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14 restaurants vital to New Orleans

A photo of Red logo
by Beth D'Addono
Updated March 28, 2023

New Orleans is a city revered for its food scene, from the humblest mom-and-pop cafes to the hautest of white tablecloth restaurants. Its best restaurants are woven into the fabric of daily life in the Crescent City, beloved as traditional places to mark family milestones and come together to celebrate everything from Valentine’s Day to Mardi Gras. Because of the centuries-old cultural gumbo that is New Orleans, the city’s gastronomy is an inimitable mix of Creole, French, Spanish, Italian, and African influences that combine in a distinctive way. It’s hard to imagine New Orleans without its iconic po-boys or muffuletta sandwiches—or the hallowed halls where oysters Rockefeller were first created in 1889. Whether you live in New Orleans or get there as often as you can, a meal at these restaurants offers a taste of what it means to call it yours. Read on for a guide to the city’s 14 best spots to book now.

A photo of Arnaud's restaurant
4.7
4.7 (7233)
$50 and over
Creole
French Quarter
About the restaurant

Founded in 1918 by French wine salesman Arnaud Cazenave, this restaurant has long occupied a beloved spot in the city’s culinary lexicon. Taking up nearly a full city block just off of Bourbon Street on Bienville in the Quarter, Arnaud’s is striking without a hint of flashiness. The tiled main dining room is justifiably legendary, with its glowing chandeliers, flickering candles, and tall leaded-glass windows. The French 75 Bar, which earned a 2017 James Beard Award for Outstanding Bar Program, is the perfect place to meet before dinner.


Top review
Photomanvip
Dined 3 days ago
Beautiful historic memorable, dining experience. It felt very old-school New Orleans
A photo of Antoine's restaurant
4.3
4.3 (10936)
$31 to $50
Creole
French Quarter
About the restaurant

A New Orleans culinary stalwart since 1840, the shadow that Antoine’s casts in the Crescent City can’t be overestimated. As the oldest continuously operating restaurant in America, Antoine’s is still run by its founding family. Antoine Alciatore, the restaurant’s namesake, is considered the father of Creole cooking, and his restaurant was where oysters Rockefeller first sizzled. At the restaurant or at its Hermes bar, don’t miss the salty crunch of its trademark souffle potatoes.


Top review
BlakeA
Dined 2 days ago
The 3 of use had the 3 course summer lunch special! It was delicious and we will be back!
A photo of The Bower restaurant
4.7
4.7 (704)
$30 and under
Contemporary American
Lower Garden District
About the restaurant

Louisiana-born chef Marcus Woodham—a force who helped open other standouts such as chef John Besh’s Luke—is the powerhouse behind this sprightly newcomer in the Lower Garden District. With its menu of brilliant small plates, housemade charcuterie, and pastas, the Bower spotlights produce from Sugar Roots farm in Algiers. Must-orders include the cured Ora king salmon with wasabi cream potato salad and smoked trout roe along with local seafood and heritage meats—always fresh and in season.


Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined 2 days ago
Awesome food! Shout out to the Chef! Great menu that changes with the seasons
A photo of La Petite Grocery restaurant
4.8
4.8 (5757)
$31 to $50
French
Garden District
About the restaurant

The Uptown building that houses this restaurant has enjoyed a past life as a coffee and tea depot, butcher shop, florist’s studio, and a grocery store, which explains its name. La Petite Grocery is an emblem of fine French cuisine. In 2004, chef Justin Devillier (the 2016 James Beard Award winner for Best Chef: South) and his wife Mia Devillier transformed the space into one of the most romantic dining experiences in town. The blue crab beignets, a sweet and tender delight, are renowned citywide.


Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined 6 days ago
Food, service and ambiance are exceptional…had sommelier who helped us too. One of my fave spots in Nola
A photo of Vyoones Restaurant (Yvonnes) restaurant
4.5
4.5 (725)
$30 and under
Contemporary French
Warehouse District
About the restaurant

Vyoone’s (pronounced vee-ahn’s) is a hidden gem with its charming courtyard, representing a labor of love from owner Vyoone Segue Lewis, a fourth-generation New Orleanian with Afro Creole and French roots. The restaurant dishes up local seafood with a distinct French accent, resulting in intricate dishes such as crab cakes fried and topped with crawfish cream sauce and bouillabaisse over homemade linguine.


Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined on Jul 4, 2024
The food was fabulous & the service was excellent.
A photo of GW Fins restaurant
4.9
4.9 (19542)
$50 and over
Seafood
French Quarter
About the restaurant

GW Fins, a handsome French Quarter restaurant on Bienville, sets a high bar for sustainable and fresh seafood. Chef Michael Nelson works directly with local fisherman harvesting from the bays, inlets, and bayous that feed into the mighty Mississippi River. His daily changing menu might feature triple tail, cobia, black fin, barracuda, and tuna. And his techniques for utilizing the entire fish—fins, skin, ribs, and collars—deliver remarkable flavors without a bit of waste. Most recently he started dry aging whole fish yielding a remarkable concentration of umami.


Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined 2 days ago
The Lobster dumplings were Outstanding! The aged tuna was just OK.
A photo of Emeril's Restaurant restaurant
4.5
4.5 (9874)
$50 and over
Contemporary American
Lower Garden District
About the restaurant

To the rest of the world, Emeril Lagasse is a celebrity chef, cookbook author, and creator of a line of specialty seasonings. But to New Orleanians, he’s chef Emeril—the guy who wowed at Commander’s then followed up with his eponymous flagship in the Warehouse district in 1990, long before the neighborhood became fashionable. When he finally reopened in September 2021 after the long pandemic shutdown, his world-famous barbecue shrimp—a spicy peppery simmer of Gulf shrimp in Worcestershire, butter, wine, and hot sauce—never tasted better. Emeril’s son E.J. now commands the kitchen, serving the more casual bar area with an a la carte menu and a seasonal three- and seven-course feast in the dining room.


Top review
BenF
Dined on Jan 2, 2022
My wife and I both did the chef’s tasting. She had the vegetarian and I had the regular with the wine pairing. All of the dishes were excellent and we would definitely do it again. The wine selection and pairings were spot on and complimented each dish nicely.
A photo of MoPho restaurant
4.7
4.7 (441)
$30 and under
Southeast Asian
Mid-City / City Park
About the restaurant

Michael Gulotta’s marriage between Vietnamese and Louisiana cuisine is playful and brilliant—take his “traditional” Monday red beans and rice, for example. Gulotta turns the dish on its head by cooking red beans with XO sauce, then pairs the legumes with crispy sticky rice cakes and cured pork belly (it’s not always on the menu, but it’s always available on Mondays). As one of the most innovative chefs in town, Gulotta’s hangover pho, steam buns, and vermicelli and rice bowls have earned him legions of happy regulars.


Top review
JonCvip
Dined on Jun 19, 2024
Go on Wednesday and get the Smoked Pork Pho. It's just on Wednesday
A photo of Crescent City Steak House restaurant
4.8
4.8 (1554)
$31 to $50
Steakhouse
Mid-City / City Park
About the restaurant

New Orleanians love their beef. Although this is the city that birthed Ruth’s Chris Steak House in 1965, for many locals, the gold standard is the bacon-wrapped filet at Crescent City Steaks. Founded by Croatian immigrant John Vojkovich in 1934, the family-owned restaurant was the first in New Orleans to serve slabs of prime-aged beef sizzling with butter. But beyond the fair prices, comfortable setting, and stellar steakhouse fare, Crescent City oozes a particular brand of hospitality that is the calling card of a true New Orleans institution.


