For the past five years, we’ve put together a list of the must-try dishes in New Orleans for the upcoming year. It’s a mix of old and new, fancy and casual – the dishes we can’t stop thinking or talking about and the ones we can’t wait to try. In true New Orleans fashion, we reached out to some of our friends within the community to do what New Orleanians do best–share their passion for their favorite foods.
We talked to local chefs, influencers, food writers, musicians, and our own social media and editorial team (after all, we’re the ones eating at all the places you see on @VisitNewOrleans and across the website) to find out their picks for the absolute best meals they ate this past year. It was a tough ask in a city so renowned for its one-of-a-kind food scene–finding a bad meal here is nearly impossible. But nevertheless, they persevered and provided us with the one dish that stands out above all others–the bites that live rent-free in their heads. Consider it your culinary roadmap for the year ahead.
And so, without further ado, here are the 24 best things to eat in New Orleans in 2024.
Chef Martha Wiggins is an incredible human being doing great things for our community in supporting young people, and her food is wrapped in warmth and goodness. I am always amazed at the depth of flavors she's able to bring out in classic dishes. Love her and her food. The crab cake appetizer is also a win! Plus, your dining supports a worthy cause. #dogoodeatgood
– Lauren Darnell, Executive Director, Made in New Orleans Foundation
One of my favorite dishes in the city is the Grilled Short Rib at Emeril's Wine Bar. Emeril’s 20-year-old son E.J. Lagasse has recently revamped the classic restaurant and is doing a great job running this New Orleans mainstay. The short rib is a beautiful cut of meat, cooked to perfection. The flavor is spectacular, the texture is wonderful, and each bite is a delight. The triple-cooked potatoes that complete the dish are also expertly prepared and pair perfectly with the meat. This dish is beyond delicious and is one that we plan on returning to enjoy on a regular basis!
- Stanton Moore, Grammy Award-Winning drummer, founding member of Galactic, co-owner of Tipitina’s
Paladar 511 is at the top of my list in New Orleans. Both the dinner and brunch menus have some incredible offerings. The Braised Rabbit is one of their classic dishes on the dinner menu that deserves to be recognized. Paired with sweet potato gnocchi, brown butter jus, and fried Brussels sprout leaves, it offers the perfect combination of flavors. It’s comforting and delicious and keeps me coming back.
– Emeril Lagasse, Award-Winning Chef, Restauranteur, TV Personality and Author
I love the Bluefin Toro handroll on the menu at Sukeban, as well as anything that the chef/owner Jacqueline sends out from the kitchen. I also love the whole vibe of the place…it’s set up like an izakaya, Japan’s version of a small informal hangout spot.
– E.J. Lagasse, Chef Patron, Emeril's
This upscale French Quarter seafood restaurant is a pioneering showcase for dry aging, more familiar from steakhouses but here applied to the finest tuna and other fish from the Gulf. The process concentrates the umami flavor and gives a dense but also meltingly tender texture. It’s unlike any other fish dish in town.
– Ian McNulty, Food Columnist for The New Orleans Advocate, @IanMcNultyNOLA on Instagram
As a New Orleans girl, crawfish is my favorite thing to eat. It reminds me of growing up and doing crawfish boils with my family. I love seafood and King Brasserie does an amazing job of bringing all of the flavors to life - their Crawfish Beignets are delicious!
– Robin Barnes, Singer, @NewOrleansSongBird on Instagram
I love Addis so much! There’s a sense of familiarity that comes with eating something with your hands. In this restaurant's case, fluffy injera serves as your key to unlock the incredible flavors on a vegetarian platter or the succulent short rib tibs! Honorable mention goes to my fave bowl of happiness in town… Shrimp Dumpling Soup with vegetables at Lilly’s will cure anything that ails you, including a self-inflicted headache from one too many Negronis.
– Ana Castro, Chef-Owner of Acamaya (opening Spring 2024), 2023 James Beard Award Nominee for Best Chef: South
Mamou is the cutest French restaurant in New Orleans, and it's one of The New York Times' Best Restaurants of 2023. Tables are for small intimate dinners, so you can get a taste for their Poisson a la Florentine. You can also do family style with the Cote de Boeuf.
