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Best of New Orleans #1

Best of New Orleans #1

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Every day during the month of August, we’re highlighting one restaurant from our recent ranking of the 31 Best Restaurants in New Orleans. Today’s restaurant, Commander's Palace, is #1 on our list.

A slice of New Orleans dining history — it opened in 1880 — this culinary landmark has long been collecting accolades for everything from its service, to its wine list, and its "haute Creole" cuisine. Two of its alumni, it might be noted, are Paul Prudhomme and Emeril Lagasse,but with chef Tory McPhail at the ovens for over a decade, Commander’s Palace is still going strong. Come hungry and ready for such dishes as the foie gras and candied pecan beignet with foie gras infused café au lait or satsuma and Grand Marnier lacquered quail with bacon-braised Vidalia onions.


Here's our complete ranking:
#31. Maurepas Fine Foods
#30. Boucherie
#29. Mother’s
#28. Luke
#27. The Joint
#26. Dickie Brennan's Steakhouse
#25. Mahony’s
#24. MiLa
#23. La Petite Grocery
#22. Gautreau’s
#21. Coquette
#20. Parkway Bakery
#19. Clancy’s
#18. Dooky Chase
#17. Drago’s
#16. Emeril’s
#15. Redfish Grill
#14. Jacques-Imo’s
#13. Bayona
#12. Camellia Grill
#11. Domilese’s
#10. Willie Mae’s Scotch House
#9. SoBou
#8. Root
#7. Herbsaint
#6. Domenica
#5. Cochon
#4. Peche
#3. August
#2. Galatoire’s
#1. Commander’s Palace

49 Best Places to Eat in New Orleans Food Bucket List

My, oh my, crawfish pie. New Orleans is a city that beats to its own mighty drum. This list of best places to eat in New Orleans celebrates that get down music. Did I just hear a ‘who dat?

N’awlins is a land of lagniappe, and you will find it first and foremost in the food. Poboys, rum, oysters, beignets, crawfish, the Sazerac, chicory coffee, pralines, creole cream cheese, chochon de lait…

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Last Updated: June 16, 2020

Special Restaurant Offers

Choose any of the special New Orleans restaurant offers below.

Streetcar Restaurant
$10 Weekday Lunch Buffet | Mon - American Classics | Tue - Asian Persuasion | Wed - Italian | Thur - Caribbean/Latin | Fri - Southern Comforts | Served from 11 AM - 2 PM Mon - Fri

Cafe Beignet
Print either a coupon for a "Free Cafe Au Lait with any purchase or Buy One Daiquiri get One 1/2 off" at Cafe Beignet's famous LIVE Jazz shows.

French Market Restaurant
Buy 1 dozen char-grilled oysters, get another dozen free until March 1rst 2019. If you like free food then just follow the link below and get your coupon before it's too late.

Gumbo Shop
Print coupon for a free dessert with purchase of two entrees or get our award winning gumbo delivered direct to door. Use coupon code G2U32X317MUJ to receive $10.00 off entire online order or G974W49QIS to receive 6 free creole crab cakes.

New Orleans School of Cooking
Use coupon code cajuncooking for $3 off fun and festive lunch cooking classes.

Olde New Orleans Cookery
Print coupon for 10% off with the purchase of an entree.

Porter & Luke's
Wine Down Wednesdays: Get half off all wines by the glass or bottle every Wednesday.

Ralph's on the Park
Join us for Happy Hour Tuesday-Thursday 5-7 pm at the bar for all Dips & Snacks $5, $5 Featured Wines by the Glass, & $3 Craft Beers

Steamboat Natchez
Print coupon for discount on Jazz Lunch Cruise or Dinner Cruise.

Suis Generis
Print coupon for a free dessert with purchase of an entree.

Party of 6 or more?

Still need a New Orleans restaurant for your group? Send us the specifics and restaurants will get back to you directly!

Latest News

Show Mom She's the Bomb This Mother's Day

Know what your mom loves almost as much as she loves you? Brunch, lunch or dinner out in NOLA Press her and she&rsquoll admit the main reason&hellip

Interactive Map

View our interactive map to find local restaurants around the greater New Orleans area. » Learn More

Other Things to Do in New Orleans

Now that you know how to spend a rainy day, you can start planning the rest of your trip.

