The Best Restaurants In New Orleans

Our favorite places to eat in the land of above-ground cemeteries and excellent Creole food.
Spread of food at Cafe Reconcile

photo credit: Cory Fontenot

You could spend months (years, even) trying every classic establishment in New Orleans that’s serving up Creole and Southern staples, or exploring the seemingly endless amount of restaurants in the French Quarter. Whether you’re a long-time local or just in town to eat, drink, and unironically go on a swamp tour, you’re going to need some help making some decisions. This guide contains the best of the best, including all the places serving po’boys and gumbo, along with incredible pizza, natural wine bars, and more.



Garden District

$$$$Perfect For:BirthdaysClassic EstablishmentCorporate CardsFine DiningImpressing Out of TownersLunch


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If you're looking for an all-caps CLASSIC restaurant in New Orleans, head to Commander’s Palace in the Garden District, where every table is treated like Carnival royalty. Regulars know to call a full year in advance to snag tables for certain days, like the Friday before Mardi Gras when members of local parading krewes will greet friends and toss beads from table to table. You’ll still need a reservation for a more typical afternoon where you can have a long, lazy lunch. Make sure you order the turtle soup (yes, you do want the sherry to top it off), and don’t forget about one of the greatest lunch specials ever: the 25-cent martinis.

photo credit: Dakar Nola

$$$$Perfect For:Unique Dining ExperienceFine DiningSpecial Occasions


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Dakar is one of the hottest and most unique restaurants in New Orleans. It’s a tasting menu, supper club-style spot where the chef and owner cooks dishes inspired by the food of Senegal, his home country. Not only that, but he’s right there with you for every course, telling stories and personal anecdotes about each bowl of blue crab seafood stew or pot of jollof rice. It’s a special occasion restaurant that will probably teach you a lot, while also simultaneously being a party.

Our lives can be split into two distinct time periods: before we tried the turkey neck appetizer at Café Reconcile, and after. These crispy, caramelized hunks of fall-off-the-bone poultry are worth a visit alone, but you should definitely throw in a fried chicken plate, too—theirs is one of the best in the city. Café Reconcile is only open for lunch, and it’s a pretty big space where you can almost always find a table. We also love the mission behind the restaurant: they support and employ at-risk young adults by providing culinary training and personal development.

Turkey & The Wolf has received more national attention than any other restaurant in New Orleans over the last couple of years. Which makes sense, since their wild sandwiches are all truly excellent. But while it’s no longer the newest kid on the block (they’ve since opened a breakfast spot called Molly’s Rise And Shine and a gastropub called Hungry Eyes), this is still one of the best casual, comfort food spots around. Everything is nostalgic in the best way possible, but their collard green melt might just be the best thing on the menu. It’s served as a double-decker on rye with enough melted swiss cheese and pickled cherry pepper dressing to keep you thinking about it long after you’ve left.

There are many New Orleans restaurants with storied histories, but none quite like Dooky Chase’s, which was a central meeting point during the Civil Rights Movement and fed its famous fried chicken to A.P. Tureaud and Thurgood Marshall. Get a plate of that chicken for yourself while you admire the art on the walls from Black artists. On Holy Thursday (the last Thursday before Easter Sunday), they do gumbo z’herbes, a traditional preparation of the local dish made with nearly a dozen greens.

Even though it’s only been open since late 2022, Mamou is one of the newest and best French restaurants in town. It’s a great place to bring a date, eat escargot, and drink a glass of Burgundy. Beyond snails, we love the braised celery hearts with beef tongue, gulf fish court bouillon, and risotto—basically anything that leans into the rich and butter-loaded dishes they do really well. If you’re around Louis Armstrong Park and need a glass of wine and a snack, hang out at the lively emerald green bar, which is just as fun as the rest of the fuschia-accented dining room.

The best things at Saffron, a consistently excellent Indian restaurant on Magazine Street, are the dishes that seamlessly incorporate Southern flavors into their food. We’re talking about the comforting seafood gumbo loaded with tender okra, perfectly cooked gulf shrimp, and plenty of curry spice, and the roasted oysters sprinkled with curry leaves and served with fluffy naan. The restaurant works best for a special occasion, where you can drink a couple martinis, lean back in a cushy booth, and chop it up with the chef after dinner when he’s making his rounds in the dining room.

Bayona is a spot where you can get Creole dishes and linger with a couple of friends for a while and not feel like you’re part of a large march of tourists (unlike other classic spots like Galatoire's, which turn tables much faster). The courtyard, filled with plants and more cobblestones than a Roman sidestreet, is where you want to be. It feels like your own secret little garden where you can eat duck liver pate, grilled pork chops, and fennel and pepper-crusted lamb loin that’s always cooked perfectly.

Parkway Tavern has been serving po’boys for more than 100 years, so it’s fair to say they’re experts when it comes to one of New Orleans’ most quintessential dishes. The counter-service operation and expansive patio are great for groups, but grab a table at the bar inside if there’s a spot available so you can chat with the construction workers and politicians who come through daily. Go for the deep-fried shrimp and oysters (on Wednesdays and Thursdays) or the classic roast beef, which is served dripping in gravy. Always ask for it “dressed,” as it’ll be served with lettuce, tomato, pickles, and mayo.

Saint John is from the same team behind Gris-Gris, one of our favorite restaurants on Magazine Street. This newer spot is another excellent place for Southern and Creole dishes, in a space that feels both old-school and modern New Orleans, thanks to the lovely open kitchen with counter seating and paintings by local artists that line the wall. Come for a date night dinner where you can split dishes like oysters three ways, a rich plate of beef daube, and buttery crawfish tails with fried green tomatoes. They also do a great drag brunch where you can get a lot of the same dishes as the dinner menu, with a side of immaculate lashes and unlimited slayage.

