From classic Creole dishes to Viet-Cajun fusion fare, the food is reason enough to book a ticket to New Orleans. With so many international influences, there really is no foodie city in the world quite like New Orleans – and trust us when we say you’ll find a new culinary surprise around every corner!
From beignets, po-boys, and muffuletta sandwiches to oysters Rockefeller, Sazerac cocktails, and bananas Foster, all manner of dishes and drinks were invented in The Big Easy. With so many iconic New Orleans foods to try, you can easily spend your entire trip trying out different restaurants.
If it’s classic Creole fare you’re after, you’ll love hunkering down over a bowl of gumbo or a plate of red beans and rice in one of New Orleans’ many legendary restaurants. Plus, seafood lovers will be spoiled for choice with all of the city’s world-class seafood restaurants. From chargrilled oysters and seafood gumbo to crawfish étouffée and barbecue shrimp, the options are endless.
But New Orleans serves up much more than traditional Creole cuisine and Gulf Coast seafood dishes. Delve a little deeper, and you’ll find Vietnamese-owned restaurants dishing out Viet-Cajun seafood boils and James Beard Award-winning chefs whipping up classic Southern dishes with a modern twist.
From 100-year-old taverns cooking up family recipes passed down for generations to trendy brunch spots serving gourmet shrimp and grits, New Orleans has something to suit all tastes.
With so many different dishes to try and restaurants to visit, you might not know where to begin. To help you get started, we’ve put together a list of some of the best restaurants in New Orleans – from traditional and historic to modern and new. Add these New Orleans restaurants to your foodie bucket list, and you’ll have an incredible time eating your way through The Big Easy!
Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase or booking through one of our links we may earn a small commission (don’t worry, it’s at no extra cost to you).
The 15 Best Places to Eat in New Orleans
1. Dooky Chase’s
Dooky Chase’s is one of the most famous New Orleans restaurants that you simply have to try. If you haven’t been here before, add it to your list because this place has been serving traditional Creole cuisine to guests like Barack Obama, James Baldwin, Hank Aaron, and Quincy Jones since 1941!
But you don’t have to be rich and famous to dine at this low-key, family-owned and operated establishment. The heart and soul behind the food at Dooky Chase’s is Chef Leah Chase (aka the Queen of Creole Cuisine), and everything about this place pays homage to her long-lasting legacy.
You can choose from a long list of Creole classics. Think BBQ shrimp, Creole gumbo, crawfish étouffée, red beans and rice, oyster po-boys, and some of the best fried chicken in New Orleans. And if you’re in the mood for a tipple, do as the locals do and order a Pimm’s Cup or Sazerac cocktail to wash it all down.
2. Cochon Restaurant
A mecca for meat eaters, Cochon Restaurant takes its preparation of traditional Cajun Southern dishes very seriously. From the house-made bread, sausage, and bacon to the locally-sourced meats, produce, and seafood, every ingredient is hand-picked and thoughtfully assembled to create the most quality dishes possible.
This is one of the best restaurants in New Orleans if you want to sample traditional New Orleans fare with a modern spin. With a focus on seasonal and fresh-from-the-farm ingredients, the menu at Cochon is always evolving, but expect to find New Orleans favorites, including fried boudin, fried alligator, chicken and andouille sausage gumbo, wood-fired gulf fish, and the best bacon and oyster sandwich you’ve had in your life!
For something a bit more casual, head over to the adjacent, deli-style Cochon Butcher, where you can order what many argue is the best (and most gourmet) muffuletta in New Orleans. The burgers, sandwiches, and charcuterie plates are all top-notch, too.
3. La Petite Grocery
Tucked away on Magazine Street, La Petite Grocery has emerged as one of the best places to eat in New Orleans. Here James Beard Award-winning Chef Justin Devillier puts his own creative (and very daring) spin on traditional New Orleans classics.
If you’re looking for the best brunch in New Orleans, La Petite Grocery has got you covered with their famous items like the Blue Crab Beignet with malt vinegar dressing and Seafood Benedict with cornbread, poached eggs, and sauce Choron.
