The best part of a getaway for me, is the food! Tourist attractions, monuments, and famous locations are a constant when visiting a new city, but you can also see these places in pictures to get a good idea of what they might look like in real life. Local food however, cannot be tasted through your computer screen. One can describe the authentic flavours of a dish until they’re blue in the face, but we all know that nothing compares to actually tasting and savouring the flavours of unknown cuisines.
The food in New Orleans is like no other – a melting pot of Cajun, French, and Creole influences and flavours, and it is known to be one of the culinary capitals of America. Although I have no doubt that every single restaurant menu in New Orleans boasts amazingly delicious dishes, I can personally vouch for these 7 places to eat in New Orleans:
GW Fins (French Quarter)
If you’re looking for seafood, this upscale restaurant just off of Bourbon Street is the place to dine at. This relaxing refuge from the French Quarter’s crowds boasts a unique menu of mouth-watering meals and cocktails. Every dish and drink from the menu sounds divine – and I can attest to the fact that their Parmesan-crusted Sheepshead topped with crab meat, on a bed of roasted asparagus and capers was delicious. This was by far my favourite place to eat in New Orleans.
Cafe Beignet (French Quarter)
When in New Orleans, do as the locals do and eat beignets, the delectable deep-fried choux pastry topped with confectioner’s sugar. Although the famed Cafe du monde is the usual hotspot to nosh on beingets, my husband and I happened to stumble across this quaint cafe right on Bourbon Street returning to our hotel one rainy afternoon. Cafe Beignet provides a grand cafe setting and a traditional menu, and more importantly their beignets are divine – and it’s void of lengthy lines like it’s better known counterpart Cafe du monde.
The Gumbo Shop (French Quarter)
One cannot visit New Orleans and return home without tasting gumbo! Better yet, eat it every single day – which is very probable considering they have so many different varieties, like chicken and andouille sausage, seafood, and file gumbo. The seafood gumbo at this well-known restaurant was so delicious the first time around that I had to go back a second time to try the other varieties. The atmosphere is casual and relaxed, and not to mention the service was unbelievably quick.
The Camellia Grill (French Quarter)
This casual family restaurant is reminiscent of a busy and energetic 1960’s cafe. The menu is simple and you can watch the chef prepare your meals on the grill as you sit on a stool around a communal table. The atmosphere is friendly and lively, the serving portions are abundant, and they have classic breakfast and lunch options, including the po’ boy, of course!
The Ruby Slipper (Frenchman Street)
If you want to leave the hustle and bustle of the French Quarter but still crave the traditional Cajun or Creole breakfast in a quaint, casual, and local atmosphere this is a great option. Nestled on a quiet street in the Marigny District, the Ruby Slipper is eclectic and vibrant, and the menu boasts vegetarian options and traditional fare.
Commander’s Palace (Garden District)
The blue Victorian facade of Commander’s Palace has been the site of five-star dining since 1880. This elegant restaurant combines modern Louisiana cooking and refined Creole fare with live jazz music in a chandelier-hung space. The menu is very unique and boasts traditional fare with an elegant, avant-garde touch. Lunch is less formal than dinner however, you’ll still want to dress on the formal side if you visit this iconic New Orleans restaurant for the jazz brunch events on Sundays.
Arana Taqueria Y Cantina (Garden District)
Authentic Mexican cuisine inspired by the culinary traditions of the Yucatan, this lively but quaint restaurant is located in the heart of the beautiful Garden District. The food is simple but so delicious. Their menu contains unique starters and mains and simple, traditional fare, like fresh guacamole, and tacos of every variety. My favourite were these vegetarian tacos, one of which was made with roasted mushrooms and potatoes, wilted spinach, and topped with a tangy avocado sauce.
Have you been to NOLA? What was your favourite restaurant?