It shouldn’t come as any surprise that New Orleans is consistently ranked among all leading American foodie destinations. After all, there are more than 1,400 dining establishments to choose from. What’s more, you have several options to savor the Cajun and Creole cuisines native to Louisiana. In other words, you will not go hungry in the Crescent City.
Recommendations In the Big Easy For Dining
If you are a first time visitor or even a repeat traveler, picking a restaurant in the Big Easy can be sometimes daunting. To make things a little simpler, here are carefully selected recommendations to six of the most quintessential restaurants in New Orleans. In fact, all of which are guaranteed to provide you an exceptional culinary experience. This select list also includes all four the city’s famous grand dames of dining.
713 St. Louis St.
New Orleans, LA 70130
Established in 1840 by French immigrant Antoine Alciatore, Antoine’s is the oldest restaurant in New Orleans. Moreover, it’s among the oldest family operated restaurants in the U.S. Over its storied history, the beloved French-Creole restaurant has amassed a bevy of high-profile awards. For instance, it’s among Zagat’s Most Popular New Orleans Restaurants and Bon Appetit’s Top 10 Must-Visit Classic Restaurants. It’s also among America’s Best Wine Restaurants and one America’s Essential Restaurants.
14 Dining Rooms at Antoine’s
Led by fifth generation family member and CEO Rick Blount and Chef Michael Regua, Antoine’s features 14 lavish dining rooms. This includes the magnificent Rex Room. Antoine’s is renowned for creating dishes like oysters Rockefeller, eggs sardou and ommes de terre souffles. If you need more ideas, consider creole shrimp or chicken rochambeau. For private dining, you can book a reservation directly online. However, due to high demand, you might have to wait up to 72 hours for a confirmation.
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813 Bienville St.
New Orleans, LA 70122
Arnaud’s is one of the four Grand Dames of Creole dining and the largest restaurant in the entire city. Founded in 1918 by French wine salesman Arnaud Cazenave, Arnaud’s has been under the ownership of the Casbarian family for more than 40 years . In fact, fourth generation family members Katy and Archie Casbarian now lead the staff, along with their mother Jane and Chef De Cuisine Tommy Digiovanni. You can find Arnaud’s in the heart of the French Quarter.
Dishes To Try at Arnaud’s
Among the specialty dishes you should try are shrimp bisque, oysters bienville and Pontchartrain. Of course, you can enjoy other dishes like Arnaud’s crab cakes or filet mignon au poivre. If you enjoy spirits, make sure to visit the restaurant’s award-winning French 75. A James Beard Award winner for Excellent, French 75 serves some of the finest cocktails in the Big Easy. To illustrate, order the Creole Fashioned, Bon Vivant and the French 75.
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417 Royal St.
New Orleans, LA 70130
Clearly a New Orleans original, Brennan’s has been enticing customers with its exceptionally delicious cuisine since 1946. Founded by New Orleans native Owen Brennan, the restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Brennan’s is widely acclaimed for its authentic Creole creations by James Beard nominated Chef Slade Rushing. For example you should try the Louisiana seafood file gumbo and crispy shrimp crepes Robuchon.
Original Bananas Foster
However, Brennan’s is most famous for its decadent dessert creation from 1951, Bananas Foster, prepared right at the table. Of course, Brennan’s offers several other notable dishes, like their eggs Benedict, steak Diane and gulf fish amandine. That’s to say nothing of the beef ribeye, seafood gumbo and blackened redfish. If for some reason you can’t it for dinner, you should definitely stop by for breakfast or lunch. Incidentally, Brennan’s was a restaurant finalist in the 2022 James Beard Awards.
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819 Conti St.
New Orleans, LA 70112
In business for more than 100 years, Broussard’s is one of the original grand dames in New Orleans. Well known for its French-Creole cuisine, it has a modest storefront. On the other hand, it’s capably led by chef Jimi Setchim, in addition to a top flight staff. What’s more is its impressive collection of menus. For dinner recommendations, you might like signature dishes like pompano Pontchartrain or filet mignon au poivre. Broussard’s also offers a prix fixe menu for just $55. This Strawberry menu has three entree options, along with two each for starters and desserts. Broussard’s is also open for brunch and its Empire Bar is a local favorite.
1403 Washington Ave.
New Orleans, LA 70130
Commander’s Palace is likely the most awarded dining establishment in New Orleans. After all, it’s consistently named the best restaurant in the city. What’s more, it always appears on a list of America’s best restaurants. In fact, it’s been named Best Restaurant in America three times by Food & Wine. Located in the historic Garden District, the business dates back to 1893, making it one of the city’s oldest. You can easily get to Commander’s Palace by taking the historic St. Charles Streetcar. Just get off at the Washington stop, then walk two blocks towards Lafayette Cemetery No. 1
Celebrity Chefs and Owners
This very popular restaurant is led by James Beard Award winners Lally Brennan and Ti Adelaide Martin In all, Commander’s Palace has received seven of the coveted James Beard Awards. This includes one for Chef Tory McPhail in 2013 and a Lifetime Achievement Award to the late Ella Brennan, the matriarch of the highly influential Brennan family. Commander’s Palace is further noted for having some very famous celebrity chefs. This includes television star chefs Emeril Lagasse and Paul Prudhome.
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209 Bourbon St.
New Orleans, LA 70130
Galatoire’s, is another one of the grand dame restaurants of New Orleans. Established in 1905 by French immigrant Jean Galatoire, the highly praised namesake restaurant is led by Chef Philip Lopez, a New Orleans native. His resume includes acclaimed restaurants like John Besh’s Restaurant August and Michel Richard’s Citronelle. More most recently he spent time at Square Root, known as the most expensive restaurant in the city. Galatoire’s is clearly one of New Orleans’ best restaurants. As a matter of fact, it was once named the Best Restaurant in America by the James Beard Awards.
What To Order At Galatoire’s
Galatoire’s has so many popular dishes, you really need to see the entire menu. However, if you want some recommendations, try the chicken Clemenceau, crab Yvonne or the bouilabaisse. If that’s not enough, consider the chicken Creole or maple leaf duck. Either way, you won’t go wrong with any selection. Lastly, don’t forget to try something from the dessert menu. Among those you may like are key lime tart, bread pudding or caramel cup custard. All of the desserts are priced under $10. Of course, there are some nice cocktails to compliment your dessert.
About The Author
Randy Yagi is an award-winning freelance writer who served as the National Travel Writer for CBS Local from 2012-2019. More than 900 of his stories still appear in syndication across 23 CBS websites, including CBS New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco. During his peak years with CBS, Randy had a reported digital audience reach of 489 million and 5.5 million monthly visitors. Additionally, his stories have appeared in the Daily Meal, CBS News, CBS Radio, Engadget and Radio.com.