Or, visit for dinner, and you’ll have to try the ultra-popular Turtle Bolognese, which features tagliatelle, sherry, and a soft-boiled egg. The LPG Cheeseburger with house-made pickles and gruyere and the Shellfish Stew with gulf shrimp, blue crab, and littleneck crabs are also local favorites!
If you’re looking for more offerings from Chef Justin Devillier, be sure to try his new Parisian-style brasserie, Justine, in the French Quarter.
4. Willie Mae’s Scotch House
You’ll find one of the most humble and famous New Orleans restaurants tucked away in New Orleans’ 6th Ward. It may not look like much from the outside, but trust us when we say Willie Mae’s Scotch House is the place to go for the best fried chicken in New Orleans – and it’s got the line to prove it!
Since opening its doors in 1957, this unassuming eatery has racked up all sorts of awards and acclaim. Willie Mae Seaton was given a James Beard Award in 2005, and the Food Network and the Travel Channel say Willie Mae’s Scotch House is home to “America’s Best Fried Chicken!”
Order as the locals do and get the Fried Chicken plate, which comes with three massive pieces of chicken and one side. From mac and cheese, fried okra, and cornbread muffins to candied yams, sweet peas, and mashed potatoes, you’ll have a tough time choosing just one side.
But the real standout is always the fried chicken which is perfectly crispy on the outside and perfectly juicy on the inside!
5. Killer PoBoys
Vegetarians and vegans shouldn’t get too down on New Orleans’ meat-centric food scene. You will find all sorts of restaurants serving up creative veg-friendly versions of New Orleans’ most iconic foods, and Killer PoBoys is a prime example. If you’re on the prowl for the best po-boys in the French Quarter, add this place to your list.
If you’ve never had a po-boy before, it’s basically a sandwich made up of crispy New Orleans French bread stuffed with anything from roast beef to fried oysters to all sorts of creative fillings.
For a unique spin on this Louisiana-style sandwich, head over to one of Killer PoBoys’ two locations at 219 Dauphine St. or 811 Conti St. (in the back of Erin Rose Bar). The menus are different, but here’s an idea of what you can expect. Meat eaters will love the Seared Gulf Shrimp, Glazed Pork Belly, and the Black Beer (Wagyu) Beef Debris po-boys.
Vegetarians will have plenty to choose from too. Try the Thai BBQ Tofu Po-Boy with lemongrass and Thai chili mirliton slaw or the Roasted Sweet Potato Po-Boy with black-eyed pea and pecan spread!
6. Parkway Bakery and Tavern
Speaking of po-boys, if you want to sample some more of the best po-boys in New Orleans, head over to Parkway Bakery and Tavern for a po-boy served the classic way. This is one of the most famous New Orleans restaurants, dating all the way back to 1911. Over 100 years later, and Parkway Bar and Tavern is still family-owned and operated and a local favorite!
You can choose from all sorts of traditional po-boys stuffed with everything from fried Gulf shrimp, fried Louisiana catfish, and Creole BBQ shrimp to smoked ham, roasted turkey, and alligator smoked sausage. But if you want to get your hands dirty, order Parkway’s signature slow-roasted beef po-boy smothered in gravy.
If you’re in town on a Wednesday or Thursday, Parkway serves their popular fried oyster po-boy made with wild-caught Gulf oysters that are locally harvested and flash-fried to order. No matter which you choose, though, be sure to order yours “fully dressed” with lettuce, tomatoes, mayo, and pickles.
7. Lilly’s Cafe
You might be surprised to learn that Vietnamese food plays a huge role in New Orleans’ food scene. Take a look around, and it won’t take long for you to notice restaurants hawking Vietnamese pho and banh mi sandwiches dotting the city’s streets.
If you want to sample some of the best pho in New Orleans, Lilly’s Cafe has got you covered. From beef balls and brisket to tofu and veggies, Lilly’s simmers up a wide range of fragrant pho in their Lower Garden District location. No matter which you choose, the pho here is served the traditional way – accompanied by fresh basil, Vietnamese herbs, bean sprouts, scallions, onions, and jalapeños.
