Po Boy. Gumbo. Jambalaya. Creole. Dirty Rice. Etoufee. Café au Lait. Beignet.
New Orlean’s home-grown indigenous cuisine rolls off the tongue like a culinary rap, exciting and delicious. We indulged and then overindulged… after all, y’all only live once!
Daquiri. Sweet tea. Chickoree. Abita. Muffuletta. Boudin. Cajun. Sazarac. Hurricane.
Where do you start to define New Orleans cuisine? From the freshest gulf coast shrimp and oysters, to deep fried dough and battered catfish, heavily spiced sauces and thick sausages, to light and fresh locally-sourced produce… This city loves to eat, and there are plenty of places to eat Big Easy classics and sample innovative cuisine!
We enjoyed these places and consider them worth mentioning:
New Orleans is home of one of the best sandwich creations ever – the mighty Muffuletta. Enjoy it from the original, Central Grocery
Café Du Monde, certainly a tourist trap, is so endearing and unique to New Orleans, that you must go for beignets and cafe au lait! TIP: A long line forms at the “to go” window; if you wish to sit and enjoy the scene, grab an open table. (Crave some now? Buy beignet mix and chickory coffee to make at home!)
The Market Cafe (down from Central Grocery, part of the delightful French Market District) has a massive outdoor patio, often with live jazz band. The food is decent, not great, but reasonably priced; the fun atmosphere and people watching make it worth a visit for breakfast or lunch.
Lil Dizzy’s Cafe in Treme, is a local’s creole soul place, famous for fried chicken. Get there early before they run out!
St. Roch Market nearby in Marigny is a beautiful, airy space featuring loads of delicious foods – many to enjoy on site or to go. The bread pudding was dreamy!
Purloo, “New New Orleans Cuisine,” was a “splurge” restaurant we enjoyed inside the South Food & Beverage Museum and the The Museum of the America Cocktail. (Yes, museums dedicated to New Orlean’s unique cuisine are evidence of food’s importance to this city!) They have closed and promise to relocate – keep watch for them!
Gumbo/Creole: We enjoyed the Gumbo Shop restaurant in the Quarter. Reasonably priced, affable service staff, quick food delivery, and tasty local cuisine made it worth recommending. Nothing gourmet, but satisfying. We enjoyed sitting in the interior courtyard.
Toast , Garden District/University area, was a delightful if cramped breakfast spot, with delicious food and unique items like King Cake crepes.
Tea-totallers beware: this town likes booze. Street corners in the Quarter abound with shops hawking vats of boozy sweet concoctions. Yea, public consumption is allowed. (You can even grab a daiquiri bucket at drive-thru booze shops!) We got in the spirit by sippin’ a massive Pina Colada (weak as fruit juice) as we meandered the streets in the hot sun and shopped the markets.
A few memorable sippin’ spots…
A jazz combo drew us in to Crescent City Brewing. This friendly spot in a restored structure near the riverfront, New Orleans’ first craft brewpub, was perfect to grab a locally crafted beer. The menu looked good and reasonably priced too; we intend to return on our next visit.
Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar (New Orlean’s oldest bar), is a fairly mellow Bourbon Street spot with a wonderfully dark and dank “piratey” atmosphere.
The Rivershack Tavern is a casual local’s spot to enjoy a cold brew (outdoor patio or inside), far away from the tourist hot spots.
Take the ferry over to Algier’s Point and grab a frosty brew at Old Point Bar, a dive bar made famous as a set for numerous movie scenes; it’s fun to browse the walls of photos signed by Hollywood’s famous and semi-famous actors.
Prepare a bite of the Big Easy at home with the help of Treme (yep, inspired by the HBO series), John Besh (homegrown celebrity chef) or Gumbo Shop (a tasty French Quarter spot we enjoyed). Make it spicy with Zombie Cajun sauces, or order a fun gift basket to celebrate your trip!