New Orleans is one of America's finest gastronomic cities. Most people know New Orleans for its cuisine, and with over 1,400 restaurants to choose from, it's easy to see why. Restaurants in the Big Easy mix traditional fares with twists so unique, you'll never want to eat anywhere else. Classic dishes such as jambalaya and po' boys, fried alligator and more are commonplace. And Creole, Cajun, French, and African flavors abound to enlighten your palettes. Understandably, it's hard to pick just 10 of the best restaurants in New Orleans. But in the NOLA spirit, we're sure gonna do it anyway.
New Orleanians flock to this low-key neighborhood seafood spot and its unique raw oyster bar. This slender restaurant and its faux-wood panel decor is a hit with tourists and locals alike. Using fish freshly caught from the Gulf, the Harbor Seafood & Oyster bar's signature dish of crawfish is a must-taste for bon temps. If you love seafood, po'boys, and maybe even fried alligator tail, why not swing by?
Chef Isaac Toups' rustic Mid-City charcuterie delivers incredible food on top of an incredible atmosphere. Toups Meatery is the premier place to eat your weight in meat. Carnivore-friendly Cajun dishes and regional Southern cuisine are Toups' specialty. Their cocktail pitchers are also divine. Enjoy your traditional New Orleans fare from the patio while listening to some of the best music in town. Try the candied pork belly, and you'll ask to move in.
Hidden away in the New Orleans East strip mall is Ba Mien. This small, family-run restaurant close to the Vietnamese neighborhood provides traditional Vietnamese dishes with a good ol' New Orleans flare. Its owner, Mai Nguyen, came to the US after the Vietnam war and, since 2001, has been satisfying locals' stomachs. For excellent food at bargain prices, Ba Mien is the crème de la crème. In particular, nor can its shrimp vermicelli and spring rolls.
Customers come from across the globe for this Creole café that prides itself on tasting like home. People who love off-the-beaten-track eateries will be in their element at Neyow's. Local flavors and authentic Creole cuisine, the roots of the cooking runs as deep as NOLA itself. The incredibly rare New Orleans home-style cooking they provide to customers makes you feel like you're dining at home. With its chef in full display of everyone in the dining room and a roaring spirit exclusive to NOLA, Neyow's is one of the best. Don't forget to try the garlic chargrilled oysters.
French artist Edgar Degas hit the banks of New Orleans in the fall of 1872. Indeed, New Orleans was once home to the impressionist painter whose house you can also visit, to this day. He's also the namesake for Café Degas; a charmingly intimate French bistro in the Creole district. In the center of NOLA's most artistic neighborhood, Café Degas comes to life around a tree that's growing through the dining room. Affordable prices and incredible decor also make this an ideal spot for a first date. Its vegetarian options are numerous, and its sauteed veg and fried eggplant could turn the most carnivorous of foodies.
You'll never go hungry when dining at Baraca. New Orleans' best Latin restaurant offers fresh and tasty Hispanic food, due to the city's increasing Honduran population. Beraca is the only place in NOLA to get authentic Honduran cuisine, and its plantains are also the best in the area. Unpretentious surrounding and amazing prices make Beraca one of New Orleans' best-kept secrets.
Arnaud's is a New Orleans institution. Defining New Orleans fine dining for a century, this upscale restaurant and lounge will certainly instill you with the NOLA spirit. Conveniently located just off of Bourbon Street, Arnaud's has the classic, French Quarter ambiance and the best in Creole cuisine. Arnaud's is also the largest restaurant in town, and if you're looking for a culinary spot that encompasses the NOLA spirit, this is it. Dixieland jazz, cocktails, and more; if you go to one restaurant in NOLA, let it be Arnaud's.
Innovative chef and Top Chef runner-up, Nina Compton's Compère Lapin, is unlike any restaurant around. This sophisticated eatery set in the Warehouse District takes Caribbean and European dishes, enhancing them with NOLA flavors. Compère Lapin is definitely a place for groups to eat due to the big tables, diverse menus, and seemingly endless wine options. If you're lucky, you also might even spot a celebrity. Compère Lapin is, with its spicy pigs' ears and curried goat, probably one of the best restaurants in America.
Set in a 19th century home, Ralph's also overlooks the towering moss-draped oak trees of City Park. With breathtaking balcony views and elegantly eclectic decor, Ralph's On The Park is romantic to its very core. Its cuisine uses locally-sourced seafood, meats, and vegetables, giving its diners a farm-to-table culinary experience they'll certainly never forget. Most importantly, Ralph's has the best cocktails in the whole of New Orleans. According to, well, just about everybody.
Anyone who dreams of visiting NOLA dreams of eating at Dooky Chase's. Dooky Chase's is a 1940s Treme classic. It's an institution. TV personality, Creole chef, and master of Soul Food Leah Chase runs the Orleans Ave joint to this day. She also sometimes still cooks there. Dooky Chase's is a local staple that shows no signs of disappearing any time soon, and we're extremely happy about that. Its menu offers Creole classics like baked mac and cheese and delicious pecan pie, as well as the best shrimp Creole in the whole of NOLA. New Orleans dining is nothing if it isn't Dooky Chase's and eating there will make you fall in love with NOLA even more.
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