Food & Drink
Home to renowned chefs, including Emeril Lagasse, Donald Link, Susan Spicer, Alon Shaya, and Tory McPhail, Greater New Orleans is home to some of the nation’s most celebrated chefs and restaurants featuring French, Cajun, Creole cuisine, and beyond.
Outside of fine dining, you’ll also find an ample mix of mid-priced and affordable eats, in both classic and experimental genres. Local favorites in neighborhoods around the region offer some of the most mouth-watering food in the country.
Greater New Orleans’s sizable Vietnamese community means your cravings for pho and banh mi will never go unsatisfied. Just west of the airport, LaPlace is known as the Andouille Capital of the World, which is celebrated every fall with the Andouille Sausage Festival.
Also, like much of the country, New Orleans’s food community has gone mobile, with a plentiful food truck scene throughout the region. One thing is for sure – you’ll never go hungry!
Redfish, oysters, and po-boys – oh my!
Food is one of the most prominent aspects of New Orleans culture. For centuries, the kitchens of families and restaurants alike have been filled with dishes as unique as the region itself.
Traditionally, the cuisine found in South Louisiana was deeply influenced by early settlers. Cajun and Creole cooking has melded with French and Spanish culinary traits, creating a wide array of local staples, including red beans and rice, blackened redfish, charbroiled oysters, po-boys, and more.
Food is a constant staple at gatherings, with pots of gumbo or jambalaya feeding hungry mouths during tailgates or along the parade route. In the springtime, backyards are filled with the smells of crab boil and seasonings as crawfish season turns the average resident into a gourmet chef.
No matter where in the region you are, unique and delicious foods can be found within arm’s reach.
With a rich tradition of fine dining, New Orleanians love to talk about which restaurants are the best – and tourists are always looking for the best places to eat. This reputation was built by a collection of restaurants that morphed New Orleans into a dining mecca.
One of the five oldest restaurants in the country, Antoine’s is known for classic dishes like Oysters Rockefeller and Eggs Sardou. The second-oldest restaurant in New Orleans, Tujague’s, is a French Quarter restaurant known for its shrimp remoulade and brisket po-boys. Both of these iconic eateries opened in the 1800s.
Galatoire’s is known for its over-the-top Friday lunches, where diners and servers become fast friends. Arnaud’s & the French 75 Bar first opened their doors in 1918, and today they serve regional fish and seafood with local flair.
Last but not least, Commander’s Palace is one the city’s most widely known and historically significant places to eat. Known for its $.25 martinis during Friday lunches, Sunday Jazz brunches, and luxurious dinners, it is a favorite spot for celebratory occasions.
As well known as New Orleans’s fine dining establishments are, restaurants of all types are found throughout the region. Many restaurants are located in residential neighborhoods, and bring high-caliber meals to the table without a high price point.
Some of these high-quality, low-cost options have been around for decades: Middendorf’s in Manchac for catfish, Central Grocery in the French Quarter for a muffaletta, R&Os in Bucktown for a roast beef po-boy, Rocky & Carlo’s in Chalmette for macaroni and cheese, Mandina’s on Canal Street for soft shell crab meuniere, Mosca’s in Avondale for Southern Italian dishes – and dozens more iconic establishments that have helped define our culinary palates.
While classics are easy to find, recent years have brought a plethora of delicious new cuisines. The area’s large Vietnamese population has ensured there will be no shortage of bahn mi sandwiches or pho, while Williams Boulevard in Kenner has become a mecca for Central and Southern American food offerings.
Cocktails and Spirits
Finding a drink for any occasion in New Orleans is an easy task made possible by an endless number of bars ready to serve a cocktail, glass of wine, or beer.
Visitors tend to frequent the plentiful number of establishments found in the French Quarter, where you can find anything from the sugary drinks of Bourbon Street to the classic concoctions created in New Orleans, such as the Sazerac or Old Fashioned.
Locals tend to stick to neighborhood haunts, and throughout the region, there are options aplenty. From large outside patios to dark caverns, from bars for beer lovers to serene settings for wine enthusiasts, or from classic cocktails to new-school mixologists, there’s a place to belly up and enjoy a drink that suits your style.
Historically, the area has traditions in not only consuming, but also producing alcoholic products. In the early 20th century, several distilleries and breweries could be found throughout the region, and today that commitment to craftsmanship has returned with a resurgence of brewing and distilling.