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Seafood Gumbo
Seafood Gumbo

Culinary Itinerary

New Orleans is a food lover's heaven - follow this itinerary to taste your way around the city

When you come to New Orleans, come hungry. This is a town full of eaters who start talking about what they’re going to have for dinner before lunch is over. New Orleans’ rich history and cocktail culture have led the city to become one of the most legendary places to eat in the world.

Here are some of the best of the best, from famous restaurants’ signature dishes to types of food you just can’t miss:

Beignets at Cafe du Monde

There’s a reason these are a classic. Pair them with a cup of cafe au lait for the ultimate New Orleans experience.

Paul Broussard
Beignets and Cafe au Lait - Cafe du Monde


Fried oyster, shrimp, catfish, garlicky roast beef ... try some or try them all. Parkway and Domilise’s are two favorites for the classics, but in the world of po-boys, there’s really no wrong choice - just as long as you order yours “dressed.” 

Lunch at Galatoire’s

Patrons of this “Grand Dame” of Creole dining are sure to make a reservation in advance to grab a table in Galatoire’s famous downstairs dining room–a delight for pre-planners, as the downstairs used to be only seated on a first-come, first-serve basis. Expect delicious, classic New Orleans food in an elegant, French Quarter atmosphere. Order the goute to start–it's a shareable feast of crab maison and shrimp remoulade. Tack on an order of oysters en brochette (fried, bacon-wrapped oysters), and you've got the appetizer all-star team. From there, turtle soup au sherry, Godchaux salad... the list goes on of must-try dishes on the menu. Prepare to leave stuffed.

Sorena Briley
Willie Mae’s Fried Chicken

Red Beans from Dooky Chase's

The late Chef Leah Chase’s famous Tremé restaurant has been synonymous with decadent Creole cuisine since it opened as a sandwich shop in 1939. Try a little bit of everything, from red beans and rice to fried oyster salad and the stuffed shrimp.

Fried Chicken at Willie Mae’s Scotch House*

Around the corner from Dooky Chase, you’ll find what the Travel Channel once labeled “America’s Best Fried Chicken.” There may be a line, but it’s worth it.

*Editor's Note: Willie Mae's is currently temporarily closed due to a fire. You can check their social media for updates on their reopening. 

Justen Williams
Barbecue Shrimp - Pascal’s Manale

Barbecue Shrimp at Pascal’s Manale

New Orleans-style barbecue shrimp is as messy as it is delicious, and that’s a good thing. French bread is a necessary accompaniment to the buttery, peppery sauce on this dish. The barbecue shrimp originated at this unassuming Uptown gem, where you can also get your raw oyster fix.

Turtle Soup at Commander’s Palace 

Turtle Soup and pecan pie are staples of this iconic Garden District restaurant, though everything at this Haute Creole restaurant is tasty. Enjoy classics like Commander’s Creole gumbo, pecan-crusted Gulf fish, and Creole bread pudding soufflé.

Muffalettas from Central Grocery*

These sandwiches are perfect for sharing ... or not (we won’t judge). Grab one from Central Grocery and then take it up to Woldenberg Park for a picnic along the river, where you can watch the steamboats pass.

*Editor’s Note: Central Grocery remains temporarily closed following damage from Hurricane Ida, but you can still find their muffalettas packaged to-go next door at Sidney's Wine Cellar (917 Decatur St.)

Rebecca Todd
Pho at Lilly’s Cafe

Traditional Vietnamese Food

New Orleans’ thriving Vietnamese community delivers seriously authentic Vietnamese staples such as phở and báhn mì all across the city. Favorites include Lilly’s Cafe and Pho Tau Bay.


Perhaps one of the most delicious ways to cool off, the snowball is a favorite treat in New Orleans from early spring through late fall. Fans fiercely support their favorite places, such as Hansen’s Sno-Bliz, which has been open since 1939. It has a dedicated following for good reason. Another favorite is Plum Street Snowballs tucked away Uptown.

Bananas Foster

Invented at Brennan's but offered at many restaurants, it's a dessert to savor. You’ll watch an expert server prepare the dish before your table, and the cooking demo includes an impressive pyrotechnic display. It's a perfect end to Breakfast at Brennan’s. They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and that’s especially true when it involves brandy milk punch, Brennan’s signature Eggs Hussarde, and Bananas Foster.


While it should be on every foodie’s list to try boiled crawfish, there’s plenty of ways to enjoy spicy mudbugs all over town. Try a hot dog made with crawfish sausage and topped with crawfish étouffée at Dat Dog, and Vietnamese crawfish boils at Boil Seafood House. You can find traditional boiled crawfish and sides at Frankie & Johnny’s.

Zack Smith
Oysters on the Half Shell

Gulf Oysters

Whether you like ‘em raw on the half shell or chargrilled, enjoy oysters at Acme Oyster House, or any of our top picks for where to get oysters


Gumbo is a NOLA staple prepared differently by every chef. Try it from famous spots like The Munch Factory or Liuzza’s by the Track. See even more types and places to try in our Ultimate Guide to Gumbo


Pralines are a southern sweet made from sugar, milk, and pecans. Grab one while you’re here from an authentic shop like Loretta’s Authentic Pralines or Aunt Sally’s Pralines

Rebecca Todd, NOTMC
Shrimp and Alligator Cheesecake - Jacques-Imo’s

Alligator Cheesecake from Jacques-Imos

Jacques-Imos is a classic, yet funky, New Orleans spot for fried food and seafood. Their signature alligator cheesecake is one-of-a-kind. To have a really unique experience, ask to be seated in the truck bed out front.

Soufflé Potatoes

Think of a blown up French fry and you might be close to imagining soufflé potatoes. The super thin potatoes are puffed with air and paired with béarnaise sauce for dipping. You can get a taste at Arnaud’s or Galatoire's.

Hot Boudin from Cochon Butcher

From chefs Donald Link and Stephen Stryjewski, Cochon Butcher is a deli and butcher serving classic Cajun meats. It is an outpost of their larger restaurant, Cochon, located right next door. Their hot boudin is a must try while in Southern Louisiana. 

NOLA Eats: Boudin Balls
Boudin Balls

Experience James Beard Award-Winning Cuisine

New Orleans has a ton of James Beard Winning chefs and restaurants, so it may be ambitious to say you want to try them all. But if you’re planning on working your way through the list, expect a truly delicious journey.

Get in the Holiday Spirit with a Réveillon

Historically, Réveillon dinners were multi-course, extravagant meals served after Christmas Eve mass. Today, many of the city’s best restaurants celebrate the holiday season with special prix fixe menus all December long. You can find detailed menus and participating restaurants beginning in early October on

Learn the Tricks of the Trade

Looking to expand your own cooking skills and bring a little New Orleans back with you? Try out cooking classes at one of our many fantastic cooking schools. Your friends and family will be forever grateful.

Taste Something Unique

Want to go beyond the typical New Orleans cuisine? Here are unique dishes you must try in New Orleans.

Love To Eat | Louisiana Shrimp
Louisiana Shrimp Opener
Love to Eat - Louisiana Shrimp