Bakery, Tavern and Po’ Boy Restaurant in Mid City

Fries, fried pickles and a shrimp po'boy from Parkway Bakery and Tavern
Fries, fried pickles and a shrimp po’boy from Parkway Bakery and Tavern

In the 1930’s, a twenty inch Po’boy could be purchased for .15¢. Meanwhile, during that time a lettuce and tomato sandwich was free. Nowadays, a ten inch Po’boy will set you back around $15.49 USD on average at Parkway Bakery and Tavern. Unquestionably, Parkway Bakery and Tavern is an institution as far as the New Orleans food scene goes.

I asked every local I came in contact with: “where can I get the best Po’Boy in town?” It was unanimous. Parkway Bakery & Tavern.

It’s been around since 1911 and has quite some history behind it. Further, USA Today named Parkway Bakery’s sandwich “Best Po’ Boy in Louisiana.” Admittedly, it’s mighty good. The space is large, with expansive outdoor seating. Give the fried pickles a whirl!

Tip: this is located in mid city and is a bit of a trek from the French Quarter, where many travelers base themselves. You’ll definitely need to drive, take a ride share or bus there.

Parkway Bakery and Tavern

538 Hagan Avenue New Orleans, LA 70119

parkwaypoorboys.com

II Tony’s Restaurant

Italian Restaurant in Lakeview (Lake Pontchartrain)

If you get a hankering for Italian food while you’re in town, II Tony’s – a family run restaurant – will not disappoint. Additionally, this establishment will give you that “locals feel.” Since, it’s one of the only restaurants I’ve dined in that’s filled with locals… many of whom seemed to know each other.

seafood gumbo
Seafood Gumbo ($6.95)
Seafood au gratin
Seafood au gratin ($17.95)
Louisiana stuffed crab cakes
Louisiana stuffed crab cakes ($24.95)

I’d describe the cuisine at II Tony’s to be very seafood centric Italian food with a southern flair. Albeit, the restaurant is located in Lake Pontchartrain. Hence, definitely a haul from the typical well beaten tourist path. However, the service is warm and seafood au gratin ($17.95) alone makes it worth it.

II Tony’s Restaurant

8536 Pontchartrain Blvd New Orleans, LA 70124

two-tonys.com

Russell’s Marina Grill

Brunch Spot in Lakeview (Lake Pontchartrain)

Do you want to brunch like you’ve never brunched before? Get ready to southern brunch, cause, baby, your taste buds aren’t going to know what hit them. Okay, Russell’s Marina Grill’s service is slow and spotty. Also, there will likely be a considerable wait to be seated. During brunch I audibly gasped when I read “alligator sausage” on the menu.

Eggs Pontchartrain – eggs Benedict with fried green tomatoes, poached egg and smoked pecan bacon
Bananas Foster French toast

Evidently, if you dine on the patio, someone may spill something on the ground and it’ll sit there for all to see for quite some time. Further, there also might be large families with crying children. But, dare I say, once you lay your eyes upon your bananas foster French toast, all will be forgotten. They’re super busy for a reason… the food is pretty darn good.

Tip: there is counter, indoor and patio seating. The patio is dog friendly!

Russell’s Marina Grill

8555 Pontchartrain Blvd, New Orleans, LA 70124

russellsmarinagrill.net

Cochon Butcher

American Restaurant in the Warehouse district

It’s July. Finally, you’re sitting on the empty patio of Cochon Butcher in the Warehouse district of New Orleans. You’re sipping a Bedford’s creme beer and munching on a Muffuletta. Life is good.

I have a local to thank for this discovery. I asked, “where is your favorite Muffuletta in town?” Straightaway, with no hesitation, “Cochon Bakery.” Shortly, afterwards, this is where I found myself.

Cochon Butcher sign on the patio
Cochon Butcher sign on the patio
In all its glory – the Cochon Butcher Muffuletta

It’s an ultra casual place with indoor and outdoor seating. Also, it’s on a random side street, but the nice part is, it’s a short jaunt to the St Charles Trolley.

Want to know something awesome about Cochon Butcher? Evidently, they don’t just make all their meats in house. Rather, they make their own bread, pickles, sauces, mustard, jams and jellies in house too. What a treat!