– Karen Phan, Local Influencer, @AintThatPhancy on Instagram
Saint Germain prides itself on the perfect execution of complex flavors in an elegantly simple way. For me, the best example of that is their Saint Andre Cheese Soufflé. This creamy, subtle, tangy, pillowy soufflé with its intense caramelization of sugar on the bottom is the prize of any menu it's present on and a true pleasure to eat.
- Tom Branighan, Executive Chef and Co-Owner of MaMou
If you're in New Orleans, it’s tradition to try one of Nola's legendary beignets. However, this year, I highly recommend indulging in the Crab Beignet at Loretta's Authentic Pralines. It's unbelievably delicious and you won't be able to stop at just one! The crispy, flaky dough perfectly complements the savory crab meat filling stuffed inside. This mouthwatering treat is Lansa approved and a definite 10 out of 10!
– Lansa, Local Influencer, @Lansa.jpg on Instagram
I always recommend a visit to Pascal's Manale for oysters with the best shucker in town, Uptown T. The oyster bar is situated in the restaurant's bar, so it's always a lively scene filled with both locals and travelers. Uptown T has stories for days to keep you entertained while you enjoy the best oysters in the city. If I still have room after a dozen or so, I order the not-your-average-sized mozzarella sticks to share with the table and one meatball for an elegant sufficiency. Bonus: there's ample parking.
– Taylor Morgan, Editor/Owner, The Scout Guide New Orleans
Charly Pierre of Fritai said he chose Bar Brine's Ricecakes (available seasonally) because, "The flavors and textures of this dish are unique and amazing."
Bowl of Food:
I often daydream about the “Bowl of Food” from Sneaky Pickle / Bar Brine. While the ingredients vary based on seasonal availability (as ingredients should IMHO!), it is always delicious healthy and affordable. I feel nourished and like I treated myself and was responsible all at the same time!
– Boyfriend, Musician/Performer, @XOBoyfriend on Instagram
It comes with heirloom corn tortillas that they nixtamalize and grind themselves. The chorizo is cooked on the planca and then Oaxacan cheese is spread on top to melt, get crispy, and then it's folded like a taco. It’s super delicious and heavenly sinful!
– Sophina Uong, Chef/Owner of Mister Mao
I highly recommend the truffle ravioli at The Italian Barrel. Anyone that knows me knows I Iove cheese. Wrap it up in fresh pasta and cover it in a rich cream sauce AND add truffles, well that’s just a bite of heaven. It is a heavy dish so I normally can’t finish it, but that doesn’t stop me from ordering it every time I go.
– Trixie Minx, Burlesque Star and Owner of Trixie’s Burlesque Boutique, @TrixieNOLA on Instagram
Every piece was uniquely sauced and garnished without disguising the flavor of the fish. Sitting at the bar is amazing to watch the sushi team make it look easy while explaining each course to the guests and answering questions. The meal is nicely curated course-by-course without feeling stuffy or pretentious. The staff are so genuinely welcoming and passionate about all their offerings.
– Martha Wiggins, multi-James Beard Award nominee and Executive Chef at Café Reconcile
I love this particular dish because it’s a fun creative twist on a New Orleans staple. It is a delicious cross between a sweet potato pie and a beignet with a delicious Bananas Foster sauce. It’s like three desserts in one.
– Tahj Williams, Queen of the Golden Eagles Mardi Gras Indian Tribe, @TheQueenTahj on Instagram
My favorite meal of the year was shrimp and grits! I’ve eaten it all year from many places, but Nice Guys Nola has the best. It’s LOADED with shrimp, and you can also add a lobster tail. The grits are the perfect consistency, and they season the dish well with a great blend of Cajun flavor.
- Triece, Local Influencer, @BukuTriece on Instagram
One of my favorite things about New Orleans is getting the opportunity to taste so many types of food from cultures across the globe. Fritai serves Hatian food and is a wonderful place to dine. The “Griyo” at Fritai is one of my favorite dishes. From the pikliz (spicy relish) to the double cooked pork, everything on the plate is tasty!
