If you like eating, a trip to the Big Easy is a must.
Po-boys, beignets, chicory coffee, gumbo—that’s just a handful of the foods NOLA put on the map. Here’s a few of the best places to eat in New Orleans
Both Andrew Zimmern and Anthony Bourdain claim Willie Mae makes the best fried chicken in the country. If those guys say so, I am going to go ahead and trust them! Willie Mae Seaton opened this place in 1957. Today, her great-granddaughter is still at the helm of this legendary 6th Ward restaurant. An order of fried chicken includes three pieces, plus a side, like cornbread, mac and cheese, sweet potato fries or green beans.
Donald Link is one of the biggest names in New Orleans cuisine. This James Beard Award-winning chef operates a few restaurants in town. There’s Peche for seafood, and Herbsaint for high-end Italian and French fare shot through a southern lens. The one that tops my list is Cochon, Link’s homage to regional Cajun and southern food. Share wood-fired oysters with chili garlic butter; fried alligator with chili garlic mayonnaise; and smoked pork ribs with watermelon pickles. If a fancier meal is out of your budget, check out Cochon Butcher, a casual shop specializing in charcuterie, sandwiches and southern sides. Eat-in or get your order to-go.
Who has the best po-boys in town? It’s hard to say. Mother’s typically has a line around the corner, and Stanley does a more high-end version of this NOLA staple. However, Domilise’s holds a special place in the hearts of many. Open since 1918, this no-frills shop serves excellent shrimp, oyster, roast beef, and sausage po-boys on fresh, crispy Leidenheimer bread. The food is great, but it’s really the staff that makes this place special. It’s currently in the hands of third and fourth generation Domilise family members. The bartender has been there over 45 years, and some of the sandwich makers have celebrated 35+ years at the shop. When your turnover rate is nearly non-existent, you must be doing something right!
Open since 1983, this dark and divey French Quarter staple serves some of the best jambalaya in town. Their signature version of the dish incorporates rabbit and sausage simmered with tomatoes, onion, bell pepper and Cajun seasoning. Those wanting extra local flavor may order the Supreme version, complete with shrimp and tasso (aka ham bursting with Cajun flavor).
Originally opening in 1941 as a sandwich shop and lottery ticket outlet, Dooky Chase is now regarded as one of the most iconic restaurants in town. Today, this sit-down restaurant is one of the country’s premiere spots for Creole cooking (and one of the first African-American fine dining restaurants). Check out their famous lunch buffet, featuring red beans and rice, hot sausage, gumbo, poor boys, shrimp Clemenceau, and stuffed shrimp.
No trip to New Orleans is complete without breakfast at Café du Monde. Is it touristy? Yep. But there’s just something about sitting at one of their tiny, little bistro tables and ordering a plate of beignets and café au lait. You’ll leave covered in powdered sugar, buzzing from caffeine, with a big, fat smile on your face.
When you think of New Orleans cuisine, you probably think Cajun or Creole. However, this town is one of the best places in the country for Vietnamese food. Pho Tau Bay and Ba Mien Family Restaurant are some of the classic Vietnamese spots, but for something a little more modern, check out MoPho (not going to lie—I love the name!). Chef Michael Gulotta does Vietnamese cuisine with a Louisiana sensibility. Think pepper jelly-braised Cedar Key clams with smoked pork jowl, mint, crispy shallot and annatto beignets; or punchy bowls of pho (that’s a brothy Vietnamese noodle soup) filled with things like chicken thighs, crispy shallots, grilled greens and a slow poached egg. It might sound a little strange, but these combos work. In fact, Chef Gulotta was recently named one of Food & Wine’s Best New Chefs.