For more authentic Vietnamese goodness, try one of the bun (vermicelli noodle) bowls topped with either grilled beef, pork, or shrimp and accompanied by a side of Vietnamese fish sauce. And, of course, the menu features some of the best banh mi (aka Vietnamese po-boys) in town. From chicken to tofu, there’s something for everyone in your crew!
8. Commander’s Palace
Dating back to 1893, Commander’s Palace is another one of the most famous New Orleans restaurants. You’ll find this culinary gem in a beautiful Victorian mansion right in the heart of the Garden District. Known for its haute Creole cuisine, Commander’s Palace has earned a whopping seven James Beard Foundation awards over the years – so be prepared for something special!
If you’re looking for the best brunch in New Orleans, you really can’t beat the Jazz Brunch at Commander’s Palace. You can dine on classic Creole dishes and seafood-centric brunch specials while grooving to live jazz music and mingling with friends.
First-timers should definitely order their famous Turtle Soup au Sherry, Gumbo du Jour, or Pecan-Crusted Gulf Fish. For something more indulgent, the Bayou Brunch features pecan-smoked Gulf fish and Louisiana shrimp croquettes with poached eggs. The Cochon De Lait Eggs Benedict with 16-hour barbecued pork shoulder, poached eggs, and buttermilk biscuits is also a crowd-pleaser.
9. Pêche Seafood Grill
For the best seafood in New Orleans, you can’t go wrong with a meal at Pêche Seafood Grill. Tucked away in the Warehouse District, this place is all about incorporating cooking methods from South America, Spain, and the Gulf Coast with ingredients sourced from local fishermen and farmers.
Dishes in this buzzing industrial-chic dining room are made for sharing. If you’re visiting with a group, you can start with the Smoked Tuna Dip and Crispy Okra with Cilantro before tucking into a beautifully plated whole fish grilled over a live fire or a 22oz ribeye.
Or, if you prefer to sample a variety of dishes, you can choose from a handful of small plates – from spicy ground shrimp over noodles to fried oysters with kimchi aioli and catfish with pickled greens. Or if you want your food all to yourself, you can choose from entrées like grilled chicken with pepper jelly and grilled tuna with tamarind.
When it comes to finding the best seafood in New Orleans, Mukbang Seafood and Bar stands out from the rest. Yes, their seafood is fresh and delicious, but it’s their Vietnamese-Cajun seafood boils that have locals and visitors alike coming back for more.
You can order yours slathered in Mukbang’s special sauce, garlic butter, or “Flaming Cajun” flavors. Once you decide, put on your bib and get ready to get down and dirty with a massive pile of blue crab, shrimp, and mussels, accompanied by the traditional corn on the cob and potatoes, of course. It’s the quintessential New Orleans experience with a spicy Vietnamese twist!
There’s plenty more to choose from on the menu, too. Dig into small plates of Crawfish Eggrolls and Garlic Noodles before moving on to rotating specials like Blackened Catfish and Cajun Fried Rice. Mukbang also serves up seriously good po-boys, including an excellent (seasonal) soft-shell crab version.
11. Piece of Meat
If you’re wondering where to find the best brunch in New Orleans, Piece of Meat is always a good idea!
Located in Mid-City, this place started out as an award-winning butcher shop in 2018. But after a full renovation and reinvention, the newly-expanded space opened as a rustic-chic steakhouse in 2022. But don’t expect to find stuffy tablecloths and buttoned-up waiters here. Piece of Meat does things its own way.
While you can grab dinner here on select days, Piece of Meat offers some seriously creative brunch dishes on Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 3 pm. Meat lovers won’t be disappointed with selections like the Brunch Chili Dog with Wagyu and black-eyed pea chili, a poached egg, sour cream, and cheddar cheese on a Mayhew bun.
But if you’re looking for something more traditional, the eggs benedict and biscuits and gravy will not disappoint. From the indulgent Blueberry-Stuffed French Toast with brioche bread and blueberry syrup to the Turn the Beet Around with roasted beets and whipped goat cheese, vegetarians won’t go hungry here, either!
