New Orleans is famous for many things and the food is definitely one of them. The New Orleans cuisine is largely influenced by Creole cuisine, Cajun cuisine, and soul food. There are so many famous New Orleans dishes that I wanted to try. Some of these include Crawfish Étouffée, Gumbo, Jambalaya, Oysters Rockefeller, Po’ boy, Red beans and rice and Shrimp Creole. So many dishes and only a couple of days to try what I could. Health and good food choice went out the window completely in New Orleans. I didn’t find anything organic, vegan, local or sustainable in this city. I’m sure it was out there, but I was more focused on finding the restaurants with the best examples of New Orleans cuisine. With a bit more time I probably would have liked to sample the best of both worlds. Well, I think I would have too because this food is so heavy and hearty but not something I could eat every day.
What’s your favourite New Orleans classic?
When we arrived our Uber driver recommended the best places he loves to eat New Orleans cuisine. He recommended Drago’s Seafood Restaurant and Mothers Restaurant (below). So our first stop was Dragos. The location we visited was situated in the Hilton Hotel. The menu is so extensive. They specialize in seafood, so they everything you could want to try in New Orleans.We loved it so much we went back again.
My favourite dish was the Charbroiled Oysters. I’d never had oysters prepared this way and the others were oyster virgins. We are all converts now. They are so delicious and the buttery sauce was so amazing and you just want to dip every last morsel of bread into it. The Po’boy was huge. I’d never had catfish and it was nice, as were the lobster lollipops. On my second visit tried Mama Ruth’s Seafood Gumbo was really good despite the appearance. You expect for it to taste really like seafood but it was very smokey and rich. The brownie was not mine and I just cringe at the sight of the mountain of whipped cream. Marco said it was good though.
Fried Shrimp Tacos
Mama Ruth’s Seafood Gumbo
Hot Brownie à la Mode
Beignets are a New Orleans classic as is the Chicory Coffee. There is nothing healthy about this fried dough with a heavy-handed dash of powdered sugar. Their coffee only comes black or with cows milk, so that was out for me. However, the beignets themselves were really, really good and if you’re going to try them this is the place to do it. This cafe is the original New Orleans coffee stand and besides the historic nostalgia, they have one of the best beignets in town.
Beignets & Chicory Coffee
This restaurant was situated right near Jackson’s Square and they are known for their breakfast, so it was a great place to start our day before our walking tour. The chef has designed a menu of comfort food with a unique twist. For brunch, they offer a variety of egg dishes with some extra interesting complements like Cornmeal-Crusted Oysters, Cornmeal-Crusted Soft-Shell Crab and Creole Breakfast Potatoes; as well as Pancakes and Bananas Foster French Toast.
I was eager to try the famous Bananas Foster and the Creole Breakfast Potatoes. We don’t normally eat sweets for breakfast so it was nice to share the savoury and the sweet. The banana’s fosters was the one of the most decadent and delicious breakfast I’ve ever had. So sweet but so good. The scrambled eggs dish was also done really well and were very satisfying.
Bananas Foster French Toast
Scrambled eggs, smoked bacon, creole breakfast potatoes
This no-frills restaurant was also recommended by our Uber driver and was a convenient walk from our hotel. This historic establishment has long served the locals of New Orleans with their comforting, classic dishes served up like you eating at mom’s house. Yes, it’s a little sloppy and but the taste is there and you will leave satisfied no matter what your budget is. They have quite an extensive breakfast menu, which includes omelets, biscuits, grits and pancakes. Their lunch/dinner menu features po’boys, homely side dishes and classics like gumbo and jambalaya. The meats are all prepared in-house with their own recipes. Seafood is fried in peanut oil and grilled food is cooked with olive oil.
I had no idea what Gumbo or Jambalaya really was, but I ordered it anyway. The taste was really great and not at all what I expected. It did have a lot of meat, which pleased Marco but for me was too much. On another occasion, I tried the Crayfish Étouffée, which was also quite nice. Marco who doesn’t like seafood didn’t mind this. The others were really happy with their po’boys. Now the desserts, they were really good. I can’t tell you which one I liked better out of the Pecan Pie and Sweet potato Pie. They were both really fresh and you tell they were made in-house. Marco wasn’t interested until he tried it and then, unfortunately, I had to share half of it.
Mae’s File Gumbo with chicken and andouille sausage
Jerry’s Jambalaya, with green beans and potato salad
Crayfish Étouffée, Jakes Green beans with Tomatoes and Cabbage
Famous Ferdi Special Po’Boy
Sweet Potato Pie
This restaurant is in the French Quarter and was a convenient stop on our way to our evening tour. We didn’t have much time to have a long dinner, but the staff made sure we had our meals in adequate time. This restaurant is not the original establishment that was housed in this building. It was reincarnated into an Oyster Bar after the hurricane. They are known for their fresh seafood, half shell oysters and Chicken and Andouille Gumbo.
One thing I hadn’t tried yet was the Shimp Creole. It was so delicious and spiced perfectly. I was expecting it to taste more of tomatoes but the spices give it a really unique flavour. My mother-in-law, who isn’t a big seafood eater, had the Eggplant and Chicken Parmesan Linguine. It was fried perfectly and the sauces and the two sauces tasted really nice together. Definitely a nicer version of a Parmesan then you would get from an Aussie pub.
Eggplant and Chicken Parmesan over linguini topped with Alfredo and marinara with melted mozzarella
This classic French Quarter restaurant is known for their contemporary Creole food and housemade approach. Everything they offer is prepared in-house by the culinary team nad they support local farmers and fisherman. The dining room itself is stunning. I heard they do a pretty good jazz brunch so this is our next stop for breakfast. They offer a breakfast bar which includes grits, scrambled eggs, fruit, parties, smoked alligator sausage, and more. They also have a small a la carte menu of breakfast classics with a twist. I ordered the Crabmeat cheesecake, which was fantastic and one of the most unique breakfasts I’ve ever had. The others really enjoyed the breakfast bar and the parfait. Although the breakfast bar was simple Marco was impressed with the quality and Octavia was able to eat from his plate as well.
Crabmeat Cheesecake with Pecan crust, mushroom sauté, Creole meunière,
Yogurt Parfait with creole cream cheese, pecan and dried fruit granola, fresh berries
Other highly recommend cafes and restaurants:
Johnnys Po-Boy (French quarter) – Cajun & Creole sub sandwich with a choice of 45 different fillings, from surf to turf.
Central Grocery (French quarter)- Traditional American Central Grocery is famous for its olive salad relish, which tops its “real” muffuletta sandwiches
Antoine’s Restaurant (French quarter) – French Cajun & Creole Antoine’s is the oldest family-run restaurant in the United States, serving up authentic NOLA dishes, dress code
Galatoire’s (French quarter) – 100year, French Creole seafood gumbo, dress code
Bread on Oak (Leonidas) -Bakery using organic and local ingredients, vegetarian with lots of vegan and gluten free options
Clover Grill (French Quarter)- historic, breakfast and burgers
District: Donuts. Sliders. Brew (Garden District) – make everything in-house, use local ingredients.
Surrey’s Cafe & Juice Bar (CBD) – vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free and organic options
Canal Street Bistro (Mid-City) – vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free and organic options
City Greens (Central Business District/Metairie/Elmwood) – organic & local ingredients; salads, wraps & soups
Cowbell NOLA (Leonidas) – organic and vegetarian options, burgers and American classics