Top review
AnnT
Dined 7 days ago
The food was delicious, the drinks were great, and the service was perfect! Amy is a wonderful sever. The ambiance was very pleasant. We thoroughly enjoyed our experience and highly recommend Crescent City Steakhouse!
A photo of Brennan's restaurant
4.7
4.7 (11290)
$31 to $50
Creole
French Quarter
About the restaurant

This dapper fine-dining spot is a 2022 James Beard Award finalist for Outstanding Restaurant and fuels New Orleans’s culinary bragging rights. Led by Ralph Brennan, a local restaurateur whose portfolio includes the more casual Red Fish Grill and the historic Napoleon House, Brennan’s is a grande dame in the French Quarter that has been in business since 1946. Dishes range from seafood gumbo to eggs Hussarde, a meatier spin on eggs Benedict featuring coffee-cured Canadian bacon. Executive chef Ryan Hacker mines Creole cooking traditions in the storied Breakfast at Brennan’s, a feast for the ages featuring everything from turtle soup to bread pudding.Enjoy it all against an enchanting backdrop, a cluster of decadent dining rooms that border a charming fountain-clad courtyard. Dessert is practically mandatory: Brennan’s is the birthplace of bananas foster (fittingly, the Brennan family is known for bringing bananas to the South)—one of the restaurant’s most-ordered dishes.


Top review
OpenTable Dinervip
Dined 1 day ago
The breakfast food and service were excellent! The eggs Benedict is the best I’ve ever had. And the table side preparation of bananas foster alone, along with the deliciousness, is worth the visit!
A photo of Miss River restaurant
4.6
4.6 (1240)
$31 to $50
Creole / Cajun / Southern
Central Business District
About the restaurant

Miss River is James Beard Award-nominated chef Alon Shaya’s love letter to Louisiana in the Four Seasons Hotel New Orleans. His wife Emily Shaya’s award-winning red beans and rice is a side, fried chicken is presented whole to the table, then carved at a food stage in the center of the restaurant, and Gulf snapper is presented encrusted in salt. There’s a seafood grand plateau and caviar service, among other swanky touches. Ditch the budget—this is an experience worth splurging on.


Top review
MarkA
Dined 4 days ago
We were greeted immediately by the host who took or names and seated us. A waiter brought us water and the waitress appeared directly after the water was served. She was very helpful with our questions about what were popular dishes. The food came out after a short wait and was excellent in every way. A Manager came by about half way through the meal checking on us and our waitress was available to our every whim. Really impressed with the quality of the staff as well as the food!! Would recommend it to anyone who wants a great meal at an affordable price.
A photo of Mr. B's Bistro restaurant
4.7
4.7 (6055)
$31 to $50
Creole
French Quarter
About the restaurant

Expect to be greeted and treated like kin at this warm Brennan family restaurant in the heart of the French Quarter. The menu has a decidedly Louisiana accent, from the barbecued shrimp to locally sourced Creole-seasoned sheepshead with sauteed Louisiana crawfish tails and bacon wrapped shrimp and grits. Don’t skip the famous bread pudding with Irish whiskey sauce for dessert.


Top review
HeatherPvip
Dined 3 days ago
The gumbo and fish were excellent. Our server was friendly and Top Notch! Make sure you get the Pecan Pie!
A photo of Luke restaurant
4.6
4.6 (9057)
$30 and under
French
Central Business District
About the restaurant

This bustling brasserie pays homage to the grand old Franco-German restaurants that once reigned in New Orleans. The handsome space oozes New Orleans swagger and is defined by a beautiful carved-wood bar. Luke’s seasonal menu might include seared duck with dauphinoise potatoes, shrimp and grits, and an impressive seafood tower. Chef Erick Loos is at the helm and occasionally offers Alsatian dishes such as pork schnitzel with mushroom sauce that are especially memorable.


Top review
perfectegg
Dined 2 days ago
Our favorite happy hour- get the oysters and French 75
A photo of Shaya restaurant
4.9
4.9 (4969)
$31 to $50
Israeli
Uptown
About the restaurant

Although he recently opened Tavi in Covington, Lebanon-born chef Fariz Choumali still oversees Shaya with his signature attention to detail. Expect Israeli staples with Southern flavors and modern techniques, a balance between innovation and tradition. The menu includes hummus with fried chicken and falafel with green tahini on housemade pita. Lassoing influences from all across the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and North Africa, Shaya brings global flavors and textures to the table. The dining room’s wood-fire oven is central to both the menu and the dining experience.


Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined 7 days ago
One of the best restaurants in New Orleans. I have eaten here 10+ times and every time is perfect.
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