Speaking of brunch spots in New Orleans, Gris-Gris is another local favorite. Since opening in 2018, this place has received more awards and acclaim than we can list here. Plus, it’s helmed by Executive Chef Eric Cook, so rest assured this is one of the best places to eat in New Orleans!
Whether you come here for a boozy weekend brunch or a casual weekday dinner, you’ll find plenty of classic New Orleans dishes to choose from. Cook’s signature Oyster BLT is easily one of the most popular items on the menu. Expect a delicious concoction of fried Gulf oysters, smoked pork belly, tomato jam, and arugula drizzled with sugarcane vinegar.
If it’s brunch you’re after, you can’t go wrong with the Deviled Egg Steak Salad sprinkled with blue cheese, bacon, and caviar ranch or the Go With the Flo, which features creamed spinach topped with a mound of fried oysters and a fried egg.
For classic Southern dishes, you can choose from local favorites, including shrimp and grits, chicken and dumplings, oyster and caviar po-boys, chicken and andouille gumbo – the list goes on and on!
13. Frankie & Johnny’s
Nestled near the Mississippi River in Uptown, Frankie & Johnny’s got its start in 1942 as a popular neighborhood restaurant for dock workers and fishermen. Fast-forward to today, and this local favorite still serves up some of the best seafood in New Orleans!
Expect to find all the Cajun and Creole classics here. If it’s seafood you’re craving, you can choose from popular items like boiled shrimp and chargrilled oysters, as well as a range of seafood platters featuring fried catfish, grilled shrimp, and oysters.
Aside from seafood, some of the most popular dishes are definitely gumbo and red beans and rice. Frankie & Johnny’s is also known for their classic po-boys. From alligator sausage and roast beef to oyster and signature French Fry with Debris po-boys, you’ll have a tough time choosing!
If you happen to be in town during crawfish season (from December to June), this is the perfect place to dig into a massive plate of steaming crawfish while sipping on an ice-cold beer. It’s a local institution!
14. Russell’s Marina Grill
When it comes to the best breakfast in New Orleans, it’s almost impossible to choose. If you’re having a tough time, why not give Russell’s Marina Grill a try? Located in Lakefront, this place has been serving hungry diners since 1985, and it’s easily one of the most popular breakfast spots in NOLA for locals and visitors alike!
The breakfast menu has a long list of classic American dishes but most come with a New Orleans twist that will have you coming back for more. For example, depending on what you order, fried green tomatoes take the place of red tomatoes, traditional breakfast meats are swapped out for Andouille or alligator sausage, and rest assured that fresh crab cakes and fried oysters will find a way to sneak into your Eggs benedict.
If you’ve got a sweet tooth, you’ll love the Waffle Bananas Foster and Sweet Potato Beignets. Or, for a savory approach, you can’t go wrong with the buttery Jumbo BBQ Shrimp & Grits with homemade biscuits and poached eggs.
Go all out during your New Orleans breakfast experience and order a Big Al’s Famous Bloody Mary or a Blood Orange Bellini to go along with your meal!
15. Marjie’s Grill
If you’re looking for unique places to eat in New Orleans, plan to have dinner at Marjie’s Grill. Located on South Broad Street, this creative eatery is all about fusing Southeast Asian-style bar food with locally sourced ingredients from the Gulf South.
Dining at this casual and intimate eatery feels more like having dinner in your friend’s backyard than eating at a typical restaurant. You can choose from the Fresh Pork Cracklin, Charred Shishito Peppers, or Crispy Pork Knuckles to start.
If you’re in the mood for something light, the Persimmon and Cucumber Som Tom Salad is both spicy and refreshing. Although, you can’t go wrong with the Cambodian Crab Salad with sliced Jonagold apples, either.
For something more substantial, the chefs at Marjie’s grill up some seriously good smoked Mississippi beef belly, charcoal grilled tuna, chili-butter shrimp, and much more, depending on the season.
There you have it! The 15 best restaurants in New Orleans. What’s your favorite restaurant in NOLA?
Planning a trip to New Orleans? Check out our favorite books and travel guides!