Bywater American Bistro, a spot that does Cajun, Caribbean, Creole, and Southern dishes, is just steps away from one of the best views in the city at Crescent Park. While you can’t go wrong with sitting inside the industrial-meets-cozy dining room, the best option is to grab a spot at the high top just outside the front door. From there, you can watch the world pass by while trying blackened octopus, arancini with paddlefish caviar, and wagyu beef lasagna. As the younger sister restaurant to the equally popular (but a little fancier) Compere Lapin, this place regularly fills up with both visitors from around the world and neighbors from down the block—all of whom will happily give you their personal recs of where to grab a few drinks after dinner.

Paladar 511 is a loud, fun place to have a group dinner where you can let loose at one of the big leather booths that face the open kitchen and not worry about being too unhinged. The menu is all about pizza, pastas, and hearty sauces—make sure to get the messy-but-worth-it Farm Egg pizza and squid ink spaghetti with calabrian chili butter that we’d happily buy by the jar. Save room for dessert, because the warm tahini brownie is the only thing your friends will be shouting about after they try it.

You can find this fun wine bar inside a small house on St. Claude in the Bywater. They have a great selection of natural wines and a reservations-only, 10-course tasting menu that’s full of surprising dishes in a dining room reminiscent of a friend’s cozy apartment. The menu is always rotating, but think fermenting, braising, smoking, poaching—anything that can be done to get the most out of seasonal, local produce (a recent favorite featured prawns served with fermented tomato). If you can’t make reservations and the weather’s nice, stop by for some wine on the first-come, first-served garden patio.

Luvi is located on a busy Tchoupitoulas Street corner, so you might be surprised to see such a calm-looking cottage and even calmer restaurant beyond the blue door. This is the sort of place where you’ll happily lose count of what you order, as you get plate after plate of the Shanghainese and Japanese dishes, many of which are small but easily shared. Try anything from their raw bar, like cuts of seared tuna and salmon, but don’t skip the spicy dan dan noodles, which come swimming in housemade bone broth and get their heat from a touch of ghost pepper chili oil.

There are a number of excellent Vietnamese restaurants around town, especially in the Westbank. Tân Định is one of the best options, and a big reason why is the Creole and Vietnamese combinations you’ll find on the menu. Look no further than the fried frog legs that come with a side of lime juice, salt, and pepper that perfectly cuts through that rich and super tender meat. There are other winners on the menu besides amphibians, including some extremely beefed-up spring rolls and a heaping plate of rolled vermicelli noodles that go great with some lemongrass pork skewers. The dining room is a pretty casual space—there are lots of huge round tables and early Kali Uchis is playing over the speakers, and it all makes for the perfect lunch or standout weeknight dinner.

Sure, you could settle for Waffle House after a night out, but you should probably just go to Palm & Pine instead. They’re open on Friday and Saturday night until 1am and serve shareable dishes like buttery cornbread with fermented chili butter and curry crab beignets. And yes, it’s also a good option when it’s still light out. They do a great Sunday brunch where you can eat some duck fat fried potatoes and actually make out all the cool art on the walls.

What happens when the Turkey And The Wolf team opens a walk-in-only bar and restaurant that also feels like a museum dedicated to the ‘80s? You’ve got one of the top places in the city to sit at the bar with some small plates (get the roasted artichokes) and an interesting cocktail or two. There’s an endless amount of little trinkets around the space, like cocktail taps with vintage beer logos, pastel posters, and retro furniture that your friend from art school would say is “clearly” inspired by the Memphis Group. Bring a date so you can spend the whole night playing an IRL version of Where’s Waldo with all the different details around the restaurant while you snack, drink, and talk to the bartender about their literary preferences.

This Creole restaurant claims they’re haunted, and they even keep a table for their resident ghost. While the whole experience might sound like the plot of a PG-rated Disney movie, this is about as classic of a New Orleans experience as you can get. Drink a cocktail in the dark and moody, second-floor seance lounge or on the patio overlooking Jackson Square, and then settle in at a candle-lit table for some seafood gumbo and andouille-crusted redfish. You can even take a tour of the restaurant to learn more about the ghosts of Muriel’s, but if you’d rather not mess with the supernatural, they also have a live jazz brunch on Sundays—which might seem a little avant-garde for the spirits of the early 1800s who haunt the place.

Queen Trini Lisa is our pick for the best casual lunch in New Orleans. If you’re around Mid-City, use their chickpea-loaded doubles box to fuel up for a day of exploring cemeteries. It’s also completely worth it to go out of your way to try their smoky and slightly sweet BBQ jerk chicken. There are just a few tables, but it’s never super busy, so you can relax over a spicy lunch while dancehall plays from the speakers. This is a perfect pit stop before checking out the sculpture garden at the nearby New Orleans Museum of Art.

What started as a semi-secret pop-up between two college friends from New York now consistently makes some of the best pizza in the city. The crust has that nice little snap when you fold it, and the toppings never overwhelm the simplicity of the red sauce. You can order by the slice, but it’s also imperative that you get their excellent margherita, which only comes as a whole pie. Look for a rotating list of specials, too, like the roasted cauliflower, hot coppa with caramelized onions, or rosemary potato with spicy bechamel. And don’t forget to pick up a salted chocolate chip cookie for dessert.

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