It’s a new year, with a new chance to try some of New Orleans’ best dishes. We’ve got baked potatoes smothered in crawfish tails and seafood sauce, crispy-crunchy fried chicken and savory crabmeat au gratin topping our list of must-try dishes in 2021. Make your New Year’s resolution to try the 21 dishes below.
Of all the delicious fish dishes one could have at Broussard’s, the Pompano Pontchartrain stands out. The mild white fish is cooked to perfection with roasted tomatoes, braised fennel, leeks and a lemon-caper beurre blanc. It’s then placed on a bed of popcorn rice and topped with Gulf shrimp. Coming off of its centennial, let’s hope Broussard’s and the Pompano Pontchartrain are around for another hundred years.
PeeWee's menu is full of decadent seafood dishes. And while you can't go wrong with their namesake crab cakes (or really anything on the menu), the dish that's caught our eye is their Seafood Potato. It's the ultimate comfort food, with a baked potato stuffed with fried catfish, a crab cake, shrimp AND crawfish, then topped off with a creamy spicy seafood sauce. It's almost too indulgent not to try.
New Orleans classic cuisine is classic for a reason, and étouffée–be it shrimp, crawfish or chicken–is no exception. But we're also a sucker for a twist, which is exactly what you'll find on the menu at The Chloe, a brand new, super dreamy boutique hotel on St. Charles Avenue. Here the shrimp étouffée is carefully cradled in dumpling form, with extra spice from crushed chili and ginger. We recommend pairing it with a nice glass of white out on their patio, as streetcars go rumbling by.
Opening a restaurant in the midst of a pandemic is no small feat. But the team at Plume jumped right in and built up a loyal following in the meantime. Situated in the middle of Algiers right across the Mississippi River, you'll find a rotating number of seasonal twists and updates to traditional Indian fare in a postage stamp-sized setting with some additional (and adorable) sidewalk seating. One of our favorite dishes for sharing has been the tried-and-true Keralan fried chicken, which was created by sous chef William Thompson and features impossibly crunchy spiced thighs served with raw garlic and chili chutney.
We're not usually one to fall for Instagram traps when it comes to our food, but the outrageous cheese pulls on the Mozzy Dog, which we first noticed on the feed of local food blogger @TheNOLA15, definitely piqued our interest. This Korean-style corn dog is a perfect blend of melty cheese, salty/crunchy batter and, oddly enough, a sweet exterior. Sounds crazy, but it works so well. While it's only available as a special, it's definitely worth seeking out.
Mawi Tortillas started 2020 as a father-son wholesale tortilla supplier, but come March, found themselves in the position that so many wholesale providers and restaurants were in. So they pivoted. And what a delicious pivot it was. While everything on the Mawi menu is a superstar, it's the Birria Tacos that seem to have really stolen the hearts (and become the Instagram darlings) of NOLA foodies. While not available every day, these griddled tacos feature tender, garlicky beef, loads of melted cheese and a side of outrageously flavorful beef broth for dipping. Check ahead on their social to see what days you can find them.
Omakase may feel like a cop-out in a piece supposed to be about 21 specific dishes to try in 2021, but hear us out. Dining at Yo Nashi is an entire experience, featuring an eight-to-ten course tasting menu that changes almost daily depending on what the chef has access to. And in a city like New Orleans, where we're brimming with fresh seafood, you can expect the offerings to be top notch. It's definitely destination dining for any sushi lover.
A staple on most Thai restaurant’s menus, green curry is a rich mix of coconut milk, green chilies, ginger or galangal, onion, garlic, and green bell pepper. It’s an especially great dish for vegans as this curry is creamy without any dairy at all! SuhkoThai has a decadent version of this classic dish, with tofu, beef, chicken and seafood options and a range of spice to suit any palate. Their two locations have different base levels, so the spiciest option in the Marigny will hit harder than if you head up to Magazine Street.
The newest Chinese American restaurant on the scene, Blue Giant leans heavily into spice. Ordering family-style is always our preference for this type of spot, but make sure that someone at your table gets the dan dan noodles. The perfect level of chewy, these noodles will satisfy all your noodle cravings. Seriously, though, we’re not kidding about the spice so if you’re worried about getting too much of a kick, order it with half the hots.
