Oh I hate writing about this city because I miss it so much just thinking about it! The city of sins!!! Oh, and you thought it was Vegas?! Well, actually, let’s just change it to “anywhere you are that is not home, is the city of sins”. Places like Vegas and New Orleans are just a bit more “dangerous” because of their pro-party vibe. So party on!
It was my third time in New Orleans, and it gets better every time… even though I get older, but let’s not talk about that. Anyway, on this occasion I was doing a campaign with Discover America which started in Missouri in St. Louis (Follow Me Foodie to St. Louis) followed by Kansas City (Follow Me Foodie to Kansas City, Missouri). My last stop was in New Orleans and I extended a few days on my own to do further exploring.
I must say I’ve already made quite the dent in New Orleans from my previous two trips. At one point I had about 13 Po’ Boys in a day just to find my favourite, or “the best”, which is always relative. The first time I hit up maybe 13 restaurants over 4 days and felt butter oozing out my pores. This time was more civil, but not really compared to the average person, but average is for average appetites and that’s not me.
NOTE: It’s not necessarily “the best” (read my rant on “the best” here) because food is personal and I can only discover so much as a visitor. “The best” is relative to what I have tried, which is definitely not everything. These are just some I highly recommend.
Photos by Diana Seto
Follow Me Foodie to 10 Must Try Eats and Dishes in New Orleans, Louisiana!
The Muffuletta was invited in New Orleans so you have to try it here. Try the original at Central Grocery first, and then for the rest of your life you can keep eating it at Cochon Butcher – a sandwich shop which has perfected it.
The Muffuletta sandwich consists of Genoa salami, ham, Provolone cheese, Emmentaler, Mortadella, pepperoni and olive salad in between Sicilian sesame bread. This fine tuned version at Cochon Butcher may not be the original, but it is chef driven, made with high quality ingredients and house made meats, and tastes amazing! Don’t forget to order the “Le Pig Mac” burger and hot boudin sausage as well!
Address: 930 Tchoupitoulas St, New Orleans, LA 70130, United States
It’s a neighbourhood restaurant and a local favourite with an all day menu and popular weekend brunch. I actually had a local take me here and it was specifically for “the Legend”. It’s the Mother of Po’ Boys. The sandwich is enough for 2 and it will tie you down until dinner.
French bread is hollowed out and stuffed with cochon de lait (slow roasted suckling pig) and barbeque shrimp. The bread is pretty much a vessel to hold the hearty, drippy, saucy filling. It tastes as good as it looks. Probably one of my favourite surf n’ turf sandwiches from a casual restaurant I’ve had to date. Oh! And substitute the side of potato chips for onion rings which are also pretty good here.
Katie’s Restaurant and Bar
Address: 3701 Iberville St, New Orleans, LA 70119, United States
Anything in the French Quarter is deemed “tourist trap”, but there are some gems and this is one of them. Mr. B’s Bistro is an institution and it is liked by locals and tourists alike. It offers refined versions of classic Creole cuisine in a nice bistro atmosphere.
Barbecue shrimp s a New Orleans specialty and I haven’t had it better than at Mr. B’s yet (yes, I’ve tried the ones at Emril’s which are good too). Mr. B’s Barbecued Shrimp are sauteed with garlic, Worcestershire, Creole seasoning and lots of butter, as expected. I’m drooling just thinking about them.
It is kind of interesting that the city prides itself on barbeque shrimp though, because most are sautéed and swimming in sauce – it’s not a bad thing (well depends who you ask), just the style here.
Mr. B’s Bistro
Address: 201 Royal St, New Orleans, LA 70130, United States
I have these every time I go back to New Orleans. The majority of the time they are awesome, but I’ve had them once when they weren’t so great, regardless I’m still recommending them.
Chargrilled Oysters is another New Orleans specialty and several restaurants offer them, but Drago’s is “home of the original charboiled oysters”. My favourite ones are obviously these ones, but also the wood fired ones at Cochon with chili garlic butter – see here.
