There are a lot of reasons to visit New Orleans. For some, it is the excitement of the French Quarter. For others, the lure of the Gulf life is strong. However, every visitor can agree on one thing: the food here is amazing!
For me, a visit to the Big Easy must include some incredible meals. Here are some of my favorite places that are guaranteed to make your tastebuds sing!
Cajun and Creole Food
While New Orleans has great food of all ethnicities, this is truly where the city shines. The Gumbo Shop, located just off Jackson Square, has won the city’s best gumbo for years running. They offer it in two varieties: seafood and chicken/sausage. I recommend the latter. It is scrumptious, and at $9.50, it’s an absolute bargain!
The chicken and sausage gumbo from The Gumbo Shop. I want to dive in!
If you’re looking for some of the best authentic Cajun and Creole seafood dishes at a reasonable price, Oceana Grill, on Bourbon Street in the French Quarter, is the place to go. You will want a reservation, because it gets crowded, and for good reason. The seafood here is to die for. But if you want a sample of everything the city has to offer, get the Taste of New Orleans: crawfish etoufee, jambalaya, and red beans and rice all singing together in a single dish.
The Taste of New Orleans from Oceana Grill.
Casual Anytime Eats
This is where a travel destination usually emerges as a food city, and New Orleans stacks up against all of them. Stop into Central Grocery to try a city favorite: the muffuletta. A sandwich piled with meat, cheese, and their famous olive spread, this classic has been imitated all over town, but was invented here. A full-size can feed at least two people, so don’t try to be a hero!
Now that is a sandwich!
For the best brunch in town, grab a taxi to Atchafalaya, in the Irish Channel neighborhood. Sundays they have live jazz, but the food is amazing any day at any time. Get a Bloody Mary from their extensive bar of fixins, and enjoy creative fare, like the smoked duck hash, pictured in the featured image for this article. Note: Atchafalaya also has the best grits I’ve had in my life.
Finally, the pinnacle of anytime food in New Orleans is the 24/7 goodness of Cafe Du Monde, and beignets piled high with powdered sugar. $3 for an order of three, and you’ll leave happy and hyper.
The beignets look kind of like the Alps!
There is no lack of great options for those who are looking for a more formal (though not necessarily in dress code) meal in New Orleans. For a fancy and pricy meal, try GW Fins or the famous Commander’s Palace. Both require business casual attire, but both are spectacular. Both also require reservations.
However, my best bite of the entire trip came from a recommendation from a hotel concierge I met at a bar. He suggested I try Meril, a tapas concept by Emeril Lagasse. Everything there was fantastic, but the pineapple upside down cornbread with pork belly gives me goosebumps to this day. Seriously, do not miss this. For any reason. It will change your life.
An overview of the table at Meril. It was all amazing. The cornbread is on the pink plate in the middle.
Regardless of what you eat, you will agree that New Orleans is paradise for any lover of great cuisine, but if you keep these recommendations in mind, you’ll have a foodie trip like no other.
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