Gumbo is not only Louisiana's official state dish — it's also one of the most diverse. Across the state and here in New Orleans, there are countless varieties of gumbo, though the basic ingredients and preparation are the same: finely chopped celery, onion and bell peppers (known collectively as the "trinity"), with a roux of flour and butter or oil, meats and vegetables, and served over rice.
New Orleanians will tell you no two gumbos are the same. One of the best ways to get to know gumbo is by dining at restaurants serving up the dish. Here are just a few New Orleans favorites.
Mother's is among downtown New Orleans' most popular lunch spots, with an old-school diner feel that is both homey and unpretentious. Try the seafood gumbo, made with crab, shrimp and oysters, and Mae's filé gumbo, which brings together chicken and smoked sausage, served in a roux thickened with filé powder (ground sassafras leaves).
You know a restaurant called simply Gumbo Shop has to be serious about its stew. That's the case at this award-winning French Quarter favorite, where you'll find traditional seafood okra gumbo, chicken-andouille gumbo and the German-influenced vegetarian gumbo z'herbes.
New Orleans has so many iconic historic restaurants and Tujague's is part of this list. Since 1856, this French Quarter institution has been serving unforgettable Creole cuisine. One reason for its staying power has to be the gumbo, made with local Gulf-caught shrimp and oysters, crabs and green onions.
At Restaurant R'evolution, chef John Folse brings his encyclopedic knowledge of Creole and Cajun cooking to the plate via dishes like Death by Gumbo. Called "the most Tweeted, most photographed, most popular dish," it's a boneless quail stuffed with oysters, rice and dark roux — and is simply to die for.
When the New Orleans Times-Picayune polled its readers for the city's best gumbo spots, Brigtsen's Restaurant ranked near the top of the list. Frank Brigtsen is one of New Orleans' most celebrated chefs, serving up traditional Creole and Cajun dishes at his intimate fine-dining Uptown restaurant. Get a cup or bowl of the chef's gumbo, made with filé, rabbit and andouille sausage.
Still hungry? Discover more of New Orleans' famous culinary scene.