Drago’s Seafood Restaurant is a family style restaurant and this is the pride and joy. They’re made with a ton of garlic butter cream sauce and parmesan romano. The amount of butter they go through a day to supply the demand is frightening, but also impressive. Their Crescent City BBQ Shrimp is also pretty epic, so order both.
Drago’s has three locations: the original location on North Arnoult Road in Metairie, in the Hilton New Orleans, and in a Hilton in Jackson, Mississippi. Locals will argue which location does them better, which makes me question consistency.
Located in: Hilton New Orleans Riverside
Address: 2 Poydras St, New Orleans, LA 70130, United States
Yes, I’ve tried “America’s Best Fried Chicken” at Willie Mae’s Scotch House and I thought it was the most amazing thing ever. I’ve also had the fried chicken from Dooky Chase which was great, but no Willie Mae’s. Willie Mae’s was it, until I tried this. This is the undiscovered game changer. Having said that, try Willie Mae’s first, and then try this.
@&%+!!!!!!!! This is “fried chicken you’d punch your mama in the face for”… not my comment, but I can totally see why someone said it. I had 4 pieces and this was right after a deep fried Monte Cristo sandwich at lunch #1. Oink.
Not even many locals know about this spot which makes it extra special. It is off the beaten path (10 minutes by car from downtown) in a small retail building. It’s tucked in the corner and from the outside it’s super underwhelming. It doesn’t look like anything special, but it sure houses something special.
Sue’s fried chicken batter has a crunchy, yet light and flaky batter. It’s not greasy and well seasoned and the batter adheres to the chicken. The meat is moist and juicy and every piece was consistent. It is tradition to eat fried chicken with a side of red beans and rice (typically on Mondays), so get an order of that too.
I wish I did the back to back comparison to Willie Mae’s Scotch House, but I’m confident they have some competition. I’ll take fried chicken from either any day of the week, but this could be a new winner, or at least strong player.
Address: 203 Harrison Ave, New Orleans, LA 70124, United States
If you’re visiting during soft shell crab season, order the Soft Shell Crab “BLT” – Benton’s bacon, butter lettuce, cherry tomatoes, and toasted brioche. So good! However if you’re visiting any other time of the year then order the Jumbo Louisiana Shrimp “en Cocotte” with roasted jalapeño cheese grits, andouille and green onion sausages. It’s a staple on the menu.
Shrimp and Grits is another New Orleans specialty and it’s available at many restaurants, but I really enjoy it here. It’s hearty comfort food, much of what all of Louisiana cuisine is, but here it’s done elegantly without being pretentious or excessively indulgent. The Shrimp and Grits at La Petite Grocery is also amazing, but different in style and flavour.
Lüke is a John Besh restaurant and he’s made a positive impact on not only New Orleans’ food scene, but the whole city.
Okay, this will make me sound gross or like a hero, but this was my 12th Po’ Boy out of 13 in one day. Yup. 13 sandwiches in one day, mind you I didn’t finish the whole thing. I had about 1/3 of each sandwich, which is still about 4 subs… and then I had dinner and some desserts in between. I can’t have all savoury, I need to switch it up.
I had Po’ Boys from Domilise’s, Parkway, and Killer Boy’s, and to be honest I wasn’t blown away. They were good, but not mind-blowing until I hit Mahony’s. Now, I don’t want to say it was necessarily “mind-blowing”, but it was my favourite after trying 11 notable ones.
Their award-winning po’ boy, “The Peacemaker”, with cornmeal fried oysters, bacon, and cheddar cheese was fantastic, and so was their other award-wining one, Chicken Liver with Creole Slaw – crispy chicken livers and dijon slaw (my 13th po’ boy of the day). Order both, I did. Then run across the street to Sucre for some sweets.
Mahony’s Po-Boy Shop
Address: 3454 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115, United States
8. Meatery Board at Toups’ Meatery
This is kind of a “wild card”, or unexpected pick. Locals might know about it if they’re food enthusiasts, but there isn’t much international recognition for it. It’s away from the downtown core, so that’s one reason why.
