Arguably the funkiest place in Louisiana, New Orleans is a world-renowned tourist destination hailed for its distinct architecture, music, history, Creole cuisine, and festivals.
Although New Orleans is best known for their Creole and French-inspired cuisine restaurants, there are numerous restaurants to explore, featuring unique dishes, locations, atmospheres, and experiences for you to enjoy!
Whether you’re familiar with the city or just spending a weekend in New Orleans, the following is a list of some of the city’s fourteen best restaurants. There’s bound to be enough information, price, and food variety to satisfy all palates!
Best Restaurants in New Orleans
1. Brigtsen’s Restaurant
$$ | https://brigtsens.com/ | (504) 861-7610
Located in an original Victorian-era cottage at Riverbend, Brigtsen’s Restaurant has some of the best Creole cuisines in a city famous for its Creole restaurants and culture.
The quiet, upscale restaurant has been a favorite with residents and locals since 1986.
It continues to produce traditional Louisiana menu items like barbecue shrimp with calas, catfish des allemands, rabbit gumbo, and crab-crusted Gulf fish – all of which are carefully curated by head chef Frank Brigtsen.
Brigtsen’s Restaurant is also known for its amazing desserts like pecan pie, white chocolate bread pudding, and lemon blueberry crème brulee!
2. Barrow’s Catfish
$$ | https://www.barrowscatfish.com/ | (504) 265-8995
Starting in 1943 under the name Barrow’s Shady Inn, the restaurant later renamed itself Barrow’s Catfish in honor of its signature catfish dishes and its commitment to traditional, homely Cajun cuisine.
Located along Earhart Boulevard, this local favorite is still run by two generations of the Barrow family. It retains the charm and family-business values and commitment since its inception in the 1940s.
While their signature cornmeal-dusted fried catfish dishes are a must-try for all patrons, Barrow’s Catfish has extended their menu to include seafood platters, gumbos, crawfish bisque, and a host of desserts.
3. Commander’s Palace
$$$ | https://www.commanderspalace.com/ | (504) 899-8221
Considered the crown jewel of the Brennan food empire, Commander’s Palace is an established fine dining restaurant in the Garden District, making it a favorite of residents and visitors since 1893.
Housed in an iconic Victorian mansion, Commander’s Palace is a famous restaurant that takes the grandeur of fine dining and infuses it with a carefully curated and genuine creole menu designed by chefs Paul Prudhomme, Emeril Lagasse, Jaime Shannon, Tory McPhail, and Meg Bickford over the years, (with Tory McPhail being awarded the James Beard Award for Best Chef in 2013)
Commander’s Palace’s menu highlights include traditional turtle soup, Commander’s Creole gumbo, miso mustard gulf fish, shrimp remoulade, Southern-style desserts, and a selection of artisanal cheeses (served with seasonal fruit, homemade preserves, candied nuts, and sticky Cabernet syrup with sourdough beignets.)
Finally, Commander’s Palace offers the services of a dedicated party planner to help you organize private events tailored for your particular needs, budget, and theme!
$$ | https://www.sylvainnola.com/ | (504) 265-8123
Situated in the French Quarter near Jackson Square, Sylvain is a self-described “unruly bistro for locals in the French Quarter with cocktails that riff on the classics. Here, we laugh loudly, shoot whiskey, and linger among friends old and new.”
Named after the first opera held in New Orleans, which happened to be a raucous and comedic one, Sylvain is a bar-restaurant hybrid built in a house carriage dating back to the 1700s, making Sylvain a unique blend between new and old-world experiences.
The best expression of Sylvain’s infusion between new and old-world thinking is illustrated with menu highlights like champagne and fries, the Sylvain Burger with wagyu beef, and the chocolate pot de crème.
Also, make sure to visit Sylvain for Happy Hour between 4 pm and 6 pm Monday to Friday, and 2 pm to 4 pm on Saturdays and Sundays, for numerous drink specials!
$$$ | https://cochonrestaurant.com/ | (504) 588-2123
Started by famed restaurateurs and chefs Donald Link and Stephen Stryjewski, Cochon is the evolutionary step from basic Cajun cuisine to a modern take on boudin, andouille, and head cheese.
Set in the contemporary interior of the renovated New Orleans warehouse, Link and Stryjewski have sought to reconnect with their Cajun roots in terms of space and food.