Read my New Orleans Travel Guide first . it has everything you need to know to plan your trip. Then, check out some of my favorite things to do in NOLA:

  • Tour a city of the dead. New Orleans is known for its beautiful cemeteries. Take a self-guided walking tour of my favorite, Lafayette No. 1 in the Garden District.
  • Admire the unique architecture. Speaking of the Garden District, you can't visit NOLA without viewing its jawdropping homes. A walking tour of the Garden District is the best way take them all in.
  • Escape the tourists. It's never not touristy in New Orleans. Need a break from all the people? Take the ferry across the river to quiet, charming Algiers Point.
  • Deal with the crazy weather. New Orleans is notorious for its bad weather . here's how you can beat the heat in summer.
  • Grab a bite to eat. If you're traveling with a vegetarian, this can be a tricky city. Check out my favorite New Orleans vegetarian-friendly restaurants that will please your whole group (veg or not!)
  • Save a buck. NOLA can get expensive, but not every activity has to be super pricey. Here are my favorite free things to do in New Orleans.

Have you ever been stuck in the rain on vacation?

About Ginnie

Ginnie is the writer, photographer, and chief content creator behind Hello Little Home. She loves trying new things (whether that’s creating delicious vegetarian recipes, exploring a new city, trying a fun DIY project, or sharing a pretty makeup look), and she hopes to inspire you to do the same! Read more about Ginnie here.


Dixie survives to this day but is no longer produced in town although its owners are anxious to resurrect the old building on Tulane Avenue and begin brewing beer on site again. The building suffered extensive damage and looting during and after Hurricane Katrina. Dixie currently offers 5 beers for sale including their signature brew, Dixie (American Lager), and my favorite, Blackened Voodoo (Munich Dunkel Lager). Although now brewed in Wisconsin, these delights hold true to the original recipes.


Walk up to Saint-Germain in its unassuming little bungalow on St. Claude Avenue in Bywater, and you might think you were in the wrong spot. The Sugar Park sign that graces the front of the people harks back to the neighborhood spot that used to live on this busy little stretch of road, which includes neighbors Reds Chinese and Domino bar. But inside, you'll find a sweet bar on one side and a cozy dining room on the other, the brainchild of Drew DeLaughter and chefs Blake Aguillard and Trey Smith, whose resumes include the likes of Michelin three-star restaurant Saison in San Francisco and Bayona, Restaurant August and Mopho in New Orleans. There are two experiences here, one is nibbling and drinking wine and cocktails at the bar, with possible options $10-$15 a fried chicken sandwich, garden salad and fried calamari. Make a reservation in the dining room for something really special, a prix fixe chef's menu that changes a few times a month and includes a vegetarian option the third weekend of every month. The menu mixes global flavors, technique and texture in dishes like hearty morel mushrooms stuffed with boudin noir and scallop sashimi in a delicate grape juice. Dessert often features Japanese kakigori-style shaved ice which might appear in a rootbeer float along with homemade vanilla ice cream. Prices hover in the $100 pp range, with wine pairings an additional $50 or so. Not cheap but expectations are met and exceeded, which feels and tastes great.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Innovative European fare meets Asian and Creole flavors at this chef-driven restaurant in Bywater.

Beth's expert tip: Wednesday only the bar is open, not the dining room, making it a quiet retreat for drinks and nibbles.

Cuisine Of New Orleans

Like many dishes in the south recipes for gumbo are only limited by your imagination. But these gumbo recipes give you some place to start.

    2 tablespoons of vegetable or canola oil

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add okra, cooking until roping ceases, about 30 minutes set aside. Meanwhile in a large Dutch oven or heavy bottomed stockpot, heat the 3/4 cup of oil. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the flour. Cook over medium to medium high heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is a milk chocolate color.

Add the onion, bell pepper and celery to the roux, cook and stir about 5 minutes, then add the garlic and cook another minute. Add the heated stock a little at a time, stirring until fully incorporated. Add the tomatoes, thyme, bay leaves, Worcestershire sauce, salt, hot sauce and okra, stir add the frozen gumbo crab bodies and their whole claws. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and low simmer for 1 to 1-1/2 hours, occasionally skimming off any foam and excess oil that accumulates on the top. Do not allow to boil. Remove the gumbo crabs and add in the cleaned, boiled crab bodies and the prepared crab claws, if using.

Toss the shrimp with Old Bay and Cajun seasoning and add to the gumbo pot, cook for about 4 minutes. Add the lump crab, very gently stir in so as not to break up the crab too much cook just until heated through. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Serve in bowls over hot, cooked rice and garnish each serving with green onion if desired. Pass hot sauce at the table.