Arabella Casa di Pasta focuses on one thing and they do it so well (it’s pasta if you didn’t catch that from their name). Their menu is short and sweet, with a build your own bowl and signature dishes with names that make any pop culture aficionado swoon. We love the John Belu-Cheese, who can say no to whiskey, bleu cheese and fried chicken cracklin with house-made rigatoni? No one. The answer is no one.
Tucked into the Auction House Market is Empanola, which combines two amazing things - empanadas and traditional New Orleans flavors. Their savory options are what to make a meal out of, but their own sweet empanada is what we’re here for. The biggest downside of trying to find traditional Bananas Foster is making sure you’re in a place that can handle the wall of flame. Not so here! You can get the rich flavors of banana, cinnamon, rum, hazelnut and pecan wrapped in an easy-to-eat, melt-in-your mouth flaky dough wrap.
The Farmer Taco from Barracuda is a bit of a catch-22: you see it on the menu, try it for the first time, fall in love with it and bam! one day, it’s gone and moved on to other in-season vegetables. Chances are, you’ll love whatever’s in the Farmer Taco at any given moment – it’s just that good. Right now, we’re seeing the return of the beloved broco – a broccoli taco with grilled onion salsa seca and sunflower Caesar – but we make no promises for what 2021 will bring (just that it will be delicious).
The rotating menu of hand pies from Windowsill is always worth the visit to their brick-and-mortar Freret Street location. We’ve seen winter root vegetables, apple cheddar and even a crawfish boil hand pie, all of which are scrumptious. We dare you to walk out with just one in hand.
The garlic chicken from Lola’s is an unassuming dish consisting of tender pieces of chicken breast sautéed in red pepper, olive oil and lots of garlic. We can see how you’d go for the paella, gazpacho or mussels in vinaigrette over something so seemingly simple, but sometimes, simple is best. Enjoy your meal outdoors on picturesque Esplanade Avenue – you’ll be coming back again and again.
Station 6 specializes in seafood, so the salmon tacos are a no-brainer. One grilled to the temperature of your choice, the nuggets of salmon are thrown in a tortilla and topped with black-bean corn salsa, jicama slaw, avocado, sriracha and lime crema. You might be inclined to re-create this dish on your own, but trust us when we say: leave it to the experts at Station 6.
An epic duo to try during your next visit to NOLA. As simple as it may sound, a Port of Call burger and baked potato pack a powerful punch. Made with half a pound of fresh and daily ground beef and served with the works on the side, all Port of Call burgers come complete with a butter baked potato. You can’t forget to load it up with sour cream, chives, cheese and bacon for the full experience.
An appetizer so rich and filling you just might have to take a raincheck on the entree. Made with the restaurant’s namesake dish, blue crab, the Crabmeat Au Gratin is a warm and cheesy dip served alongside buttered slices French bread.
Vegan, gluten-free and oh-so delicious, the broccoli falafel from Capulet is a healthy take on a traditional Middle Eastern dish. Pickled peppers, red onions, greens and basil-lime cashew cream complement the broccoli perfectly. Order it for lunch, dinner, whatever – just make sure this ends up on your plate in 2021.
You’ve heard of sweet potato pies and even sweet potato fries - but have you ever tried a sweet potato cupcake? If not, then you should pay a visit to the Cupcake Collection, home of the sweet potato cupcake, for a taste! Made fresh daily and packed with flavor, these cupcakes give a whole new meaning to SWEET potato. They’re a local favorite at the Magazine Street-based bakery. Grab one (or a few) to test out to see why it landed on our list.
The name is fitting for the dish because this appetizer is simply magical! Filled with crawfish, cheese, and a special blend of spices and seasonings - then fried to perfection. They’re the perfect kick start to one their selection of house-made pastas or seafood platters.
The Arts & Warehouse District’s only French-Creole fine dining restaurant, Vyoone’s, is known for many things. It’s light-lined, stunning brick wall or award-winning happy hour - but it’s their authentic French Onion Soup that steals the show. This warm and savory starter transports you from the outskirts of the French Quarter all the way to a Parisian bistro in just one bite!