Consequently, all Cochon’s dishes are prepared with locally sourced pork, fresh produce, and seafood, all of which are prepared per traditional Cajun methods and the fusion of modern cooking techniques/flavors.
Although Cochon has a set menu, it is often subject to change, depending on the season and the availability of fresh ingredients.
Therefore, you should speak to your waiter to see what they recommend and to determine the availability of menu highlights like fried alligator, ribeye steak, fried catfish with grits, and their numerous whisky flights.
$$ | https://www.luvirestaurant.com/ | (504) 605-3340
While the majority of the best restaurants in New Orleans include Cajun and Creole cooking styles, especially for seafood dishes, New Orleans has a large variety of restaurants to explore.
Fortunately, the founding of Luvi in 2018 by Chef Hao Gong added further variety to New Orleans’s world-class restaurant scene! Following his time at Sake Café, Chef Hao Gong opened Luvi to pay homage to pan-Asian cuisine via a unique fusion of Japanese and Chinese cooking.
Therefore, this tiny Uptown restaurant produces various unique menu items to enjoy like an extensive raw bar with sake pairings, crawfish wontons, spicy dan dan noodles, and black sesame coconut, dragon fruit, black magnolia tea ice cream!
Finally, Luvi is also home to extensive and varied cocktail, sake, whiskey, and soju selections!
$$ | http://www.zasunola.com/ | (504) 267-3233
Located in the Mid-City, Zasu is a quaint, little restaurant that proves that dynamite comes in small packages!
Started by Beard Award-winning Chef Sue Zemanick, Zasu translates to “once again” and symbolizes Zemanik’s desire to capture the heritage and childhood memories of Zemanick’s love for Slovakian cuisine.
Along with a Beard Award, Zemanick is also the recipient of various accolades throughout her culinary career:
- Executive Chef at Gautreau’s Restaurant (2005)
- Top Ten Best New Chef by Food & Wine Magazine (2008)
- Judge of Top Chef New Orleans
- Honorary Muse Mardi Gras parade (2015)
While the Zasu menu is relatively small, Zemanick is joined by Chef Jeff Mclennan and special events coordinator Robine Borne.
All of them provide a quality dining experience for patrons with menu highlights like grilled baby octopus, fried gulf shrimp, ora king salmon, and chocolate malt semifreddo.
8. La Petite Grocery
$$$$ | https://www.lapetitegrocery.com/ | (504) 891-3377
La Petite Grocery’s name is an homage to its location in a century-old building that has served the New Orleans community for generations as a coffee and tea depot, grocery store, butcher shop, florist’s studio, and now a restaurant.
Opened in 2004 and owned by restaurateurs Chef Justin and Mia Devillier, La Petite Grocery is known for putting a modern twist on New Orleans cuisines like turtle bolognese and blue crab beignets.
The success of La Petite Grocery makes it a must-visit destination and worthy of its spot on the Eater’s list of 38 Best Restaurants in America.
As a James Beard Award holder for Best Chef: South, Chef De Villiers has carefully crafted menu highlights for patterns to enjoy like crispy pork belly, shellfish stew, paneed rabbit, gulf shrimp, and grits, buttermilk ice pie, and various craft beer choices.
9. Saffron Nola
$$$ | https://www.saffronnola.com/ | (504) 323-2626
Beginning life as a small family-owned restaurant that served meals on weekends along the West Bank for five years, the popularity and success of their dishes led the Vilkhu family to open a full-time restaurant on Magazine Street.
Unsurprisingly, the opening of Saffron Nola was met with much anticipation and culminated in the ‘best new restaurant’ nomination from the James Beard Foundation!
Since its grand opening, Saffron Nola has grown from strength to strength and prides itself on being a modern fusion of Indian and Southern cuisine.
Consequently, Saffron Nola has some unique menu items to enjoy like Khyber lamb chops, Bombay shrimp, curried seafood gumbo, and mango sorbet with candied ginger.
10. Café Degas
$$ | https://www.cafedegas.com/ | (504) 945-5635
Because of the influence of French culture and cuisine, it’s no surprise to find an authentic French café on our list.
Situated down Esplanade Avenue, Café Degas mirrors its leafy surroundings with an open patio with a tree growing in the middle of it.