Cook's Notes: In all recipes for gumbo remember this. Gumbo is a dish that only improves with advance preparation, so make it ahead of time if possible. The flavors really need time to settle and mellow. It's always better the next day. Prepare, let cool and skim any accumulated oil off the top before storing. Can also substitute 1 pound of fresh white fish fillets for 1 pound of the shrimp, cut into chunks, season along with the shrimp and add at the same time. Some good choices are snapper, grouper, or catfish. You can certainly use more than 1/2 pound of lump crab - whatever your budget will allow, and while fine as an add-in for other gumbos and recipes, avoid using canned crab for a crab gumbo - stick with fresh or frozen gumbo crabs and fresh crabmeat for this recipe.

Tip: To easily pick out any shell, spread crab on a baking sheet in a single layer and place in a 200 degree oven for 3 minutes. The shell will be visible and easy to pick out.

Serving Suggestion: Add a green garden salad on the side and fresh, hot French bread. Also most excellent when served as a side with a po'boy of any kind. Remember there are many other recipes for gumbo so let your imagination sore.

New Orleans, Louisiana: Weekend Dining Guide

New Orleans is one of The South’s Best Food Towns, selected by the editors of Garden & Gun. See all of the cities here. Do you agree with our picks? Disagree? Have your say on Facebook orTwitter. #SouthernFoodTowns

There’s a Galápagos quality to New Orleans dining, the sense that what’s on the plate has evolved with a fierce independence from the rest of the world. The same could be said of its venerable restaurants—Galatoire’s, Commander’s Palace, Antoine’s—some of the oldest in America yet still singular experiences. These days, however, global influences have asserted new energy to praiseworthy effect: The eatery of the moment, Shaya, features Israeli fare MoPho and Maypop each fold a little Louisiana into their interpretations of the Far East (well beyond Chalmette) and taquerias and taco trucks add their own spice. The intrusions are welcome—not because they offer a detour from well-worn routes, but because they have historically served as precursors. All the great native fare—gumbo, étouffée, red beans and rice—involved a slow collision of cultures. Today’s outsider cuisine may just be tomorrow’s classic. It’s as it was, and always will be.

Sinking your teeth into a beignet is a worthy way to start your morning, and it’s better still with a side of modest exploit. Rent a bike and head up Esplanade, or hop the Canal streetcar (City Park/Museum line) and ride until the end. Make your way to Morning Call, just past the neoclassical New Orleans Museum of Art, for the pillowy pastries. Café du Monde in the French Quarter has the crowds. Let them queue. Morning Call feels more like Brigadoon, except set amid live oaks and Spanish moss near a lazy lagoon.

photo: Peter Frank Edwards

The beignets at Morning Call, in City Park.

Stretch your legs in the five-acre NOMA sculpture garden, then make your way to Willie Mae’s Scotch House in the Tremé neighborhood. Sometimes there’s a long line to get in, and sometimes…well, there’s always a line. Budget the time to wait. (Once, after I’d stood in line an hour, someone drove up and offered those toward the front a hundred dollars to give up a space. No one would.) But oh what chicken awaits—fried, spiced, certainly among the best you’ll ever taste. As for sides, just say, “butter beans.” (“Mac and cheese” is an acceptable alternative if you flub your line.)

photo: Peter Frank Edwards

Compère Lapin chef Nina Compton.

Classic New Orleans joints are often dark and intimate, as if light from windows would cause the fare to spoil. That’s not the case at your dinner destination: Compère Lapin, a bright, lively Central Business District spot inspired by the sunny Caribbean. Chef-owner Nina Compton, a St. Lucia native, first came to the city to compete on Bravo’s Top Chef, then decided to stay. Compton brings the West Indian flavors often hidden in New Orleans cuisine front and center with stunning dishes such as the seafood pepper pot, and the curried goat with sweet potato gnocchi.

photo: Peter Frank Edwards

Compère Lapin’s seafood pepper pot.

Grab a lovely nightcap at Arnaud’s French 75, just a half block off Bourbon Street, yet a world apart. The bar staff wears white tuxedo jackets the sound track is French chanteuse. Order a cognac-based Roffignac, named after an 1820s mayor—a drink more or less lost before it was revived by head barman (and James Beard Award winner) Chris Hannah. But don’t head home yet. Catch a streetcar to the more loose-tied Revel Cafe & Bar, in Mid-City. Master cocktail historian Chris McMillian is widely famed
for his juleps—often served with a splash of local lore.

Daybreak begins with a challenge: avoiding the pastry case at Willa Jean. It’s right there as you walk into the heralded Central Business District bakery and restaurant, part of the John Besh universe. The case exerts a powerful gravitational force, drawing customers with croissants and biscuits overseen by the talented chef Kelly Fields. But resist (for now), grab a seat, and get the savory crawfish grits with shrimp, topped with poached eggs.