Chef Isaac and Amanda Toups opened Toups’ Meatery in 2012. It’s a casual yet sophisticated Cajun restaurant with a heavy focus on meat. Chef is born and raised in Cajun country so his cooking speaks to it.
I had the recommended “Meatery Board” – chef’s selection of house-made fresh and cured meats and condiments, the signature lamb neck with black eye pea ragout, and fennel, and side of cracklins. I also had the famous Debbie Does Doberge cake which they offer by the slice for dessert.
The charcuterie was well executed and there wasn’t one meat I didn’t enjoy, but my stand outs were the candied pork belly wrapped dates, chicken liver parfait, head cheese, blood sausage and boudin balls. Oh! And cracklins! Who doesn’t like deep fried crispy seasoned pork belly?!
Address: 845 N Carrollton Ave, New Orleans, LA 70119, United States
Omg. I don’t know if I’m “omg-ing” because of the Butterscotch Pudding, or because of the restaurant as a whole. It’s one of my favourite restaurants in New Orleans.
La Petite Grocery is quaint, elegant, sophisticated, charming, classy and right up my alley. The food matches its atmosphere which is upscale, yet approachable.
Their signature Butterscotch Pudding was life changing. Seriously. Before this I didn’t really enjoy butterscotch or pudding, so I wouldn’t have ordered this, but my server described it as “an orgasm in your mouth”. I’ll take one.
It tastes like buttery melted down Werther’s Original candies in rich pudding form. It wasn’t too thick, gloppy, or overly sweet or greasy. It was silky smooth and simply gorgeous. The beautiful whipped vanilla bean cream topping just lightened it up as I folded it in. It gave an extra boost of flavour and I literally finished this with my eyes closed.
For a savoury recommendation, try the Baked Blue Crab and Local Shrimp & Grits. Both are killer, although I’d come for the Butterscotch Pudding alone.
La Petite Grocery
Address: 4238 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115, United States
Commander’s Palace is perhaps the most iconic fine dining restaurant in New Orleans. It’s a 100-year-old family restaurant and part of Ella Brennan’s restaurant empire (she lives next door to Commander’s Palace).
The menu features Creole cuisine and while the savoury is enjoyable, the bread pudding soufflé is divine. It is one of my favourite desserts in New Orleans and is worth the visit alone.
Bread pudding is a New Orleans specialty, and to interpret it as an airy light soufflé is brilliant. It’s made upon order so it takes a while and it comes out with good height. A soufflé is a soufflé, but to perfect one… good luck.
Address: 1403 Washington Ave, New Orleans, LA 70130, United States
Okay so I’m cheating a bit by adding an 11th, but I had to include the beignets. They’re invented here, so you must try them here. Beignets were declared the official state doughnut of Louisiana in 1986.
Of course the most popular and iconic are from Cafe du Monde, which I recommend trying first. This is where the original is, but there are many other places specializing in them too. Morning Call is also open 24/7 and is an alternative to the popular Cafe du Monde.
The ones at Morning Call (bottom photos) are crisp, pillowy, airy light and fluffy (choux pastry) and you sprinkle the icing sugar on yourself, whereas the beignets at Cafe du Monde (top photos) are denser, chewier, and doughier (more like yeast pastry) and come with a ton of icing sugar on top. Both are enjoyable and not necessarily comparable, but I like the traditional choux pastry.
Cafe du Monde
Address: 800 Decatur St, New Orleans, LA 70116, United States
Address: 56 Dreyfous Dr, New Orleans, LA 70124, United States
I’m not ending my search for “the best _____ in New Orleans” here, which is fine, because chances are I’ll be back! I can’t get enough of this city.
PS: I Didn’t see Nelly in St. Louis and thought maybe I’d catch Lil Wayne in New Orleans (his hometown)… didn’t get that either, but did get to meet the Young Money Artists including Lil Twist, Mack Maine, Shanell Woodgett, Gudda Gudda, Euro, Steph, Cory Gunz, Lil Chuckee, and Jae Mills.