Therefore, Café Degas doubles up as a relaxed spot for some Sunday coffee and a favorite dinner spot for locals and visitors alike. Consequently, it’s no wonder that Café Degas has been the recipient of numerous accolades:
- New Orleans Magazine’s French Restaurant of the Year Award (2010)
- Trip Advisors Hall of Fame (2011 – 2016)
- Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence (2015 – 2018)
- Culture Trip Best French Restaurant in New Orleans (2017)
- American Express Members Favorite Award (2016 – 2017)
- Open Table Diner’s Choice Award (2015 – 2017)
- Trip Expert Choice Award (2019)
- Trip Expert Best of New Orleans Award (2019)
- Eater the 38 Essential New Orleans Restaurants (2017 and 2019)
- Where y’at Best of the Big Easy’s Best French Restaurant (2019)
- OpenTable Diners New Orleans Diners Choice (2022)
Some menu highlights at Café Degas include crawfish ravioli, cassoulet, omellete Lorraine, and duck crepe.
$ | https://fritai.com/ | (504) 264-7899
Starting as the Fritai stall at St Roch Market, co-founders Charly Pierre and Minerva Chereches soon found their Haitian-Southern infusion was a big success, resulting in the establishment of a permanent restaurant down Basin Street.
The success of Fritai and its unique fusion of dishes can be stemmed back to Chef Charly Pierre’s multiple accolades and Haitian upbringing:
- Winner of the Food Network’s cooking show “Chopped”
- Zagat 30 under 30 (2017)
- Eater’s National Young-guns Top 15.
Sticking to its roots as a hub for Haitian street food with a modern twist, menu favorites include grilled shrimp pikliz, crab mac n’ cheese, creole chicken, passion fruit crème brulee, and an extensive cocktail menu.
12. Dooky Chase’s Restaurant
$$ | https://www.dookychaserestaurants.com/ | (504) 821-0535
Founded by the “Queen of Creole” cuisine, food world icon, and civil rights leader Leah Chase, Dooky Chase’s Restaurant remains a leader in Creole cuisine in New Orleans and is a must-visit for fans of traditional Southern cooking, history buffs, and African-American visual artists.
Throughout the years, Dooky Chase’s Restaurant has hosted numerous politicians, musicians, visual artists, and authors, including but not limited to:
- Ermest Gaines
- Boris Kodjoe
- Nicole Ari Parker
- Keith David
- Solange Knowles
- Quincy Jones
- Jesse Jackson
- Duke Ellington
- Thurgood Marshall
- James Baldwin
- Ray Charles
- President Barack Obama
- President George Bush
Despite being a hotspot for celebrities and world leaders, the popularity and legacy of Dooky Chase’s Restaurant are premised on authentic Creole cuisine like creole gumbo, stuffed crab poboy, shrimp Clemenceau, and peach cobbler.
13. Parkway Bakery And Tavern
$ | https://parkwaypoorboys.com/ | (504) 453-3806
Although restaurants that are rich with history and play host to celebrity guests are a highlight of visiting New Orleans, sometimes visiting a local, family-owned bar and restraint is the best way to meet the local community and experience a city’s authentic culture.
Fortunately, Parkway Bakery and Tavern is a unique dining experience that infuses a bakery and outdoor tavern that prides itself on welcoming visitors with friendly staff and excellent service.
Menu highlights include fried gulf oysters, Louisiana catfish, alligator smoked sausage, poor boy ice cream sandwich, and a host of craft beers.
$$$ | https://www.maypoprestaurant.com/ | (504) 518-6345
Finally, we have our most unique entry on this list. Maypop is an infusion of Asian, Italian, and New Orleans cuisines, carefully crafted by Chef Michael Gullotta.
While this infusion may seem overwhelming at face value, Chef Michael Gullotta is a New Orleans local that pays homage to traditional southern cooking and carefully combing complementary flavors from various cooking styles.
The end result includes menu favorites like Cambodian marinated skirt steak, satsumi chili glazed duck breast, wok-fried egg noodle with jumbo gulf shrimp, and gochujang mocha brownie.
More NOLA Restaurants Worth Checking Out:
- Galatoire’s on Bourbon Street
- Brennan’s Restaurant on Royal Street
- Domilise’s Po-Boy & Bay on Annunciation Street
- Antoine’s Restaurant on St. Louis Street (Oysters Rockefeller and Eggs Sardou were allegedly ‘invented’ here)
In conclusion, New Orleans has various restaurants of different cuisines and specialties with iconic dishes for locals and visitors to enjoy!