- Larry Everage, Video Editor (New Orleans & Company) & Photographer, @LarryEverage on Instagram
I first had Francolini’s back in their pop-up days, and I gotta say, it was truly love at first bite. Their sandwiches were all over my feed, but it wasn’t until Mardi Gras of 2023 that I finally got my hands on one. We were heading out to parades with small kids later in the day, and I knew I’d need sustenance, so I picked up a few Italians, threw them in the cooler with our drinks, and finally got around to unwrapping one a few hours later when hunger stuck along the route. It’s a true testament to the heartiness of this sandwich–it spent a couple of hours being bashed around in a wagon with a toddler, a billion beads, and a small bar’s worth of beverage choices, and, if anything, it only increased the (already superior) experience of eating this sandwich. Now that their brick-and-mortar is open, I have to actively stop myself from eating it every weekend. As I’ve explored more and more of the menu, I’ve fallen in love with other sandwiches, but I always add at least one Italian (always with hot cherry peppers) to our order. In some ways, it feels like cheating on the po-boy to be this head over heels for a Jersey-style sub. But the heart wants what the heart wants, and at the end of the day, this heart seems to really want stacks on stacks of premium Italian cold cuts and cheese.
– Hartley Wasser, Director of Editorial and Content Marketing, NewOrleans.com/New Orleans & Company
The concept is as simple as the name, but the Chicken under a Brick from The Elysian Bar is anything but. Tender, juicy chicken shines in this dish, glazed with bourbon aioli and finished with turnips and dill. The crispy skin makes it an oh-so-satisfying bite.
– Lauren Saizan, Editorial and Online Content Manager, NewOrleans.com/New Orleans & Co.
The team at Hungry Eyes knows exactly what they are doing, y'all. A lot of their menu, including their martinis, are notable but there's something about The Artichokes on the Half Shell that just hits different. It's truly a genius dish and one that I think about often. Artichoke hearts are sliced in half and then covered in morita chile butter, garlic, and parmesan. They come to the table warm and bubbly, and it's served in a ceramic dish a la Oysters on the Half Shell. The first time I went to Hungry Eyes was with a group and we ordered the artichokes to share, and then I promptly ordered a second serving for me, myself and I alone.
A lil' lagniappe for you babes, The Butter Baked Drum at The Chloe Hotel is another absolutely exceptional dish. I can be particular about how fish is cooked and boy oh boy do they deliver!
– Andy Kutcher, Senior Social Media Manager, @VisitNewOrleans and @NewOrleansandCo, @AndyKNOLA on Instagram
Do you ever take a bite of something and have all your favorite flavor profiles explode in your mouth? As a spice enthusiast and a lover of tanginess, I find it absolutely delightful when those flavors come together with the incredible taste of holy basil. The combination is simply unreal, and I can't help but let out a satisfied "mmmm" with every bite. It's almost embarrassing how much I enjoy it! And when you pair it with fragrant jasmine rice, it's like being transported to a culinary wonderland at full speed. I daydream about this dish every day and even dream about it at night. It's the perfect blend of vibrancy, eclecticism, and comfort. In my book, it's a perfect ten out of ten.
– Colton Clifford, Content Creator, NewOrleans.com and @VisitNewOrleans, @CoCliffo on Instagram
Y'all Gianna's Grilled Octopus is my FAV go-to appetizer! The smoky 'nduja, those heavenly confit fingerling potatoes, and the sassy lemon aioli create a flavor party that's downright addictive. *chef's kiss* Cravings don't stand a chance—this dish is my foodie crush, and I'm on a mission to convert everyone into Gianna's grilled octopus fanatics, lol. Trust me, head there ASAP and grab some. (You can thank me later—no, seriously, thank me with more octopus!)
– Breanna Bringier, Social Media Content Creator, @NewOrleansandCo, @CowGirlUni_ on Instagram
For you: I’ll admit, that when I first read “turkey necks” on the menu, I wasn’t sure what to think, but I’ve never been one to back down from a new food adventure. In short, it was love at first bite. Toups’ turkey necks are a perfect combination of sweet and savory, with a crispy coating, fall-off-the-bone meat, sweet and spicy pepper jelly, and boiled peanuts that I find myself craving since my first taste months ago.