Whether you’re dining as a couple, by yourself, or with family, New Orleans offers great cuisines for everyone. There are a variety of cuisines to be had in this vibrant town, although the most noticeable type is Creole, which is a mixture of French, Southern and African cooking, with other European influences thrown in. Creole is unique to the state of Louisiana in its flavors and ingredients. Some foods include gumbo, crawfish, jambalaya, bananas foster, beignets, and dozens more. Here are some restaurants that you must try when you’re inNew Orleans:
Surrey's Cafe and Juice Bar
1418 Magazine Street or 4807 Magazine Street (2 locations)
Open daily from 8am to 3pm
When you step into Surrey’s Café and Juice Bar, you’ll experience a quaint, small diner with paintings from local artists on the wall. It’s a must-visit if you’re looking for somewhere to eat breakfast or lunch. Surrey’s is noteable for its freshly squeezed organic juices and creative dishes. Signature dishes include its crab meat omelette and bananas foster French toast. Breakfast and lunch prices range from $6.00 to $12.50, although their meals are easily shareable. This café was featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives on the Food Network.
Cafe Du Monde
Café du Monde
800 Decatur Street
Open 24 hours a day, closed from 6pm December 24-6am December 26
Established in 1862, Café Du Monde is a classic in New Orleans. When you go there, you must try their café au lait and their beignets, which are basically “French-style” doughnuts. As is the custom inNew Orleans, the coffee is blended with chicory. You can also order their beignet mix and chicory coffee as a nice souvenir online or at their store to bring home. Since the café is open all day, you can also basically go there anytime really. When you leave the café, though, everyone will know where you’ve been by the icing sugar all over your shirt.
Mahony's Po-Boy Shop
3454 Magazine Street
Open Monday-Saturday from 11am to 10pm
A po-boy is a submarine sandwich unique toLouisiana that consists of meat that is usually fried and served in French bread that is almost baguette-like, although slightly softer inside. If you want the best po-boys, get yourself down to Mahony’s, where they serve a variety of po-boys, salads, daily specials, drinks and sides. Their signature is the “peacemaker”, which consists of fried oysters, bacon and cheddar cheese. Sandwiches run between $6 to $9 for a 6-incher and between $11 to $14 for a 12-incher. This place was also featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives on the Food Network. If you’re staying in the French Quarter and find this location too far, try Johnny’s Po-Boys. Be careful, though, there can still be a line-up by early afternoon at both restaurants, so it's best to go early for lunch rather than later.
Central Grocery Store
923 Decatur Street
Open Tuesday-Saturday from 9am to 5pm
Central Grocery Store sells arguably the best muffuletta sandwich in America. A muffuletta is a round sesame bread with layers of salami, pepperoni, ham provolone and capicola. There is also a olive spread. The muffuletta is sold in wholes and halves. A muffuletta is meant to be split between two people. One whole muffuletta is $14.50, while a half is $7.50. Don’t be intimidated by the lineup when you get there at lunchtime though, the line moves fairly quickly as everyone orders the same thing and the muffulettas are already prepared.
1403 Washington Avenue
Open Monday-Friday from 11:30am to 2pm for Lunch; Open Monday-Sunday from 6:30 to 10pm for Dinner; Open Saturday from 11:30 to 1pm for Saturday Jazz Brunch; Open Sunday from 10:30am to 1:30pm for Jazz Brunch
Once home to famous chefs Paul Prudhomme and Emeril Lagasse, Commander’s Palace is a well-known and famous restaurant in the U.S. Commander’s Palace serves Southern-inspired dishes and is well-known for its seafood. One of its signature dishes is its turtle soup. Brunch entrees range from $29 to $39; lunch entrees run from $15 to $21; dinner entrees range from $26 to $45. Note that this does not include appetizers or desserts. Commander’s Palace requires business casual attire. Jackets are preferred at dinner and shorts or t-shirts are not accepted.
The Green Goddess
307 Exchange Alley
Open Wednesday-Monday from 11am to 3:30pm for Lunch; Open Wednesday-Sunday from 6pm to 11pm for Dinner
The Green Goddess is a hidden gem located in the French Quarter district. Inside, you’ll find that it is a quaint, small restaurant with friendly staff. The restaurant is known for its eclectic styles of food and changes its menu often, although some of the menu items have included duck confit salad and absinthe ice cream for dessert. There is a long list of interesting alcoholic concoctions as well. Trying one of their drinks is a must. If you don’t drink alcohol, you can also try one of the exotic drinks at hand such as coconut juice, sugar cane juice or cashew fruit juice, just to name a few. Lunch entrees are from $10 to $15 and dinner entrees are between $10 and $17.
Open Monday-Thursday at 12pm; Open Friday-Sunday 10am
When you enter Pat O’Brien’s, you’ll be greeted with friendly staff members into a casual bar. Their signature drink is the Pat O’Brien’s Hurricane, which is a must-order when you get there. You can get 4 ounces for $8 at the bar. Also, you can purchase their Hurricane Mix as a take-home souvenir there or at other gift stores throughoutNew Orleans. Note: You must be 21 or over to enter the bar.
813 Bienville Street
Open daily at 5:30pm
The Sazerac is a must-order drink when you are in New Orleans, as it is the considered the official drink of the city. French 75 is located beside the main restaurant, Arnaud’s, which is owned and operated by the same owner as French 75. The Sazerac is $6.95, while other cocktails range from $6.95 to $10.75. You can also enter the Mardi Gras Museum upstairs from the restaurant during restaurant hours every day of the week to view dresses that were worn in previous Mardi Gras festivals from decades before. Note: You must be 21 or over to enter the bar.
A Final Note
There you have it. A range of meals, from casual to fine dining, can be found in New Orleans. There are many excellent restaurants to be found in the area. Of course, the ones listed here are not the only great ones. The most important thing is to explore all that New Orleans has to offer and to try out the interesting seafood and unique meals in the city. There are lots of hidden gems to be found within New Orleans.