A calorie-burning walk will be in order. Take a constitutional in Crescent Park—this new, modern green space follows the Mississippi River for nearly a mile and a half. Afterward: time for a po’boy, one of New Orleans’ great contributions to humanity. The new-wave Killer Poboys fills crispy-crusty French bread with the likes of pork belly glazed with rum and lime slaw, or beef debris simmered in beer and slathered with horseradish sauce. You have two French Quarter options: Big Killer on Dauphine Street offers a wider selection and more of a diner feel. Little Killer’s take-out window can be found in the back of the Erin Rose bar on Conti Street. Both are great, but you can only order a frozen Irish coffee at the latter.

photo: Peter Frank Edwards

The Gulf shrimp po’boy at Killer Poboys.

Gulf fish are culinary royalty in New Orleans, and Donald Link’s James Beard Award–winning Pêche provides a throne come nightfall, much as his meat-centric Cochon does with pork. The chef Ryan Prewitt stakes out a middle ground with the sustainably harvested catch: not too simple, not too fancy. Classics such as smoked tuna dip and whole grilled redfish garner the respect they deserve (order both if available).While you’re at it, throw in the hulking fish sticks (yes, fish sticks), made with catfish and a local-beer batter.

On to after-dinner drinks. Beachbum Berry’s Latitude 29 makes for a pleasing holiday from your holiday with its tiki cocktails—the Nui Nui puts the right amount of wind in your sails. And not too far from Pêche awaits Bakery Bar, where mixologist Jeff Schwartz compounds drinks such as the rye-laced La Louisiane. Finish out the night with a slice of cake there from Debbie Does Doberge. Is the almond wedding variety available? If the answer is yes, you know what to do.

You may be in the mood to finish off your stay with a more low-key meal—rejuvenate in the lower French Quarter at Croissant d’Or, where the Gallic offerings will satisfy whether you’re in search of savory (quiche Lorraine) or sweet (fresh fruit tartlet). Head to a table in the courtyard—with its lambent light and vestigial fountain, it’s like the whole of New Orleans writ small.

photo: Peter Frank Edwards

The collard greens sandwich at Turkey and the Wolf.

Following a final stroll around the Quarter, tank up before departing. Turkey and the Wolf explores the outer limits of roadside eats. Potato-chips-and-fried-bologna sandwich? Yes, please. The shop also serves one of the best vegetarian items in the city: a spectacular collard greens sandwich, with Swiss cheese and pepper dressing. After wiping the last bit of spicy mayo from your lips, you may think: Well, we don’t normally eat like this. Which provides a fine question to ponder on your way home: Why not?

“You Say Tomato, I Say Tomato.” You Say Tamale, I Say Hot Tamale!

I lived in Mexico for two years. Tijuana, Mexico, to be exact. That was back in 1989 and 1990. I not only ate a lot of tamales while living in Mexico, I also helped to make them on several occasions.

The Mexican tamale was so different than what I knew as a tamale while growing up in Baton Rouge. The Mexican tamales were thicker, with a full cornmeal casing, and they were wrapped in corn husks and steamed. There were also a variety of fillings: chicken, pork, beef, and even different kinds of dessert tamales that were sweet.

Delta hot tamales look very similar to the Mexican. The difference is in the seasoning and the method of cooking.

The New Orleans-style hot tamales are usually wrapped in paper, not corn husks. And they are thinner… seasoned ground beef rolled in dry cornmeal, wrapped in paper and cooked down in big pot filled with a spicy tomato-based sauce. The cornmeal, by the way, always seems like it’s just a gesture… a nod to it’s Mexican roots, although the cornmeal does help to hold the beef together.

The recipe below is my adaptation of a recipe that was first published in the Times-Picayune sometime in the 1970s. It is supposedly very close to the original Manuel’s Hot Tamale recipe.

15. Lake Charles

Source: travelview / shutterstock Lake Charles

Just over three hours away from the Big Easy, Lake Charles has it all.

From delicious food and lively nightlife to gambling and great expanses of beautiful nature you cannot go wrong with this day trip.

As the city hosts a huge number of festivals each year, you are very likely to experience a whole new part of local Louisiana culture.

Bordering Lake Charles are pristine wetlands for you to explore and you can also take to the lake and enjoy a boat trip on its waters.

The city is also home to the largest Mardi Gras Museum in the world which is sure to interest and astound any visitor with the bright costumes and floats on display.

Watch the video: New Orleans French Quarter Seafood Gumbo #1 (January 2023).