Tip: Muffuletta’s are another New Orleans cultural food that comes with a history lesson. It’s a plate size sandwich, with scrumptious bread, cured meats, olive salad, and provolone. Some styles include Mozzarella as well.

Cochon Butcher

930 Tchoupitoulas St, New Orleans, LA 70130

cochonbutcher.com

Muriel’s Jackson Square

Creole Restaurant in the French Quarter

Where do we begin with Muriel’s? First of all, if you are a fan of the paranormal or perhaps get a kick out of exploring all things haunted New Orleans, get excited. Also, Muriel’s, as the story goes, is haunted and has a resident ghost. Honestly, Muriel’s is an entire experience in itself.

Muriel's bread pudding
Muriel’s bread pudding
A New Orleans Hurricane (a bright orange drink in a glass with a cherry on top) sitting on a wooden table in front of a floral background
My first time having a class New Orleans Hurricane

Muriel’s serves classic creole food. Basically, you can expect to find all the usual dishes – gumbo, shrimp and grits, blackened redfish, bread pudding. Despite having a very good time here, it would be remiss to not mention that Muriel’s is definitely geared towards tourists. Surely, that’s not a bad thing. Especially if it’s your first time in New Orleans, it’ll really give you a bit of everything that makes the Nola experience.

Appetizers – New Orleans seafood gumbo (left) and shrimp and goat cheese crepes in a buttery cream, Chardonnay sauce (right)
Shrimp and grits entrée

You can order anything you want off the menu a la carte, or you can select the three course meal which comes with an appetizer, entrée and dessert of your choosing ($49.95).

Tip: Muriel’s gets very busy and I definitely recommend making a reservation.

Muriel’s Jackson Square

801 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA 70116

muriels.com

Cafe Beignet

Cafe with Beignets, Brunch and Southern Delicacies throughout the French Quarter

Indeed, it’s almost a sacrilege to go to New Orleans and not have Beignets. Since I’ve had them at quite a few places, at the moment I think Cafe Beignet is my favorite ($4.75 for three). I can’t quite place it, but everything from the texture, to the sweetness to the amount of powdered sugar is just – chefs kiss. Albeit, there are a few good Beignets in town, so you don’t have to try just one (wink)!

Cafe Beignet storefront on Royal Street
Close up of the Beignet beauties

Surely, if you have a sweet tooth you might want to simply go on a Beignet crawl. Currently, Cafe Beignet has four locations, all in the French Quarter. Despite the location on Bourbon street being quite large, I also enjoy the cozy location on Royal Street. Both locations have an outdoor patio.

While, Cafe Beignet offers a full breakfast menu and some southern delicacies, make sure you try the Beignets and a chicory coffee.

Tip: the Bourbon street location also has an outdoor bar and there is live jazz daily, from 10:00am – close. The Royal street location gets very busy in the morning, so I’d try to arrive when they open if you’re interested in seating.

Cafe Beignet

334 Royal St, New Orleans, LA 70130

Cafebeignet.com

Have you been to any of these restaurants? What did you think? Overall, which one are you most excited to try? Lastly, if you have any questions about any of these restaurants please drop them in the comments, below!

Pin for your New Orleans trip planning!

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Travel Tips & Resources to Help You Plan an Epic Trip!

Going – I’ve subscribed to Going (formerly, beloved, Scott’s Cheap Flights) for awhile now and it’s an amazing resource for finding… did you guess cheap flights? Yes, you can set your preferences from airports to flight class and get destination deals right to your inbox. It’s fab! I use the Premium paid version, but they have a FREE version too. So what are you waiting for?! Let’s get Going!

Booking.com – the majority, if not almost all of my stays are booked on Booking.com. It’s a reliable site to book and manage your reservations. It’s a great way to find boutique stays and unique accommodations at the best rates! You can also easily communicate with your accommodation through the app.

Expedia – If I am looking for a flight to a specific destination for specific dates, I find myself booking many flights on Expedia. It’s user friendly and straight forward. I often find the most cost effective rates, while earning points for every flight I book (in tandem with the points I receive from the credit cards I pay with).

Viator – most of the activities, tours and excursions I book for my trips are booked through Viator. Whether you’re seeking a guide for the day, a group tour, a cooking class, Viator has you covered!

Get Your Guide – this is another great marketplace to find tours, excursions and activities to book for your upcoming trip.

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