12 Things You Must Eat in New Orleans
With so many phenomenal places to dine in New Orleans, it can be overwhelming trying to narrow down the spots to eat during your time here. Few places in America serve more iconic, historic, and beloved dishes! Since being this spoiled for choice is enough to make your head spin, we’ve shared our Top 12 Must-Eat New Orleans dishes, along with our favorite places to get them.
Where to eat them: Café du Monde
This historic French Quarter is open 24/7 serving up its two specialties: beignets, and chicory coffee. Pay a visit at off-hours to avoid the famous breakfast line, and be prepared to order when you sit down. Luckily, your toughest decision will simply be how many beignets to order! They come in groups of three, and we recommend pairing your French doughnuts with a café au lait: half coffee, half hot milk – although you can also order it black or iced. When your delicious treats arrive, have caution when taking a bite – they are generous with the powdered sugar!
Where to eat them: Drago’s
There are plenty of places in the Big Easy to get your hands on oysters, but no one does these buttery, smokey oysters quite like the original creators at Drago’s. On a busy day, their kitchen dishes out more than 900 oysters, starting fresh from the ocean where they are hand selected by fisherman, before being sent directly to the restaurant via temperature controlled truck and being opened by hand.
Where to eat it: Dooky Chase
Few dishes are as emblematic of Louisiana cooking like gumbo. And in New Orleans, you don’t just go to a restaurant for gumbo, you go to the restaurant. Dooky Chase itself is a landmark in both New Orleans and in the United States. Although its doors had been open since 1941, the restaurant was a secret meeting place for Civil Right’s Leaders in the 1960s, where they planned sit-ins and discussed issues over bowls of gumbo and other Creole staples. Leah Chase, the owner and dubbed “Queen of Creole Cooking”, made Dooky Chase the first art gallery in New Orleans for black artists, displaying their works on the walls of the restaurant.
Where to eat it: Hansen’s Sno Bliz
When the temperatures begin to rise (and never go back down) and the southern humidity is enough to make you sweat in places you didn’t know were possible, this New Orleans’ classic is here to rescue you. On a particularly hot day during the Great Depression, Ernest Hansen conceived the idea for a machine that would shave ice efficiently, and his wife Mary hand crafted her own line of syrups. In 1939, the sno ball cart was open for business for 2 cents a sno ball. Today, the business is run by Ernest and Mary’s granddaughter, Ashley Hansen. Ranging from classic flavors like strawberry and grape, to house specialities like honey lavender or ginger-cayenne, this is the spot to get your sno ball fix.
Where to eat it: Cochon Butcher
One of the things we love so much about New Orleans cuisine, is the many cultures our food derives from. This hefty sandwich, consisted of up of Sicilian sesame bread, olive salad, salami, ham, swiss cheese, provolone, and mortadella, was created by Italian immigrant Salvatore Lupo here in New Orleans. Today, the sandwich is beloved by locals and visitors alike.
Where to eat it: Coop’s Place
Setting you back a mere $5.75 for a cup, or $11.95 for a supreme (better be hungry!) the Rabbit & Sausage Jambalaya here at Coop’s Place is legendary. No reservations, no frills, and no one under 21 allowed.
Where to eat them: Bevi Seafood Co.
Crawfish season is dependent on the weather, but the time of year to enjoy these ‘mud bugs’ runs from as early as December to as late as June, with the most reliable months being February through May. In the springtime, crawfish boils will pop up around the city, and Bevi Seafood Co. is a reliable spot to enjoy this unique seafood. If you’ve never peeled a crawfish before, don’t be shy to ask for a demonstration!
Where to eat it: Domilise’s Po-boys
This unassuming neighborhood spot celebrates it’s 100th birthday in 2018. The yellow house on the corner of Annunciation and Bellecastle brings in crowds of locals and tourists hungry for one of their fried po-boy sandwiches.
Where to eat them: Loretta’s Pralines
Not to be confused with the French pralines, made from almonds, the New Orleans praline, made with pecans, is more than just a sugary treat. Loretta Harrison began making candy at just eight years old and uses her family recipe to this day at her shop, Lorreta’s Authentic Pralines, the first praline shop in New Orleans owned by an African-American woman. Pack your sweet tooth!
Where to eat it: Lilly’s Cafe
While this Vietnamese sandwich might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of New Orleans, our city boasts a treasure trove of Vietnamese cuisine. While Louisiana and Vietnam share the history of once being colonized by France, the Vietnamese population of New Orleans boomed in the 1970s after the Fall of Saigon. New Orleans was appealing due to its similar climate, the proximity to the Gulf of Mexico for fishing, and the Catholic diocese bringing refugees to the city. The banh mi at Lilly’s is served the classic way, with chicken, pork, or beef.
Where to eat them: Commander’s Palace
Last, but by no means least, the great Louisiana delicacy that is turtle soup. This rich, stew-like soup is best served at Commander’s Palace, a restaurant located in the leafy Garden District established in 1893.
The best sandwiches in America?
Where to eat it: Turkey & the Wolf
Bon Appetit sent shock waves throughout the gastronomy world in August 2017 when they announced their #1 Best Restaurant in America was in fact, a sandwich shop in New Orleans. This quirky, Irish Channel neighborhood spot serves up specialities including fried bologna and collard green melt sandwiches alongside a cocktail menu with the disclaimer “will probably be different when you get here”. Their official Instagram account will make your mouth water and eyebrow raise, making this a can’t-miss spot in the Big Easy.
Taste those tasty beignets and chicory coffee off the beaten path at Morning Call Café in City Park on our Beyond the French Quarter Bike Tour.